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Summer term 2021

Due to the acutal health situation, the institute remains closed until further notice. All courses of the summer term 2021 will be conducted online via zoom. Questions regarding the courses are to be send via mail to the respective lecturers. Generel questions will be answered by Sven Wortmann (swortman[at] For further information concerning the situation at Cologne University please visit:




Support for the institute by "Europe Tamilargal"

Inspired by “Tamil Chair Inc.” (USA), the European initiative “Europe Tamilargal” was founded to help support the Cologne Institute, which is threatened with closure in 2022. This shows once again how the international Tamil diaspora strives for academic research and teaching of their language and culture.




Prof. Ulrike Niklas receives the “K. Veeramani Award for Social Justice”


At this year’s conference on Humanism and Self-Respect, organized by the American Humanist Association and Periyar International on October 21st-22nd in Silver Spring, MD, USA, Prof. Ulrike Niklas was given the “K. Veeramani Award for Social Justice” for her life work.

The “K. Veeramani Award for Social Justice” has been instituted by the nonresident Indian (NRI) followers of Periyar E. V. Ramasami, the great social reformer of India, to honor his disciple Dr. K. Veeramani, the President of Dravidar Khazagam. This award is instituted in Dr. K. Veeramani's name to recognize his contributions in creating a mass awareness in India on social equality and respect for human dignity, and the battles he has been waging against oppressions that denies the human dignity and equality. This international award is awarded every year to an individual who has or an institution that has contributed immensely to the cause of social justice. The award recognizes a single event or a lifetime contribution that is responsible for the emancipation of a section of the society from the oppressions of social injustice.

Among the former awardees are Hon. V.P. Singh, former Prime Minister of India, Hon. Chadrajit Yadav, former Union Minister, India, Hon. B.S.A. Swamy, former Judge, Andra High Court, Hyderabad, as well as Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi, former Chief Minister, Tamilnadu, India.



Visit by the Indian Ambassador

On the 11th of July, the Honorable Indian Ambassador Mrs. Mukta Dutta Tomar and the First Secretary Mr. Rajesh Gawande visited the institute SASOA. After a guide through the building and the library, they talked with Prof. Ulrike Niklas, Dr. Claudia Weber and Sven Wortmann about the institute's history and the current situation.



10th International Conference on Tamil Studies, Chicago

From July 4th- July 7th 2019, Prof. Ulrike Niklas participated at the 10th International Conference on Tamil Studies, organised by the International Association of Tamil Research (IATR), the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America (FeTNA) and Chicago Tamil Sangam (CTS).


Endowment of a research assistant post by “Tamil Chair Inc.“

The US American association “Tamil Chair Inc.” grants a generous endowment to SASOA Institute of Cologne University. The endowment is meant to finance a three year full assistant post for the research project “Tamil as Foreign Language (TaFL)”. The project, starting in June 2019, aims at the development and teaching of a modern Tamil-curriculum according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL) and represents a milestone in the history of language teaching within South Asian Studies.

The endowment was realised through the cooperation of “Tamil Chair Inc.”, represented by Dr. V. Janakiramam, Dr. S. Ilangovan and Dr. S. Sambandam (Tamil Chair Inc.) with Cologne University, represented by Vice Dean Prof. Michael Schröder und Prof. Ulrike Niklas.


Prof. Dr. Ulrike Niklas recieves Tamil Grammar Award


Every year, the government of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the Tamil Sangam Madurai grant awards for accomplishments in the field of Tamil language and Tamil studies. This year, Prof. Dr. Ulrike Niklas from Cologne University's institute of South Asian and Southeast Asian Studies (SASOA) recieved the Tamil Grammar Award (Tamil Ilakka Viruntu), by the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.


"Periyar Self-Respect Movement"-Conference at Cologne University


From July 27th-29th 2017, the first International Conference on Periyar Self-Respect Movement, organised by the Institute of South-Asian and Southeast-Asian Studies of Cologne University and Periyar International, was held at Cologne University. About 100 participants from India, the USA, Germany, France and the UK presented and discussed papers about social justice, rationalism and gender equality in South Asia. Also, the first German edition of E.V. Ramasamy Periyar’s book “God and Man” (transl. by Dr. Claudia Weber) as well as Periyar’s short biography (transl. by Sven Wortmann) were presented to the public. The conference received considerable attention in Indian newspapers as well as in social media.

Konferenz über das Periyar Self-Respect Movement an der UzK

Vom 27.-29. Juli 2017 fand die erste internationale Konferenz über das Periyar Self-Respect Movementan der UzK statt, organsiert vom Institut für Südasien- und Südostasien-Studien der UzK und Periyar International. Über hundert Teilnehmende aus Indien, den USA, Deutschland, Frankreich und England hielten Vortäge und diskutierten über Themen wie Soziale Gerechtigkeit, Rationalismus und Gender in Südasien. In diesem Rahmen wurden die ersten deutschen Übersetzungen des Buches "God and Man" von E.V. Ramasamy "Periyar" (übersetzt von Dr. Claudia Weber) und eine Kurzbiographie über E.V. Ramasamy Periyar (übersetzt von Sven Wortmann) vorgestellt. Die Konferenz erhielt beträchtliches Medienecho in indischen Zeitungen und Social Media.

Participation at the State Conference of Dravidar Kazhakam


In March 2016, Prof. Dr. Ulrike Niklas and Sven Wortmann attended the Dravidar Kazhakam State Conference on "Eradication of Caste-Untouchability" in Trichy, Tamil Nadu. As a distinguished guest, Prof. Niklas was given the first copy of a book, published on that occasion. Sven Wortmann was honoured with a shawl by Dr. K. Veeramani. Both held a short welcome address.


Official Inauguration of SASOA KURAL CENTRE at Cologne University, Germany


As Prof. Ulrike Niklas announced in the Thirukkural International Conference (7.-9.1.2016) at Alakappa University, Karaikkudi, Tamil Nadu (India), a Thirukkural study centre will be opened on Pongal Day 2016 at the Institute of Southasian and Southeast-Asian-Studies (SASOA) of Cologne University, Germany. The centre will carry the name SASOA KURAL CENTRE. It will be dedicated to the academic study and promotion of Thirukkural and it will be open to all students of SASOA, and to everbody interested. Regular classes will be cunducted once in a fortnight. It is planned to invite international experts on Thirukkural for special one-week-courses once a year.