The University of Michigan has just announced the establishment of a Thai Professorship in Theravada Buddhism, apparently the world’s first such position. The professorship is being funded by a $2 million gift from Thai alumni of the university as well as Thailand’s Crown Property Bureau. From the article:
The holder of this chair at U-M will teach courses and conduct research to advance knowledge of Thai Buddhism. The research will be shared with scholars of Buddhism in Thailand and around the globe, enriching knowledge and understanding of an ancient religion whose teachings continue to inspire the modern world.
The gift was made possible through the initiative and generosity of Amnuay Viravan, the former deputy prime minister, finance minister and foreign minister of Thailand, with matching support provided by the Crown Property Bureau of the Ministry of Finance of Thailand.