Peter Cowe to head Center for World Languages
UCLA Professor Peter Cowe. (Photo:UCLA.)

Peter Cowe to head Center for World Languages

Professor Cowe is the third director of UCLA's Center for World Languages, following in the footsteps of renowned linguists Olga Kagan and Russell Campbell.

UCLA International Institute, December 18, 2018Peter Cowe, Narekatsi Professor of Armenian Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, has been named director of the Center for World Languages (CWL), effective December 1, 2018.

Professor Cowe’s research interests include medieval Armenian history, modern Armenian nationalism, and Armenian film and theater. The author of five books in the field and the editor of four others, he is currently preparing a study on the earliest extant Armenian play from the seventeenth century. He is known for research that spans the over two millennia of Armenian culture. Cowe teaches courses in the Armenian language (modern and classical), as well as in Armenian drama, literature and poetry.

The new CWL director is only the second holder of the Narekatsi Professorship, UCLA's oldest endowed chair, to which he was appointed in 2000. Speaking of the long history of Armenian culture at the time, he said, “Here you have a vibrant contemporary culture that can be traced back to about 500 B.C. With the exception of the Greeks and Jews, that's really unique in Western culture. So it's fascinating to get as broad an overview of this development as possible."

A regular contributor to Armenian studies journals, Cowe has served as co-editor of the Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies and has received a grant from the National Council on Eurasian and East European Research to investigate the post-Soviet publishing industry in the Republic of Armenia. He has also taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, University of Chicago and Columbia University. A native of Scotland, Cowe speaks fluent Armenian (both the eastern and western dialects), as well as French, German and Greek.

The UCLA International Institute welcomes Professor Cowe in his leadership role at the Center for World Languages, where he will succeed Olga Kagan of the Department and Slavic, East European and Eurasian Languages and Cultures. Kagan was a dear friend and colleague of the Institute who led CWL for many years until her untimely passing in April 2018.