Department of Indo-Iranian and African Languages

Indian and Iranian languages have been taught in MGIMO since 1954 when Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies (MIS) was closed and part of its professors and students joined MGIMO. Almost all professors of Indian Language Chair from MIS came to MGIMO, thus the history of our Department goes back to 1954. At that time Iranian languages teachers from the Middle East languages Chair of MIS also joined MGIMO. African languages Department was established in MGIMO in 1959.

In 1995 Iranian languages branch from the Middle East Languages Department was united with the Indian Languages Department. In 1999 a group of African languages teachers joined Indian and Iranian Languages Department.

Indian, Iranian and African Languages Department provides teaching of Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Persian (Farsi), Dari, Pashto, Tajik, Amharic, Swahili and Afrikaans. The Department has developed the practice of teaching simultaneously two closely related languages: Hindi and Urdu, Hindi and Bengali, Dari and Tajik, Pashto and Dari.

Lecturers who have a degree either in linguistics or in history work in our Department. Members of the Department are experienced professionals, authors of many scientific and methodological papers. They conduct researches in the field of past and present of Indian, Iranian and African languages, literature and culture and share rich experience with their young colleagues who keep and follow traditions of the Department.

Some members of the Department and some graduated from MGIMO and thus are able to help students to improve not only linguistic, but also professional skills. Professors do their best to encourage students to study languages, history and politics of the concerned countries and to awaken their love and interest towards languages. Teachers are active to cooperate with the Embassies and Cultural centers of the countries whose languages are taught by the Chair professors. They also encourage students to participate in various ceremonial and cultural events on a regular basis.

The Chair has published a series of dictionaries of Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Sinhalese, Persian, Pashto, Amharic and Swahili as well as special dictionaries of political and economic terms.

Apart from teaching, the Department’s faculty are actively engaged in research activities and take part in different conferences in Russia and abroad. Research interests focus primarily on linguistics, history, politics and teaching methodology.

The Chair has the largest in Russia Indian languages library including a unique collection of Hindi dictionaries. We acquired two big collections of books — the one gathered by prof. Z.M.Dymschits on Indian studies and the one gathered by prof. A.E.Bertels on Iranian studies. They include almost all major works on history, culture, literature, linguistics, religion and philosophy of India and Iran and occupy a worthy place in the library collection of the Department. Our library also consists of a large number of reference works, audio and video materials in other languages some of which are specifically tailored to the needs of students.

In 2002 the Department supported the initiative of our students to create within the framework of MGIMO Student Scientific Society Indo-Iranian Research Club (supervisor — associated professor Natalia Melekhina). The Club regularly holds round tables, conferences and other events for open discussions of most actual and urgent political, economic, social and cultural problems of the region (India, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, African countries).

For many years highly competent and skilled graduates from our Department regularly join the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and other agencies cooperating with Asian and African countries. Our graduates work in diplomatic missions in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Iran, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and several African countries, as well as in foreign trade departments, international press agencies, research institutes etc. Many graduates of the Department now head Russian Missions abroad.

Responsible for providing information: Associate Professor Natalia V.Melekhina

Head of Department

Elena Gladkova Elena Gladkova

Ph.D. (Philology), Associate Professor


+7 495 229-38-40 (inner 12-16)
Room: 3014