The Department of West Asian Languages and Cultures
Before its founding in March 2009, the Department of West Asian Languages and Cultures was part of the Department of Oriental Languages and Cultures.
I. General Information
1.       Organizational Structure
There are three teaching and research divisions, three research institutes, and two data centers. Three teaching and research divisions are Teaching and Research Division of Iranian Studies, Teaching and Research Division of the Hebrew Language and Culture, and Teaching and Research Division of Ancient Oriental Studies. Three Research Institutes include Institute of Iranian Culture, Institute of Ancient Civilization in the East, and Institute of Jewish Studies and Modern Israel. Two Data Centers are Reference Center for Iranian Studies and Reference Center for Ancient Oriental Studies. Besides a collection of slides and tapes, these two centers have nearly 4000 books in cuneiform and hieroglyphics as well as in Persian, Akkadian, Sumerian, Hittite, Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, English, German, French, and Russian.
2. Faculty
We have ten in-service teachers, including three professors, four associate professors, and three lecturers.
3. Students
 We have 23 undergraduates (including twelve students of Hebrew in the 2007 Grade, and eleven students of Persian in the 2008 Grade)
We have 13 graduates (including seven students for a Master’s degree, and six Ph. D. candidates)
4. Subjects and Courses
A. For Undergraduates:
We provide basic training in Persian and Hebrew, aiming to help students have an excellent command of the language.
B. For Graduates:
Iranian Studies: we provide courses in the Persian language and literature, studies of Iranian history and culture. (For both masters and Ph. D. candidates)
Hebrew Language and Literature: we offer courses in Hebrew language and literature, as well as in the Hebrew Bible. (For masters only)
Ancient Oriental Studies: we offer courses in Assyria studies, Hittite studies (for both masters and Ph. D. candidates) and ancient oriental arts. (For masters only)
C. Language courses
Ancient languages: Akkadian, Sumerian, Hittite, Biblical Hebrew, the Ugaritic language and the Aramaic language; and Hattic language, Luwian language and Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics (upcoming).
Modern languages: German, Arabic, and French (upcoming).
II. Introduction to Teaching and Research Divisions
1.       Teaching and Research Division of Iranian Studies
Brief History:
    Founded in 1957, the division was the earliest institute in China that conducted teaching and research in the Persian language. It has, in its history of more than fifty years, recruited undergraduates for eleven years, graduates for six years and Ph. D candidates for one year. We have hosted four training seminars and provided for China about two hundred language specialists in Persian.
We now have four teachers, including one professor, one associate professor, and two lecturers.
Affiliated Institutes: Institute of Iranian Language and Culture
 Established in 1990, the institute is composed of teachers from Teaching and Research Division. It has held many national and international seminars and lectures and has produced publications on Iranian studies in China from the perspectives of language, literature, history and religion.
We have published a number of books and textbooks, including The Basic Persian, Persian-Chinese Dictionary, Chinese-Persian Dictionary, Practical Oral Speech in Persian, History of Persian Literature, History of Iran, and other textbooks, dictionaries, and other works and translations. Additionally, we have also published The Persian Grammar (Two Volumes), Essays in Persian, Close Reading of Essays in Ancient and Modern Persian, Modern Persian Novels, Selections of Persian Poetry, A Course Book on Persian-Chinese Translation etc. Among these, Persian-Chinese Dictionary got the second prize in the first National Dictionary Award held by the State Press and Publication Administration in July 1995. Several awardshave been conferred to Chinese-Persian Dictionary: the first prize in the 1998 Peking University Award for Research Achievements, the third prize in the 1998 Ministry of Education Award for Research Achievements in Humanities and Social Sciences, and the “Iran’s 1998 Best Book Award.”
2. Teaching and Research Division of the Hebrew Language and Culture
Brief History:
The year of 1985 saw the opening of the first Hebrew class with eight undergraduates, by which time China and Israel had not established diplomatic relations. In 1991, with the joint efforts of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Chinese government as well as Peking University, Hebrew became a formal major in the department of Oriental Languages, the then the only major for undergraduates of Hebrew language and literature in China. The first Hebrew majors graduated in 1990. Up to 2007, we had produced 42 graduates in all. Currently, we have in the 2007 grade twelve students for a bachelor’s degree and two students for a master’s degree.
We have published a textbook with the title of Course of the Hebrew Language.(1-4)
Our faculty includes three teachers, two of whom are associate professors while one is lecturer.
Affiliated research institute: Institute of Jewish Studies and Modern Israel
3. Research Division of Ancient Oriental Studies --- MA and Ph. D. in Ancient Oriental civilizations
Brief History:
 Research Division of Ancient Oriental Studies (formerly Research Division of Oriental cultures, and Research Division of Oriental Civilizations) was established in 1986 and adopted its present name in March 10th, 2009.
We don’t enroll undergraduates. We offer some compulsory courses, courses for general education and elective courses provided by the former Department of Oriental Studies. We have enrolled altogether twenty graduates in Assyriology, Hittite Studies, and Ancient Oriental Arts and seven doctors in Assyriology and Hittite Studies since we began to offer MA in ancient Oriental civilization in 1998 and Ph. D. in Assyriology and Hittite Studies in 2004. Up to the present, there have been seventeen graduates having obtained their master’s degree, and one a doctor’s degree.
Our academic strength lies in ancient Oriental studies, featuring the instruction of such cuneiform and hieroglyphics as Sumerian, Akkadian, Hittite, Aramaic and the Ugaritic language.
We have three teachers, two of whom are professors, while one is associate professor.
Affiliated Research Institute: Institute of Ancient Civilizations.
    The institute was established in 2004. Our tenet is to bring together experts and scholars in Assyriology, Egyptology, Hittite Studies, Jewish Studies, the Iranian Studies, Islamic Studies and ancient oriental literatures and make concerted efforts to promote systematic research on and the teaching of ancient oriental studies. Keeping a close cooperation and frequent contact with various international academic institutions and renowned European as well as American universities, our professors of Assyriology, Egyptology, Hittite Studies, Jewish Studies, and the Iranian Studies have published papers in many international academic journals.