Art And Culture

Mahmud Afshar Award for French Iranologist

Mahmud Afshar Award for French IranologistMahmud Afshar Award for French Iranologist

The 24th Historical Literary Award of the Mahmud Afshar Foundation will be conferred on French linguist and Iranologist Gilbert Lazard, on July 4.

The award which comprises a commendation plaque, a badge, and a handmade Persian Nain rug with Lazard’s name woven into it, will be presented to Lazard by the head of the foundation’s trusteeship council, Dr. Seyyed Mostafa Mohaghegh Damad, at the ceremony to be held at Iran’s Cultural Center in Paris, ISNA reported.

The 97-year-old Lazard has devoted a great part of his life studying Iranian culture and the Farsi language. His work on various Iranian languages and translations of classical Persian poetry won him the prestigious literary prize from the foundation’s award committee.

In appreciation of his contributions, last year he was made honorary member of the Tehran-based Persian Academy of Language and literature, which heads efforts for linguistic research on the Persian language and its sister Iranian languages. The academy has also created an official orthography of Persian and its members are selected from masters of Persian literature and linguistics.

Lazard’s works include A Grammar of Contemporary Persian, 1957 (du Persan Contemporain); the Persian-French dictionary (1990); the acclaimed French translation of Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and an excerpt translation of Divane Hafez.  He has also translated several works by the late Iranian writer, translator and intellectual Sadeq Hedayat, including “Haji Aqa” into French.

The foundation annually awards scholars who have contributed valuable literary work or research. Last year the eminent Iranian poet, Hushang Ebtehaj was the recipient of the award.

French Orientalist and expert on the celebrated Persian poet Hafez, Charles-Henri de Fouchecour and Austrian Iranologist Bert Fragner were the previous recipients of the award.

  Foundation Goals

Dr. Mahmoud Afshar Endowments Foundation was founded by Iraj Afshar in 1958. Iraj Afshar was a bibliographer, historian, and an iconic figure in the field of Persian studies. He was a consulting editor of Encyclopaedia Iranica at Columbia University . The most important goals of the foundation are the expansion and popularization of Farsi, and strengthening of national solidarity which is mainly achieved through publication of books and thesis done in the field.

Lazard studied at the Ecole Normale Supérieure and graduated in 1946. He became a professor of Persian at (Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales) INALCO from 1958 to 1966.

From 1951 to 1969, he was in charge of the Iranian civilization course at the Sorbonne University, where he became a lecturer and a professor of Iranian language and civilization.

His teachings and works on Persian language and literature have had a very strong influence on the whole of Persian studies in France since 1960. His work covers many fields, particularly early Persian language and literature.


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