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The Evolution of International Relations Scholarship and its Praxis in Sri Lanka: A Review of Historical Evidence

Authors:

Nayani Melegoda ,

University of Colombo, LK
About Nayani
Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies
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Sandunika Hasangani

Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute, LK
About Sandunika
Research Fellow
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Abstract

101 years have passed since the birth of the academic discipline of International Relations (IR) at the University College Wales, Aberystwyth in 1919. After approximately 60 years, the discipline was introduced to the academic realms of Sri Lanka, by appointing Dr. Shelton U. Kodikara as the first professor in IR at the University of Colombo. However, Sri Lanka’s praxis of international relations dates back to the pre-colonial times. Arguably, as much historical evidence attests, the praxis of international relations during the early-independence period was materialized in a void of academic expertise. Given this backdrop, the present study reviews the prevailing literature (including primary and secondary historical evidence) on the inception and growth of International Relations as a specific academic discipline of its own identity in Sri Lanka. Below, the authors briefly examine the historical praxis of IR in Sri Lanka, establishment of the discipline in the public university system, including the establishment of the Department of International Relations at the University of Colombo. The status of teaching IR at local universities and the future directions of the discipline receive special attention for the above discussion. The growth of national think tanks focusing on different aspects of the discipline is understood as a positive sign. In addition, the authors also focus on the constructive role played by Ministry of Foreign Relations underpinning the discipline. The study concludes with several suggestions to bridge the gap between the academia and the practitioners of international relations of Sri Lanka.
How to Cite: Melegoda, N., & Hasangani, S. (2020). The Evolution of International Relations Scholarship and its Praxis in Sri Lanka: A Review of Historical Evidence. Colombo Journal of Multi-disciplinary Research, 5(1-2), 97–119. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cjmr.v5i1-2.56
Published on 28 Dec 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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