Discovery of First Kurdish PhD Published in Poland Announced

26 10 2018

We congratulate our colleagues from kurdishstudies.pl and the Section of Kurdish Studies in the Department of Iranian Studies in the Institute of Oriental Studies of Jagiellonian University who announced the discovery of the first PhD written on Kurdish subject by a Kurd, Abdullah Jalal Fatah and defended at the Institute of Sociology of Warsaw University in 1978. The thesis was written in Polish language under the guidance of prof. Józef Chałasiński. It’s title was Problemy rozwoju i upowszechniania kultury kurdyjskiej w Iraku (Developement and dissemination of Kurdish culture in Iraq). At the beginning Fatah studied at Łódź University and then he moved to Warszawa. For the access to the thesis and information about Abdullah J. Fatah we are vary grateful to Karwan Fatah-Black and Ali Ghafur. This discovery means that the first thesis on Kurdish subject written at Polish institution belongs to the Kurd and not the Polish researcher Leszek Dzięgiel, whose thesis was, however, the first published academic work.

Abdullah Jalal Fatah was born in Slêmanî (Sulaymaniyah) in February 1936. He was the first Kurd in Poland to write a PhD on Kurdish culture, which he defended in the department of sociology of Warszaw University in 1978. The thesis was written in Polish language and it’s title was: Problemy rozwoju i rozpowszechniania kultury kurdyjskiej w Iraku(Developement and dissemination of Kurdish culture in Iraq). At the same time it can be considered the first PhD on the Kurdish subject defended in Poland which we discovered only now, after many years. Therefore we are very happy to share this information and include Abdullah Jalal Fatah into our list of researchers and academics.

Abdullah was trained as an engineer and initially worked at the Dokan Dam in the Little Zab river in Kurdistan. During the 1960s the political situation in Iraq inclined him to move to Europe: first to Germany and later to Poland. In Poland he studied sociology, was active in the student movement, and worked with the leading Polish sociologists Józef Chałasiński and Antonina Kłoskowska on his PhD.

After obtaining his PhD degree he lectured at the university of Algiers, and subsequently moved to the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden, before he returned to Iraq where he took a position at the Salahaddin University of Erbil/Hêwler. For personal reasons and increasing pressure from the university leadership to join the Ba’ath Party he soon realized that he had to leave Iraq and return to Europe. Suffering from chronic conditions, however, his health deteriorated during his stay in an Iranian refugee camp and he passed away in Teheran in April 1985.

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