SOAS University of London

Gregory Bilotto

SOAS has a long tradition of training future academics, linguists and leaders for the fields of Oriental, African and Middle Eastern cultures. The specialization, particularly in the areas of art, archaeology and language connected to these cultures is in my opinion almost unchallenged in the academic world

I elected to attend SOAS while I was living and studying in Cairo, Egypt. At that time, I was an MA student working towards my degree in Islamic architecture. It was also at this time that I became deeply interested in the Fatimid dynasty and especially their decorative arts. I read many books, continued my research and visited the few remaining vestiges of their culture remaining in Cairo.

It became clear to me that two scholars were leading in the field of Fatimid decorative arts and archaeological material, Drs Géza Fehérvári and Anna Contadini. These two professors were located at SOAS and after reading much of their work I realized that the history of art and archaeology program was the right choice. Unfortunately, Professor Fehérvári had since retired and passed away, but the chance to study in the program where he once had taught and to now be under the instruction of Professor Contadini was a tremendous opportunity.

SOAS has a long tradition of training future academics, linguists and leaders for the fields of Oriental, African and Middle Eastern cultures. The specialization, particularly in the areas of art, archaeology and language connected to these cultures is in my opinion almost unchallenged in the academic world. One last factor influencing my decision to attend SOAS was its location in London, providing a close proximity to the rich heritage of libraries, museums, societies and other technical institutions that facilitate specialized research.