Center for Development Studies


The Marga Institute was set up in 1972 as an independent non-profit development research & training centre with an activist arm that engages with civil society organisations in public debate and discourse.

Our work programme consists of following areas

• Development Research
• Education & Training
• Publications
• Civil Society Forum Discussions


The Institute has defined its research framework and research priorities through a continuous and sustained process in which it draws on the intellectual capital it has gained and the research networks it has established over the long period of its existence.

The principal activity of the Marga Institute has been the study and critical evaluation of past and on-going development processes in Sri Lanka. It approaches and analyses development as a process and as a condition in which economic growth, social equity, political freedom and participation are integrally linked and must reinforce one another. Its programme of research, therefore, covers three main areas of development-economic, social and political. Consequently, it draws on a wide range of social science disciplines and brings a multi-disciplinary approach to its work.

Since its inception, the Institute has been recognized as the need to consider national issues in the wider context of regional concerns and global changes. As a result, over the years, Marga has established strong links with like-minded individuals and institutions both in the Asian region and at the international level.

During the last 48 years, The Marga Institute has gained wide acceptance and recognition, both locally as well as internationally. Today, it is recognized and known as one of the premier Centres for Development Studies in Sri Lanka. It has contributed positively to the formulation of development policy, both at the national and global level. The Institute has carried out over 1500 research studies during the last 48 years.

Marga Institute has completed approximately 1500 studies covering the following fields:


  • Development
  • Children/ Youth/Women
  • Population/ Migration
  • Education/ Health/Housing/ Social Policy
  • Human Rights
  • Ethnic Studies
  • Agriculture
  • Regional Cooperation
  • Poverty
  • Employment


Marga Institute, utilizing its unique experience over three decades in the field of Development Studies is pleased to offer courses through its Education and Training Programme.

  • Certificate Course in Statistics in Research with a guide to SPSS and
  • Research Methodology


The Civil Society Forum is organized as one of the main activities of the Institute to deal with social, economic, and political issues of national importance. Its main objective is to explore and examine the policy alternatives to enable Sri Lanka to realize its full potential for human development. Work in this area will lead to the publication of Journals and other annual publications.

Over the years the Institute has organized a number of seminars on public issues. The institute has also sponsored institutions and come up with initiatives to involve civil society in the resolution of ethnic conflict.

One of the key initiatives that were taken in the formation of citizens committees is the establishment and sponsorship of Peoples’ Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) which addresses the issue of political violence.


Marga Publications include the research work of the Institute, the Marga journal and the Translation Program. These could be purchased from the Marga Publication Division or at leading bookstores in and around the City of Colombo.

Marga Publications include the research work of the Institute, the Marga journal, and the Translation Programme. These could be purchased from the Marga bookshop (Publication Division) or at leading bookstores in and around the City of Colombo.

Translation programme

The translation programme which led to Marga publications was complementary to the main focus of the Institute’s work. It met a felt need in the field of higher learning in Sri Lanka.

The programme was preceded by a survey of the Sinhala reading public which helped to identify the gaps particularly in the field of social sciences. The objective was to translate approximately 100 books into the Sinhala language and by so doing provide the Sinhala educated intelligentsia with a substantial body of writing in the social sciences. These writings were selected from the works of eminent experts and thinkers in the relevant disciplines and represented different schools of thought. The authors included Myrdal, Baur, Sweezey, Baran, Wriggins, Rostow, Prebisch, Heilbroner, Kindleberger, Worsely, Almond and Coleman among many others. The programme also included a few well-known modern creative works such as Camus’s “Plague”, Silone’s “Fontemara”, Solzhenitsyn’s “One day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich”, Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, Lederer’s “The Ugly American”. A few of the Marga publications have been translated into Tamil.

The Institute’s objective has been to provide reading material in both Sinhala and Tamil, in keeping with its vision of a multi-ethnic society.

marga srilanka logo

The Marga Institute was set up in 1972 as independent non-profit development research & training center with an activist arm that engages with civil society organizations in public debate and discourse.

Web Solution by Nimantha Dias


# 941/1, Jayanthi Mawatha, Kotte Road,
Ethul Kotte, SriLanka.

+94 (11) 2888790 / 91