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In 2008 the Ancient India & Iran Trust will be celebrating 30 years of success, promoting both scholarly research and popular interest in the early civilisations and languages of the Indian Subcontinent, Iran and Centra Asia. This anniversary sees the launch of a campaign to raise £3.5 million to finance a new resource centre, to be built as an extension to the Trust's existing premises in Cambridge. This will be used to accommodate and broaden access to the Trust's rapidly growing library, and will enable the Trust to have an up to date lecture room and so increase the scope and outreach of its activities. As a unique, independent charity, the Trust has established a firm reputation among academic and cultural networks in Cambridge, the UK, India and Pakistan and several other parts of the world. The time has now come to improve its facilities so that it can continue to support this sphere of scholarly and general interest, as well as promote further understanding of a part of the world that is seen to be increasingly significant.

The Ancient India and Iran Trust was set up in 1978 as a result of the founding Trustees' increasing awareness that the Indian Subcontinent, together with Iran, Afghanistan and parts of Central Asia was a neglected quarter of the world in terms of British cultural life and scholarship. The Trust would provide a focal point where scholars and members of the public with iinterests in the cultures of the ancient Indian and Iranian worlds could meet and discuss matters of common interest and use its unique library.

Today, the Trust is still the only independent institution of its kind in Europe, providing a regular series of public lectures, Visiting Fellowship programmes and a bursary scheme for people wishing to come and use its library and other resources in Cambridge. It also organises and hosts seminars and conferences, high profile lectures and occasional exhibitions, and has produced a number of publications. It was the home of the British Archaeological Mission to Pakistan in the 1980s and has provided a base for three external research projects funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC): The Manichean Dictionary Project (1999-2005) and Bactrian Chronology Project (2004-7) and The Christian Library from Turfan (2008-2011). In 2005 the Trust was voted runner up in the Arts, Culture and Heritage category of the Charity Awards.

The Trust has made a notable contribution to scholarship in Cambridge. In light of the recent restructuring of the Faculty for Oriental Studies at the University and the diminishment of subjects such as Sanskrit, Hindi and the prehistory and archaeology of the Indian subcontinent, it can play a major part in filling the gap. Its library, lectures and other events are open to everyone and the Trust plays an important role in promoting knowledge about different cultures and faiths –­ including Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam – represented in British society today. As general interest in these areas continues to grow, the Trust has a great deal to offer in providing people with an informal and accessible forum for intercultural and multi-faith understanding.

If you would like to make a donation or require further information about the appeal, please see our full brochure ( page 1 page 2 page 3 page 4) or contact our administrator.