SAARC Film Festival 2016

The SAARC Film Festival held in Colombo, has over the last four years gained momentum for promoting some of the best films from the SAARC Region. The SAARC Cultural Centre, in keeping with its mandate of promoting culture in the region through different modes of art, will once again showcase films from the region as cultural expressions at its forthcoming SAARC Film Festival.  The SAARC Film Festival is different from the rest, in that SAARC Member States nominate some of their best films that showcase the culture of the SAARC countries, in the form of film.  A reputed panel of adjudicators select the best films, and awards are given as incentive to continue producing good films for the region.

The SAARC Film festival in Colombo, marks an event unique to the region, where through the medium of cinema, the festival has become a forum of people to people interaction, as well as the understanding and savoring of culture through the medium of cinema, where the films from the different SAARC Countries, are not merely a tool of entertainment, but rather one of cultural awareness as well as something that would convey an inherent message indigenous to a particular member country of SAARC and to a particular region of the world. The Festival has over the years grown, and this year in 2016, the Festival hopes to expand, with workshops and parallel events that would further enhance South Asian Cinema. The Film Festival will give all member states an opportunity to screen some of the best films from the region.

Cinema is a form of art, and today with easy accessibility of advanced digital knowledge this medium of cinema has become very powerful. The SAARC Region has produced some films with a standard of excellence. In 2016, the SAARC Film Festival will focus on feature and short films first screened AFTER May 2014, from all Member States, inviting directors of these movies for workshops as well as recognizing the best movie- feature film/Short Film screened within the stipulated time frame.

The festival will take place in Colombo, Sri Lanka over a period of 6 days from the 1st – 6th of June 2016.  The Festival will also include a workshop with well-known film directors.

SAARC Literary Festival on South Asian Poetry (2-5 July 2015, BANGALORE)



Known as home to many of the world’s best epics, stories and poems, South Asia is a region with a unique literary tradition. The region shares a common literary tradition that has developed over the years – scattered times and spaces. Ranging from oral histories to epic poems, the South Asian poetry tradition offers a rich and pulsating experience of the unique South Asianess. It can be argued that much of the best poetry that has ever been composed still remains unwritten and un-baptized, yet what did got written and passed down from one generation to another in the annals of the histories of South Asia, presents some of the poignant pieces of literary creations.

Poetry unlike the edifices erected by the people of yesteryears continues to change in texture and shape as it draws from the changing experiences of a region’s folks. It embodies vast vocabularies of emotions, cultures, articulations and nuances. South Asian poetry, indeed, is no exception. Like many of its regional and global counterparts it too is unique. It is unique to the extent that it is born out of a specific culture and, therefore, portrays traits distinctive to it. This, however, does not deny the transcending potential of poetry that appeal to the human element in every individual’s heart, irrespective of their spatial and cultural diversity.

The delight and influence of South Asian poetry as a catalyst that brings together diverse cultures within the region reflects a cultural confluence unsurpassed by any other region of the world. This rich and vibrant mingling needs to be appreciated and celebrated by giving due recognition to indigenous cultures and styles represented by such poetry so as to celebrate unity in diversity and to preserve splendid South Asian expressions that are a fundamental part of the region’s cultural ethos.

The SAARC Literary Festival which began in 2013 is slowly and steadily gaining its momentum as the literary catalyst within SAARC giving the Member States to share their literary creations, debate, analyze, and discuss the state and accomplishments of the literature of South Asia. In keeping with the SAARC Agenda for Culture which envisages that diversity in culture as reflected in varied cultural expressions needs to be acknowledged, the SAARC Cultural Centre will organize a 4-day Literary Festival on South Asian Poetry in India. The Festival will be an open forum for poets and poetry critics to discuss, debate, and analyze poetry in South Asia and to indulge in exploring its unique cultural tapestry.



As part of the approved programmes for the year 2015, the SAARC Cultural Centre will organize a 3-day Literary Festival on South Asian Poetry in India (Bangalore) on. This Festival will provide a platform to the poets, writers, literary critics, publishers and literary enthusiasts in the region to share their thoughts, insights, voice their concerns and learn from the experts of South Asian Poetry. It will also hold poetry reading sessions. It is hoped that with a mix of formal and informal interactive sessions, the Festival will promote and critically discuss the poetic traits of South Asia.


The Festival seeks to discuss and analyse the following thematic areas:

  • The South Asian Poem: Historical Developments
  • Cultural Pluralism as depicted in South Asian Poems
  • Shared Characteristics of South Asian Poetry (including contexts, themes, metaphors, allegories and expressions)
  • Colonial and Post-colonial South Asian Poetry: From Agitation to Celebration
  • South Asian Poetry in the Information Age


The Festival would have presentations, book reviews, lectures, discussions and poetry reading sessions.


The Festival will be held in Bangalore, India for 4 days from 2-5 July 2015.



The SAARC Cultural Centre invites all the Member States to send a minimum of Five and maximum of Ten Poets and literary critics as Official Nominees with the exception of India to nominate a maximum of 15.


Every person accompanying the official nominees of the SAARC Member States should pay a registration fee of US $ 300/- towards his/ her boarding and lodging during the Literary Festival. All such accompanying persons will be accommodated with the respective Official Nominee on full board/ twin-sharing basis.


In addition to the Official Nominees, the SAARC Cultural Centre will consider the participation requests made by self-funded nominees from the recognized literary organizations from the SAARC region. However, to facilitate their stay during the Literary Festival, the SAARC Cultural Centre would assist them in securing accommodation in guest houses/ hostels at economic/ subsided rates.

The SAARC Cultural Centre, however, reserves the right to accept or reject any request for participation in the Festival.


All nominations should include:

  • Full Name and affiliation (if any) of the Person with a detailed CV, and
  • An Abstract (c. 300 words) of the proposed paper/ presentation.

One of the Official Nominees is required to make a country presentation for 30 minutes on the current situation of Poetry in their respective country. Official nominations have to be sent via the Ministry of concerned, through the Foreign/ External Affairs Ministry to SAARC Secretariat. An advance copy of the nomination may be forwarded to the SAARC Cultural Centre. Email-


The last date for sending in the nominations is 30 May 2015


The language for the Festival would be English.


The SAARC Cultural Centre would provide local hospitality (hotel accommodation on full-board basis) and local transport to all nominees of the SAARC Member States.

The airfare of the nominees of the SAARC Member States is to be borne by the respective Member State.


SAARC Photographic Competition and Exhibition 2015

(Theme: World Heritage Sites in the SAARC Region)

flyer medium
  • Background
  • Dates and Venue
  • Guidelines for submitting Photographs
  • Terms and Conditions
  • Deadline for Submission

SAARC Film Festival May 26th – 31st 2015, Colombo, Sri Lanka –An Unique Experience in Cultural Diversity

–An Unique Experience in Cultural Diversity


  • Background
  • Call for Films
  • Open Category
  • Dates and Venue
  • Call for Film Directors and other film artists
  • Other Technical Requirements
  • Deadline for nominations

SAARC Regional Seminar on Cultural Dynamics in National Harmony (CDNH) in South Asia (15-16 May 2015, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka)


  • Background
  • Research Programme
  • SAARC Regional Seminar on ‘Cultural Dynamics in National Harmony (CDNH) in South Asia’
  • Participation at the Regional Seminar
  • Resources
  • Registration Form
  • Abstracts for Paper Presentations

SAARC Regional Seminar on Cultural Dynamics in National Harmony (CDNH) in South Asia Concludes Successfully


SAARC Cultural Centre is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the SAARC Regional Seminar on Cultural Dynamics in National Harmony (CDNH) in South Asia. The Seminar was held from 15-16 May 2015 at the Senate Room, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. It was attended by over 50 participants, from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Sri Lanka.
The Seminar was convened with a view to provide a platform to the academics and experts on the subject to discuss key issues, moot research questions and to identify themes and subthemes of Cultural Dynamics in National Harmony in South Asia that will merit independent and in-depth research.
Inaugural Session
The Welcome Address was delivered by Mr. G. L. W. Samarasinghe, Director, SAARC Cultural Centre while Prof. Shantha K. Hennayake, Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka delivered the Keynote Speech.
Academic Sessions
A total of twenty two research papers were presented in eight academic sessions spread over two days (15-16 May 2015). The sessions were along the following themes:
Introductory Session (1 Session),
Role of Literature and Arts in Creating a Culture of Peace (1 Session),
Role of Popular Culture in Promoting Regional Harmony (Mass Media/ Sports/ Films/ Music etc.) (1 Session),
Culture & Identity (1 Session),
Education and Peace-building (1 Session),
Culture & Identity (Case Studies) (1 Session),
Cultural Approaches to Conflict Management (1 Session) and
Culture, Development & National Harmony (1 Session)
The Plenary Session
At the conclusion of the Academic Sessions, a Plenary Session was held on 16 May 2015 as a closed-door event with the participation of all Chairpersons of the Academic Sessions. It was chaired by Mr. G.L.W. Samarasinghe, Director, SAARC Cultural Centre. The objectives of the Plenary Session were to consider all suggestions submitted by the participants in Feedback forms, finalize the Research themes/ topics for the purpose of inviting research proposals under the SAARC Research Programme on Cultural Dynamics in National Harmony (CDNH) in South Asia (2015-16), and to review the Form/ Guidelines for the submission of the research proposals.  The Plenary Committee perused all the Feedback forms received from the participants of the Seminar and various themes suggested therein were discussed in detail.
Valedictory Session
The Valedictory Session of the Seminar was held at the Senate Room, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Mr. G.L.W. Samarasinghe, Director, SAARC Cultural Centre and Prof. Shantha K. Hennayake, Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Peradeniya distributed certificates and mementos to all participants, paper presenters and delegates of the Seminar. Ms. Apsara Karunaratne, Research Assistant, SAARC Cultural Centre proposed the Vote of Thanks.
Post-Seminar Tour
A full day post-seminar tour was organized for the participants of the seminar to Yapahuwa on 17 May 2015.
King Buvanekabahu IV built Yapahuwa to be both a capital city and fortress. As such, the site is located on a rock 30 meters high affording panoramic (and strategically important) views of the surrounding area. The flagship feature of Yapahuwa today is, however, its ornamental staircase that takes the traveler to the scenic heights of the rock.
The transport for the post-seminar tour was facilitated by the University of Peradeniya.

SAARC Cultural Festival on Folk Dance Bhutan 2015

–An Unique Experience in Cultural Diversity


  • Background
  • Objectives
  • Dates and Venue
  • Participants
  • Logistic Support
  • Date and Duration
  • Deadline for nominations

UNESCO Launches Design Competition for Bamiyan Cultural Centre in Afghanistan


UNESCO and the Ministry of Information and Culture of Afghanistan, with the generous financial support of the Republic of Korea, are implementing a project to build the Bamiyan Cultural Centre. The Centre will be located near the boundary of the World Heritage property, the Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley. The purpose of the project is to promote heritage safe-guarding and cross-cultural awareness, and thereby contribute to the broader aims of reconciliation, peace-building and economic development in the country.

Towards this end, UNESCO is administering an international design competition to select a winning design entry for the Bamiyan Cultural Centre. The international Design Competition for this project started November 15, 2014 and ends on January 22, 2015. It will draw submissions from a wide range of individual architects, engineers and students from around the world.

It may also be added that, the SAARC Cultural Centre has declared the historic city of Bamiyan as the First SAARC CULTURAL CAPITAL for 2015. Towards this end, a series of year-long cultural events with a national but with an overall South Asian dimension will be organized at Bamiyan to celebrate its status as the First SAARC CULTURAL CAPITAL for the whole of South Asian region.

Organizers: UNESCO Afghanistan, in coordination with The Ministry of Information and Culture of Afghanistan.
Last Date for Accepting Submissions: 22 January, 2015

Awards: One winning entry will be given 25,000.00 (USD) and four runner-ups 8,000.00 (USD)

For more information visit the competition website and the short video below.


SAARC Charter Day 2014


charter day


The 30th SAARC Charter Day was celebrated on 8th December 2014 at the Arcade Independence Square at the Asylum . The Guest of Honor was Mr. Nihal Rodrigo, the former Secretary General of SAARC Secretariat who also spoke and shared some thoughts on the importance of the celebration of the occasion. The SAARC Cultural Centre Director, Mr. G.L.W.Samarasingh briefed the august diplomatic corps and other luminaries on the developments of the other SAARC Regional Offices.   The messages of the President of the Socialist Republic Democracy of  Sri Lanka, the Honorable Foreign Minister Mr. Peiris and  H. E. Secretary General of SAARC Secretariat Mr. Arjun Thapa were read out.

A cultural programme of “Naye gurulu dances “ were performed followed by formal dinner.

The guests were also shown the photographs on display, selected from the Photography Competition 2014 organized by the SAARC Cultural Centre.

Photography Competition 2014

The SAARC Photography competition was organized by the SAARC Cultural Centre for the year 2014. The following member states had sent the photographs.

1 Afghanistan 0
2 Bangladesh 1
3 Bhutan 1
4 India 4
5 Maldives 0
6 Nepal 8
7 Pakistan 4
8 Sri Lanka 27

Six countries had participated in it. A total of 45 photographers sent in 208 photos and 20 were selected by the panel of judges. They are :

1. Mr. Sebastian Posingis  from Germany
2. Ms. Olivia Bonal Sansoni from England , and
3. Mr. Dominic Sansoni , CEO of Barefoot, Sri Lanka who has authored many books and brought out many landmark photography works himself.

3 winners were selected for the photography competitions. 2 were selected as Highly Commended and 15 photographs were selected forHonorable Mentions.

The winners are from 3 Member States of Bangladesh, Nepal and India.

1st Place –  Title –  Honey Collecters
Photographer – Muhammad Mustafigur Rahman, Bangladesh

muhammad m - honey collectors 1st


2nd PlaceTitle Clouds of Devotees
Photographer – Narayan Maharjan , Nepal



3rd PlaceTitle –  Golden Ganga
Photographer – Anilrisal Singh, India


Glden Ganga


Highly Commended

1. Title Follow
Photographer – Muhammad Mustafigur Rahman, Bangladesh

Women carry pitcher of drinking water at Burigoalini. Satkhira, Bangladesh


2. Title –  Kanshat Mango Market
Photographer – Muhammad Mustafigur Rahman, Bangladesh

muhammad m - kanshat mango market hc 2


Honorable Mentions (15 entries)

 1. Title –  Zhabdrung – The Patron Saint of Bhutan
     Photographer – Karma Tshering Wangchuk,  Bhutan
 2. Title In No Man’s Land
     Photographer – Pattabi Rahman, India
3. Title Roadside Dentist
    Photographer –  Anilrisal Singh, India
4. Title –  Tent Pegging
    Photographer – Irshad Ellahi Sheikh, Pakistan
    Photographer – Yatra Rai ,  Nepal
6. Title –   Narayan M – A local women enjoying during plantation – National Paddy Day Celebration
    Photographer – Narayan Maharjan , Nepal
    Photographer – Sunil Sharma, Nepal
8. TitleDivine 
    Photographer – Dikesh Maharjan, Nepal
    Email –
9. TitleFlying Karadi 
    Photographer –  Tharmakulasingam Kugaruban, Sri Lanka
10. TitleLone Fishermen at Dawn
      Photographer –  Biman Lakshitha Pathirage, Sri Lanka
11. TitleCulture
      Photographer –  Sampath Peiris , KJK,  Sri Lanka
12. TitleBreaking 
      Photographer –  Tharmakulasingam Kugaruban, Sri Lanka
13. Title –  Off to School
      Photographer –  Ravindra Ranasinghe, Sri Lanka
14. TitleDelft Jaffna
      Photographer –  Viraj Liyanarachchi,   Sri Lanka
15. Title Blockart Action
      Photographer –  Tharmakulasingam Kugaruban, Sri Lanka
The selected photographs were displayed for the public and invited dignitaries on the 8 December 2014 which was also celebrated as SAARC Charter Day.
3 winners will be given cash prizes of US $ 300,  $ 250, $200 and  certificates.
Certificates of participation  will be given to the  Highly Commended photos and for 15 selected for the Honorable Mentions.

SAARC Leaders at the Eighteenth SAARC Summit (Kathmandu, Nepal, 26-27 November 2014) stress upon effective implementation of the SAARC Agenda for Culture


The 18th SAARC Summit was held at Kathmandu, Nepal from November 26 to November 27, 2014. The theme of the Summit was ‘Deeper Integration for Peace and Prosperity.’ It was attended by the prime ministers of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan, the presidents of the Afghanistan, Maldives and Sri Lanka. The 18th Summit marked the 30th Year of SAARC. At the conclusion of the Summit on 27 November 2014, the Kathmandu Declaration was adopted.

In the Kathmandu Declaration, SAARC leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the principles and objectives of SAARC for ensuring the welfare and quality of life of the peoples of South Asia. The Declaration makes a special reference to Culture and stresses by reaffirming the continuous commitment of the SAARC leaders to implement the SAARC Agenda for Culture. It states:

“They directed to effectively implement the SAARC Agenda for Culture and agreed to take measures to preserve and restitute the South Asian cultural property and create a SAARC heritage list together with the operational guidelines. They declared the year 2016 as the SAARC Year of Cultural Heritage and tasked the relevant bodies to develop an action plan for its success. They also agreed to develop a cultural trail linking major Buddhist historical sites in the region. The Leaders further agreed to facilitate access of persons visiting prominent and holy sites of Islam, Hinduism, Christianity and all other major religions in South Asia.”

It may be recalled that the SAARC Agenda for Culture was comprehensively reviewed and augmented at the Third Meeting of the SAARC Culture Ministers held at New Delhi September 2014.

The nineteenth SAARC Summit will be hosted by the Government of Pakistan in 2016.