The School was founded in 1916 as the School of Oriental Studies. It took its present title, SOAS University of London, in 1938. Today SOAS is the only Higher Education institution in Europe specialising in the study of Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East. SOAS offers an unparalleled range of non-European languages, all of which may be studied without prior knowledge. The school was awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2009 for the excellence, breadth and depth of its language teaching.
Wen-chin Ouyang, Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature in the Department of of the Languages and Cultures of Near and Middle East, is a Co-Investigator and the lead for Strand 5, Creativity and World Literatures: Languages in Dialogue. This project is being run under the auspices of the Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS), the hub of research projects on world literature at SOAS.