The Sultan Qaboos Chair in Middle Eastern Studies was inaugurated in April 2011 at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, on the Komaba Campus of the University of Tokyo. The establishment of the Chair was made possible by a generous endowment from the Government of the Sultanate of Oman. The Chair is expected to exist permanently and to assume a leading role in Japan as a centre for education and research in the fields of cultural, literary, political, religious, and historical studies of the Middle East.

The University of Tokyo Centre for Middle Eastern Studies (UTCMES) was established simultaneously in April 2011 as one of the centres within the Institute of Advanced Global Studies (IAGS). Through supervising the activities of the Chair, UTCMES seeks, among other aims, to cultivate a better understanding of the Middle East both within Japan and abroad, and to further enhance the friendly relationships with the Middle East. UTCMES and the Chair plan to publish high-quality academic literature that will reflect its global approach to Middle Eastern studies; to encourage academic as well as cultural exchanges between Japan and the Middle East; and to educate and train a new generation of scholars and experts, equipping them with a deeper and more accurate understanding of the Middle East and thus enabling them to contribute to the development of the relationships. Through these activities UTCMES and the Chair intend to share its achievements with the wider society.

The staff of UTCMES consist of faculty members of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, as well as the project staff of the Chair. The activities of UTCMES are supported by the “UTCMES Executive Committee”, which includes a member elected from the staff of the Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology/Faculty of Letters.

We host a series of seminars which focus on important fields and topics concerning the Middle East. Moreover, in collaboration with the other centres within IAGS, as well as leading academic organisations outside of our University, UTCMES and the Chair will be organising various academic projects and activities that will be characterised by an interdisciplinary approach typical of the traditions of our Komaba Campus.