About ICES

The International Centre for Ethnic Studies is a renowned international research centre located in Sri Lanka.

It was established in 1982 with the support of the Ford Foundation by a team of Sri Lankan and International scholars. It is amongst the select few institutions that are both “local” to the global South and “international” in orientation. The mission of ICES is to deepen the understanding of ethnicity, identity politics and conflict, and to foster conditions for an inclusive, just and peaceful society nationally, regionally and globally, through research, publication, dialogue, creative expression and knowledge transfer.

Through the years ICES has pursued historically sensitive theoretical and empirical research on identity, inequality and conflict in relation to ethnicity, gender, and politics. ICES has been particularly influential in shaping policy and public imagination on issues of ethnic diversity and constitutional reforms in Sri Lanka. Over 25 years ICES has influenced regional and even global discourse and institutions through research, dialogue and publications. ICES has always believed in strong South- South networks and works collaboratively across Asia and Africa. ICES was in “special category” consultative status with the United Nations ECOSOC. It has also partnered with leading international research institutions across Europe and North America, such as Institute of Development studies, UK, University Institute for Development Studies, Switzerland, Harvard University, USA and McGill University, Canada. ICES was chosen to house the office of the former UN Special Rapporteur for Violence Against Women. ICES has two locations, equipped with modern research and conference facilities and situated in close proximity to Sri Lanka’s most important Universities. The ICES library is one of the most sought after academic resource centres in Sri Lanka, housing a range of publications on ethnicity, culture, identity, religion, women’s studies, politics, law, and history. ICES is supported by eminent scholars in Sri Lanka as well as distinguished international academics. It is, probably, Sri Lanka’s most vibrant and dynamic intellectual space for research, discussions, seminars, film screenings and publications.