The Foundation for the Promotion of Buddhist Education and Research (Фонд содействия буддийскому образованию и исследованиям) is a non-profit organization that aims to promote and support Buddhist organizations in education, science, and culture. It was jointly established in February 2022 by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, Lomonosov Moscow State University, and the Institute of China and Modern Asia of the Russian Academy of Sciences. It engages with Buddhist spiritual centers, higher educational institutions, research centers, and government authorities in Russia.
Previously, talks about the development of Buddhist education were hosted directly by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. In 2021, Lyudmila Klasanova had reported that on 30 August of that year, there were talks in Moscow about establishing a rigorous Buddhist Studies curriculum in the universities of Kalmykia, Tuva, and Buryatia. The Foundation for the Promotion of Buddhist Education and Research therefore is designed with a large reach in mind. It is of great importance in maintaining links between the government and the Buddhist institutions of the three Buddhist-dominant autonomous republics.
The foundation recently hosted three competitions in Buddhist Studies, winners of which were announced by its council on 30 May 2023. The foundation council’s meeting released a statement saying that the competition was important for supporting the development and implementation of advanced training programs in the field of state-religious relations in the direction of Buddhism.
In this competition, the foundation supported applications from several institutions, including Tuva State University and Transbaikal State University. In March, Vladislav Khovalyg, 3rd head of the Tuvan state and a United Russia party member, met with the foundation’s council to discuss Buddhist Studies in Tuva. Recently in May, Tuva opened the largest Vajrayana monastery in the country. It stores the sacred relics of Buddha Shakyamuni, which were given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and embedded in a statue.
Kalmyk State University named after B. B. Gorodovikov (sic) won the competition for the development of the BA degree program in Philosophy for the training of specialists in Buddhology and Buddhism. This is a new undergraduate program that has been developed in the university, which is in turn based in Elista, Russia. The application of the academic staff members of the Department of Philosophy and Cultural Studies, led by Prof. Mergen Ulanov, won a grant for the program development with a funding of 3 million roubles. The same support was received by Buryat State University.
As an outcome of the third competition, an agreement will be reached with the Higher School of Economics concerning holding a strategic expert session on developing state programs to support Buddhist education. The session will be based on monitoring existing religious and secular educational programs on Buddhism in Russia and abroad and analyzing measures to introduce elements of Buddhist education into Russian secular and religious educational organizations.
Tuva is a remote Russian republic, with Tuvans being a Turkic-speaking ethnic group of around 308,000 people. Kalmykia is located in the steppe, specifically the North Caucasus region of Southern Russia, with the Kalmyk people numbering around 183,372. Finally, Buryatia is a mountainous republic in Siberia’s east, with Buryats numbering around 460,000 (with nearly 300,000 being based in Buryatia proper).
Фонд содействия буддийскому образованию и исследованиям (Russian only) (buddhistfund.ru)
Глава Тувы принял участие в заседании Попечительского совета Фонда содействия буддийскому образованию (Russian only) (rtyva.ru)
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