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 the successful implementation of innovative concepts and strategies needs to be based on lessons learnt from the past.

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

The IALS conferences have always been organized in an alternating sequence in Ladakh (Leh or Kargil) or different places in Europe. Following this IALS tradition, the forthcoming 20th conference will be held in Heidelberg, Germany. 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.