In 2011, the University of Sydney faced a critical funding situation in the Department of Buddhist Studies. Support was running out for an important faculty position: Lecturer in South Asian and Indo-Tibetan studies. KF’s Academic Development Committee realized that a more permanent visiting professorship (or an endowed chair or faculty position) would be the key to maintaining and strengthening the program, which could in turn benefit Buddhist Studies programs in the entire region.
The University of Sydney has long been identified as a center of excellence, offering a range of Buddhist Studies program, including Pali and Sanskrit, the two major Buddhist languages in the Australasian region.
The annual cost of supporting an academic lecturer at the University of Sydney would be at least A$120,000 (US$110,000). In 2011, Khyentse Foundation pledged to fund 50% of the faculty position for 3 to 5 years, as long as matching fund partners from the university or the community could be found. We are happy to report that a foundation in Australia has pledged up to $20,000 per year for 3 years. If we can find another sponsor to fund the remaining 33% (A$40,000) per year, this faculty position can finally be filled.
In a recent discussion, Dr. Mark Allon, Chair of the Department of South Asian Buddhist Studies and a noted expert in the study of early Buddhist literature, said that they are actively engaged in seeking the final amount needed, and we are optimistic that conditions and timing may now be ripe for this project to come to fruition.
The University of Sydney is an ideal location for training a new generation of scholars in the language skills central to Buddhist texts and study. In order to establish the university as a hub institution to support smaller institutions in Oceana and Southeastern Asia, it is crucial that this position be established with the Buddhist Studies program, and that it be held by a Tibetan Buddhist scholar.
For more information about supporting this position at the University of Sydney, please contact Sydney Jay: Sydney@Khyentsefoundation.org.