On Resolution of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Kazakh SSR from 1977, it was decided to open a branch on the basis of the Arab philology department of the Kazakh State University. This was a truly remarkable event in the educational and spiritual life of the Republic.
In Soviet times, young people wishing to study oriental languages, especially Arabic, had to go for it in universities such as Moscow, Leningrad, Tashkent and Dushanbe.
Prominent public figures headed by the Secretary of the Communist Party of the Kazakh SSR Uzbekali Zhanibekov raised the issue of the need to prepare professionals Arabists at the state level.
Specialists-Arabists worked first as a part of the Department of General Linguistics.
In 1984 the Department of Oriental Philology was opened, which became the foundation for the establishment of the current Faculty of Oriental Studies.
Tremendous support in the opening of the Department of Oriental Studies, gave KSU Rector Omirbek Arrslanovich Zholdasbekov.
History of the department is also closely linked with the name of a famous scientist-orientalist, statesman of RK, Academician of the Academy of Higher School, Professor Absattar Derbisali. Founding department and faculty, he began to climb the labor ladder, starting from the first Arabic language teacher, then head of the department, dean of the faculty to Vice-Rector for International Relations.
Professor A. Derbisali has made a major contribution to the recruitment for the department.
With his promotion many people were invited to the Faculty as first graduate of the Kazakh-Arabist Leningrad University Mazhenova M.N., as well as such the best graduates of the Kazakh State university as: G.E. Nadirova, F.H. Mamekov, T.N. Zhemkova. Also such a valuable resources of the Tashkent University were invited to KSU as G. Ramazanov and D.N. Nurtazinova. The department has presently known diplomats, ambassadors of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the Arab countries, including B.S. Tasymov, B.K. Amreyev, A.R. Berdibaev, Kairat Lama Sharif, etc.
Kairat Lama-Sharif - 1990 graduate, Ambassador of Kazakhstan in Saudi Arabia.
In 1991, the Department of Arabic and the Department of Iranian andTurkicStudies separatedfromthe Department of Oriental Philology.
Since 1997, the Department of Arabic Studies was headed by Professor G.E. Nadirova.
Professor Leninshil Ziyabekuly Rүstemov in 1991 became the founder of the Department of Iranian Studies and Turkic philology. Later, he became Dean of the Faculty of Oriental Studies combined these positions. Competent expert paid great attention to recruitment for Iranian Studies.
In 1993-94 head of the department became a graduate of Leningrad, State University doctor of historical sciences Zhappasbaeva-Tolebayeva.
To work on teaching, Department accepted own graduates of 1994, including Berkimbaeva S., A. Boranbaeva, G. Kudaibergenova, T. Musahodzhaev, B. Saugabaev. And in 1995, the list of teachers was added by Zhumadilova G., G. Zhumabekova, K. Rakhimov.
Also at the Department of Iranian Studies such specialists like Hakam, Gulzar, Islami-Torbati, Movahedinfard, Kamaladdin, Mohammadi and Isfarham worked that years.
From 1994-2008 the Department of Iranian Studies and Indology was headed by Professor Otegen Kumisbaev.
From 2008-2011 the position of the Head of Department belonged to G.T. Zhumadilova.
In 2011, there was an association of the two teams and the opening of a new department - "Arabic and Iranian Studies", the head of which became Professor G.E. Nadirova.
Since 2012 the department was headed by Associate Professor A.K. Akhmetbekova.
From 2014 the department was headed byM.B.Salkynbaev.
On February 1, 2015 in accordance with modern requirements of the process of modernization the Department of Arabic and Iranian Studies was renamed to the Department of Middle Eastern Studies.
In 2015-2016 academic year, because of joining of the Department of Indology, the Department of the Near and Middle East was renamed as the Department of the Middle East and South Asia.