Support Burmese Studies at SOAS

A project by: SOAS University of London

pledged of £200,000 target
Support Burmese Studies at SOAS

SOAS is the only UK university to teach Burmese; it has been part of our curriculum for over 100 years. Through the scholarship of a line of remarkable individuals, the School has proven expertise and a long list of achievements in the teaching and research of Burmese.   

Today, Professor Justin Watkins continues this tradition in teaching the Burmese language expertly as well as pursuing research on Burmese and other languages spoken in Burma, including the signed languages of Myanmar’s Deaf communities, and on language policy.

However, language teaching is highly cost-intensive. The pandemic has severely impacted SOAS’s capacity to continue teaching Burmese to the extent we would like to.

Our ambition is to maintain the capacity to teach Burmese to a high level, as has been our hallmark for over a century, but this ambition can only be realised with philanthropic support.

This much-needed funding will help to maintain and grow our world-renowned scholarship, adhering to SOAS’s principle of combining excellence in research and teaching.

It would allow SOAS to focus research efforts on developing resources for Burmese more widely. Digital translation and dictionary-making can today produce impressive resources in a timely fashion, tailored to the most pressing needs of users of the language in specific areas such as legal, commercial, military, and medical fields. However the development of high quality tools in this area is hampered by the lack of basic digital resources for the language.

Our long-term goal is to raise £5.3m to fully endow a Professorial Chair in Burmese. To build towards this we aim to raise £200,000 now to maintain our scholarly excellence in Burmese. Please help us by supporting Burmese language studies now.

Donations from the US and Myanmar

If you would like to donate tax effectively from the USA please visit our US Giving Page and select "Burmese Studies".

If you would like to give over £1,000 or if you are donating from Myanmar, please email the philanthropy team at or contact Prof Justin Watkins directly at, to talk through the donation process.