Film Schedule – SAARC Film Festival 2018

22 May 23 May 24 May 25 May 26 May 27 May

5.30pm

Inauguration

6.30pm

Aganthukaya*
Feature/ 90 mins/ Sri Lanka

10.00am

Serga Mathang
Feature/ 145 mins/ Bhutan

1.00 pm

Parchi*
Feature/ 137 mins/ Pakistan

4.00 pm

Gi
Short/ 30 mins/ India

5.00 pm

Khacha
Feature/ 110 mins/ Bangladesh

7.20 pm

Status
Short/ 8 mins/ Maldives

7.30 pm

4426
Feature/ 150 mins/ Maldives

9.30 am

Bithufangi
Short/ 28 mins/ Maldives

 

10.15 am

Hahdhu
Feature/ 132 mins/ Maldives

 

1.00 pm

Daag
Short/ 13 mins/ Bangladesh

 

1.15 pm

Janan
Feature/ 133 mins/ Pakistan

 

4.00 pm

28
Feature/ 90 mins/ Sri Lanka

 

6.00 pm

Kshitij
Feature/ 95 mins/ India

 

8.00 pm

Fire of life
Short/ 24 mins/ Sri Lanka

 

8.30 pm

Chain Aye Na*
Feature/ 110 mins/ Pakistan

9.00 – 11.00am

Masterclass

Role of a Producer and Co-production in South Asia

@ Sri Lanka Media Training Institute (SLMTI)
No 100A, Independence Sqr, Colombo 7.

11.30 am

Akhi & Her Friends*
Feature/ 114 mins/ Bangladesh

 

2.00 pm

Mata Nam Ahuna
Short/ 24 mins/ Sri Lanka

 

3.00 pm

Bisorjon*
Feature/ 130 mins/ India

 

5.30 pm

Hum Chewai Zamling
Feature/ 145 mins/ Bhutan

 

8.30 pm

Punjab Nahi Jaon Gi
Feature/ 159 mins/ Pakistan

10.00 am

Kalo Meghar Vela
Short/ 30 mins/ Bangladesh

 

10.45 am

Poorna
Feature/ 95 mins/ India

 

12.30 pm

Chalay Thay Sath*
Feature/ 120 mins/ Pakistan

 

3.30 pm

Halda
Feature/ 150 mins/ Bangladesh

 

6.30 pm

The Waterfall
Short/ 20 mins/ India

 

7.00 pm

Bahuchithawadiya
Feature/ 90 mins/ Sri Lanka

6.00pm

SAARC Film Festival 2018
Award Ceremony

 

7.00 pm

Screening of the Award
Winning Best Feature Film of the SAARC Film Festival 2018

* Non-competitive entries

Some of the films screened may contain adult content, parental guidance advised

Entrance Free

SAARC Film Festival 22nd – 27th May 2018

“Our one goal is to give the world a taste of peace, friendship and understanding through the visual arts, the art of the celebration of life” – Steven Spielberg

Background

Now in its 8th year, the SAARC Film Festival continues to be one of the most successful Programmes in the SAARC Cultural Centre calendar of activities.  Since the Inaugural SAARC Film Festival in 2011, the SAARC Member State of Sri Lanka has been host to this diverse celebration of life and the development and display of visual arts through the medium of film.

With every passing year, the SAARC Film Festival has built a reputation as being a very important platform and focal point for the congregation, celebration and enjoyment of some of the best films from the SAARC Region.  It has become an event inspiring much interest, respect and regard for the promotion and sharing of the common cultural heritage, norms and traditions of the South Asian Region, through film. Over time it has also gained a reputation for promoting and featuring some of the best films from the SAARC Region.  The SAARC Cultural Centre (SCC), in keeping with its mandate of promoting culture in the Region through varying types of art, will once again showcase films from South Asia as an expression of its culture at the 8th SAARC Film Festival 2018.  A special feature which distinguishes this Festival from others is that the SAARC Member States nominate creations and artistry which display and showcase the cinematic imagination of the SAARC Region, using the medium of Film.  A reputed panel of international judges select the best films and recognise the individuals who are at the very core of this creativity as a form of encouragement and respect to continue producing quality, thought provoking and representational films for the Region.

The SAARC Cultural Centre will continue this tradition of bringing wider recognition for South Asian films and in 2018, the SAARC Film Festival will take place in Sri Lanka.  It is an event unique to the Region and one that has caused interest and excitement amongst the people of South Asia since 2011.  The Centre is committed to developing the concept of “unity within diversity” and innovating through this very dynamic form of cultural exploration and to build it into a truly magnificent and international festival experience.  In 2018, the Festival will include a workshop with international experts from the world of film, with additional peripheral events that would enhance the experience of South Asian Cinema even further.  The message of tolerance and the power of film will be easily accessible with free entrance to all the events throughout the Festival.  Every Member State is given the opportunity to screen and showcase several of their best creations and form a vibrant collage and tapestry of meaningful films from the Region.

The SAARC Film Festival 2018 will focus on films first screened after May 2016, from all Member States, inviting the directors and artists of these films to partake in workshops conducted to encourage and improve future productions.

At the SAARC Film Festival 2018, we explore the world of Film and Cinema indigenous to the SAARC Region, along with the ever-growing enthusiasm and dedication we are privileged to receive from the host country of Sri Lanka.

Film Categories for Nominations

There will be three film categories open for nominations at the SAARC Film Festival 2018:
A.    Feature Films – Competitive Nominations
B.    Short Films – Competitive Nominations
C.    Master Films – Non-Competitive Nominations

Dates and Venue
22nd – 27th May 2018, including the following:
22nd May 2018 – Opening Ceremony
24th May 2018 – Film Workshop
27th May 2018 – SAARC Film Awards Ceremony 2018

Film Schedule 2018

Venue: The Cinema Hall, The National Film Corporation, Sri Lanka

SAARC Film Awards 2018

The following Awards will be presented at the end of the SAARC Film Festival, following selection by a panel of jury members from non-SAARC Member States, at the SAARC Film Awards 2018, which will take place on the 27th of May 2018. The decision of the panel will be final.

  • Best Feature Film
  • Best Short Film
  • Best Director
  • Best Screenplay
  • Best Actor
  • Best Actress
  • Best Cinematographer
  • Best Editor
  • Best Sound Designer
  • Best Original Score
  • Two Special Jury Awards

Registration Form for the Submission of Films

Please contact SAARC Cultural Centre if you require further information.

SAARC Research Grants 2018

Background
The Research Grants will provide an opportunity for the Member States to explore new research areas and sites along the Hindu Cultural Trails.  This will also act as a precursor to the Cultural Trails proposed for the future and lay the ground work in research to look at Cultural Trails as connected routes where ideas, information and knowledge travelled in all directions.

Objectives of the Research Grant

To encourage new research through the SAARC Research Grants (8 Research Grants, one for each Member State)

  • Research on identification of new sites, locations, trails, Tangible and Intangible Heritage associated with HCT.
  • To facilitate new research and new approaches to study the HCT as an integrated entity.
  • To study and analyse all different perspectives and areas which influenced the establishment, development and continuation of the Cultural Trails in the region.
  • To present innovative measures for the conservation and preservation of HCT locations.

Research Grant Overview  

The SAARC Cultural Centre invites Academics and Researchers from Member States to submit detailed Research Proposals (along with the detailed budget breakdown for US$ 1,000/=) for new and innovative short-term research projects on the Hindu Cultural Trails.  One research proposal will be selected from each Member State to be awarded the short-term research grant of US$ 1,000/=.  The selection of Research Proposals will be carried out by a Team of Experts selected by the SAARC Cultural Centre.  The first instalment of the grant (US$ 500/=) will be made at the commencement of the Research Project.  The final payment is subject to the review of the final presentation made to a Team of Experts via Video Conferencing and submission of the Final Research Paper.  Any suggestions / recommendations made by the SCC Team of Experts at this stage should be included in the research process by the respective researchers.

At the completion of the Research Project each Researcher will be required to submit a Research Report of Academic Research quality to be published in the “South Asian Cultural Trails” publication series of the SAARC Cultural Centre in 2019.  The Research Project is to be presented at a local or international forum within 1 year and to disseminate the knowledge gathered with the relevant stakeholders (Academic discussion, Tourism industry, sustainable development, etc.) and to send SCC the relevant documents with regard to the above dissemination of information.

Research Project Themes

  1. Identification of New Sites and Locations along the Hindu
  2. Cultural Trails.  Comparative Studies of Hindu Temples in different areas.
  3. Comparative Research and interpretation of Landscape values of Hindu Sites.
  4. Travels of Hindu Pilgrims
  5. Connectivity between Hindu Temples of different Countries and Regions.
  6. Hindu Cultural Trails (HCT) –
  7. Art and Architecture of HCT.
  8. Archaeology of HCT.
  9. Intangible Heritage of HCT (Music, dance, folk art, folk stories, traditional healing, handicrafts, etc.)
  10. Trade and Commerce of HCT (Aromatics, Spices, Exotic items, etc).
  11. Hindu Manuscripts, texts and inscriptions, languages and scripts of HCT.
  12. Technology of HCT (Irrigation, engineering, agriculture, etc.)
  13. Cultural Diffusion of HCT
  14. Heritage Management of HCT sites
  15. Tourism promotion of HCT

Eligibility

  1. Academics, Scholars and Researchers of the SAARC Member States.
  2. Academics, Scholars and Researchers who have received Research Grants from the SAARC Cultural Centre previously will not be eligible.

Application Process

  1. Format for the Application is attached herewith as Annexure 1 and available at the SAARC Cultural Centre website. (www.saarcculture.org)
  2. Each Member State can forward any number of Research Proposals for consideration.
  3. Research Proposals should be for an innovative and new research based on the themes mentioned above (No. 4 of this document) or on a new theme related to Hindu Cultural Trails.
  4. All sections of the application should be completed (Part A, B and C).  Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  5. Applications must be forwarded to the SAARC Secretariat in Kathmandu, Nepal through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Ministry of External Affairs of the Member State.
  6. An advance copy can be emailed to the SAARC Cultural Centre – scc@saarcculture.org with copy to dd-research@saarcculture.org
  7. All Research Proposals must reach the SAARC Cultural Centre by 30th June 2018.
  8. The Research Grant will be distributed in 2 instalments – The first instalment (US$ 500/=) at the commencement of the project and final instalment (US$ 500/=) after the submission of the Final Report.
  9. The final payment is subject to the review of the final presentation made to a Team of Experts via Video Conferencing and submission of the Final Research Paper. Any suggestions/recommendations made by the SCC Team of Experts at this stage should be included in the research process by the respective researchers.
  10. At the end of the Research Project each Researcher will be required to submit a research report of academic research quality.

Time Schedule

Deadline for Accepting Research Proposals: 30th May 2018
Approval for the Research Project: 31st July 2018
Commencement of the Project: 1st August 2018
Presentation of the Research to the Team of Experts: November 2018
Final Report: 15th December 2018

Hindu Cultural Trails: Celebration of a Timeless Tradition – Gods and Goddesses, Pilgrims and Prayers, Temples and Texts

Background

The 18th SAARC Summit held in November 2014 in Kathmandu approved the proposal “South Asian Cultural Trails” which commenced with the Research Seminar on Buddhist Cultural Trails in 2017.  The SAARC Seminar, Research Grant and Publications on Hindu Cultural Trails will be the second Seminar in the series of “South Asian Cultural Trails”.

The SAARC Region is bound together through the shared cultural traits which have evolved through the centuries.  Hinduism is the oldest surviving living religion in South Asia dating back to more than three millennium BCE.

Hinduism is one of the shared cultural characteristics in the region, with art and architecture portraying “unity within diversity” as seen in the evolving styles and the embracing of new characteristics through the ages.  This diversity was a result of interactions that took place along the trading routes criss-crossing east and west Asia, South and Central Asia, along with the exchange of merchandise, knowledge, concepts, designs, religions, technology and other sundry of objects and ideas were also exchanged.  Although the ancient trade routes have long been abandoned, the legacy of those who travelled these routes can be found in the disseminated knowledge, ideas, religions and the diffusion of culture which persists.  These routes can be aptly named “Cultural Trails”.

The “Cultural Trails” display the material culture (Tangible Heritage) of our ancestors, their beliefs and ideologies, their life and culture.  The Hindu Cultural Trails (HCT) will be the second in a series of research fora which aim at strengthening cultural ties in the region through a walk into the shared past of our ancestors, empowering us to work together as the custodians of a shared heritage.  This will be an opportunity for the SAARC countries to revive a dialogue about inherited space through time.  A dialogue which will address the issues of conserving and preserving the Cultural Trails on one hand and how we can utilize this space to understand of our past, to enhance our present and to be economically sustainable through tourism in the future.

Research on Hindu Cultural Trails for 2018 was approved by the Ninth Meeting of the Governing Board of the SAARC Cultural Centre held from 3rd to 4th October 2017 and at the Fifty Fourth Session of the Programming Committee held in Kathmandu from 12th to 13th December 2017.  The Research Seminar on Hindu Cultural Trails is planned as a Regional Forum of discussion for Academics and Policy Makers to identify and develop the cultural, social, economic, religious, connections of the region.

Research Seminar Information

  1. Themes for the Research Seminar
    The following themes have been identified for the Research Seminar.  However, papers based on different themes will be accepted depending on their content and relevance to the Hindu Cultural Trails.

    1. Hindu Cultural Trails – Tirtha Yatra, Shaktha Trails, Shaiva Trails and Vaishnava Trails (Refer to Annexure 1 for Details).
    2. Identification of New Sites and Locations along the Hindu Cultural Trails.
    3. Comparative Studies of Hindu Temples in different areas.
    4. Comparative Research and interpretation of Landscape values of Hindu Sites.
    5. Travels of Hindu Pilgrims.
    6. Connectivity between Hindu Temples of different Countries and Regions.
    7. Art and Architecture of HCT.
    8. Archaeology of HCT.
    9. Intangible Heritage of HCT (Music, dance, folk art, folk stories, traditional healing, handicrafts, etc.).
    10. Trade and Commerce of HCT.
    11. Manuscripts, texts and inscriptions, languages and scripts of Hinduism.
    12. Technology of HCT (Irrigation, engineering, agriculture, etc.)
    13. Cultural Diffusion of Hinduism.
    14. Heritage Management of HCT sites.
    15. Tourism promotion of HCT.

     

  2. Dates and Venues
    To be notified after confirmation from the Host Member State.
  3. Target Participants for the Research Seminar
    The Nominees for the Research Seminar may be selected from amongst diverse disciplines among Academics and Policy Makers.  Priority should be given to mid to senior level professionals involved in heritage management, policy makers and persons associated with the World Heritage Sites in the RegionAcademics and Scholars should include but not limited to:

    • Archaeologists,
    • Art Historians,
    • Conservators,
    • Curators,
    • Museologists,
    • Anthropologists,
    • Sociologists,
    • Heritage Site Managers,
    • Persons working with national and local authorities with experience in the fields of Conservation, Preservation,
    • Tangible and Intangible Heritage Experts,
    • Ancient Trade and Technology Experts and
    • Managers, planners and staff of heritage sites.

    Policy Makers should include Professionals but not limited to:

    • Ministries of Culture (Culture & Information, Cultural Affairs, etc.)
    • Ministries of Education (Education, Higher Education, etc.)
    • Ministries of Tourism (Tourism, Art and Culture, etc.)
    • Departments of Culture.
    • Departments of Archaeology, Archaeological Surveys, etc.
    • Departments of Museums.
    • Any other relevant Ministries, Departments, Organizations and Institutions.
  4. Details for Participation at the Research Seminar
    1. Officially Nominated Paper Presenters from the Member States
      The SAARC Cultural Centre invites all Member States to send a maximum of Five Official Nominations from experts and academics of their country.  The SCC hopes that at least one nominee would be from the Department of Archaeology of the Member State.

      • The SAARC Cultural Centre would provide the local hospitality (Hotel accommodations on full board basis) and the local transport to all Official Nominees of the SAARC Member States.
      • The Airfare of the Official Nominees of the SAARC Member States is to be borne by the respective Member State.
      • The Host Country can nominate a maximum of 15 Official Nominees and they will be provided with local hospitality.  All Official Nominees of the Host Member State will be invited to participate in the Cultural Tour.
      • All Official Nominees must present a paper at the Seminar.
    2. Other Paper Presenters
      Category A – The SAARC Cultural Centre would also accept the participation of other Experts from the Member States (other than the Official Nominees of the respective SAARC Member States).

      • Applications with abstracts should be sent through the respective Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Ministry of External Affairs to the SAARC Secretariat.
      • The selection of Other Participants (Category A) will be at the discretion of the SAARC Cultural Centre based on the availability of space and relevance of the abstract to the Seminar Themes.
      • Air Travel to be borne by the participant and SCC will provide accommodation, Seminar kit and the cultural tour.

      Category B – Paper Presenters from the Host Country (India) where the Seminar is held can participate.  (It is anticipated that Researchers, academics, etc., from the host city will present papers at the Seminar.)

      • Other Paper Presenters (Category B) from the Host country (India) will not be provided with travel and accommodation.
      • Other Paper Presenters (Category B) will be provided with the Seminar Kit and meals during the seminar.
    3. Other Information
      • The Language of the Seminar will be English.
      • The SAARC Cultural Centre reserves the right to select the Other Participants (in Category A and B) for the Seminar.
      • The Seminar facilities (delegate kit, tea, working lunch) as well as invitations to special events and the field trip would be extended to all paper presenters.
    4. Nomination Process
      The Official Nominees will be selected by each Member State comprising of leading academics, archaeologists and other experts from the Member State.  Official Nominations should be submitted to the SAARC Secretariat, with the Registration Form (Annexure 2) and the Format for the Submission of Country Papers / Abstracts (Annexure 3) attached (or downloaded from the SCC website) and the details requested below.All Other Participants (Category A) from each Member State should forward their information (including the Annexure 2 & Annexure 3) through the respective Foreign Ministries to the SAARC Secretariat in Kathmandu.  An advance copy can be emailed to scc@saarcculture.org or dd-research@saarcculture.org.The last date for sending the Official Nominations / Other Participants is 30th May 2018.All Participants should include:

      1. Full Name and Affiliation of the Person and other details requested in the Registration Form attached herewith. (Registration Form – Annexure 2)
      2. Detailed CV of the participant.
      3. Scanned copy of Passport / Scanned copy of National Identification from the Paper Presenters of the Host Member State of India.
      4. An Abstract (300 words) of the proposed paper.  The Abstract should be submitted in the Submission Form attached herewith.  (Format for the Submission of Abstracts – Annexure 3)
      5. The participants are requested to submit their full papers by 30th June 2018 and prepare a Powerpoint Presentation of 15 minutes maximum to be presented during the Research Seminar.
    5. Format for Submission of Abstracts
      The Format for the Submission Abstracts are attached as a separate document (Annexure 3).
    6. Time Schedule for the Seminar Paper Submissions
      Call for Papers: 12th March 2018
      Deadline for accepting Nominees & Participants: 30th May 2018
      Selection of Abstracts & informing participants: 10th June 2018
      Submission of full papers to be published before the seminar: 30th June 2018

      Seminar: To be notified after confirmation from the Host Member State.
      Cultural Tour: To be notified after confirmation from the Host Member State.


Contact Information

Bindu Urugodawatte,
Deputy Director – Research,
SAARC Cultural Centre,
224, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 07,
Sri Lanka.

Email: dd-research@saarcculture.org or binduling@gmail.com
Tel/Whatsapp: 0094-77-105-3007

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.”

SAARC Exhibition of Paintings

The SAARC Cultural Centre is the custodian of the paintings created by the Artists from the SAARC Region during the SAARC Artists Camp held annually in different locations.  The SCC will an exhibition showcasing these paintings to the public in Sri Lanka to understand the art and culture of the region through the eyes of artists.

International Women’s Day Celebrations

The SAARC Cultural Centre will be highlighting women and their remarkable journey, showcasing their unique talents, immense potential and generous spirit.

SAARC Literary Award and Ceremony 2018

Background
The Honoured Members of the 54th Programming Committee and the Governing Board Members of the 9th Governing Board Meeting of the SAARC Cultural Centre approved the presentation of the SAARC Literary Award 2018, which would bring attention to the Writers of South Asia within an International sphere.  The SAARC Literary Award commenced with a nomination from the Member State of Afghanistan in 2018 and as per SAARC practice, this will be followed in alphabetical order, by subsequent Awards to the Honoured Member States of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka,.

South Asia is known as the home of world’s best Epics, Stories and Poems which is an integral part of culture through the centuries.  The Region shares a common literary tradition that has developed through the centuries – through varied and scattered times and spaces.  Ranging from oral histories to epic poems, the South Asian poetry tradition and the written word offers a rich and pulsating experience of the unique aspects of South Asia.

The delight and influence of South Asian Literature 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 deserves to be appreciated and celebrated by giving due recognition to indigenous cultures and styles represented by the Region so as to celebrate unity within diversity and to preserve splendid South Asian expressions that are a fundamental part of the Region’s cultural ethos.

Within the period of the last two decades, we have witnessed South Asian writers, who have written in the English language, have won many prestigious literary awards celebrating their great contribution to the literary world.  The SAARC Literary Award will be giving Regional recognition and appreciation of the Region to the Writers of South Asia.

Winner of SAARC Literary Award
The Inaugural SAARC Literary Award 2018 was Awarded to Mr. Najibullah Manalai, nominated by the Honoured Member State of Afghanistan.  Mr. Manalai is a multilingual writer of poetry, of narrative fiction, a newspaper columnist, translator and political analyst.  He writes in Pashto, Dari (Farsi), French and English.  He is building bridges between Western Philosophy and Oriental Mysticism through translations of Western and Afghan literature.  During the last decade he has worked tirelessly to promote reading and books in Afghanistan.  He is the creator of the “Golden Reed Prize” in Afghanistan, given annually to a literary personality, highlighting the importance of literature and promoting other writers.

The SAARC Literary Award Ceremony 2018
The SAARC Literary Award 2018 was presented at the National Literary Awards held at the Galle Literary Festival which took place in the World Heritage City of Galle on 26th January 2018.  The Minister of Finance and Mass Media Hon. Mangala Samaraweera was the Chief Guest at this event.  Mr. Manalai was presented the inaugural SAARC Literary Award by the Minister of Finance and Mass Media Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, and the Director of the SAARC Cultural Centre Mr. Wasanthe Kotuwella.

SAARC Handicraft Exhibition and Workshop

The SAARC Handicraft Exhibition and Workshop will provide a suitable platform for the Exhibition of handmade treasures form the South Asian Region and to provide the creators of these valuable pieces of the Region’s Heritage, a forum for discussion, interaction and exchange of valuable tools and knowledge of the trade, within an atmosphere of friendship and Regional corporation.  The commitment of the SAARC Cultural Centre to promote and further shared South Asian culture through handicrafts has been consistent, comprehensive and well received.  Over the past few years, this Programme, which has been held in several SAARC Member States, has given craft persons in the Region the opportunity to exhibit their products, meet other artisans from the Region and discuss new trends and techniques within the industry.  SAARC Cultural Centre aims to rejuvenate the creation of local handicrafts and promote social regeneration and social cohesion through the Handicraft Industry.

The SAARC Handicraft Exhibition and Workshop will be held at the Shilpakala Academy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from 30th November 2017 to 3rd December 2017.  In addition to an Exhibition and the display of crafts, there will also be the additional aim of promoting the exchange of knowledge and technical expertise amongst its Artisans and to promote the development of new designs and products which are appropriate and attractive to the demands of the new world market.  Lying at crossroads between the arts, business and technology, the creative industries sector comprises a large variety of creative fields, from those heavily industrialised such as advertising and marketing, broadcasting, film industries etc, to those which are less so, like cultural industries. This sector is increasingly important for the benefit of the people of the Region, from the perspective of heritage preservation and economic terms, and the SAARC Cultural Centre is committed to assisting the Region to realise its full potential.  Development of creative cultural enterprises and creative industries, promoting cultural product development, creation of market opportunities, exchange of information and networking arrangements is in accordance with the underlying principal of encouraging better cultural understanding between the SAARC Member States.

Preliminary Meeting
A Preliminary Meeting was held on 28th November 2017 at the Shilapakala Academy chaired by Mr. Liaquat Ali Director General of the Shilpakala Academy with Mr. Wasanthe Kotuwella, Director of the SAARC Cultural Centre and Ms. Kishani Jayasinghe-Wijayasekara, Deputy Director Programmes at the SAARC Cultural Centre at the head table.

SAARC Cultural Festival on Traditional Dance

Culture within the South Asian Region is rich, diverse and is flavoured with a multitude of influences.  The very concept of art and culture, knows no boundaries and has the ability to transcend differences and unite nations and people.  Few entities are as powerful as the universally accepted mechanism of building bridges and fostering understanding through the arts of cultures.  There are few experiences in life that could measure the joy, understanding and acceptance of bearing witness to the glorious spectacles and varied and wonderful displays of Culture.  Cultural Festivals also have the ability to bring together individuals and nations with the mutual interest of exchanging art.  Witnessing and being party to such cultural exchanges is one of the most powerful ways in which to experience culture, inherent traditions, people and their lifestyles and above all, to promote cultural development and Regional corporation.  The Festival will celebrate the diversity of cultural dance across the Region, recognising ethnicities and the artistic talents and unique abilities of the people of the SAARC Region.

The SAARC Cultural Festival on Traditional Dance will be held at the Shilpakala Academy in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 30th November 2017 to 3rd December 2017.  The Festival would commence with an Opening Parade with Dancers from all the participating Member States joining the occasion followed by an Opening Performance by all participating Member States.  There will be similar performances by all participants at different venues in the vicinity so that more people will have an opportunity to witness and experience the rich cultural dance traditions of the Region.  An Interactive Workshop is also organized during this period dedicated to Dance and all things related to Dances.  On 3rd December 2017 there will be a performance by all Dancers of the participating Member States.

Preliminary Meeting
A Preliminary Meeting was held on 28th November 2017 at the Shilapakala Academy chaired by Mr. Liaquat Ali Director General of the Shilpakala Academy with Mr. Wasanthe Kotuwella, Director of the SAARC Cultural Centre and Ms. Kishani Jayasinghe-Wijayasekara, Deputy Director Programmes at the SAARC Cultural Centre at the head table.