Author Archives: corff

65th Meeting Astana, 2023: Report

Dear Reader,

the 65th Annual Meeting of the PIAC was held in Astana from July 30 to August 4, 2023. Held for the second time in Kazakhstan (the first time being the 36th Annual Meeting held in Almaty in 1993), It was a very successful meeting with many young participants.

The report of the Meeting is now online.

Oliver Corff
Secretary General
August 15, 2023

In Memoriam János Hóvári (1955 — 2023)

Ambassador János Hóvári in spring 2022

With shock and utter disbelief we had to learn of Ambassador János Hóvári’s untimely and totally unforeseeable death within a few days after the end of the 65th Annual Meeting of the PIAC in Astana, 2023.

János was a remarkable and outstanding person who excelled both as a scholar and a diplomat. Having graduated from Eötvös Loránd University with a diploma in Turkish history in 1979, he worked as a research associate at the Institute of History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and at the same time he was a university lecturer at the Institute of History at the Teacher Training Faculty of Janus Pannonius University until 1992 when he entered the diplomatic service of Hungary. His first assignment was in the Department of Central Asia and Transcaucasia at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  In 1997, he obtained a PhD in history from the University of Pécs. Since 2008, he held several posts as ambassador in Israel, Kuwait, Bahrain and Turkey. In his last position, he was the Executive Director of Hungary’s Representation Office of the Organization of Turkic States.

While János never formally was a participant of a PIAC meeting, he nonetheless closely followed PIAC affairs; his support was essential for organizing two PIAC meetings. Since it was impossible to hold the 64th PIAC Meeting 2022 in Moscow,  as originally announced, he opened doors in Hungary at the Institute of Oriental Languages and Cultures, Faculty of Humanities of Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary and at the Organization of Turkic States. He also recommended his long-time friend Uli Schamiloglu (they had known each other for half of their lives) and Nazarbayev University, Astana (Kazakhstan) as a possible host for the 65th Annual Meeting of the PIAC, a recommendation to prove auspicious as we just held a wonderful meeting in Astana a week ago at the time of this writing. All words of gratitude for his contributions to the PIAC are too late, and thus their only place is here.

János is remembered as a sharp-minded, yet soft-spoken, gentle, and generous human being; his friends find no words for his sudden departure.

Oliver Corff
Secretary General
August 9, 2023


Previous Meetings: 43rd Meeting Lanaken, 2000 — Programme and List of Participants

Dear Reader,

Materials of the 43rd Meeting of the Permanent International Altaistic Conference (PIAC), held in Lanaken in 2000, are available now: list of participants and programme.

The programme reflects, to a certain degree, the actual sequence of communications which occasionally deviates from the printed material.

Oliver Corff, August 6, 2023.

Previous Meetings: 45th Meeting Budapest, 2002

Dear Reader,

the 45th Annual Meeting of the Permanent International Altaistic Conference (PIAC) was held in Budapest, Hungary, in June 2002 and was hosted by the Research Group for Altaic Studies,
Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

The programme of this meeting is now available. In the preface of the proceedings volume, Alice Sárközi mentions a total 88 of participants, so this was definitely one of the larger PIAC meetings, yet not everybody who registered for the meeting and submitted an abstract seems to have participated. The programme reproduced here attempts to reflect this situation.

Oliver Corff
Secretary General
April 22nd, 2023.

Previous Meetings: 05th Meeting Bloomington, 1962: Report

Dear Reader,

more than 60 years ago, the 05th Annual Meeting of the Permanent International Altaistic Conference (PIAC) was held at Indiana University, Bloomington, in 1962. In the young history of the PIAC, this meeting was a breakthrough in many aspects. The first meeting to be held in the U.S.A., the first meeting of several to follow to be hosted by Indiana University, the meeting with the most international background of participants so far, the meeting to inaugurate the Indiana University Prize for Altaic Studies (colloquially known as PIAC Medal) and, according to historical records, the first meeting where speaking time had to be managed tightly in order to not run out of time.

The meeting received a high degree of international attention; reviews of the Proceedings published by Denis Sinor were written by no less than seven scholars.

It was also the first meeting that brought Western and Japanese Altaic studies together. So far, only  one Japanese scholar, Jirō Ikegami, had participated in the 4th Meeting 1961 in Cambridge, UK, despite the Secretary General’s repeated attempts to invite more Japanese scholars.

Denis Sinor had expressed the need for more insight into the state-of-affairs of Altaic Studies in Japan in an invitation letter to Shirō Hattori who, together with Shichirō Murayama, finally accepted Denis Sinor’s generous invitation (air fare included!) to participate in the 05th Meeting in Bloomington in June 1962.

In the foreword of the said Proceedings volume Denis Sinor writes: “Particularly regrettable is the absence of Professor Hattori’s very detailed report on the Japanese contribution to Altaic Studies”, the inclusion of which in the proceedings had been the original plan in 1962.

Fortunately, Shirō Hattori contributed an exensive report on his participation at the 5th Meeting of the PIAC to the Japanese journal Minzokugaku kenkyū in the same year. That report is not only a chronological account of presentations given at the meeting; much more it is a deep reflection on the very nature of PIAC meetings, and, at least in a summarized form, an overview of important Japanese contributions to Altaic studies, which, according to Hattori, should and could not ignore Korean studies.

Besides the detailed and preciousy vivid renderings of linguistic debates which took place during that meeting, Hattori’s report also reflects many of the key points of Denis Sinor’s report on the 05th meeting with regard to the international sharing of research results, the need of abstract and translation services, etc.

As a scholar, Shirō Hattori found himself haunted by the consequences of World War II and the post-war situation, and his reflections to this effect unfortunately hold as much truth now as they did then.

Oliver Corff
Secretary General
April 19, 2023



Reports of Annual Meetings

Dear Reader,

the Permanent International Altaistic Conference (PIAC) looks back over more than 60 years of near-continuous meetings since 1958 (due to Covid-19, the year 2020 was the only year without a PIAC Meeting). During this time, numerous scholars, many of them faithful PIAC members over many years, have contributed reports which were then published in scholarly journals.

The importance of these reports cannot be underestimated; not only do they reflect the importance the authors attached to the field of Altaic studies and the PIAC Meetings, but also these reports often  contain detailed lists of participants, presentations and keywords of discussions. The information contained in these reports thus complements the information contained in Meeting materials like programmes, lists of participants, etc., and serves as a means to confirm these materials.

The Reports of Annual Meetings can be found here.

Oliver Corff
Secretary General
April 09, 2023

Previous Meetings: 36th Meeting Almaty, 1993

Dear Reader,

the 36th Annual Meeting of the Permanent International Altaistic Conference (PIAC) was held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in June 1993 and was hosted by the Centre of Oriental Studies of National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The programme of this meeting is now available, with the following structure: The first half of the programme lists the general daily schedule in English, while the second half of the programme lists all communications, however in Russian. The total is 87 contributions, so this was definitely one of the larger PIAC meetings.

Oliver Corff
Secretary General
April 4th, 2023.

65th Annual Meeting, Astana 2023

Dear Reader,

after exactly 30 years, the members of the Permanent International Altaistic Conference (PIAC) will gather again in Kazakhstan for the 65th Annual Meeting of the PIAC which will be held in Astana from July 30 to August 04, 2023.

The organizing committee of the 65th Annual Meeting is busy with the preparations, and as soon as information is available, it will be made available here.

Looking forward to meeting you in Astana,

Oliver Corff
Secretary General.

Previous Meetings: 48th Meeting Moscow, 2005

Dear Reader,

in 2005, the 48th Meeting of the Permanent International Altaistic Conference (PIAC) was held near Moscow, the first time to take place in Russia proper. Before that, one meeting of the PIAC had been held in the USSR, it was the 29th Meeting which took place in Tashkent in 1986.

The list of participants and the programme of the 48th Meeting are available now.

Oliver Corff, March 23, 2023.