Skip to main content

Sri Lankan Studies

Cornell has been a global leader in Sri Lankan Studies since the 1960s.

Colombo City, Sri Lanka - skyline with ocean view - SAP
  • Cornell’s South Asia Program is an Institutional Member of the American Institute of Sri Lankan Studies, which supports long-term collaborations between U.S., European, and Sri Lankan scholars.
  • The international Sri Lanka Graduate Student Conference, Community, Context, Critique, was held in April 2023 at Cornell, as well as Borders: Real and Imagined, in November 2018 at Cornell, Sri Lanka: Critical Reflections on Legacies of Authority and Difference in October 2017, and Writing Sri Lanka in April 2022. SAP expects to host the conference again in 2025.
  • Depicting the Sri Lankan Vernacular is a digital collection of original photographs and drawings housed at the Cornell University Library. The materials were collected between 1965 and 2012 by Bonnie and Robert MacDougall.
  • Cornell is the only university outside Sri Lanka offering a full curriculum in Sinhala language. Cornell's Sinhala language program was established in the 1960s by Professor James Gair, in close collaboration with Professor W.S. Karunatilleke (University of Kelaniya).
  • Cornell is the global leader in publishing Sinhala language teaching materials, including instructional books, CDs, and DVDs for colloquial, written, and literary Sinhala.
  • Cornell is one of the few universities in the U.S. offering Tamil language instruction, offered via the Shared Course Initiative from Columbia University.
  • The South Asia Program offers both academic-year and summer Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships to graduate students for the study of Sinhala and Tamil languages and Sri Lanka-related courses.
  • The Cornell Tamil Studies Initiative supported graduate student study of projects related to the Tamil spheres of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka diaspora, and brought visiting scholars from Sri Lankan universities to the Cornell campus.
  • Cornell is one of the few universities in the U.S. offering Pali language instruction, as well as a world-class program in Sanskrit language.
  • Cornell undergraduates study abroad in Sri Lanka at Peradeniya University
Men and coconuts, Sea Street, Colombo
Kitulgala river scene, Sri Lanka