Book Launch – Contemporary Short Stories of the SAARC Region, 2012 and Poems from the SAARC Region, 2012


book_launch Contemporary Short Stories of the SAARC Region, 2012 and Poems from the SAARC Region, 2012, the annual Anthologies of the SAARC Cultural Centre will be launched on 16 September 2013 at 12.30 pm at the Colombo International Book Fair, Book Launch Hall, (in front of Sirimavo Bandaranaike Exhibition Exhibition Hall) BMICH, Colombo 07. The twin-publications aim to promote contemporary regional literature and to make it accessible to a wider audience.

All are Welcome


SAARC Capacity Building Workshop on Management Systems of World Heritage Sites in South Asia Concludes Successfully


SAARC Cultural Centre is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the SAARC Capacity Building Workshop on Management Systems of World Heritage Sites in South Asia. The Workshop which had lectures, discussions and case studies on existing management systems relating to the World Heritage Sites, was held from 26-31 August 2013 at the Islamabad Hotel, Islamabad, Pakistan. The workshop was attended by over 30 participants, all of whom were mid/senior level professionals from South Asian countries.

The workshop was convened with a view to promote conservation and management of World Heritage Sites in South Asia through capacity building amongst professionals involved in Heritage Sites Management and to transmit them to future generations in accordance with the Article 4 of the World Heritage Convention.

Inaugural Session
The workshop was inaugurated by Mr. Muhammad Bilal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Government of Pakistan. The Welcome Address was delivered by Mr. G. L. W. Samarasinghe, Director, SAARC Cultural Centre. Dr. Fazal Dad Kakar, Director General, Department of Archaeology and Museums, Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Government of Pakistan delivered the Keynote Address while Ms. Nirekha De Silva, Research Officer, SAARC Cultural Centre proposed the Vote of Thanks.

Academic Sessions
A total of six Academic Sessions were conducted for the purpose of sharing of practical knowledge along the following themes:

  • Country Presentations,
  • Management Requirements of the World Heritage Sites,
  • World Heritage, Tourism and Sustainable Development, and
  • Management Effectiveness

The sessions included lectures, presentations, group discussions, group work and critical feedback sessions.

Round Table
Three Round Tables on ‘Acceptable Management System of World Heritage Sites in South Asia’, ‘Management Plan for the World Heritage Sites’ and ‘Effective Methods for Improving Management Systems’ were held and were led by Mr. Muhammad Habibullah Khan Kattak (Pakistan), Mr. Jayatissa Herath (Sri Lanka) and Mr. Mahmood Akhtar Cheema (Pakistan) respectively.
Field Trip
A Field Trip to the World Heritage Site of Taxila Valley was organized on 28 August 2013.

Taxila is an important archaeological site in Rawalpindi, (Punjab) Pakistan that was in ancient times positioned at the crossroads of three great trade routes from Eastern India, Western Asia and Central Asia. It was an early centre of learning dating back to the 5th century BCE. The site is home to numerous ancient Buddhist monuments.
The Plenary Session
At the conclusion of the Academic Sessions, a Plenary Session was held on 31 August 2013 as a closed door event with the participation of all Resource Persons and Chair Persons of the Academic Sessions. It was chaired by Dr. Fazal Dad Kakar. The Plenary Committee summarized the main suggestions emerging out of the deliberations and prepared a document laying out a road-map in the form of recommendations for the SAARC Member States. Recommendations covered a wide array of areas including administration, legal, research, capacity building, finance and technology which would be sent to the Member States for guidance and implementation.

Valedictory Session
The Valedictory Session of the workshop was held at the picturesque location of Hotel Monal at the Margalla hills, Islamabad. Mr. Muhammad Azam, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Government of Pakistan, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and distributed certificates and mementos to all participants of the workshop. The event was also attended by other dignitaries and distinguished invitees from Pakistan.

SAARC Film Festival 2013

SAARC FILM FESTIVAL concludes with INDIAN Feature Film “Paan Singh Tomar” bagging the title “Best Feature Film 2013, and “Cost of Climate Change” from Bhutan, bagging the trophy for best Documentary.

The SAARC Cultural Centre successfully concluded the Third SAARC Film Festival on the 31st of May 2013, with an Awards Ceremony. The Film Festival commenced on the 26th of May, and screened films from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Feature and Documentary Films were screened.

The Film Festival is yet another SAARC Cultural Initiative, which aims to provide a platform for exchange of ideas and points of view from Film Directors of the Region. The SAARC Region has produced some films with a standard of excellence. The SAARC Film Festival focused on promoting some of the best films featured in 2010 – 2012 from all Member States. A call for 2 feature films and 2 short films from each SAARC Member State was made and nominations were received from 7 countries.   A panel of International Jury Members from Singapore, Russia and Iran adjudicated at this festival and an award was made to the Best Feature Film in the region for the year 2013. A Silver and Bronze medal was also awarded to the feature film category. A trophy for the Best Documentary, Best Director, Actor and Actress were also awarded.  Films were screened free of charge to the general public at the National Film Corporation Cinema Hall from the 25th – 31st May 2013.

The Awards Ceremony was held under the distinguished patronage of Hon Minister Dhilan Perera, Minister of Foreign Employment, Promotion and Welfare.  In addition to the Film Festival, a very successful workshop was also held with eminent speaker Dr D.B Nihalsinghe as keynote speaker. All visiting Film Directors and adjudicators were also taken on a field tour to the National Telecinema Park in Sri Lanka.

The Best Feature Film was awarded to India – “Paan Singh Tomar” for its fascinating plot and strong direction that imaginatively combines the sports and action genre within the background of post- colonial India” For “capturing the human drama of a difficult subject with emotional impact” “Cost of Climate Change” from Bhutan was awarded the Best Documentary.  A list of other awards is listed below.  The SAARC Cultural Centre hopes to have many such festivals in the future in order to promote feature and documentary films in the region.

SAARC Research Projects – MID-TERM REVIEW MEETING 2013


A Meeting of the Research Review Committee of the SAARC Cultural Centre was held on 2-3 May 2013 at the Sigiriya Village Hotel, Sigiriya to review the progress of research by the Research Fellows engaged in two research projects launched by the SAARC Cultural Centre, viz. ‘Diminishing Cultures of South Asia’ and ‘Diasporic Cultures of South Asia during 18th to 20th Centuries’.

The Research Review Committee comprised eminent scholars and experts:

  1. Mr. G. L. W. Samarasinghe (Director, SAARC Cultural Centre): Chairperson
  2. Dr. Sanjay Garg (Deputy Director – Research, SAARC Cultural Centre): Convenor
  3. Prof. Nimal De Silva (Director, National Trust, Sri Lanka): Member
  4. Prof. Shantha K. Hennayake (Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Peradeniya): Member
  5. Ambassador H. M. G. S. Palihakkara (Former, Foreign Secretary,
    Sri Lanka): Member
  6. Dr. Sinharaja Tammita-Delgoda (Eminent Historian): Member

The objectives of this Review Meeting were to assess the progress of research work and to give constructive feedback to the researchers so that they are able to fulfil the objectives of the research project and are able to prepare their reports in a publishable format.
The following Research Fellows presented their progress reports at the meeting:

Diminishing Cultures of South Asia (2011-12)

# Name Title of the Proposal
Sri Lanka
1 Prof. Kalinga Tudor Silva Opportunities and Challenges for Traditional Arts and Crafts in Three Depressed Caste Communities in the Central Province in Sri Lanka.

Diasporic Cultures of South Asia During 18th to 20th Centuries (2012-13)

# Name Title of the Proposal
1 Ms. Sonam Yuodon and Ms. Tshering Choki Tibetan Diaspora in Bhutan and its historical dynamics
2 Dr. M. Waseem Raja Assessing South Asian Diaspora during Twentieth Century; A Case Study of Bhojpuri speaking people in Eastern India
3 Dr. Amit Kumar Mishra You are what you eat: Gustatory Negotiations and Articulations of Identities in Indian Diaspora in London (UK)
4 Ms. Aishath Shafina and Mr. Midhath Abdul Rasheed Conceptualizing Diaspora: Interconnectedness of ‘home’ and ‘host’ culture
5 Prof. Minhaj ul Hassan A Socio-Cultural Profile of Pakistani Diaspora in Hong Kong
Sri Lanka
6 Mr. Sanmugeswaran Pathmanesan Temple Culture, Religious Practice and Cultural Circulation: An Anthropological Study of Three Selected Temples among the Indian Tamil Diasporic Communities in Sri Lanka
7 Dr. Upul Priyankara Lekamge Integrated Cultural Identities: Malays In Sri Lanka

The Research Review Committee expressed its satisfaction on the progress made by the Research Fellows and commended the laudable contribution being made by the SAARC Cultural Centre, towards building up a research platform for serious academic intercourse for the benefit of the scholars of the region.

SAARC Artists’ Camp and Exhibition of Paintings 2013


Over the last two years the SAARC Cultural Centre has created the space for Artists from the SAARC Region to gather together and put forward their creative expressions on canvass at the SAARC Artist Camp held in 2011 and 2012 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. This year, artists from the region are called to the beautiful islands of the Maldives, where they will exhibit their paintings as well as paint on site. Against the scenic background of the Maldive Islands, artists would be given an opportunity to mingle, and create over a period of four days.

The upcoming Artist camp in Maldives will give young artists from the region an opportunity to showcase their works and interact with other artists on themes such as  “Futuristic Visions” “Tropical Paradise” and the “Need for change”. Parallel to the camp there will also be an exhibition of paintings by the nominated artists participating at the artist camp at the National Art Gallery, Maldives.

The following are the main Objectives:

  1. To create a forum for artists to share ideas and views and to compare similarities and dissimilarities pertaining to art forms in the SAARC Region.
  2. To give young artists of the region an opportunity to exhibit their paintings under the common bond they share as artists from the SAARC region at a common location.
  3. To give artists of the region to explore the Maldives, a group of beautiful islands in South Asia, and give them an opportunity to paint amidst the picturesque and peaceful backdrop, which will be an inspiration to produce excellent works of art.
  4. To enable artists of the region to interact with each other.
  5. To give the general public an opportunity to work and watch the work of artists from the region.

The Artist Camp will be held for 4 days, in an island, nearby Male the capital, at Kudos Bandos Islands from the 25th – 28th of March 2013.
Nominations are now called for, through the respective Cultural Ministries in the SAARC Member States.
All the general public of Maldives and tourists visiting the islands are warmly welcome to the Artists Camp to observe and learn from the great artists/painters work on site.

Commemorating SAARC Charter Day – Essay Competition for Children


The SAARC celebrates its Charter day on the 8th of December, and to commemorate this day, the SAARC Cultural Centre will be organizing an Essay competition for children from schools in the country. This competition is organized for all children Ordinary level upwards (Ages 16 and above)

The topics given are as follows:

1) Role of SAARC in the future
2) How can the SAARC countries make use of their distinct culture for their development?

Children are advised to choose any one of the above topics with a word limit of 1500 words. All entries should reach the SAARC Cultural Centre on or before the 28th of November 2012, entries could be posted or delivered to No 224 Bauddhaloka,Mawatha Colombo 07 or emailed to Late entries will not be accepted.

All entries should clearly indicate the below details.

  1. Name of the student
  2. Age
  3. School Name
  4. Contact details of the student and school

We strongly encourage all schools to enter this essay Competition which is an effort to promote the strong cultural bonds we share in the region. Cash prizes for the first three places will be awarded, together with 10 honorable mentions.

The Award Ceremony will take place on the 8th of December 2012 in Colombo.
The Essay Competition for Children is an attempt to promote the SAARC Region, which is rich in culture and tradition.
If you require any further information, please feel free to contact Mr. RasmiMoosa (Email:, Mobile: 0773475552)

Cultural Festival on Traditional Drumming in the SAARC Region


SAARC Cultural Festival on Traditional Drumming 2012. Await the pulsating rhythms from drums of the SAARC Region, in Bhutan from the 21st – 24th of November 2012. A Festival with a Difference.

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“Wheel of Life” – Traditional Handloom of South Asia An Exhibition and Workshop of Traditional Handloom in South Asia – Delhi 2012


Call For Nominations/Entries


To give exposure to Cultural Industries, the SAARC Cultural Centre will embark on a programme that would focus on Cultural Industries/Traditional Handloom. The Centre will embark on a programme to promote Cultural Industries in the region, and to create a platform for a fading traditional craft of the region.


An Exhibition and Workshop on Traditional Handloom of South Asia, titled “ The Wheel of Life” will be held in Delhi, from the 1st – 6th November 2012. Nominations are invited from Member States of Traditional Weaving Organizations or reputed weavers from all parts of the SAARC Member States, to participate at the Exhibition cum Workshop.  Entries are called from tie dye craftpersons, embroiders, lace makers, textiles printers, carpet and loom weavers and producers of fabric of the SAARC Region.  Weavers will bring their products and exhibit in the stalls provided.


In addition to the official nominations, the SAARC Cultural Centre also calls foropen entries from individuals from Member States, whereby interested parties could apply directly to the SAARC Cultural Centre to be a part of the exhibition and workshop. Such participants will have to pay for their own airfare, and pay for accommodation and local hospitality, as well as a nominal fee of U$ 20 as Registration fee. Interested parties may fill in the required form found at the SAARC Cultural Centre Website localhost/saarc_old. There will also be an Exporters/Buyers meet, which will be the perfect opportunity to promote handloom products from the region. Further clarification or more information could be sort by mailing Programme Officer –


This is yet another SAARC Cultural Centre initiative, where culture and creative sectors foster creativity and contribute to innovation in other sectors of the economy.



SAARC Non-Violence Day 2012


To mark the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi (2 Oct), which is also observed as SAARC Non-Violence Day and International Non-Violence Day, the SAARC Cultural Centre organized a series of events in Colombo.


Workshop and Symposium:

The SAARC Cultural Centre, in collaboration with the Mahatma Gandhi Centre, Sri Lanka organized a Workshop and a Symposium to mark to highlight the need for Non-Violence in our society. The events were held at Royal College, Colombo where a large number of school children, teachers and many others who value Gandhian principles participated.

Workshop on ‘Non-Violence and Self-reliance for Social Cohesion and Rural Empowerment’

The Workshop consisted two sessions viz., ‘Community Care and Empowerment’ and ‘Child Abuse’. Session 1 included presentations on Rural Empowerment and Good Governance, Self-reliance on Food and Energy, Alternative Source of Medicine and Health Care, Public Awareness and Civil Rights, Green Development and Future Development. Session 2 consisted presentations on Child Abuse and Culture of Non-Violence in the Passage of Adolescence-Adulthood Transition.

Symposium on ‘Swaraj and Non-Violence’
The Inaugural Address of the Symposium was delivered by Director, SAARC Cultural Centre. Prof. K.N. Sirinanda read two messages received from HE the President of Sri Lanka and the Secretary General of the SAARC. The Chief Guest at the symposium was Dr. Rashpal Malhotra, Director General, Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID), Chandigarh (India) referred to the Mahatma and current favourable trend in his address titled; ‘Cooperative Development, Peace and Security in South Asia: Focus on India and Sri Lanka.’ Elimination of violence as advised by the Mahatma and cooperation followed to a great extent by India and Sri Lanka, featured in his talk. With a view to bonding together of youth with the concept of Non-Violence, a ‘Resolution of the Non-Violence Youth Force,’ was adopted at the Symposium. Ven. Olande Ananda Thero in his Keynote Address spoke on ‘Relevance of Gandhian Swaraj-development models for today.’

Art Competition- ‘No to Violence’
The SAARC Cultural Centre also organized an Art Competition for Children which was themed on “Celebrating Non-Violence in the SAARC Region.” Titled as ‘No to Violence’ this Art Competition was aimed at creating awareness on the need to revive and inspire peace, tolerance, non-discrimination, co-existence, non-violence and respect for each other in our societies.

The paintings were submitted by two age groups; 5 years to 14 and 14 years to 19 and were based on two quotations from Mahatma Gandhi’s speeches, viz.,


“You must be the change you want to see in the world,” and

“My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God, Non Violence is the means of realizing him”.


There was an overwhelming response to the call for entries and over 525 entries from 52 schools from all over Sri Lanka were received. In a glittering Award Ceremony, punctuated with cultural performances, Cash Prizes were awarded for first, second and third places in both categories. In addition, 20 Certificates of Honourable Mention were also awarded in both the categories.

Winners of Art Competition:
Junior Category: 
1st Prize (Cash Award of Rs. 25,000): P. Imashi Nimthara Peiris, 13 yrs, St’ John’s Girls School
2nd Prize (Cash Award of Rs. 20,000): W.T.Sathiya Sathsarani Fernando, 11 yrs, Holy Family Convent, Kalutara
3rd Prize (Cash Award of Rs. 15,000): Zara Sanderson, 13 yrs, Elizabeth Moir School
Senior Categgory: 
1st Prize (Cash Award of Rs. 25,000): Hui Gyeong Song, Colombo International School.
2nd Prize (Cash Award of Rs. 20,000): Ishara Prasad Atulugama, Ananda College
3rd Prize (Cash Award of Rs. 15,000): Ranwalage Don Pamith Yugantha Ranwala, Ananda College
To mark the event, an exhibition of all award winning and selected paintings were exhibited by the SAARC Cultural Centre at the foyer of Navarangala Hall, Royal College.

Fourth Governing Board Meeting of SAARC Cultural Centre Concludes Successfully


The SAARC Cultural Centre hosted the Fourth Meeting of its Governing Board on 2 and 3 October 2012 at the Mount Lavinia Hotel, Colombo. The meeting was convened under Chairmanship of Shri Pramod K. Jain (Joint Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Government of India).  Other distinguished members who represented their countries at the Governing Board Meeting were: Ms. Parag (Joint Secretary (Admin), Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Bangladesh), Mr. Dorjee Tshering (Director General, Department of Culture, Bhutan), Mr. M. Ramachandran (Director, Indian Cultural Centre, Colombo), Hon. Mr. Ahmed Shameem (Minister of State for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Maldives), Mr. Balkrishna Ghimire (Joint Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Nepal), Ms. Tara Sharma (Attaché, Embassy of Nepal in Sri Lanka), Mr. Muhammad Daud Ehtisham (Press Attaché, Pakistan High Commission in Sri Lanka), Mr. Wasantha Ekanayake (Secretary,  Ministry of Culture and the Arts, Sri Lanka),  Mrs. Damayanthi Rajapakse (Director General (SAARC), Ministry of External Affairs, Sri Lanka) and Mr. Poshitha Perera (Deputy Director (SAARC & South Asia), Ministry of External Affairs, Sri Lanka). Mr. Prasanna Gamage (Director (ESC), SAARC Secretariat) represented the Secretariat and Mr. G.L.W. Samarasinghe, Director of SAARC Cultural Centre represented the Centre.

After reviewing the progress of Centre’s work, the Board congratulated the Centre for its aspiring achievements and the strong committed contribution towards safeguarding and promoting diverse aspects of South Asian Culture. The plan of activities and programmes proposed under the five year programme of the SAARC Cultural Centre was approved by the Board of Governors for the year 2013.