Welcome to the page of the Tehran Branch
Academic cooperation between McGill University and the University of Tehran can be traced back to 1964, when Dr. Mehdi Mohaghegh, following a two year teaching position (1961-1962) at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), was delegated by the University of Tehran to McGill’s Institute of Islamic Studies to teach Persian Language and Literature. During his time at the Institute (one of the first institutes of its kind in North America), Dr. Mohaghegh undertook the teaching of Shi`i Philosophy, Discourse, Mysticism, and Jurisprudence, fields not extensively studied in the west previously. It was during his time at McGill that Dr. Mohaghegh began to collaborate with Dr. Toshihiko Izutsu, a professor at the Institute, with whom he jointly published a number of texts in a series called “Wisdom of Persia” (Silsilah-i dānish-i Īrānī).
Following Dr. Mohaghegh’s return to Tehran in 1967, Professor Charles Adams (the Director of the Institute at that time), recognizing the benefit of continued collaboration, approached the McGill Board of Governors, successfully proposing to found a branch of the Institute in Tehran. On January 4th, 1969, the Tehran Branch was inaugurated in the Ferdowsi Auditorium of the Faculty of Literature at the University of Tehran. Speeches were delivered by Professor Fazlollah Reza (the Principal of the University of Tehran), Dr. Abdullah Faryar (the Deputy of the Ministry of Sciences and Higher Education), and Dr. Seyyed-Hossein Nasr (the Dean of the Faculty of Literature and Humanities) from Iran, and Christopher Eberts (the Ambassador of Canada to Iran), Professor Stanley Frost (the Dean of the Faculty of Research and Graduate Studies of McGill), and Professor Charles Adams (the Director of the Institute of Islamic Studies) from Canada.
Originally funded by McGill, the Tehran Branch faced a period of financial uncertainty before securing a suitable location and a yearly allocation from the University of Tehran. The Tehran Branch has overcome many hardships, but through unwavering dedication continues to be a major scholarly centre in its present location on the campus of the University of Tehran. Along with housing a library, equipped with some of the most important manuscripts and reference materials of different Islamic Sciences, the Tehran Branch has produced over 100 volumes of major works by Islamic-Iranian scholars, many of which are accompanied by introductions and/or translations into foreign languages. A number of these have been digitized and may be accessed on the Tehran Branch Publications page.
McGill’s Institute of Islamic Studies is proud of its 44-years association with the Tehran Branch and its scholarly activities.
April 3, 2013