Winners of the UNESCO Silk Roads Youth Research Grant 2023

©Ali Raheem/UNESCO Youth Eyes on the Silk Roads

UNESCO Silk Roads Youth Research Grant – Reinforcing the Capacity and Contribution of Young Researchers to the Silk Roads

UNESCO is delighted to announce the awardees of the 2023 Silk Roads Youth Research Grant. The call for proposals ran from March to June 2023 and was open to postgraduate researchers aged 35 and younger working individually or within a group. In total, over 900 research proposals covering a diverse array of topics were received from all over the world. These were assessed by a Scientific Panel comprised of 10 renowned international academics and experts from various disciplines related to the study of the Silk Roads, who awarded 12 grants valued at 10,000 USD.

Organized with the support of the National Commission of the People’s Republic of China for UNESCO, the Silk Roads Youth Research Grant aims to mobilize young researchers for further study of the Silk Roads shared heritage. This initiative is part of the Silk Roads Programme’s ongoing efforts to better understand the rich history, shared legacy, and spirit of the Silk Roads. Applicants were required to submit proposals detailing research into cultural interactions and exchanges, and the concrete resulting elements, be they tangible or intangible, as identifiable in two or more cultures along the Silk Roads and beyond.

After careful consideration by the Scientific Panel, the 2023 UNESCO Silk Roads Youth Research Grant is awarded to:

(In alphabetical order)


Ms Motahareh Ala Amjadi (Iran (Islamic Republic of)

‘Parthian as a Forgotten Empire’


Mr Olivier Bordeaux (France)

‘Connecting Central Asia and Western China: roads and networks through the Karategin Valley (Tajikistan)’


Mr Michael Cavayero (United States of America)

‘Fountainhead of the Mind: The Buddhist Origins of Early Critical Painting Theory Terms in Medieval Chinese Art Along the Silk Roads’


Mr Otari Gabunia (Georgia)

‘Unveiling the Ancient Vine: Cuneiform Insights into Wine Culture and Cross-Cultural Exchange along the Silk Roads’


Mr Abdul Halim (Indonesia)

‘Investigation of Paper and Biomass Based Manuscript Characteristics in the Ancient ASEAN Literature’


Mr Ali Haji Khamis (United Republic of Tanzania), Ms Franka van Marrewijk (Netherlands (Kingdom of the)) and Ms Iga Perzyna (Norway)

‘Swahili urbanism under the influence of global trade - exploring the historic urban landscape of Zanzibar’s coastal settlements as part of the Silk Road’


Ms Nan Ni (People's Republic of China)

‘Unveiling the Silk Road's Mystical Tapestry: A Multidimensional Exploration of Magic Spells along the First Millennium CE’


Ms Farhana Afrin Rahman (Bangladesh)

‘Gendered Fields of Red Gold: Women and Saffron Along the Silk Road’


Mr Marco Robecchi (Italy) and Ms Alessia Boschis (Italy)

‘Imagining the East. Representation Strategies of “Otherness” in Illuminated Manuscripts between Europe and Armenia (13th-15th centuries)’


Ms Henaka Rallage Chiranthi Thavisha Senanayake (Sri Lanka)

‘Buddha’s Justice Along the Silk Route: A Study on The Eurasian Development of Buddhist Law’


Ms Maria Emilia Winkler (Russian Federation)

‘Documentation of Muslim Tat language in Dagestan: identity, language contact and contact-induced language changes’


Mr Takon Wittayathanarattana (Thailand)

‘Spices-Alchemy: Decoding the Chemical Composition and Gastronomic Heritage of Silk Road Spices’




UNESCO congratulates this year’s grantees and thanks all those who took the time to submit applications to the 2023 Silk Roads Youth Research Grant.  Once again, the scientific panel was extremely impressed with the quality of the proposals received, and the final decision was a difficult one.  

For updates concerning future award cycles of the grant, we invite you to regularly check the UNESCO Silk Roads Programme website



More information:


UNESCO Silk Roads Youth Grant

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