A ceremony was held on 15 September at the Oriental Institute to celebrate the re-endowment of the Laudian Chair in Arabic - one of the oldest Chairs at the University.

Photo by the Faculty of Oriental Studies.

Generous support from Mr Abdulaziz Saud AlBabtain has secured the future of this post, ensuring teaching and research in this important discipline can benefit future generations. In recognition of his benefaction, the Chair has been renamed the Abdulaziz Saud AlBabtain Laudian Chair in Arabic.  During the ceremony, a plaque was unveiled to commemorate this event. The Laudian Chair of Arabic was first endowed in 1636 by Archbishop William Laud and is one of the oldest Chairs of Arabic in Europe.

At the event, Professor Mark Smith, Chair of the Faculty Board of Oriental Studies, gave a speech outlining the history of the Arabic Chair at Oxford and thanked Mr AlBabtain for his generosity and his tireless efforts to promote dialogue and cultural exchange between East and West.  He noted that after 380 years the Chair remains one of the pillars of the Faculty of Oriental Studies and one of the most important chairs in Humanities at Oxford, commenting that the new name pays public tribute to Mr AlBabtain’s role in supporting the study of Arabic language and literature at the University.

The plaque will be on permanent display at the Oriental Institute.