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Louvre Museum to Create Elahé Mir-Djalali Omidyar Fund to Underwrite New Program
Visitors crowd and take pictures of Leonardo da Vinci's painting La Gioconda (Mona Lisa), at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. EPA/HORACIO VILLALOBOS.

NEW YORK, NY.- American Friends of the Louvre announced that it has received a $3 million grant through the generosity of Pierre Omidyar, a member of Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute’s Board of Directors and the founder and Chairman of eBay Inc. The grant will be used to create an endowment fund that will support educational and scholarly programs on Persian art and culture. The fund will be named after founder, Chair and President of Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute, Dr. Elahé Mir-Djalali Omidyar.

Income from the Elahé Mir-Djalali Omidyar Fund will support educational programs dedicated to Persian art and culture from antiquity to today, presented at or in collaboration with the Louvre, including special exhibitions, installations, conferences, and publications. The Louvre will also draw upon the Fund to create “Elahé Mir-Djalali Omidyar Fellowships” for outstanding scholars engaged in research and publications on Persian art and culture. An agreement was signed between Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute and American Friends of the Louvre, a U.S.-based not-for-profit which serves to strengthen ties between the Louvre and its American public.

Dr. Elahé Mir-Djalali Omidyar noted: “Working with the Louvre on Persian art and cultural programs is a unique and wonderful opportunity. I am grateful to be able to share the beauty of Persian culture with the public through special exhibitions, conferences, publications, and other initiatives. The Louvre’s new Islamic wing, which is currently under construction, will include a significant representation of Persian art. I am delighted about this collaboration at such an important time in the history of the museum.”

Henri Loyrette, President-Director of the Louvre, said: “I am so pleased by this exceptional gift in support of the museum’s Endowment Fund. Thanks to the generosity and commitment of Elahé Mir-Djalali Omidyar, the Louvre’s Departments of Near Eastern Antiquities and Islamic Art will be able to carry out long term projects on their collections of Persian art.”

Dr. Elahé Mir-Djalali Omidyar has devoted much of her professional career to the advancement and preservation of Persian culture and inter-cultural communication. She has held various positions at leading educational institutions in the U.S. and in France, authored and co-authored numerous scholarly works, produced extensive teaching materials and is often a speaker on Persian culture and linguistics at international conferences.

Founded by Dr. Elahé Mir-Djalali Omidyar in 2000, Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is a leader in education and research on Persian art and culture. Under Dr. Elahé Mir-Djalali Omidyar’s stewardship, the Institute has made numerous major grants to establish and/or strengthen Persian studies programs at several prominent universities, awarded fellowships and scholarships to outstanding scholars and students in Persian studies, and has supported major programs relating to Persian arts and culture by museums and arts centers in the United States, Europe and elsewhere.

Mr. Omidyar’s gift to American Friends of the Louvre is a reflection of his sincere admiration for France, where he was born, and the Louvre; and of his deep respect for his mother’s lifelong dedication to intercultural communication. Dr. Elahé Mir-Djalali Omidyar’s ties to France also go back a long way. She earned a B.A. from the Ecole Nationale des Langues Orientales Vivantes in Paris, an M.A. from the Sorbonne and a Ph.D. with Distinction in linguistics from the Sorbonne, in addition to an M.S. from Georgetown University. Dr. Mir-Djalali Omidyar spends several months each year at her home in Paris.

To recognize the generosity of Pierre Omidyar in support of Dr. Elahé Mir-Djalali Omidyar’s work at Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute, the Louvre will name a gallery in her honor in the Department of Near Eastern Antiquities. Dr. Mir-Djalali Omidyar declared herself “exceedingly honored and humbled” by the gallery naming.

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