OCTOBER 2021, Jersusalem
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Appoints Khyentse Professor in Buddhist Studies
The Departments of Comparative Religion and Asian Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJI) are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Ian MacCormack, a distinguished scholar, to fill its new position in Tibetan Buddhist Studies, funded through a gift from Khyentse Foundation. After lengthy deliberation, the departments offered the position to Dr. MacCormack, who will start the position in October.
Image above: Dr. Ian MacCormack in St. Petersburg during the International Seminar of Young Tibetologists, 2018
Dr. MacCormack completed his PhD in religion at Harvard University in 2018 with Professor Janet Gyatso and then spent two years as the Shinjo Ito Postdoctoral Fellow in Buddhist Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a scholar of Buddhism specializing in the study of Tibetan history and literatures. His current research centers on religion and politics in the early modern Tibetan state.
Dr. MacCormack has extensive teaching experience as an instructor at Harvard Divinity School (2015 – 2017) and later at Berkeley as a postdoctoral fellow. He completed his dissertation with the support of a fellowship from the ACLS/Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation. Among his other activities, Ian also provided editorial services to Wisdom Publications from 2013 to 2019 and contributed as an assistant editor for 84000: Translating the words of the Buddha in 2018.
This is a scholar who is genuinely curious, culturally sensitive, and theoretically sophisticated — a true intellectual.
– Professor Jacob P. Dalton
“Ian is most effective as a teacher, able to organize and digest his knowledge in accessible and meaningful ways for both undergraduate and graduate students, as I have seen him do on multiple occasions. He is a caring and skilled instructor, who is much loved by his students, most of all for being someone who thinks deeply and creatively about the connection between specialized research and large questions in the humanities and social sciences,”said Professor Janet Gyatso, Hershey Professor of Buddhist Studies and Associate Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs at Harvard Divinity School.
Professor Jacob P. Dalton, the Khyentse Foundation Distinguished University Professor in Buddhist Studies at UC Berkeley, writes: “It is rare to meet such a young scholar who is so erudite and has such a mature understanding of Religious Studies and its theoretical landscape. This is a scholar who is genuinely curious, culturally sensitive, and theoretically sophisticated — a true intellectual. He is also a friendly and charismatic colleague and teacher.”
Khyentse Foundation has been pivotal in supporting existing programs and creating new opportunities for the next generation of scholars.
– Dr. Ian MacCormack
Dr. MacCormack, in the middle of relocation, told us, “I am thrilled and honored to join the esteemed faculty at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where I will have the privilege of working alongside experts of Tibetan, Buddhist, and Asian Studies whose scholarship I have long admired. It is an exciting moment for the field, as Khyentse Foundation has been pivotal in supporting existing programs and creating new opportunities for the next generation of scholars, while working to make our knowledge accessible to an increasingly broad and diverse community of students and practitioners—a goal that I share. Some of my very first steps in Tibetan Buddhist studies were undertaken many years ago at the Dzongsar Shedra in India, where I once spent several summers teaching English; I feel especially fortunate to be given the opportunity to renew these connections and contribute to the growth of the field and the flourishing of the Buddhist world into the future.”
Image above: Ian at Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö Institute, Himachal Pradesh, North India, 2007
Ian’s rich intellectual approach, deep training and learning, and sincere zeal for scholarship promise to establish the study of Tibetan Buddhism at the university on firm ground.
– Professor Eviatar Shulman
Professor Eviatar Shulman, Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and the Department of Asian Studies wrote, “We are highly excited at the Hebrew University to have successfully culminated the search for the Khyentse Lectureship in Buddhist Studies with the wonderful hire of Dr. Ian MacCormack. Our hope in this search was to appoint a young and promising expert in Tibetan Buddhism, who displays excellent philological expertise and historical understanding of Tibetan Buddhism, but who can also address more general comparative and philosophical issues and bring Buddhism into dialogue with prominent traditions in the West and in Asia. Ian’s rich intellectual approach, deep training and learning, and sincere zeal for scholarship promise to establish the study of Tibetan Buddhism at the university on firm ground. He will offer our students a fascinating bridge into Tibetan history and culture. ”
Image above: Professor Eviatar Shulman
The foundation warmly welcomes Dr. Ian MacCormack to this first-ever permanent faculty position in Buddhist Studies in Israel. We look forward to the fruits of his teaching and research at HUJI in the years to come.
KF Endowed Chairs and Professorships
Under the vision and direct guidance of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, Khyentse Foundation has endowed four Buddhist chairs and professorships over the last 15 years.
In 2006, Khyentse Foundation endowed the first Khyentse Chair at the University of California at Berkeley. The position was filled by Prof. Jacob Dalton, who continues to contribute to the flourishing Buddhist Studies program. In 2018, the Khyentse Gendün Chöpel Professorship, initiated by Prof. Donald Lopez, was established at the University of Michigan. The position is now held by Dr. Sangseraima Ujeed. Last year, we concluded an agreement with Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) of Munich, together with the Tara Foundation of Germany, to cosponsor a tenured professorship. Recruitment for a suitable candidate is now in progress. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is the fourth university faculty position in Buddhist Studies funded by KF.
With these four permanent faculty positions in Buddhist Studies, two in the United States, one in Europe, and one in the Middle East, KF hopes to strengthen the long-term position of Buddhist Studies in academia by building a long-lasting infrastructure with these excellent institutions. Meanwhile, the foundation is exploring opportunities to establish faculty positions in Asia and Australia.
In addition to endowing chairs, KF collaborates with more than 30 universities worldwide to support Buddhist faculty and programs through Khyentse Lectures, Khyentse Buddhist Centers, sponsorship of Buddhist language teachers, and support and awards for students. KF is also expanding its programs to support a variety of on- and off-campus activities to reach a wider audience.