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Head of the Research Area

Dr Sci. Prof. Efim A. RezvanDr Sci. Prof. Efim A. Rezvan

Specialist in Arabic and Islamic Studies, founder of a new research area, the Qur’anic ethnography, Head of the International Center for Islamic Studies of the MAE RAS, co-founder and director of the Saint Petersburg Museum of Islamic Culture, Editor-in-Chief of “Manuscripta Orientalia, International Journal for Oriental MSS Research”, author of over 300 scholarly works, including 15 monographs and a series of exhibition catalogues, published in Russian, English, Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Uzbek, Finnish, Persian, Ukrainian, Tatar, and other languages. He is trainer/expert of the UNESCO/ICOM project Running a Museum: 21st Century.


Efim Rezvan comes from a family with military traditions. In 1980 he graduated from the Department of Arabic Philology, Faculty of Oriental Languages, LeningradStateUniversity, with honours. In 1983 he completed a post-graduate course at Leningrad Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies, USSR Academy of Sciences. His teachers are Piotr Gryaznevich and Sergio Noja Noseda (Italy). In 1984, at the Leningrad Branch of the Institute of Ethnography, USSR Academy of Sciences, Efim Rezvan defended his Candidate Dissertation, titled Ethnosocial Terminology of the Qur’an as a Source on the History and Ethnography of Arabia at the Turn of the 6th and 7th Centuries. Seven years later he defended his Doctoral Dissertation, titled The Qur’an as a Historical Source and a Literary Monument. In 1989 he received a post-doctoral fellowship at Institut d’Etudes Arabes et Islamiques, Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III). In 1984—2000 he worked at Leningrad Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies, USSR Academy of Sciences, holding positions from Senior Assistant to Deputy Director for Science. Efim Rezvan was Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Manuscripta Orientalia journal (1995—2000); and, since 2000, he holds the position of Editor-in Chief.

In between 2000 – 2019 he was Deputy Director for Research, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), RussianAcademy of Sciences. Efim Rezvan was invited by the eminent Italian Islamologist Prof. Sergio Noja Noseda (1931–2008) to become member of the Editorial Committee of the International Research and Publishing project titled Early Qur’ans. The Era of the Prophet, the Right Guided Caliphs and the Umayyades (Noseda Foundation, Italy), devoted to the study and publication of most ancient and important Qur’anic manuscripts. Rezvan is the initiator and one of the authors of the system of automatic recognition of the Arabic script, most popular in the Arab East today (Al-Qari Al-Ali, now — Sakhr Automatic Reader). He is the founder and Chairman of the Editorial Board of Kunstkamera — Archives and Manuscripta Orientalia Electronic book series; Editor-in-chief of Culture and Ideology of the Muslim East series; member of scientific societies, editorial boards of several scientific periodicals, a number of Russian and foreign scientific journals; convener of several international scientific congresses held in St. Petersburg; author of numerous? articles for Russian and foreign academic encyclopedias.

Since 2006, Efim Rezvan is Titular Professor of UNESCO Chair in Comparative Studies of Spiritual Traditions, their Specific Cultures and Interreligious Dialogue, Russian Scientific Research Institute for Cultural and Natural Heritage named after D. Likhachev. He lectured at the Faculties of Philosophy and Oriental Studies, Saint Petersburg State University; Smolny College, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Saint Petersburg State University; Stanford University Moscow Centre; at the Saint Petersburg School of Arts and Humanities of Higher School of Economics, at Kazan Federal University; M. Auezov South Kazakhstan State University; Union College of London, Qatar. He delivered public lectures in Kuwait, Indonesia, Oman, Great Britain, and Qatar.

Prof. Rezvan has an extensive field research experience. He conducted fieldwork in Yemen (1989, 2007), Uzbekistan (2001, 2004, 2005), Vietnam (2005), India (2002, 2005), Sri Lanka and Maldives (2009), PRC and Hong Kong (2005), PRC (2008), Egypt (2006, 2007), Ethiopia (2008, 2009, 2010), Tanzania and Zanzibar (2010), Indonesia (Sumatra, 2013), Kazakhstan (2010, 2011, 2012, 2015), Oman (2016), and Jordan (2017, 2019). He is the author and curator of several exhibition projects that were displayed in many cities of Russia as well as in Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands, Greece, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia, the USA, Finland, France, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, and Estonia. A series of documentaries created within the frames of the Ijma‘ = Concord project were shown on Rusiya Alyaum (Russia Today) TV Channel. During various scientific and cultural events Prof. Rezvan’s documentaries were presented in Great Britain, Greece, Egypt, Indonesia, Italy, PRC, Finland, and France.


Islamic studies; History and ethnography of the peoples of the Near and Middle East; History and ethnography of the peoples of Central Asia; Visual anthropology; Ethnic museology; Historiography, Source studies and Methodology of Ethnography; Qur’anic studies; diversity of Islamic world.


Prof. Rezvan is the author of a series of publications in Islamic and Qur’anic studies, based mainly on the study of manuscript and archival collections (including discovery, attribution, scientific description and publication of one of the oldest and most important Qur’anic manuscripts – the so-called Qur’an of ‘Uthman, that was worshiped by the Muslims of Central Asia as the first original manuscript of the Holy text for nearly five hundred years). Author of a series of monographs devoted to Russian-Arab relations, based on Russian archival sources; and a series of works about the diversity of Islamic world, based on the materials of his extensive field research. Presently, Prof. Rezvan is working on a new translation of the Qur’an.


Efim Rezvan received Soka University Honorary Award (Tokyo, 1998), the Prize of the Committee of Asian Muslims for participating in the project titled Islam on the territory of the former Russian Empire (Tashkent, 1998); he is the winner of the National Book of the Year Award (Federal Agency for publications and mass communications of Russia and the Association of publishers of Russia) (2001); recipient of the UNESCO diploma for the best edition making a significant contribution to the culture of peace and nonviolence and the dialogue among civilizations (2001); the winner of the National Book of the Year Award of the Islamic Republic of Iran (2002), the winner of the Russian National Book of the Year Award in Humanitas nomination (2005), the winner of the Second International Contest of the CIS countries The Art of Book in the Dialogue of Cultures nomination (2005); recipient of the UNESCO diploma for the best edition making a significant contribution to the dialogue of cultures (2005); winner of the Exhibition of Qur’ans in Tehran (2005).