The Fifteenth SAARC Summit held in Colombo in 2008 is the instrumental event that led to the establishment of the SAARC Cultural Centre (SCC) in Sri Lanka. It was at this meeting that the Heads of State directed that the Agenda for Culture be implemented in full. The SCC in Sri Lanka was established in 2010 as 11th regional SAARC Centre. The main objectives of the SCC are to promote regional unity through cultural integration and intercultural dialogue and to contribute towards preservation, conservation and protection of South Asia’s cultural heritage within the framework of the SAARC Agenda for Culture.

Since its inception, the SCC has taken up the challenges of achieving its objectives serving as a symbol of South Asian shared cultural heritage. We at the SCC believe that it is not only necessary to preserve our culture and cultural values, but it is equally important to strengthen them through our sustained and coordinated efforts. Over the years, the SCC has developed and implemented various cultural activities through the two main divisions (research and programmes) in the Member States in line with SAARC’s objectives and principles. These activities cover a wide variety of areas such as performing arts, visual/fine arts, archaeology, ancient material culture, musicology, literature, folklore and folk culture, poetry, diminishing arts and related traditions. Through these activities the SCC has been able to inspire and promote different forms of arts in the region, which has resulted in the promotion of cultural and religious tourism in the region.

The framework of the SAARC Agenda for Culture within which the SCC devises long-term strategies towards preservation, conservation and protection of South Asia’s cultural heritage has been successfully implemented and as the Director, I would like to reaffirm the SCC’s commitment in the protection of the region’s distinctive cultural traits. The SCC will continue to develop and promote cultural activities and facilities within the region through novel concepts whilst upholding the values of SAARC.


D.K.R. Ekanayake
Director, SAARC Cultural Centre, Sri Lanka