Saturday, 2 November 2013

The Institute For Cultural Research and The Idries Shah Foundation

Many of you will know that the London-based The Institute For Cultural Research (ICR), founded by the writer, thinker and Sufi mystical teacher Idries Shah, has now suspended its activities.

A new organization, The Idries Shah Foundation, has now taken its place, and the foundation's publishing arm, ISF Publishing supersedes Octagon Press.

ICR, New Year 2012/2013:

Here is a copy of a statement sent out to members and friends of the ICR around New Year 2012/2013:

Dear Members and Friends of ICR,

As most of you know, ICR is working towards changing into The Idries Shah Foundation in the near future.

Since it transpires that charities law grinds exceedingly slowly, we will continue to operate as usual until the new Foundation is set up.

Three lectures are being planned for the spring of 2013, and will be held at King's College between the end of February to the middle of May.

The ICR AGM will take place a little later than usual next year, in order to maximise the chances of the new foundation being operational by the time we meet.

At the last AGM, Saira Shah set out the reasons for the change:

“Idries Shah's work is entering a critical period: it is becoming forgotten. It is getting hard to maintain/create interest in it among the general population.

“In the West, the type of interest that exists is unsuitable: already people are taking selections of his work and offering ‘teachings’ from it. Because his work has not yet entered the canon, where it is remembered in total, there is now a danger that only misrepresentative selections will survive – and that his legacy will therefore be lost.

“In the East the situation is possibly even more bleak. The original stream from which Shah drew his material is drying up. Islam is becoming more and more extreme and it is being forgotten, even by Muslims, that there is a centuries' old tradition within Islam that teaches people how to think for themselves, to use humour and commonsense, to ignore externals and, through developing their inner selves, to realize their full human potential.

“At the same time, ICR's membership is ageing and its remit and structure does not allow it to put its energies directly into addressing these problems.”

The Idries Shah Foundation will utilise the internet, translate Shah's books into many languages and make them freely available. Through the website anyone who expresses an interest will be given an opportunity to engage with this work. It is hoped that providing a website for people with an interest in Shah's work to visit will discourage freelance institutions and ‘teachers’.

As soon as there is something to report, you will be notified. Until then, we hope you will attend the lectures in the spring and will continue to keep in touch.

Happy New Year to all.

ICR's AGM, June 2013:

And this is Saira Shah's statement about the Idries Shah foundation to the ICR AGM on 8 June 2013:

“Just before he died, while he was ICR's director of studies, my father, Idries Shah, amassed a vast amount of material about human ideas and ways of thought. This material, provisionally entitled 'the Myth of Man/the Mind of Man' was intended to become the basis for monographs to be published by ICR and a template for ICR activities. He was unable to finish this project. However, after his death. Cultural Research Services, which acts as the executive of ICR, used this material to find speakers for lectures and workshops and to commission monographs.

“We have come to an end of this material. Unfortunately, ICR's audiences have also become fewer at this time. In addition, a number of people have sprung up, purporting to be successors of Idries Shah, or offering 'teachings' based on his work.

“I wish to make it clear that Idries Shah did not nominate a successor. He wished his works, and those of other Sufi thinkers, to be freely available to everybody.

“It is for this reason that The Idries Shah Foundation has been set up as an educational and cultural charity. It will seek to maximize its charitable activity via its online work - in particular it will translate books by contemporary and classical Sufi writers into as many languages as possible and will make them freely available on the internet. In the future it may also hold events for interested members of the public. It will also give regular updates about its work to Friends of the foundation.

“The website is now up and running and can be reached by typing in Anyone can sign up to receive notices of events or news items. As a beginning, ten of Shah's books are now available to download on this website and very soon all of his books and many books by other Sufi authors will be available in English to download without charge. We have contacted influential people in Middle Eastern and Asian countries to support this work and have received a good response.

“It is our hope that everyone who has supported ICR will be able to support The Idries Shah Foundation. A form will go out to all members and friends asking them to change their subscription from ICR to The Idries Shah Foundation.”

Present date:

There is now a statement on The Institute For Cultural Research (ICR) official web site, which reads:

“As of summer 2013, the Institute has suspended its activities following the formation of a new charity, The Idries Shah Foundation.” Monographs can still be downloaded from the ICR site but are no longer available for purchase.

See also:


Useful links:


Thanks to friends for providing these updates.

• By Etienne de L'Amour ~ Google+

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