The MMAJ Academy of International Studies (formerly Academy of Third World Studies) is one of the foremost Area Studies Centres in India, engaged in research and teaching on contemporary international issues and themes from interdisciplinary perspectives. The focus areas of teaching and research, which include countries and sub-regions, cover South Asia, Central Asia, West Asia, East Asia and Africa. The disciplinary focus of the Academy’s academic activities encompasses political, economic, social and cultural dimensions of global/international affairs and issues, mainly of a contemporary nature. Thrust areas include the study of political and socio-economic processes; institutional structures; political, economic and socio-cultural changes and developments from an international and comparative framework.
The Academy offers M.Phil. and Ph.D. programmes in International Studies, M.A. (Politics: International and Area Studies) and also offers language courses in Uzbek and Chinese.
The Academy’s engagements include undertaking high quality research by faculty and research scholars; teaching; organizing talks/lectures, national and international conferences/seminars/symposia/workshops; publishing and disseminating research works. The Academy also collaborates with national and foreign universities/research institutes and international agencies/institutions.
The Academy was established as the ‘Academy of Third World Studies’ in 1988, initially in Project-mode, under the initiative of the then Prime Minister, Shri. Rajiv Gandhi, to conduct inter-disciplinary research on social, political and economic issues pertaining to developing countries. In 1998 the Academy became a full-fledged area studies centre in the University after formal status was accorded by the University Grants Commission (UGC). Subsequently it was named after one of the co-founders of Jamia Millia Islamia, Maulana Mohamed Ali Jauhar. The Academy got its present name in 2011 and has acquired broader focus since then. The teaching and research at M.Phil/Ph.D level at the Academy has been continuing since the academic session 2007-08.
Within the Academy there are four UGC sanctioned programmes on Afghanistan Studies, Central Asian Studies, China Studies, and Pakistan Studies. The Academy has a faculty of 20 members. More than 100 students are presently enrolled in the research and language courses. The activities of the Academy are guided and supervised by a Committee of Studies, a Board of Management, the University ordinances and the UGC guidelines. The Academy has also undertaken several important national and international projects.
The AIS has its own library and documentation centre, named after Dr. Abid Husain, another founding member of Jamia Millia Islamia. It has more than 25,000 books and journals. A large number of books have been gifted by the Devahuti Damodar Library, the family of Nikhil Chakarvarty, H.Y. Sharda Prasad, S. Shahid Mehdi and Barun Ray.