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.

Book Launch of Two Anthologies – Contemporary Short Stories of the SAARC Region, 2011 and Poems from the SAARC Region, 2011


SAARC Cultural Centre organized the book launch of the two Anthologies, Contemporary Short Stories of the SAARC Region, 2011 and Poems from the SAARC Region, 2011, on 25 September 2012, at 11.00 am, at the Colombo International Book Fair. The book launch was organized under the patronage of Hon. Neomal Perera, Deputy Minister of External Affairs, Sri Lanka.

Poems from the SAARC Region- 2011 is an anthology of poetry presenting a rainbow of 115 poems of South Asia and echoes its distinct cultural identity from South Asia, bringing together contemporary poets from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Contemporary Short Stories of the SAARC Region, 2011 is one of the SAARC Cultural Centre’s initiatives to promote regional literature and to make it accessible to a wider readership. This volume brings together 26 short stories from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Mr G.L.W. Samarasinghe, Director, SAARC Cultural Centre, delivering his Welcome address emphasised, that these two initiatives of SAARC Cultural Centre are aimed at further strengthening the cooperation among the people of the SAARC member countries by providing a pan-regional platform for the established, as well as promising poets and authors from South Asia.  These two anthologies would not only provide a novel experience to those who want to explore South Asian poetry but also as a reference tool for literary critics, academics, and students of culture.

Eminent Author, Mr. Daya Dissanayake addressed the gathering on “Role of Literature in South Asia”.  Quoting Prof. J.B. Dissanayake he mentioned that “language separates man from beasts”. Commending the herculean task of translation and selection, of works generated by authors in the SAARC Region he proposed to publish two or three poems of SAARC writers in newspapers as a tribute to South Asian literature in general and their artistic talent in particular.

Addressing the gathering at the Book Launch Hon. Minister Neomal Perera stated that the two anthologies are a great thrust for regional cooperation. Asia being one of the largest market places in the world, there is huge potential for growth, may it be trade, literature or art he added further. The Hon. Minister congratulated the SAARC Cultural Centre and Vijitha Yapa Publishers for the great initiative in promoting literature.

Mr. Vijitha Yapa who is the co-publisher in his vote of thanks emphasized the importance of SAARC in promoting cultural cooperation and expressed his pleasure of being part of collaborative effort of promoting SAARC literature.

Over hundred invitees graced the book launch.

The two anthologies are available for sale at Vijitha Yapa bookshops.

“SAARC Celebrates Non Violence Day with an Art Competition for Children. Submit your paintings by the 19th of September 2012. “ Cash Prizes Awarded”


“Celebrating Non – Violence in the SAARC Region”


The SAARC Cultural Centre, mandated to promote culture in the region will celebrate SAARC Non- Violence Day, with an Art Competition for children. October 2nd is the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, who in recent history, revived the principle of non violence.  At the root of many of the problems faced by the world today, is the various forms of violence including those against the environment, augmented by social strife and inequity.


The SAARC Cultural Centre will reach out to children across the island by organizing an Art Competition that would create awareness on the need to revive and inspire in our societies peace, tolerance, non discrimination, co-existence, non-violence and respect for each other. The competition is opened to all children in two age groups


The paintings should be based on the following themes

  • Junior Category – Ages 5 – 14
    “You must be the change you want to see in the world” Mahatma Gandhi
  • Senior Category – Ages 14 – 19
    “My religion is based on truth and non violence. Truth is my God, Non Violence is the means of realizing him” Mahatma Gandhi

All paintings should be submitted in the following format

Size :  Standard A3

Medium : Water Colours, Crayons, Accrylic, oil,

All paintings should be accompanied with the following information:

Name in Full, Age, Title, and Name of School


DEADLINE – 19th September 2012


Cash Awards will be given for the first three in each category. (1st Prize 25,000/ 2nd Prize 20,000/3rd Prize 15,000)  The best paintings will be on display on the 2nd of October as a parallel event to mark SAARC Non Violence Day. All selected paintings will receive a certificate of participation. Late entries will not be accepted. The school that sends the most number of entries will be acknowledged.

SAARC International Conference on ‘Archeology of Buddhism: Recent Discoveries in South Asia’, Concludes Successfully.


SAARC Cultural Centre is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the SAARC International Conference on ‘Archeology of Buddhism: Recent Discoveries in South Asia’ and all its associated activities. The Conference, which included the Paper Reading and Poster Sessions, was held from 22 to 24 August 2012 at the Buddhist Cultural Centre, in the heart of Colombo. Over 200 participants representing Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, France and the USA attended the Conference.

The Conference focused on Buddhist sites and remains that have been worked up during the last six decades or so. It included both kinds of papers – straightforward ones that just reported archaeological finds; and also papers that interrogate the methodological/ theoretical frameworks within which archaeological work is carried out. Some of the questions that the Conference sought to address were: how does one define a Buddhist site? How can one show the relationship between a religious centre and the lay community through archaeological work? and Is it possible to meaningfully interpret a multi-religious and multi-ethnic landscape through archaeological means?

The Conference was inaugurated by Hon. Prof. G. L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, Government of Sri Lanka. The Welcome address was delivered by Mr. G.L.W. Samarasinghe, Director, SAARC Cultural Centre, while Dr. Roland De Silva, Former Commissioner of Archaeology, Government of Sri Lanka, Director General, Central Cultural Fund, President, ICOMOS, and currently Chancellor, Moratuwa University, delivered the Keynote Address on ‘Let the Sites of Buddhism be Living Icons of a Liberated People.’ Dr. Sanjay Garg, Deputy Director (Research) and the Convener of the Conference, proposed a Vote of Thanks.

Academic Sessions
A total of fifty-five research papers were presented in fourteen academic sessions spread over three days (22-24 August, 2012). These sessions were devoted to the following themes:
1.    Country Reports on Recent Discoveries (6 Sessions)
2.    Buddhist Archaeology and the Society (2 Sessions)
3.    Buddhist Archaeology, Art and Architecture (2 Sessions)
4.    Cultural Geography of the Buddhist Archaeological Sites (2 Sessions)
5.    Archaeology of Buddhist Monasteries(1 Session)
6.    Revisiting Stupa: (1 Session)

Poster Session
Along with the Academic Sessions a Poster Session was also organized at the Conference to provide a platform to young researchers to showcase their research/ fieldwork as well as to institutions to display their activities. An array of colourful posters by seven young researchers and four organizations, namely the Central Cultural Fund, Department of Archaeology, Department of National Museum, and Post Graduate Institute of Archaeological Research (PGIAR), University of Kelaniya were displayed at the Poster Session which was held parallel to the Academic Sessions and was open for the general public.

Round Table
A Round Table on ‘Mapping Buddhist Archaeological Sites’ was held on 23 August 2012 and was chaired by Dr Sanjay Garg. Two demo-lectures were delivered as part of the Round Table: first on ‘Mapping the contours of a Buddhist world: an online database of georeferenced Buddhist monasteries, 200 – 1200 CE’ by Prof. T. Matthew Ciolek (Visiting Fellow, School of Culture, History & Language, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia) who is also co-founder of and second on ‘Cultural Cartography: Prospects and Perils’ by Mr. Pratapanand Jha (Director, Cultural Informatics, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi).

The Plenary Session
On the conclusion of the Academic Sessions, a Plenary Session was held on 24 August 2012 in which all Chairpersons of the Academic Sessions were invited. The Plenary Session was Jointly Chaired by Prof. Vidula Jayaswal (India) and Dr. Fazal Dad Kakar (Pakistan).  With a view to enlisting the contributions of other Experts/ Non-SAARC participants, delegates from Bhutan, India and Singapore were invited by the Plenary Committee to join the Session as a Special Invitees. The Plenary Committee perused all the Feedback forms received from the participants of the Conference. While commending the initiative taken by the SAARC Cultural Centre for providing a platform to the experts and other stakeholders from the South Asian region to share information on recent discoveries on the archaeology of Buddhism, all members of the Plenary Committee unanimously felt that this initiative needs to be institutionalized and its scope needs to be expanded so as to provide a permanent platform to the experts and other stakeholders on Buddhist art and archaeology not only from the SAARC region but also from other regions/ countries, which are rich in Buddhist art and archaeological heritage. The Recommendation of the Plenary Committee would be forwarded to the Member States of the SAARC.

A full day Post-Conference tour was organized on 25 August 2012 to Anuradhapura in which over 100 participants took part.

Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Lankan civilization. It lies in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka, 205 km north of the current capital Colombo. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and one of the eight World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka. Participants were able to visit Sri Maha Bodhiya, Lovamahapaya, Ruvenveliseya, Twin Ponds, Samaddhi Buddha Statue and Abhayagiriya. Lunch was hosted by the Mayor of Anuradhapura.

The transport for the post-conference tour was facilitated by the Travel Partner of the conference: Aitken Spence Travels (Pvt.) Ltd.

Apart from the Conference a series of associated activities were organised as a prelude and parallel to the main event. These included:

Screening of Documentary Films
A series of 12 documentary Films on ‘The Story of Buddhism: Its Birth and Development’ in India by the noted photographer and film-maker Mr. Benoy K. Behl was screened from 15 to 20 August 2012 at the Buddhist Cultural Centre, as a run-up to the Conference. The screening of this film series was inaugurated by Hon’ble Dr. Jagath Balasuriya, Minister for National Heritage, Government of Sri Lanka in a glittering ceremony on 15 August 2012, in which Mr. Behl too shared his views. The screening of this film series was supported by the High Commission of India in Sri Lanka, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), and the Indian Cultural Centre, Colombo.

‘Lens & Brush’ – Twin Exhibition
The SAARC Cultural Centre organized a Twin Exhibition entitled ‘Lens & Brush’ as part of the SAARC International Conference on Archaeology of Buddhism Recent Discoveries in South Asia (Colombo, Sri Lanka, 22-24 August 2012). The exhibition had two components: a Photo Exhibition and an Exhibition of Paintings by Contemporary Artists. The Twin exhibitions were inaugurated by Hon. Chamal Rajapaksa, Speaker of Parliament of Sri Lanka, on 21 August 2012 at JDA Perera Gallery, Colombo.

Photographic Exhibition
This Exhibition displayed Photographs on ‘Buddhist Sites and Art Heritage of South Asia’  by the noted photographer Mr. Benoy K. Behl, and also those from the SAARC Cultural Centre’s Visual Archives and contributions from Department of Heritage, Government of Maldives and Pakistan High Commission in Sri Lanka. This exhibition was supported by the India-Sri Lanka Foundation and the High Commission of Sri Lanka in India.

Paintings Exhibition
This exhibition of paintings entitled, ‘The Lord Buddha through Contemporary Eyes’, showcased the 58 creative works of forty-six contemporary artists residing in Sri Lanka. It encompassed a wide spectrum of paintings depicting Lord Buddha in animate as well as in symbolic forms as perceived by contemporary artists. These artists ranged from an amateur and novice of 4-years of age to trained and well-established artists of national and international repute. This exhibition was supported by the Bank of Ceylon. A Catalogue of all paintings was also released on this occasion.

Book Exhibition
A Book Exhibition related to the broad theme of the Conference was organised at the Conference venue, where leading academic and institutional publishers from the region were invited to display their publications. In addition, the participants of the Conference were also requested to bring their publications for display at the Book Exhibition which remained open for general public for the duration of the Conference. The Book Exhibition, together with the Poster Session of the Conference, was inaugurated by Hon’ble T.B. Ekanayake, Minister for Culture and the Arts, Government of Sri Lanka on 22 August 2012.

The Lord Buddha through Contemporary Eyes: An Exhibition of Paintings by Contemporary Artists


21-26 August 2012
at JDA Perera Gallery, Colombo 7Call for Entries
The SAARC Cultural Centre invites entries from artists residing in Sri Lanka to showcase their creative works on the above mentioned theme. The selected entries will be part of an exclusive exhibition which is scheduled to coincide with the SAARC International Conference on Archaeology of Buddhism: Recent Discoveries in South Asia’, (Colombo, 22-24 August 2012).

Each artist may submit up to 8 paintings for the exhibition. The submission would be made online by sending high resolution digital images. Each entry should have the following information:
a.    Title of the Painting
b.    Medium
c.    Size
d.    Year (if known)
The last date for online submission would be 31 July 2012.

Selection Process
The selection would be made by a panel appointed by the Director, SCC. The said panel may restrict the maximum number of entries per artist so as to suit the requirements of the proposed exhibition.

All selected paintings will be included in the special publication which are planned to mark this event.

All artists will be given a Certificate by the SAARC Cultural Centre, acknowledging their contribution. They would also receive free of charge 5 copies of the Catalogue planned for this exhibition.

A Catalogue of all paintings included in the Exhibition, together with short profiles of the artists, and with an introduction by an eminent artist/ art critic, would be published and released at the inauguration of the proposed exhibition.

Dr. Sanjay Garg, Deputy Director – Research, SAARC Cultural Centre, No. 224, Baudhaloka Mawatha, Colombo – 7.
Ph. +94-11-2584453 (o);
Fax: +94-11-2584452;
Mobile: +94-771053003.

SAARC Artist Camp 2012


Meet some of the best artists from the Region, from the 7th-10th of June, at the scenic location of the Water’s Edge. Watch them put their creative thoughts on canvass. Exhibition of their paintings will be at the J.D.A Perera Gallery from the 8th – 10th of June 2012. An event not to be missed. All are welcome

For more information contact the SAARC Cultural Centre – Tel : 0094 11 2584463 /