The Inya Institute is a Yangon-based higher learning institute dedicated to advancing the social sciences, the arts and humanities as they are related to Myanmar. It is a non-political, non-religious, non-profit, and non-degree granting organization.
It seeks to build research and intellectual capacity for young local researchers, to foster scholarly exchange between local and international researchers, and to create original scholarship for international and local scholars. It further aims to raise the general public’s understanding of the country’s multi-faceted cultural, ethnic and linguistic legacy.
While Myanmar-based, the institute is very much open to collaborative work with institutions sharing similar commitments and operating in neighboring countries: Thailand, Northeast India (especially Nagaland and Manipur), Bangladesh, and China (especially Yunnan).
The Inya Institute is a member of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC).
The institute’s daily activities are managed and coordinated by a Yangon-based group of Myanmar and International researchers. The institute which is accountable and transparent to its donors and sponsors is responsible for drafting proposals submitted to grant-giving institutions, grant-reporting, and annual accounting and reporting of the institute’s general activities.
The development of the institute’s training and research activities is overseen by an Academic Board composed of fourteen internationally recognized academics (5 academics at US universities, 3 at Japanese universities, 2 at Australian universities, 1 at a UK university, 1 at a French university, 1 at a Swiss University, and 2 academics in Myanmar).
An Advisory Board is being formed so as to strengthen the financial and operational capacities of the institute and define its strategic orientations.
The Founding Team
Ni Ni Khet is Visiting Lecturer at Yangon Technological University. She obtained her PhD in Archaeo-metallurgy at the University of Rennes I, France, in 2008 under the auspices of the French Archaeological Mission in Myanmar. Since then, she has returned to Myanmar where she studies the material culture of the Metal Age at various archaeological sites. Her present research focuses on the technologies developed by the ancient Pyu civilization for producing metallic artifacts. With the support of Yangon Technological University, she has established the first one-year diploma on experimental Archaeo-metallurgy in Myanmar. The diploma offers training to future researchers and technicians interested in developing the field of Archaeo-science in Myanmar; it is also the first step towards the development of a fully-fledged archaeo-metallurgy laboratory at YTU or Yangon University. Besides her involvement at YTU, Ni Ni Khet regularly gives seminars at the Department of Archaeology, Yangon University.
Alicia Turner is Associate Professor of Humanities and Religious Studies at York University in Toronto. She is the author of Saving Buddhism: Moral Community and the Impermanence of Colonial Religion (University of Hawaii Press, 2014) and co-Editor of The Journal of Burma Studies. She specializes in the study of Buddhism in Southeast Asia with an emphasis on the period of British colonialism in Burma/Myanmar and the intersections of religion, colonialism and nationalism. Her current projects include a collaborative biography of U Dhammaloka, an Irish sailor turned monk and anticolonial agitator at the turn of the twentieth century, a study of Buddhist networks from the margins in colonial Southeast Asia and a digital archive of Buddhist publications from this period funded by a grant by the Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council.
Alexey Kirichenko is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Asian and African Studies, Moscow State University, Russia. He received his Doctorate in History from Moscow State University in 2003 with a study of Burmese royal chronicles. In 1997-1998 and since 2004 he has been conducting field and archival work in Burma that includes both personal and collaborative projects focused on Burmese monastic Buddhism, Burmese manuscript culture (and transmission and circulation of Buddhist texts in particular), religious infrastructure and Buddhist mural sites, and royal and monastic historiography. His ongoing work at the Inya Institute includes a pilot project aimed at surveying a number of village monastery collections in Upper Myanmar. The project which started in November 2014 is sponsored by the British Library Endangered Archives Programme. Inya Institute is the archival partner for the project and the institute’s website will feature the results of the research project in the near future.
François Tainturier, is the Inya Institute’s Executive Director. He is a PhD graduate from the Art and Archaeology Department at SOAS, London, and specializes in the study and preservation of past built environments and the development of cartography and geographical thought. Using extensive field and archival work, he is the author of Building dhamma: Mandalay and the Burmese art of making cities (Royal Asiatic Society, London-NUS Press, Singapore; forthcoming). Based in Yangon since 2005 he has been living in Southeast Asia for more than 15 years. His previous experience in program development and program coordination as Deputy Director at the Center for Khmer Studies (1999-2005), a research center based in Siem Reap-Angkor (Cambodia), now serves both the institutional and programmatic development of the Institute.
The institute has started registering with local authorities in order to obtain its status as Myanmar NGO. It is registered in the US as a not-for-profit organization and is recognized as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt status charity. It is also registered in France as a non-profit organization (« Association Loi 1901 »).