Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian
Founded 1956
Founder Calouste Gulbenkian
Type Private foundation
Focus arts, charity, education, and science
Area served

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (Portuguese: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian), or Gulbenkian Foundation, is a Portuguese private foundation of public utility whose statutory aims are in the fields of arts, charity, education, and science. Created by a clause in the will of Calouste Gulbenkian, a Portugal-based petrol magnate of Armenian origin,[1] the foundation's statutes were approved in 1956.


Gulbenkian Park of the Gulbenkian Foundation and Museum

The head office is located in Lisbon. The premises opened in 1969, consisting of the head office and the museum, and were designed by Ruy Athouguia, Pedro Cid, and Alberto Pessoa. In addition to the areas occupied by the foundation's management and various departments there is an auditorium, an exhibition space, a congress area with auditoriums and other rooms as well as a large building that houses the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum and the art library. The entire complex is set in Gulbenkian Park, which was designed by Ribeiro Telles. In 1983, the Modern Art Centre, consisting of a museum and an education centre, was opened at one end of the park. The Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (a science institute) is situated inside a multi-building complex in Oeiras (outskirts of Lisbon), near the palace of the Marquis of Pombal. The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation also has a delegation in the United Kingdom (UK Branch) and a centre in Paris (the Calouste Gulbenkian Cultural Centre). The Gulbenkian Orchestra is one of the major orchestras in Portugal. The foundation publishes books on a range of topics, including arts and educational policy.

Partex, a Portuguese oil extraction company, is fully owned by the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian. It is a member of the Network of European Foundations for Innovative Cooperation (NEF).[2] The mission statement[3] of the UK Branch desires to change perceptions, build relationships, reduce social exclusion and preserve the environment and innovative partnerships.

Gulbenkian commission

The Gulbenkian Commission sought to address inadequacies in the organization of the social science disciplines that developed in the nineteenth century by indicating a direction for social scientific inquiry for the next 50 years. It was founded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. It held three meetings in 1994 and 1995.


Its members included Immanuel Wallerstein (chair), Calestous Juma, Evelyn Fox Keller, Jürgen Kocka, Dominique Lecourt, Valentin Y. Mudimbe, Kinhide Mushakoji, Ilya Prigogine, Peter J. Taylor, Michel-Rolph Trouillot. Six of them were drawn from the social sciences, two from the natural sciences and two from the humanities. The commission sought to produce a book length work that would identify new directions for the organization of knowledge in the next fifty years. The report was published in 1996 by Stanford University as the book, Open the Social Sciences by Immanuel Wallerstein. To foster international debate, the report has been published in numerous languages including English, French, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Czech, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Romanian, Serbocroat, Turkish, and Japanese.


The ideas in the report have stimulated debate around the world. For example, in the Indian Magazine Frontline, Sundar Sarukkai discussed its conclusions and applicability to the Indian context, which he criticizes for being cliquish and unprofessional.[4] In 2006 Michael Burawoy, at Berkeley, offered a highly critical perspective: "We hear nothing about how and where this new knowledge will be produced. Nor do we hear for whom this knowledge will be produced, nor for what ends. Instead we have an abstract and totalizing utopia that reflects the concerns of Western academics, perched high up in the ivory tower, seemingly unaware that the fortress beneath them – supporting them -- was under siege".[5] This comment was made in spite of the fact that the commission itself included academics from the Caribbean, Africa, and East Asia, as well as Europe and North America. Richard Lee suggests concrete ways that the Commission's goal of breaking down barriers between the disciplines of the social sciences might be achieved.

See also


  1. Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation: The Founder, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
  2. "Network of European Foundations (NEF)" (PDF). Network of European Foundations (NEF). Oct 25, 2007. p. 5. Retrieved April 4, 2014.
  3. Strategy Leaflet (PDF), Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation UK Branch, 2009
  4. Sarukkai, Sundar (2001). "The Gulbenkian Prognosis", Frontline, 18(22). Retrieved from
  5. Burawoy, Michael (2001). "Open the Social Sciences: To whom and for what?", Portuguese Journal of Social Science, 6(3). Retrieved from
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Coordinates: 38°44′14″N 9°9′15″W / 38.73722°N 9.15417°W / 38.73722; -9.15417

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