Established in 1982 the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) is one of the country’s leading research centres, focusing on ethnicity, identity politics, conflict and conflict resolution, post-war reconstruction, democracy and governance, human rights, development and gender. 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.
ICES engages in academic research, advocacy on key policy matters and endeavours to create a critical mass of people who believe in cultural pluralism and tolerance. For three decades, ICES has strived to evolve a model of historically sensitive theoretical and empirical research, publications and debate on key socio-political issues in the global South. ICES has been particularly influential in shaping policy and public imagination on issues of ethnic diversity and constitutional reform in Sri Lanka. ICES provides a vibrant and dynamic intellectual environment for academic and policy dialogues, discussions, seminars, publications and socially-engaged literature, art and cinema.
ICES is governed by a board of directors consisting of eminent scholars and practitioners. The Board of the Centre formulates the broad policy of ICES that is executed by a multi-ethnic core staff headed by an Executive Director. ICES has two offices in Colombo and Kandy; each with its own academic personality, special concerns and emphases, while sharing the same vision and collaborating closely in pursuit of a common mission and goal.
In addition to its research staff, ICES benefits from a wide global network of eminent researchers, practitioners, frequent international research fellows and interns who contribute to research projects and to shaping the Centre’s work. ICES has a culture of working collaboratively and conducts its projects with partners in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America drawn from academic institutions, policy institutes, women’s organisations, and community based groups among others.
The ICES libraries in Colombo and Kandy are among 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 receives funding from a range of bilateral and multilateral donors and foundations including the Ford Foundation, CIDA, IDRC, FES, Diakonia and NORAD.