Heidelberg University > South Asia Institute > Department of Geography > 20th Conference of the International Association for Ladakh Studies

20th Conference of the International Association for Ladakh Studies (IALS)
!!! New Dates!!! 5th - 8th October 2023
Ladakh's Future: New Directions and Challenges

How to get to the venue

Public transport: Tram or Bus to Bismarkplatz
Please find a map of the Campus with the venue (Building number 4130) here:
Map of the Campus

Tentative Program of the 20th IALS Conference

Dear participants,
please find the tentative program for the 20th IALS Conference here:
Program IALS Conference 2023 (pdf)

Additional information regarding accommodation during the conference

The best option is booking via the hotels website or more convenient on booking.com. In addition, individual rooms (or flats to share with more persons) can be found on Airbnb.
Participants should book accommodation as soon as possible as there is also a public holiday in Germany on the 8th of June and hotels/hostels might be booked quite soon.
Accommodation has to be booked by the participants!

The following list is not complete and provides only a small overview of available options. Hostels are usually cheaper, but often only offer a bed in a dormitory.

Hostels: less than 50€/night
Lotte - The backpackers
Steffis Hostel

Hotels: between 50 and 100€/night:
Hemingway's hostel
Hotel Regina
GuestHouse Heidelberg
Hotel Bayrischer Hof
ibis Heidelberg Hauptbahnhof

Hotels: more than 100€/night:
Bergheim 41
Staycity ApartHotels
B&B Hotel Heidelberg


Registration for the conference is possible until 14th May 2023.
Therefore, please send an E-Mail to ials2023-hd@sai.uni-heidelberg.de.
Participation is also possible for non-paper presenters, however the conference fee also applies.
Please also specify if you are an IALS member and/or student.

Participants (South Asian): € 180
Participants (Non-South Asian): € 200
Participants (Non IALS-member): € 240
Students (South Asian): € 100
Students (Non-South Asian): € 120

Call for Papers

Call for Papers extended until 25th February!

The main theme of the conference is “Ladakh’s Future: New Directions and Challenges”.
The sub-themes for different panels shall be decided after the acceptance of abstracts.
The conference is also open to abstracts for short films on the same theme.

We invite abstracts for papers for the conference. The abstracts should be between 250 to 350 words along with a title of your paper, your affiliation and a short bio note.
The last date for submission of abstracts is 15th February, 2023. The final decision on the abstracts will be communicated by 15th April, 2023.
Please send your queries and abstracts to: ialsconference2023@gmail.com

Members of IALS will get a discount for the registration fees. For membership fee and related queries, please get in touch with Lauren Smyth, Membership Secretary, IALS at treasurer@ladakhstudies.org" Please ensure that your membership is updated and if not, you can also pay it on the spot at the conference.

The Conference Registration Fees for presenting a paper are:
Participants (South Asian): € 180
Participants (Non-South Asian): € 200
Participants (Non IALS-member): € 240
Students (South Asian): € 100
Students (Non-South Asian): € 120

Lunch, refreshments, sightseeing and conference dinner are included in the conference fee.
Furthermore, if there are members who are able to sponsor the conference fee or accommodation for young research students attending the conference, to ensure their participation of deserving candidates, please get in touch with the organizing committee (saigeo@uni-heidelberg.de) by the 15th April, 2023. This will ensure that such facilities are provided to deserving candidates well in time.

Concept note

Ladakh’s Future: New Directions and Challenges

The last few years came with a number of changes for Ladakh. The administrative setup with a Status of Union Territory in 2019 has opened new challenges and opportunities for the Trans-Himalayan region. The other major caesura was the global pandemic of COVID, which brought a number of travel restrictions, social distancing, and economic hardship for the whole world. It remains to be seen in which way these massive ruptures will influence future development paths of Ladakh. At the same time, one can expect a certain degree of continuity in the intertwined socioeconomic, environmental and cultural developments, where certain trends will persist. Examples range from the ongoing rise of tourism and its increasing impact on the region to the diverse aspects of climate induced changes, where adaptation strategies are urgently needed to secure a sustainable future for the young generation. It is obvious that successful implementation of innovative concepts and strategies need to be based on lessons learnt from the past.

The aim of the conference is to discuss these broad themes in an inclusive manner that enables to integrate presentation from different disciplinary backgrounds using different formats (such as oral presentations, poster presentations, short films).

The IALS conferences have been always organized in an alternating sequence in Ladakh (Leh or Kargil) or different places in Europe. In the IALS tradition, the forthcoming 20th conference will be held in Heidelberg. Founded in 1386, Heidelberg University is one of the oldest universities in Europe. The conference will take place at the South Asia Institute, founded in 1962 as a central interdisciplinary research institution, which also hosted the 2013 IALS conference.