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Hebrew University of Jerusalem Appoints Khyentse Professor in Buddhist Studies

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Dr. Ian MacCormack. Image courtesy of Khyentse Foundation

Khyentse Foundation, founded by the renowned Bhutanese lama, filmmaker, and author Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, has announced that Dr. Ian MacCormack, has been appointed Khyentse Professor in Buddhist Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem by the Departments of Comparative Religion and Asian Studies. The seat is funded through a gift from Khyentse Foundation.

Dr. MacCormack completed a PhD in religion at Harvard University in 2018 and then spent two years as the Shinjo Ito Postdoctoral Fellow in Buddhist Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Specializing in the study of Tibetan history and literatures, his current research centers on religion and politics in the early modern Tibetan state.

“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,” Dr. MacCormack was quoted as saying by Khyentse Foundation in a statement shared with Buddhistdoor Global. “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.”

Dr. MacCormack has extensive experience as an instructor at Harvard Divinity School from 2015–17, and 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. He has also provided editorial services to Wisdom Publications and has contributed as an assistant editor for 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha. 

“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,” Prof. Eviatar Shulman, associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies and the Department of Asian Studies, was quoted as saying by Khyentse Foundation. “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.”

Khyentse Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche in 2001 with the aim of promoting the Buddha’s teaching and supporting all traditions of Buddhist study and practice. The foundation’s activities include major text preservation and translation projects, support for monastic colleges in Asia, a worldwide scholarship and awards program, development of Buddhist studies at major universities, training and development for Buddhist teachers, and and developing new modes of Dharma-inspired education for children.

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Khyentse Foundation
84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha

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