SLSNet- Newsletter

Volume I Issue 2 January 2005

Sri Lanka Studies Network

(Networking for Academic Excellence)



Tsunamis and the Sri Lankan Studies

[ * ] Learning from 26/12
Tsunamis on 26/12 caused severe damages to Sri Lanka. Aftermath of the disaster led the nation to learn many lessons. Although the relief and rehabilitation efforts began soon, their effectiveness was greatly hampered due to lack of pre-disaster information on affected areas. Sri Lankan universities joined in the national effort in relief and reconstruction and also helped the government in assessing the damage. Two of the universities launched special centers with a vision to assist the recovery of the present crisis and to maintain and initiate databases in a needy situation in the future. This prompts the social science research community the need for studies based on a functional approach on communities and on sectors of the economy to generate information that has invaluable importance in a similar unexpected situation.
Eastern University of Sri Lanka-Information Center on Tsunami Disaster Homepage:
Ruhuna  University- Center for Relief Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Studies (CRRRS)
[ * ] Sri Lank's national efforts on Tsunami relief and rehabilitation is coordinated by the Center for National Operations (CNO)

Website Address :
[ * ] To learn the science of tsunami visit the JIT Lecture at Pittsburg University, Over 250,000 people visited the site since its creation after 26/12.

[ * ] Livelihood Connect Resources for Tsunami Crisis

Provided bythe Livelihood-Connect Team at the IDS-Sussex,  this is a compilation of lessons from previous natural disasters. This comprehensive collection of papers provide insights into relief efforts, vulnerability issues, and coping mechanisms.

Website address:

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Sri Lanka Studies Network News

[ * ] SLSNET supports Leonard Woolf Memorial International Conference

Sri Lanka Studies Network supported the Culture and Society in a Colonial Context: Leonard Woolf Memorial International Conference held at the University of Ruhuna on 18th and 19th December 2004. The event marked the Centenary of the arrival of Leonard Woolf; colonial administrator and writer to Sri Lanka. Prof. Yasmine Gooneratne, renowned post colonial writer, delivered the keynote address. The well attended conference was a venue for academic discussions ranging from literary criticism to post-modernism thought. The special session on youth risk behavior in Sri Lanka drew the interest of many participants and laid the foundation for future research. The conference was organized by the Cultural Center of the University of Ruhuna and Institute of Population Health of the Ottawa University, Canada.

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In Search of Excellence

  [ * ] Sri Lankan born women scientist appointed president of a canadian univeristy

Sri Lankan born Prof. Indira Samarasekera was nominated as the first women and the 12th president of the University of Alberta in Canada.  An esteemed academic and administrator, Dr. Samarasekera, earned her B.Sc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Ceylon and began her career as a mechanical engineer at the Refinery of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. She received her masters’ degree from the University of California and the doctorate from University of British Colombia, Canada. After working a professor in the department of metals and materials engineering and the Centre for Metallurgical Process Engineering at the University of British Colombia since 1980, Dr. Samarasekera was appointed UBC vice-president (research) in 2000. Winner of several academic awards and honors, Dr. Samarasekera is known as an engineer who also has a commitment to the humanities, social sciences and the arts.

Read the announcement by the University of Alberta Public Affairs:

[ * ] What excellence means?

Dedication and exemplary work make people to distinguish themselves in the classroom, the laboratory, their communities, the state, and around the world. Dr. Deborah Winslow, Co-cordinator of the 3rd ICSLS was recognized by the University of  New Hampshire as one of the accomplished faculty for career excellence.

 Read these pages to learn how they define excellence.

[ * ] First steps towards excellence……..Wayamba University undergraduates launch a website

Showing a promising future and recognizing the importance of the internet age, undergraduate students of the Wayamba University designed and launched a website for the Nutrition Society of the Wayamba University of Sri Lanka. Based at the Department of Applied Nutrition, the aim of the society is to promote the understanding on human nutrition.

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10th ICSLS Update

[ * ] Dates for the 10th ICSLS: 16th - 18th December 2005

The 10th Conference on Sri Lankan Studies (10th ICSLS) will be held from 16th to 18th December 2005 at the Kelaniya University, Sri Lanka. The theme “Sri Lanka after 500 Years of Western Colonization and Future Perspectives” will explore various facets of the past and the future of Sri Lanka in the global context.

The conference will be hosted by the Social Science Research Center of the University of Kelaniya. Dr. K Karunatilake is the co-ordinator of the 10th ICSLS.  Dr. Karunathilake was a member of the national advisory committee for the 9th ICSLS and is currently the Head/ Department of Sociology of the University of Kelaniya.
A graduate of the Sri Jayawardenapura University he earned his doctorate from JNU.

Deadline for abstract submission is 30th May 2005. More details are now available at the Sri Lanka Studies Network Website at:

Dr. Karunatillake is contactable through e-mail:

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Social Sciences in Sri Lanka

[ * ] Peradeniya Sociology ranked the top in IRQUE proposals

Department of Sociology at the University of Peradeniya earned the highest rank among all participating institutions at the final selection of the grant proposal competition of the IRQUE Project. Key feature of the proposal is improving the training quality of undergraduates through availing research opportunities in the ethnic communities other than their own.  It is proposed that the students from the northern and the eastern districts of Sri Lanka will work in other districts and vise versa. The process will be facilitated by providing appropriate training in languages and with co-ordinating the appropriate study locations through local organizations. Established in 1949, Sociology Department at the University of Peradeniya serves around 1000 undergraduate students.

Improving the Quality and Relevance of Undergraduate Education (IRQUE) is a capacity building initiative implemented by the University Grants Commission of Sri Lanka with the support of the World Bank.

Visit Peradeniya Sociology Website:

Visit  IRQUE Website:

[ * ] Hema Goonatillake elected as new president of SLAAS/Section-F

Dr. Hema Goonatilake was elected as the president of the social sciences section of the SLAAS for the year 2005. Dr. Goonatilake began her career as a teacher in the Vidyalankara University and served as the UN advisor to the government of Cambodia until 2004. Dr. Goonatilake is a member of the Committee on Sociology of Religion of the ISA and the Vice President of Sakyadhita International Buddhist Women’s Network. The King of Cambodia conferred Dr. Goonatilake the title “Sahamithra”. (Meaning the best friend, the highest honour conferred upon a foreign national) in recognition of her service as a promoter of research culture in Cambodia. Dr. Goonatilake’s plans for the year include capacity building of young social scientists through facilitating interactions with senior scientists.

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Conference Announcements

[ * ] International Symposium on Tsunami Science, Society and Governance

Organizer: Sparta Institute of Social Sciences
Date and Venue: March 5-6, 2005, New Delhi, India.
Major areas covered: Warnings, Disaster Reduction, Coastal Issues, Social and Psychological Issues, Children, Community, Relief and Rehabilitation and Governance.

Send abstract(200 Words)/Full papers(2000 Words)/Willingness to participate/poster concepts to Prof. D. Mukhopadhyay. E-mail: ASAP but before 28th February 2005

[ * ] The XVI ISA World Congress of Scoiology

The first ISA World Congress of Sociology in Africa
will be held in Durban South Africa from 23rd to 29th July 2006. The theme of the congress is “The Quality of Social Existence in a Globalising World”. Durban provides the international social science community with an opportunity to encounter a society in transition, in a context that is highly cognizant of the importance of social science in reconstruction and development.

Conference Website:
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Young Researchers’ Corner

[ * ]
Call for participation: ISA Junior Sociologists Price
 The international Sociological Association (ISA) announces the fourth worldwide competition for junior scholars engaged in social research. Junior Scholars are those under 35 years of age on May 1st, 2005. Participants should hold a Master's degree (or an equivalent graduate diploma) in sociology or in a related discipline. Entries should be postmarked April 1st, 2005 at the latest or reach the Milton Keynes ( the UK) Secretariat before May 1st, 2005.

Read more at:

[ * ] SLAAS Post Graduate Publications Award

Post Graduate Publications Award recognises the quality of research conducted at Sri Lankan universities for post graduate degrees. SLAAS members who present their research work at the SLAAS Annual Sessions will be elegible  for application for the competetion in the following year. Contact Hony General Secretaries for more information:

Telephone: 94-11-2688740

[ * ] Useful book from Sage-India

: Realizing Your Potential as a Social Scientist
Chris Hart, ( Independent Scholar, Researcher and Writer)
February 2005 Sage India/Vistar Imprint  ISBN: 81-7829-506-7

This book is a clear and comprehensive guide to the practicalities of researching, preparing, and writing a Masters dissertation. This text also includes materials and comments aimed at engendering higher-level scholarship based on reflection, contemplation and critical thinking.

The book can be ordered at:

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Resources for Researchers

[ * ] Call for applications: UNESCO Small Grants Program on Poverty Eradication
Deadline: 31st March 2005
The overall goal of this program is to encourage mid-career professionals and their institutions to contribute to poverty eradication strategies and national action plans that are based on a human rights framework. UNESCO aims at strengthening national capacities for research and policy analysis on poverty eradication. This program targets researchers in selected Member States in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and parts of Latin America and the Caribbean – the regions or sub-regions, according to prevailing trends, least likely to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goal on halving extreme poverty by 2015.

[ * ] GDN’s Toolkit for Proposal Writing and Fundraising
 Obtaining funding for research is a difficult achievement. Global Development Network (GDN) provides as a part of its resource base, a toolkit for proposal writing. Based on interviews with experienced research fundraisers, this toolkit provides tips and practical suggestions for applying for funding and proposal writing.
Available at:
GDN Homepage:

[ * ] UNESCO Social and Human Sciences Homepage

UNESCO’s social and human sciences is one of its five specialized Sectors, The mission of the sector is advancing knowledge, standards and intellectual cooperation in order to facilitate social transformations where the values of justice, freedom and human dignity can be fully realized. The sector is organized around five themes, ethics, human rights, philosophy, poverty eradication, prospective studies and social transformation.


[ * Sri Lankan sources of research funding
National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka Council for Agricultural Research Policy offers contract research grants for scientists based at universities and research institutes in Sri Lanka  NSF has initiated a program for post doctoral fellowships and research fellowships to support stipend for full-time reseach.
For more details visit :

NSF website:
CARP Website:

[ * ] NSF-SL Travel Grants Program
National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka s offers international travel grants to resident Sri Lankan scientists to support attending scientific meetings/ workshops/ short term training programs  Young investigator aged 35 or below pursuing full time research or research training for a higher degree and those aged 36-65 and possessing a postgraduate research degree, evidence of continuing research and good research record are elegible to apply.

More details are found at

[ * ] PDF Books from the US National Academies Press
The US National Academy of Sciences Press is a major publisher in science.  NAP publications are available in print of as PDF books. There are many thousands of PDF books in a range of subjects including History of Science and Ethics of Research. Visitors from Sri Lanka can download the PDF files free of charge.
Visit the NAP Website:

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Teaching and Learning Resources

[ * ] MIT OpenCourseWare
Open Courseware initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a free and open educational resource. Aimed at the teachers, students, and self-learners around the world, the website provides access to more than 500 courses ranging from aeronautics and anthropology to women’s studies and writing and humanistic studies. Listed courses include brain and cognitive sciences and nuclear engineering.
MIT-OCW Main page
Go to the list of available courses :

[ * ] Super Course in Epidemiology by the Pittsburg University
Offered by the Pitsburg University,  the course is designed to provide an overview on epidemiology and the Internet for medical and health related students around the world. The concept of the course is described in the British Medical Journal as the Global Health Network University. The course offers over 2000 lectures in many aspects of epidemiology including the social aspects.
Visit the course website:

[ * ] Gender Issues and Women at Work
(English version
Get Ahead for Women in Enterprise: Training Package and Resource Kit
by Susanne Bauer, Gerry Finnegan and Nelien Haspels
Bangkok: ILO, 2004

Web Version ISBN 92-2-115808-X  can be downloaded as PDF files at ,

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SLSNET Technology Corner

[ * ] Use of PDF in the internet

[ * ] What is PDF?

Portable Document Format (PDF) files look similar to the printed files when they are viewed in any computer. PDF files are more compressed and therefore save resources in transmission and storage. Its use in web publishing is increasing rapidly

[ * ] Reading PDF Files

Reading the PDF files can be done using adobe acrobat reader.  The software can be downloaded for free at  PDF files are opened within the web browser if the adobe acrobat reader is installed in the computer. Follow the link.

[ * ] Downloading PDF files

PDF files are downloadable and savable on the hard disk.  Right-click the link and then select the save target option and specify the saving location   Saved PDF files can be opened by double clicking the file icon.

[ * ] Creating PDF Files

Creating PDF files for professional work is usually done using commercially available software. However, reasonably good PDF files can be generated using free software available at :

[ * ] RS/GIS and Social Sciences

Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems (RS/GIS) application are increasingly used and have a wider potential in using in social science research. Following are a few examples on using RS/GIS in social sciences.

[ * ] Use of GIS in Historical Research

The China Historical Geographic Information System (CHGIS) project based at Harvard University aims to establish a database based on historical administrative units for different periods in Chinese history.  The project will also provide a base GIS platform for researchers to use for spatial analysis, temporal statistical modeling, and representation of selected historical units as digital maps.

Visit the CHGIS Website:

Also learn about the Great Britain Historical GIS Project of the University of Portsmouth

[ * ] Book: People and Pixels: Linking Remote Sensing and Social Science

This volume examines the possibilities for using remote sensing technology to improve understanding of social processes and human-environment interactions. Examples include deforestation and re-growth in Brazil, population-environment interactions in Thailand, ancient and modern rural development in Guatemala, and urbanization in the United States, as well as early warnings of famine and disease outbreaks. The book also provides information on current sources of remotely sensed data and metadata and discusses what is involved in establishing effective collaborative efforts between scientists working with remote sensing technology and those working on social and environmental issues.

The book can be downloaded at:

[ * ] Geo-informatics Society of Sri Lanka

GISSL is the professional body to promote academic and research activities based on GIS.


Or Contact them via,

Geo-Informatics Society of Sri Lanka,
Department of Agricultural Engineering,
Faculty of Agriculture,
University of Peradeniya

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Organizational Profile

[ * ] University of Peradeniya

The University of Peradeniya (UPSL) is the heir to the oldest university tradition in Sri Lanka as the successor to the University of Ceylon (Founded on July 1, 1942).  The mission of the UPSL is to promote excellence in higher education and research and to contribute towards national development of Sri Lanka. The university consists of seven academic faculties, and two postgraduate institutes is the home for over 6000 undergraduate and over 1000 postgraduate students.  UPSL library Network has over 700,000 items and is a national depository center for all books published in Sri Lanka.

University of Peradeniya Homepage:

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New Books on Sri Lankan Studies

[ * ] Kandy at War: Indigenous Military Resistance to European Expansion in Sri Lanka: 1594-1818
Author: Channa Wickremesekera
ISBN: 955-8095-52-4
Publisher: Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2004
The book explores how the Kingdom of Kandy presents one of the finest examples of effective military resistance to European expansion.

[ * ]  Sons of the Rebel

Author:  C. Gaston Perera
ISBN: 955-8095-77-X
Publisher: Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2004
The book Set in 17th century Ceylon against the backdrop of the relentless onslaughts of the Portuguese on the Kandyan Kingdom.

[ * ]  Economy, Culture, and Civil War in Sri Lanka

Editors: Deborah Winslow and Michael D. Woost
Contributors: Francesca Bremner, Michele Ruth Gamburd, Newton Gunasinghe, Siri T. Hettige, Caitrin Lynch, John M. Richardson, Jr., Amita Shastri, Deborah Winslow, and Michael D. Woost.
Publisher :Indiana University Press, 2004
An interdisciplinary examination of the relationship between the economy, broadly defined, and the reproduction of violent conflict, this volume argues that the war is grounded not just in the goals and intentions of the opposing sides, but also in the everyday orientations, experiences, and material practices of all Sri Lankan people.
[ * ] Peace in Sri Lanka : Obstacles and Opportunities
World Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka (WAPS) Oslo Conference Proceedings
Editors: Rohan Gunaratne, Paul Harris
Contributors: Rohan Gunaratne, Paul Harris, Susantha Goonatilake, H.L.D. Mahindapala, Harendra De Silva, Shantha Hennayake, Neville S. Ladduwahetty, F. Rovik, Asoka Bandarage, Mahinda Weerasinghe
ISBN: 955-1165-004
Publisher: World Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka, 2005
Available at Vijitha Yapa Online Bookstore
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SLSNET Newsletter is a quarterly publication of the Sri Lanka Studies Network.

( c) Sri Lanka Studies Network Secretariat
Department of Sociology,
University of Ruhuna,
Matara – 81000
Sri Lanka

[ * ] Contribute to the SLSNet Newsletter

Please send contributions for the next issue by 15th March 2005.
Comments on the contents of this newsletter and suggestions for further improvements are welcome. 

Compilation and editing of this newsletter was done with best possible care to present readers updated and relevant information. Responsibilities on the content of the indicated websites remain with respective website managers. 

[Production Credits]
SLSNret Newletter compiled by : Dushmanthi Silva/ Sri Lanka Studies Network Secretariat

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