Announcement of Stavros Niarchos Foundation Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research

The University of Oxford is delighted to announce the appointment of Peter Frankopan, Professor of Global History, and Senior Research Fellow at Worcester College, as the first Stavros Niarchos Foundation Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research.  

Academic and internationally acclaimed author of The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, Peter specialises in the history of the Byzantine Empire in the 11th Century, and in the history of Asia Minor, Russia and the Balkans. He works on medieval Greek literature and rhetoric, and on diplomatic and cultural exchange between Constantinople and the Islamic world, western Europe and the principalities of southern Russia including the History of the Byzantine Empire, 800-1204; Byzantium and its neighbours; the Komnenoi; heresy; medieval Greek and Latin literature; national identities and state formation in the medieval world. Peter’s publications include The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, The New Silk Roads: The Present and Future of the World and The First Crusade: The Call from the East. 

As well as undertaking his research and teaching, Peter has done much to bring history and its contemporary relevance alive to the public, through articles in the international media including The New York Times, Time, the Financial Times and The Guardian, and appearances in television documentaries including BBC4’s series on Byzantium. He was recently named as one of the World’s 50 Top Thinkers by Prospect magazine.

Peter has been Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research (OCBR) since 2010. This new appointment reflects a major new grant by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation to support Late Antique and Byzantine Research at Oxford, as well as the OCBR itself.

The Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research was established in 2010 and now has more than 60 senior members, made up of academics, emeriti, research and post-doctoral fellows doing research in a subject either centred on Late Antique and Byzantine Studies or in a related field. The Centre hosts and helps fund conferences, colloquia and special lectures, and also commissions and supports research projects by researchers working in Oxford and with close links with the University.

Oxford is a world-leader in Late Antique, Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Studies. Its international reputation as an intellectual centre of excellence and unique convening power means that Oxford’s research has significant impact on the way that scholars, political leaders and the general public understand the complex world of the 21st century. 

‘I am thrilled by the commitment and generosity of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation to Late Antique and Byzantine Studies at Oxford. The community of scholars, including emeriti, early career researchers, graduate students and undergraduates is astonishingly vibrant and notable both for its breadth and range of interests. I am delighted to lead the OCBR into a new phase, and hope to use the coming years to push the Centre forwards with its ambitious plans for the future.’

- Peter Frankopan, Professor of Global History, Senior Research Fellow, Worcester College, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s support for the Directorship of the OCBR is just one element of their recent generous gift to Late Antique and Byzantine Studies at Oxford.  This includes endowments for the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Bywater & Sotheby Professorship of Byzantine and Modern Greek Language and Literature, held by Marc Lauxtermann, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Associate Professorship of Byzantine Archaeology and Visual Culture, held by Ine Jacobs, and support for the activities of the OCBR, as well as three graduate scholarships. The endowments and scholarships have been match funded by the University.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is a longstanding and generous supporter of the humanities at Oxford. SNF has contributed to the building of the Stelios Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, and has funded graduate scholarships in Classics and the endowment of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Clarendon Associate Professor and Fellow of Ancient Greek Philosophy, held jointly by the University and Oriel College.

Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF)

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) is one of the world’s leading private, international philanthropic organisations, making grants in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and sports, and social welfare. Since 1996, the Foundation has committed more than $2.9 billion, through more than 4,500 grants to nonprofit organizations in 124 nations around the world.

The SNF funds organisations and projects worldwide that aim to achieve a broad, lasting and positive impact for society at large and exhibit strong leadership and sound management. The Foundation also supports projects that facilitate the formation of public-private partnerships as an effective means for serving public welfare.

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