Coptic Studies at the University of Toronto



For over 150 years, the University has been exploring the development of the complex societies and civilizations of the Middle East. Today, the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations (NMC) has a proud reputation as the preeminent program in Canada, unique in offering five areas of advanced study: Ancient Near East, Egyptology, Hebrew and Judaic Studies, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, and the Modern Middle East. Coptic Studies, both its language and culture, have held an important place in this history as an integral part of our world renowned Egyptology program. 


NMC is thus well positioned to build a more robust program in Coptic Studies, including all aspects of its culture, history and language. North America is home to the largest Coptic diaspora outside of Africa and, therefore, the University of Toronto will play a critical role in elevating Canadians’ understanding of a significant culture within and beyond this nation’s borders. It will shed light on current debates, very much alive in the world, concerning modernity, globalization and cross-cultural tolerance.

I invite you to watch this short video clip of His Holiness Pope Tawadros II during his visit to St. Mark’s Cathedral in the City of Markham last fall. He stresses the importance of establishing Coptic Studies courses and permanent teaching positions. We are proud to receive his endorsement. 

To accomplish our goals, we are calling on our friends and community members to support the Coptic Studies Endowment Fund through philanthropic gifts. Most immediately, we aim to secure our existing program. Gifts of all sizes will help us achieve success–and your donations will receive charitable tax receipts. I have also attached a document that outlines our more ambitious longer-term vision. 

To make a gift to the Coptic Studies Endowment Fund, please use the attached donation form or go online. You may also read more about our course offerings and the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations on our website.  

Together, we can establish a proud legacy of Coptic Studies programming. Thank you for your interest and for sharing news with others. 

Kind regards,

Timothy P. Harrison
Professor and Chair
Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations

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