The functions of the International Association for Ladakh Studies are to provide contacts between all who are interested in the study of Ladakh, and to disseminate information about proposed and completed research and publications. To do this the IALS organises conferences (usually every other year), arranges publication of the proceedings, and publishes a biannual newsletter, "Ladakh Studies". This includes information about conferences, planned and current studies, requests for specific information and help, short reports, publications and general information about Ladakh. The close integration of resources, culture and religion in Ladakh demands a holistic approach, and members of the IALS are concerned with a wide variety of topics. Membership is open to all who are interested in Ladakh.


Under the initiative of Henry Osmaston, the International Association for Ladakh Studies (IALS) was formed, with an international committee of distinguished scholars, in the wake of the third Colloquium at Herrnhut, near Dresden in east Germany, the headquarters of the Moravian church whose representatives founded the discipline of Ladakh Studies in the late 19th century. Henry served first as Honorary Secretary and then – from 1997 until his death – as President of the Association. His life is commemorated online at henryosmaston.co.uk, the site contains tributes, obituaries and a set of pictures. These include two iconic photographs from his time in Ladakh and – even more revealingly – a picture of Henry in his study in the English lake district, surrounded by papers piled several feet deep. The website will be of interest to friends who knew Henry in the IALS, not least because of what it tells about his many other activities as a forester, farmer and university lecturer.

As Honorary Secretary, Henry ran the Association virtually single-handed (helped only by Francesca Merritt who handled membership & subscription matters) till 1997, when he accepted the position of President, and the running of the Association devolved onto a small Executive Committee consisting of John Bray (Hon. Secretary), Francesca Merritt (Hon. Treasurer & Membership Secretary) and Martijn van Beek (Hon. Editor). After Henry's death in 2006, elections to the above posts, as well as the Presidency, were held under an interim constitution at the 13th Colloquium at Rome in 2007.

The
IALS Constitution was ratified at the Leh Conference in 2009, and the present Executive & Advisory Committees are the first to be elected under this new Constitution and forthcoming committee members will be elected as detailed in the Constitution.

Interns: The IALS is frequently approached by individuals seeking internships. We are a small organisation without a permanent secretariat and we therefore regret that we are not able to employ interns. Anyone interested in voluntary work in Ladakh may consult the Links section of this website, which contains links to 'NGOs working in Ladakh'. Some of the organizations listed there do accept volunteers.