Nur Yalman is Professor of Social Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies, emeritus, at Harvard University. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows; and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute of the UK and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations of the USA. Professor Yalman is the Chairman of the Boards of Trustees and Overseers of Koç University, and is a member of the Board of Trustees of Robert College, both of Istanbul, Turkey, and other numerous institutions including the International Relations Forum of Turkey.
For his work on Buddhism and Humanism he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate, at Soka University, Japan 1993; also, a Medal of Highest Honors, Soka University, Japan. He was a member of the special commission, “Create 21”, planning for the 21st century for Asahi Shimbun, in Tokyo. He has also served as a Special Advisor to the Prime Minister in Turkey for the establishment of the State Planning Organization in Ankara in 1960 while teaching in the then newly established Middle East Technical University. He writes occasionally for the Spanish paper La Vanguardia.
Professor Yalman was educated at Robert College in Istanbul and at Cambridge University in the UK. He has been Bye-Fellow of Peterhouse and a Fellow of Clare Hall at Cambridge University. He was Professor of Social Anthropology and Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago and Director of Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. He was a Fellow of the Center for Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He has done fieldwork in Sri Lanka, India, Iran and Turkey. He is familiar with the Balkans, the Middle East, Central and South East Asia, and Japan.
His publications include many works on Sri Lanka and India: Under the Bo Tree, “On the Purity of Women in the Castes of Ceylon and Malabar,” “The Ascetic Buddhist Monks of Ceylon”, “De Tocqueville in India: an Essay on the Caste System,” “On the Meaning of Food Offerings in Ceylon,” “The Semiotics of Kinship”, “On Modern Buddhism and the Ananda doctrine” and others.
On Islam, Secularism and Turkey: “On Secularism and Its Critics: Notes on Turkey, India and Iran”, “Further Observations on Love (and Equality)”, “Islam and Secularism – Plato and Khomeini: Questions concerning the Open Society and its Enemies”, “Islamic Reform and the Mystic Tradition in Eastern Turkey”. “The Ottomans and the West: Some Thoughts on Mutual Perceptions and Good Government: An Essay for Sir Jack Goody”,
On the dialogue of civilizations: A Passage to Peace: Global Solutions from East and West (with Daisaku Ikeda), (in Japanese as Kyono Sekai, Ashitano Bunmei, also in Chinese and Malay). Also, “Religion and Civilization“ and other papers on Religion, Politics, Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Secularism.
Nur Yalman has 5 grown children and 8 grandchildren.