The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) is pleased to announce the 2023 awardees of The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhist Studies. The program offers fellowships and grants that expand the understanding and interpretation of Buddhist thought in scholarship and society, as well as strengthens international networks of Buddhist studies.

This year’s fellows and grantees include one institution and 20 scholars located in ten countries across Asia, Europe, and North America. Their projects showcase a rich diversity of languages, historical periods, and locations of research, reflecting the wide variety of Buddhist traditions around the world.

  • One New Professorship will be established at the University of Utah. Seed funding over four years will create the university’s first tenure-track professorship in Buddhist studies in the College of Humanities. This grant follows the program’s previous new professorships at universities in Thailand, France, Hungary, Mexico, and the United States.
  • Ten Dissertation Fellows at universities in Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, and the United States have been awarded up to $30,000 each for dissertation fieldwork, archival research, and writing. The fellows’ research focuses on topics such as Buddhist icons in premodern Japan, representations of children in medieval Chinese sources, and the relationship between the Tibetan diaspora and museums with Tibetan collections.
  • Five Early Career Research Fellows at institutions in Canada, France, Germany, India, and the United States will receive up to $70,000 each to advance promising research and writing projects on topics including the resurgence of Buddhist influence in Bhutanese society during the COVID-19 pandemic and how Buddhist practitioners reshaped theater in early modern China.
  • Five Translation Grants of up to $50,000 have been awarded to individuals to support translation of works crucial to the study of Buddhism and its wider appreciation into English, Nepali, and Newari. Grantees in Germany, Hungary, Nepal, and the United States will translate texts including A Ripple in the Sea of Zen by Zen master Imakita Kosen and traditional Carya songs performed by Newar priests.

“The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhist Studies plays a vital role in supporting scholars and institutions advancing understanding of this rich and complex religious tradition and its influence on culture and society,” said ACLS President Joy Connolly. “ACLS is proud to recognize these outstanding scholars at various stages in their careers. We’re thrilled that the University of Utah has chosen to foster a new professorship in Buddhist Studies, advancing knowledge of this tradition across the Utah community of students, scholars, and the public.”

In 2021, ACLS was awarded a $6.3 million grant extension by The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Global to continue the Program in Buddhist Studies, and increase and diversify applicant pools to better reflect the communities of scholars of Buddhism worldwide. The grant also established the new Buddhism Public Scholars initiative, which will announce its next cohort of fellows in summer 2023.