The Institute of Asian and African Countries at Lomonosov Moscow State University was founded in 1956 as the Institute of Oriental Languages and was renamed to the Institute of Asian and African Countries in 1972. It is the leading Russian Centre for Oriental Studies. It employs more than 250 members including 28 professors and 70 assistant professors. Many of them are well known as authors of fundamental studies, text-books and dictionaries for their translations of Japanese, Chinese, Sanskrit, Arabic, Hindi, Persian, Malay, Swahili and other Oriental and African texts of fiction. Nowadays a lot of Asian and African languages are taught in the Institute: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Mongolian, Arabic, Sinhalese, Turkish, Hebrew, Urdu, Sanskrit and Swahili, Hausa, Amharic, Afrikaans, Fula and Zulu.
The graduates of the Institute get a diploma in "Oriental and African Studies" with a specialization in philology, political science, history and economics.
The staff of the Institute has worked out the syllabus and text books on History of Asian and African countries and on Oriental Literature as well as special books on languages, history, ethnology, geography and economics of the certain regions. More than 40 oriental and West-European languages are being taught at the Institute. Directors:
- Smirnov N.A. (1956–1958)
- Kovalev A. A. (1958–1975)
- Akhramovich R. T. (1975–1989)
- Meliksetov A. V. (1989–1994)
- Meier M. S. (1994–2012)
- Abylgaziev I.I. (2013-)
- Institute of Asian and African Studies