The International Society for Epic Studies (ISES) hasbeen established by the participants of the "2012 International Summit on Epic Studies: Toward Diversity, Creativity and Sustainability," which took place in November17 to 18, 2012 in Beijing, P. R. of China. The Organizing Committee of the Summit decided to initiate a regular forum for international epic studies and to bring together researchers from interdisciplinary fields in order to discuss key issues on the forefront of epic studies throughout the world. The participants of the Summit recognized that epic poetry is one of the most important genres of verbal art and paid attention to the urgent necessity for international cooperation individually and organizationally for safeguarding of traditions of the global epic heritage.

The participants came to the consensus to establish the Society, and nominated Chao Gejin (Institute of Ethnic Literature, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences) as the first President. The Vice-Presidents represent Russia (Dmitry Funk, Russian Academy of Sciences), USA (Gregory Nagy, Harvard University), Germany (Karl Reichl, Bonn University) and Finland (Lauri Harvilahti, Finnish Literature Society).

The Society has an Advisory Board consisting of 12 members from different continents: Mehri Bagheri (Iran), Mark Bender (USA), Ademola Omobewaji Dasylva (Nigeria), Ana Diaz Alvarez (Mexico), David Elmer (USA), Getie Gelaye (Ethiopia), James Hegarty (UK), Yin Hubin (China , Adil Jumatuerdi (China), Leonard Charles Muellner (USA), Azat Yeghiazaryan (Armenia), John Zemke (USA).

The purpose of the ISES is to promote scholarly work world-wide on epics and epic poetry of various kinds, such as the coordinationor organization of workshops, seminars, conferences, exhibitions, performances, fieldwork, and other activities.

Membership of the ISES is open to all individuals, institutesand non-governmental organizations that are involvedin activities related to epics and epic poetry, such as archiving, researching, revitalizing, performing, and transmitting the world's epic heritage.

(by Lauri Harvilahti)