The presence of the Interuniversity Institute of Ancient Near Eastern Studies in our university environment is justified by the nature of the discipline – highly specialized, complex, and of interest to a minority who have to meet the strictest requirements of linguistic training. The institute aims to introduce new study and research plans in key areas of the history of culture, which are also of great social interest today. These studies are a complement to, and a natural progression for, the study plans in Semitic philology, classical philology, ancient history, linguistics, and theoretical philosophy. As stated in the regulations and statutes of the participating universities, the Institute of the Ancient Near East is a meeting point for interdepartmental and interuniversity research. It offers a full series of courses in the field, which are too complex and specialized to be included in the standard academic programs; so alongside its research commitments, the Institute also fulfils a unique social and academic function. The Institute was officially opened by Decree of the President of the Catalan government on 24 November 1993, after completing the administrative procedures established by the University Reform Act of November 1983.