International Forum for Tamil Studies (IATR)

International Association of Tamil Research (IATR) is pleased to announce the 11th International Conference-Seminar on Tamil Studies (11th World Tamil Research Conference) on Jun 16-18, 2023 in Singapore.


IATR will be sponsoring its next Conference, the 11th International Conference-Seminar on Tamil Studies (“Conference”), which will be conducted in Singapore for the first time there. This 11th Conference will be held in Singapore on Jun 16-18, 2023. Like all other Conferences, this 11th Conference is sponsored by the International Association of Tamil Research (IATR) and organized by “The Millennial Tamils,” an organization registered in Singapore to promote research on the Tamil language and culture among the Tamils of Singapore. It is important to note that just like the 10th Conference, this Conference is organized by a community organization. In addition, we anticipate support from all the major Tamil organizations around the world. We will also seek and accept support from any organizations or governmental entities to conduct the Conference successfully.

About IATR

IATR was founded by late Rev. Xavier S. Thani Nayagam, the internationally known Tamil scholar in 1964 in New Delhi along with Dr. Jean Filliozat (France), Dr. Kamil V. Svelebil (Czechoslovakia), Dr. R. E. Asher (Scotland), Dr.T. Burrow and Dr. M. B. Emeneau (England), Dr. T. P. Meenakshisundaram, Dr. V.I. Subramaniam (India) and with other Tamil scholars from Europe and India who participated in the World Congress of Orientalists. IATR is a non- political and a not-for-profit organization. Its main goal is “to promote multi- disciplinary research on scientific lines in all aspects of Dravidian studies in general, and of Tamil studies in particular, and in allied fields with the active collaboration of international organizations and scholars interested in such studies.”

In 2016, the IATR organization was registered as “The World Tamil Research Association” in India to meet the legal requirements for registration in India.

Further, in July 2019, at the General Body Meeting of IATR held during the 10th Conference in Chicago, Dr. M. Ponnavaiko and Dr. E. Sundaramoorthy were elected as President and Vice-President along with other members of the Executive Committee. According to the Constitution, this Committee responsible for decisions of IATR always exists and operates from India.

IATR Conferences

Rev. Xavier S. Thani Nayagam, the former professor and the Head of the Department of Indian Studies at the University of Malaya in the 1960s, organized the first International Conference-Seminar on Tamil Studies in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1966. The second conference was held in 1968 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, under the leadership of Thiru. C.N. Annadurai, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Subsequent conferences were held in Paris (1970), Jaffna (1974), Madurai (1981), Kuala Lumpur (1987, 2015), Port Louis (1989), Thanjavur (1995), and Chicago (2019). These Conferences have been consistent with the objectives of IATR and offered a forum for Tamil scholars worldwide to discuss their research on the Tamil language, literature, and civilization. 

The 11th IATR Conference

The office-bearers of IATR and many scholars felt that the Conference should give primary importance to research without any political interference. The well-known Scientist, poet, and Tamil scholar and the former vice-President of IATR, the late Dr. V. C. Kulandaiswamy, felt very strongly about a new way of organizing the IATR conferences. The 10th Conference conducted in 2019 in Chicago was organized along those lines jointly by the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America (FeTNA) and the Chicago Tamil Sangam (CTS).

In continuation of that trend, Mr. S. Maniam of the “The Millennial Tamils” of Singapore has come forward and expressed their desire to hold a Conference in Singapore. They invited Dr. M. Ponnavaiko, President of IATR, and Dr. E. Sundaramoorthy, Vice-President of IATR, to conduct the 11th Conference in Singapore during May 26-28, 2023. Dr. Ponnvaiko and Dr. Sundaramoorthy graciously accepted the invitation and requested Mr. S.Maniam to start preparing for the Conference to be held in Singapore on Jun 16-18, 2023.