SAARC International Women’s Day 2018

In 2018, the SAARC Cultural Centre celebrated SAARC International Women’s Day, in collaboration with the Department of Cultural Affairs in Sri Lanka, on Thursday the 8th of March 2018, at the District Secretariat in Kalutara.  The International Women’s Day was celebrated in collaboration with the Department of Culture of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Wayamba Development and Cultural Affairs and the District Secretariat of Kalutara.

The Chief Guest was Ms. Yasoja Gunasekara, Senior Director General of the SAARC Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sri Lanka and the former Sri Lankan Ambassador to Bangladesh.  Mr. Munir Ghiasy, the Charge d’Affairs from the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Sri Lanka and Mr. Intisar Sulehri, the Press Attaché from the High Commission of Pakistan in Sri Lanka participated as Guests of Honour.  The celebration commenced with traditional Drummers and Dancers leading the Chief Guest and other dignitaries to the Auditorium which was followed by the lighting of the traditional oil lamp by all Honoured Guests and dignitaries, the Director and Professional Staff Members of the SAARC Cultural Centre.  The Welcome Speech was made by Mr. U.D.C. Jayalal, District Secretary for Kalutara and the Director of SAARC Cultural Centre, Mr. Wasanthe Kotuwella addressed the enthusiastic audience with warm wishes for the celebration of Women’s Day and Women.  The Chief Guest Ms. Yasoja Gunasekara, the Senior Director General of the SAARC Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sri Lanka encouraged the women to embrace their role as peacemakers and the corner stone of a society in her address.  The Vote of Thanks at the end of the Programme was presented by the Deputy Director for Programmes, Ms. Kishani Jayasinghe – Wijayasekara and concluded an enjoyable, informative and inspirational Programme.  The auditorium (650 seats) was filled to its capacity with women of all ages, careers and lifestyles from the area joining us to celebrate the SAARC International Women’s Day.

This year the International Women’s Day was celebrated through an aesthetic journey and appreciation of South Asian music.  The music was interspersed with educational and inspiring information on the changing roles of rural women and acknowledgement of their contributions to the national economy, building confidence and self-esteem of the women in society, creating awareness of the psychological factor that affect and influence women, to appreciate and acknowledge the beauty of women as depicted in poetry, songs, art and culture, to appreciate women as the corner stone of any society.

The theme of the International Women’s Day 2018 was “A Mother’s Song: An aesthetic journey through South Asia in search of the Rhythms of Love” and the programme was conducted by Mrs. Anusha Gokula Fernando, the Director of the Department of Cultural Affairs in Sri Lanka, with the accompaniment of live musicians illustrating her words.  The Programme consisted of an aesthetic exploration and appreciation of rhythm, music, tone, language, song and many aspects of South Asian music, especially formulated for the womenfolk of the Kalutara District.  The Programme further included identifying and understanding South Asian customs and the rhythms of daily life and circumstance, common to the Region.  Most importantly it served to encourage and enhance the enjoyment and appreciation of culture through the music and song of the South Asian Region. The Programme was based on an International Programme titled “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives.”