The Board of Directors of Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute (RCHI) is excited to announce a US$6 million endowment to the University of Toronto for the establishment of the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies. Named in honor of RCHI Founder, President and Board Chair, the new Institute will focus primarily on research and outreach by leveraging the strong educational programming already in place across the university, fostering advanced research in a collaborative community, and promoting intercultural dialogue.


With investments allocated over a multi-year period, the endowment–RCHI’s largest to date–will significantly expand the University’s prestigious Iranian Studies program by:

  • Providing substantial support for a world-leading scholar who will serve as the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute’s Director;
  • Launching a regular Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Lecture Series and international conference to facilitate exchanges and discussions for the academic community;
  • Enhancing the graduate experience by awarding annually up to two Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Dissertation Completion Fellowships to top doctoral students in Iranian-related studies; and at least two Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Graduate Scholarships to pursue Persian language training abroad, participate in conferences or conduct research in the field;
  • Establishing a two-year Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Postdoctoral Fellowship to enable recently graduated Ph.D.s to deepen their expertise in Iranian studies and further their own research at the University;
  • Launching the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Scholar Award program for tenure-track U of T faculty members in Iranian studies to assist them in compiling successful tenure files; and
  • Engaging the public and bring focus to the richness of the Iranian culture by hosting annual cultural programs celebrating Persian holidays.

The new endowed position will foster the creation of new courses in Persian and Persianate Studies, support interdepartmental projects and develop regional, national and international appreciation of Persian and Iranian cultural legacies.

The Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies will be located at 90 Queen’s Park, a state-of-the-art research and teaching facility adjacent to the Royal Ontario Museum that is currently under construction at the University. At this stunning new building, U of T scholars—more than 18 leaders in the field of Iranian Studies—will work alongside those from the School of Cities, the Faculty of Music, the Institute of Islamic Studies and the Departments of History and Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations. They will also have opportunities to connect with U of T’s outstanding network of researchers, across three campuses, and collaborate with Toronto’s lively and growing Iranian community in the heart of one of the world’s most diverse cities.

Please join our Board in celebrating together the announcement of this significant milestone for both U of T and RCHI.

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