The Imperial edict to establish the Faculty of Oriental Languages was issued by Nicholas I on October 22, 1854. Among the first professors of the Faculty were many outstanding scholars who laid the foundations of Oriental Studies in Russia — O. Senkovsky, A. Kazem-Bek, K. Patkanov, V. Zhukovsky, V. Rosen to name a few.
At present, the FAAS is one of the world’s major centres for the study and teaching of languages, cultures, international relations, economics, religions and history of the Asian and African Countries. 170 highly qualified specialists including 2 academicians, 33 professors and 56 associate professors are on the teaching staff of the Faculty. Among them many are the leading experts from the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, State Hermitage Museum, Kunstkamera Museum, etc.
The vast regions of the Middle and the Far East, Central Asia and the Caucasus, Southeast Asia and Africa are subject matters studied at the Faculty. The number of Asian and African languages taught here is unparalleled at universities elsewhere in the world. Within such programmes as “Asian and African Studies” and “Tourism” students have ample opportunities to choose from over 100 Asian and African languages and dialects to study. 16 departments making up the FAAS provide training in а wide range of academic disciplines related to history, literature, linguistics, ethnography, and area studies, thus covering 40 degree specialisations.
The FAAS Library is оnе of the oldest of its kind in Russia. It was established in 1819, when several manuscripts in Persian, Turkish and Tartar as well as а number of books оn Oriental Studies were donated by the Chamber of Curiosities (Kunstkamera) and by the Asian Museum to the Imperial University of St. Petersburg оn the occasion of its inauguration. The library is well-stocked with books and materials totaling 285,000 items, of which 50,000 are manuscripts and xylographs.
The Faculty is a platform for operation of Confucius Institute, Ho Chi Min Institute, Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Korea, African Studies Centre, Thai Cabinet and Nusantara Centre.
The Dean of the FAAS is the Director of State Hermitage Museum Prof. Mikhail B. Piotrovsky.
Find more about the FAAS at http://www.orient.spbu.ru