Prime Minister, Shri. Rajiv Gandhi took initiative to establish the MMAJ-Academy of International Studies in 1988. The Academy is one of the centres of Excellence in India engaged in research and teaching in contemporary international and area studies from an interdisciplinary perspectives. The focus areas of teaching and research, which include countries and sub-regions, cover South Asia, Central Asia, South-west Asia, East & South East Asia and Africa. The Academy’s engagements include undertaking high quality research by faculty and research scholars; teaching; organizing talks/lectures, national & international seminars/symposia/workshops; publishing and disseminating research works; availability to extend consultancy services; collaborating with national and foreign universities, research institutes, international agencies/institutions.
The Academy offers M.Phil and Ph.D. programmes in international studies and undertakes teaching Central Asian languages such as Uzbek and Kyrgyz at Certificate and Diploma level. The research activities focus on political, economic, social and cultural dimensions of international affairs and issues taking into account Indian perspective. Thrust areas include study of strategies of planning and socio-economic development; institutional structures and processes; political, economic & socio-cultural changes and developments from an international & comparative framework.
Initially the Academy was a Project of the University. It was conceived as an inter-disciplinary centre to conduct researches on social, political and economic issues specific to developing societies; hence named Academy of Third World Studies. The Academy, later named after Maulana Mohamed Ali ‘Jauhar’ (MMAJ), one of the co-founders of Jamia Millia, became a full-fledged centre of research within the university after the formal status was accorded by the University Grants Commission (UGC) in 1998. The Academy is located in its present building, designed by the eminent architects, Stein and Chowfla, since December 2005. The teaching and research at M.Phil/Ph.D level at the Academy has been continuing since the academic session 2006-07. The Academy got its new name in 2011 and has acquired broader focus since then.
Within the Academy there are some specific projects and programmes sanctioned by the UGC including Pakistan Studies, Central Asian Studies, China Studies and Afghanistan Studies. There is a Chair for Bangladesh Studies. The Centre for North East Studies and Sikkim Studies Programme are also housed in the Academy premises. The Academy has a faculty of 20 members and more than 100 students pursuing research and language courses. The activities of the Academy are guided and supervised by a Committee of Studies, a Board of Management, the University and the UGC.