With five National Resource Centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education and other Centers funded internally, Columbia has the most comprehensive area studies program in the United States. The regional institutes, which are housed at the School of International and Public Affairs and cover nearly every part of the world, bring together the University's extensive resources in each geographic area and attract distinguished visiting scholars and speakers to our campus. In addition, to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century—the demands placed on the world's environment, economy, and political institutions—the school has sponsored a number of important research initiatives.
Founded in 1959, the Institute of African Studies provides an intellectual forum for Africa-related activities, outside the classroom. It brings speakers and visiting scholars to the campus, organizes conferences, and serves as a resource center for students seeking opportunities to work, study, and travel in Africa. The institute concentrates on sub-Saharan Africa, while North Africa is included in the programs of the Middle East Institute.
The Center for Brazilian Studies is intended to serve as a regular platform for government officials, business representatives, union leaders, and politicians visiting from Brazil. The center also attracts Brazilian academics, students, and faculty for periods of up to a year in which they focus on their research, interact with their counterparts at Columbia, as well as speak publicly about their research results. Finally, the center serves as a focal point for American students and faculty with deep interest in, and knowledge of, Brazil.
The Center for Iranian Studies was founded in 1968 and is the foremost academic research center in Iranian studies in the United States. The main focus of its activities is an extensive program of scholarly publications, notably the Encyclopaedia Iranica and the Tabari Translation Series. The Center also sponsors or arranges art exhibitions, film screenings, musical performances, and occasional lectures for students, staff and the community.
The Institute for Israel and Jewish studies was founded in 2005, and brings together faculty members and students whose academic interests, divided among several disciplines and departments, are primarily concerned with the study of Jewish civilization or with the State of Israel in its historical and contemporary dimensions.
The East Central European Center was established in 1954 to promote the study of the modern history, politics, languages, cultures, and societies of the region. It does so in cooperation with various departments at the University and by arranging for supplemental instruction by visiting and adjunct professors. The center sponsors courses, symposia, conferences, and lectures by prominent scholars and practitioners.
The Harriman Institute is the oldest and largest academic center of its kind in the United States, devoted to the interdisciplinary study of Russia and the other successor states of the former Soviet Union, East Central Europe, and the Balkans. The institute's mandate is to advance scholarly knowledge and public understanding of the polities, economies, societies, and cultures of the Eurasian landmass extending from the Elbe to the Pacific, and from the Arctic to Afghanistan. Towards this end, the institute promotes advanced research and publicly disseminates information, analysis, and opinion generated by its faculty, fellows, students, and other affiliated scholars.
Established in 1947 as the European Institute, the European Institute promotes research and learning on the cultural, political, and socioeconomic issues facing Europe, both inside the EU and in its wider international context. The institute organizes a wide range of activities during the academic year, including formal courses, conferences, colloquia, and lectures by distinguished academics and policymakers.
The Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) is the center for Latin America policy development and research at Columbia University. The institute provides its students and faculty with access to the resources of one of the major policy institutions in the world. ILAS also serves as a focal point for a network of Latin American and U.S. scholars engaged in dialogue on a wide range of issues.
The Middle East Institute of Columbia University, founded in 1954, has helped to set the national pace in developing an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the Middle East, from the rise of Islam to the present, with a primary focus on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Fostering an interregional and multidisciplinary approach to the region, the institute focuses on the Arab countries, Armenia, Iran, Israel, Turkey, Central Asia, and Muslim diaspora communities.
The South Asian Institute coordinates the many activities at Columbia University that relate to Southern Asia, mainly the countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives. Its conferences, seminars, exhibits, films, and lecture series bring together faculty and students with widely varying interests and backgrounds.
Since its establishment in 1949, Columbia University's East Asian Institute has been a major center for research, teaching, and publishing on modern and contemporary Asia Pacific activities, covering China, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Korean peninsula, and the countries of Southeast Asia. The institute is affiliated with Columbia's schools of business, law, international and public affairs, and Arts and Sciences, bringing together over fifty full-time faculty, a diverse group of visiting scholars and professionals, and more than 250 students from the United States and abroad.