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.

The SAARC Film Festival 2017

The SAARC Film Festival was successfully concluded with the SAARC Film Awards at the National Film Corporation Cinema Hall on 25th November 2017.  Mrs. Rosy Senananayake, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Hon. Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, former High Commissioner to Malaysia, former Parliamentarian and State Minister of Child Development and Media figure graced the occasion as the Guest of Honour.  Film Artists of Sri Lanka from all walk of the Film Industry came to support the fellow artists of the SAARC Region and it was a gathering of luminaries and film enthusiasts.
A Panel of impartial Jury Members – Dr. Anne Demy-Geroe of Australia, Dr. Antonio Costa Valente of Portugal and Mr. Amir Masoud Soheili of Iran made the selections.  The SAARC Film Awards 2017 are as follows:

SPECIAL JURY AWARD
For a highly accessible representation of the important themes not only of colour but of women’s perceptions of body image
PINKY BEAUTY PARLOUR – INDIA

SPECIAL JURY AWARD – SPECIAL MENTION
For a brave debut feature about a controversial subject in a conservative society
FRANGIPANI – SRI LANKA

BEST SOUND DESIGNER
For the skilful interplay between the sound and the vision in a film full of many characters and crowded locations
RAKSHIT THANTRI (PINKY BEAUTY PARLOUR) – INDIA

BEST EDITOR
For its role in supporting the director with smooth storytelling and focusing on the main characters in a film shot in limited locations and over a short period of time
BHUPENDRA ADHIKARI (DYING CANDLE) – NEPAL

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
For very effectively creating ambiance, using only existing light
AHMAD ZIA ARASH (THE BIRD WAS NOT A BIRD) – AFGHANISTAN

SPECIAL JURY AWARD SPECIAL MENTION
For the effective use of a range of cinematographic styles appropriate to the changes in mood
SWAPNIL SONAWANE (TANDAAV) – INDIA

BEST SCREENPLAY
For creating a very humanistic and coherent story combining a strong range of characters and complex interplay of moods
TAUQUIR AHAMED (OGGATONAMA) – BANGLADESH

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
For its restrained use of traditional music to underscore the narrative
JASON KUNWAR (BLACK HEN) – NEPAL

BEST ACTOR
For the delicate ensemble performances of the 3 actors to convey an in-depth portrait of a marginalised group
DASUNA PATHIALANA, JEHAN APPUHAMI & BHOOMI HARENDRAN (FRANGIPANI) – SRI LANKA

BEST ACTRESS
For a highly credible performance that maintained the character’s deception until the final reveal for both the other characters and the audience
AISHATH RISHMY (VISHKA) – MALDIVES

BEST SHORT FILM
For a subtle portrayal of poverty that used metaphor to discuss the issue of education in Afghanistan
THE WATER – AFGHANISTAN

BEST DIRECTOR
For the creative bridging of script and film in handling a broad range character types
ASOKA HANDAGAMA (LET HER CRY) – SRI LANKA

BEST FILM OPEN
For its delicate depiction of political and social issues of a particular historical era through the eyes of a young untouchable boy
BLACK HEN – NEPAL

BEST FEATURE FILM
For its originality and the overall excellent execution of a complex narrative
LET HER CRY – SRI LANKA

SAARC Film Festival 2017

A Powerful and Unique Experience in Cultural Diversity

Dates: 21st to 25th November 2017
Venue:  National Film Corporation Cinema Hall, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 07, Sri Lanka.
Entrance:  Free

Since its inception in 2011, the SAARC Film Festival has been held in Sri Lanka, and with every year, it has 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 different modes of art, will once again showcase films from the Region as expressions of culture at its forthcoming SAARC Film Festival.  The SAARC Member States will nominate some of their art work which showcases the cinematic imagination of the SAARC Region, using the medium of Film.  A reputed panel of international judges select the best films, and several awards are presented as an incentive to continue producing quality, thought provoking and representational films for the Region.

This is an event unique to the Region and one that has caused interest and excitement amongst the people of South Asia since 2011.  We now want to take it to the world, through the portal of South Asia and build it into a truly magnificent and international festival experience.  The message of tolerance and the power of film is easily experienced through the screen with every Member State given the opportunity to screen and showcase some of their best creations and form a vibrant collage and tapestry of meaningful films from the Region.  The Film Festival will focus on films first screened after 2015, from all Member States, inviting Directors of these movies to partake in workshops conducted to encourage and improve future productions.

We warmly invite you to join us as we explore the world of Film and Cinema indigenous to the SAARC Region.  Most importantly, be present as we showcase a very special part of culture and art within our varying and wonderfully diverse Member States.  We warmly invite you to join us, as we resume our journey in 2017 to bring South Asian Film to the forefront of the International Film World.

SAARC Film Festival Awards

The following Awards will be presented, following selection by an International Panel of Judges at the end of the Film Festival.  The decision of the Judges will be Final.

  1. Award for the Best Feature Film
  2. Award for the Best Short Film
  3. Award for the Best Director
  4. Award for the Best Actor
  5. Award for the Best Actress
  6. Award for the Best Cinematographer
  7. Award for the Best Editor
  8. Award for the Best Screenplay
  9. Award for the Best Sound Designer
  10. Award for the Best Original Score
  11. Award for the Best Film – Open Category
  12. Special Jury Award

SAARC Film Festival Catalogue
brochure

 

SAARC Cultural Extravaganza

Culture within the South Asian Region is extremely diverse and is formed of many different types of artistry. Music, dance, art, film, literature, poetry etc are a few examples of the wonderfully dynamic ways within which a country and indeed an entire Region could share their unique and colourful cultural heritage. On this occasion, we hope to focus on the unifying and incredibly varied form of culture, Music.

VENUE
The SAARC Cultural Extravaganza will be held in the Member State of Pakistan and the dates will be announced shortly.  This Programme will take place over the course of four days in 2017.

ELEMENTS OF THE PROGRAMME
There will be an opportunity to showcase and share a variety of Musical genres from the Region, with performances, interactive workshops and fellowship opportunities for the Musicians.

We hope to include the following elements in the Cultural Extravaganza, subject to confirmation from the Host Member State of Pakistan:

  1. Opening Ceremony and Inaugural Performance of traditional music: The Opening Ceremony of the Extravaganza will include a performance featuring all the musical artists from the participating Member States.  It will showcase the musical talents of the Region, and display the diverse traditional cultural musical identity of each Member State. Musicians are requested to be in traditional attire wherever possible, so there will be an additional element of visual diversity as well.
  2. Additional performance: We hope to arrange an additional performance for the Musicians which will give the musicians to further showcase a different genre of music, giving them the opportunity to display their versatility as musicians
  3. Interactive Workshop – There will be an interactive workshop facilitated by a professional musician, which will encourage participating musicians to share the unique aspects of their traditional music. It will include discussions about the importance of musical education and its importance in the Region. It will also consider other varied forms of music such as popular, film, folk music etc. The Interactive Workshop will be open to all artists, teachers and students.
  4. Session for creativity and fellowship: We hope to include a very unique combined performance by all the participating Member States for the Closing Ceremony. This would give all Musicians an opportunity to interact and create something they enjoy and which is unique. Through it, strengthen the relationship between the musicians from the participating Member States. We will schedule adequate rehearsal time during which we hope the participating musicians may be able to prepare a joint musical item for the Closing Ceremony
  5. Closing Ceremony: The highlight of the Closing Ceremony will be the jointly produced piece of music, which will have been prepared by the participating Member States.

PARTICIPATION

  1. All Member States are invited to nominate a maximum of 5 musicians each to participate in the Programme. The Host Member State of Pakistan, is invited to nominate a maximum of 10 participants to attend the Programme.
  2. Nominated artists should have excelled in their field of music and the use of traditional instruments is encouraged.
  3. The artists should be prepared to present up to a minimum of 3 musical items for the duration of the Extravaganza, between approximately 6-8 mins duration each. One item should include traditional music.
  4. Musicians will be required to bring their musical instruments with them.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE
If you are a part of, or know of, a team of up to 5 musicians who would benefit from this opportunity, please contact the relevant line Ministry relating to Culture and SAARC Activities in your Country regarding an official nomination.

Airfare is generally provided by the nominating Member State and all accommodation, hospitality and transfers in Pakistan, will be provided by the SAARC Cultural Centre for all Officially Nominated Participants.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE

  1. Names of the nominated artists, together with the relevant details, need to be sent through the relevant Ministry concerned, via the Foreign/External Affairs Ministries in the respective Member States, to the SAARC Secretariat.
  2. A biography, photograph and contact details of each Nominated Musician from each participating Member State, should be sent directly – via email – to:
    The Deputy Director – Programmes, The SAARC Cultural Centre:
    Email: dd-programme@saarcculture.org

    With a copy to:
    The Documentation Officer, The SAARC Cultural Centre:
    Email: documentation@saarcculture.org

This material will be edited as appropriate by the SAARC Cultural Centre, and will be included in the Brochure prepared for the Programme.

The details of the Musicians as stated above should reach the SAARC Cultural Centre at the earliest convenience. 

SAARC Non-Violence Day

Art Competition for Children promoting Non-Violence
Conducted by the SAARC Cultural Centre

The SAARC Cultural Centre endeavours to promote the concept of non-violence amongst children across the Island, by conducting an Art Competition, based on the theme of love and kindness in honour of SAARC Non-Violence Day 2017. The Centre aims to create awareness on the need to inspire peace, tolerance, non-discrimination, co-existence and respect for people.

The Competition is open to all children in two age groups (Age as of 31st December 2017), using the following themes:

  1. Junior Category: 10 – 13 years: “Non-Violence is goodwill towards all life”-Mahatma Gandhi
  2. Senior Category:14 – 18 years: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”- Mahatma Gandhi

All paintings should be submitted in the following format

  1. Size: Standard A3
  2. Medium: Water Colours, Crayons, Acrylic, Oil

All paintings should be accompanied with the following information:

  1. Name in Full
  2. Age and Date of Birth
  3. Name of School
  4. Paintings should be certified by the Principal, Art Teacher, or the Class Teacher.

DEADLINE – Completed Paintings, with the above-mentioned information, must reach the SAARC Cultural Centre on or before the 20th of November 2017. Late entries will not be accepted.

The winners in each Category will be awarded a Certificate and Cash Prizes as follows:

  • 1st Prize     LKR. 20,000/=
  • 2nd Prize     LKR. 12,000/=
  • 3rd Prize     LKR.   8,000/=

The School that sends in the most number of entries will receive a Certificate of Recognition
The Award Ceremony will be held on SAARC Charter Day (8th Dec 2017)

Entries must be sent (By Registered Post or Delivered By Hand) to:
The Documentation Officer,
The SAARC Cultural Centre, No. 224, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7.

For further clarification please contact 0771053008 / 0112584451

SAARC Research Grants

Call for Research Proposals for Short-Term Research Grants for further Research on Buddhist Cultural Trails

BACKGROUND

The SAARC Research Seminar on Buddhist Cultural Trails: Journey Through Time and Space, of Merchants, Monks and Pilgrims was held successfully in August 2017 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.  The Research Grants will provide an opportunity for the Academics, Scholars, Researcher, etc., from the Member States to explore new research areas and sites along the Buddhist 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 both ways.

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 BCT.
  • To facilitate new research and new approaches to study the BCT 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 BCT 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 Buddhist 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 2018.  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 THEMES

The following themes based on discussions and ideas submitted during the Research Seminar on Buddhist Cultural Trails held in Colombo, Sri Lanka in August 2017.  The Research Proposal can be based on the themes provided below but need not be limited to these themes only.

  • Identification of New Sites and Locations along the Buddhist Cultural Trails.
  • Comparative Studies of Buddhist Monasteries in different areas.
  • Comparative Research and interpretation of Landscape values of Buddhist Sites.
  • Travels of Buddhist Monks and Pilgrims.  (Ariyadeva, Buddhaghosa, etc.)
  • Connectivity between Buddhist Monasteries of different Countries and Regions.
  • Buddhist Cultural Trails (BCT) – The paths of the Buddha, Sites of Relics of Buddha, the way of Arahat Mahinda, the path of Theri Sanghamitta, the Fa Xian (Fa Hsien) Route, the Xuanzang (Hsuan Tsang) Route, the Cave Caravan Routes of the Western Ghats, the pilgrimage route of King Nissankamalla to Sri Pada (Sacred Footprint), Sixteen sacred places of Sri Lanka, Footsteps of Guru Rimpoche, Buddhist Cultural Trails in Maldives, Buddhist Cultural Trails in Bangladesh, Traditional Centres of learning, New Buddhist Cultural Trails for Tourism promotion and pilgrims, Buddhist Manuscript Trails, etc.
  • Art and Architecture of BCT.
  • Archaeology of BCT.
  • Intangible Heritage of BCT (Music, dance, folk art, folk stories, traditional healing, handicrafts, etc.)
  • Trade and Commerce of BCT (Aromatics, Spices, Exotic items, etc).
  • Buddhist Manuscripts, texts and inscriptions, languages and scripts (Gandhari, Prakrit, Sanskrit, etc., languages and Brahmi, Kharosthi, Greek Bactrian, etc. scripts) of BCT.
  • Technology of BCT (Irrigation, engineering, agriculture, etc.)
  • Cultural Diffusion of BCT
  • Heritage Management of BCT sites
  • Tourism promotion of BCT

ELIGIBILITY

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

APPLICATION PROCESS

  • Format for the Application is attached herewith.
  • Each Member State can forward any number of Research Proposals for consideration.
  • 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 Buddhist Cultural Trails.
  • All sections of the application should be completed (Part A, B and C).  Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • 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.
  • An advance copy can be emailed to the SAARC Cultural Centre – scc@saarcculture.org with copy to dd-research@saarcculture.org
  • All Research Proposals must reach the SAARC Cultural Centre by 10th November 2017.
  • 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.
  • 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 end of the Research Project each Researcher will be required to submit a research report of academic research quality.

TIME SCHEDULE

  1. Deadline for Accepting Research Proposals                  10th November 2017
  2. Approval for the Research Project                                  25th November 2017
  3. Commencement of the Project                                        10th December 2017
  4. Presentation of the Research to the Team of Experts     February 2018 (Dates TBA)
  5. Final Report                                                                    1st March 2018

CONTACT INFORMATION

Bindu Urugodawatte
Deputy Director – Research, SAARC Cultural Centre.
Email: dd-research@saarcculture.org or binduling@gmail.com
Tel/Whatsapp: 0094-77-105-3007

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SAARC Research Seminar on Buddhist Cultural Trails: Journey Through Time and Space, of Merchants, Monks and Pilgrims

The two-day Research Seminar organized by the SAARC Cultural Centre on “Buddhist Cultural Trails: Journey through Time and Space, of Merchants, Monks and Pilgrims” was held at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) from 26th to 27th August 2017.  The Seminar was the first Seminar on “South Asian Cultural Trails” which aims to strengthen cultural ties in the region through a walk into the shared past of our ancestors.  In this endeavour, the various perspectives of the socio-cultural, tangible and intangible connectivity established through the popularity and the dissemination of Buddhism during history across several centuries were explored.  Officially nominated participants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka presented 38 papers at the research seminar.

Inauguration
The inauguration was held at the BMICH amidst a distinguished gathering including Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic Religious representatives of Sri Lanka.  Mrs. Rajashree Behera, Director of the Indian Cultural Centre on behalf of the H.E. the High Commissioner of India, Mr. Intisar Ahmed Sulhery on behalf of the H.E. the High Commissioner of Pakistan, Mr. M.A.K. Girihagama, Director General of South Asia and SAARC Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sri Lanka represented the Member States.  Mr. Dwatmaji Hanomanresi, Counsellor for Socio and Cultural Affairs represented H.E. the Ambassador of Indonesia at this august gathering.  Academics from University of Colombo, University of Sri Jayawardenapura, University of Peradeniya, Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka and other scholars were also present.

Mr. J, Dadallage, Consultant Public Relations to the Hon. Prime Minister of Sri Lanka ably represented our Chief Guest Mr. E.M.S.B. Ekanayake, Secretary to the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka who was unable to join us due to his responsibilities.  Mr. Dadallage emphasised the importance of multi-disciplinary research seminars and promotion of tourism through the “South Asian Cultural Trails”.

The Welcome address was delivered by Mr. Wasanthe Kotuwella, Director, SAARC Cultural Centre and the Keynote Speaker was introduced by Ms. Bindu Urugodawatte, Deputy Director Research of the SAARC Cultural Centre.  Professor Nimal De Silva, Emeritus Professor of Architecture, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, delivered the Keynote Address on “Kalpawruksha The Celestial Tree in Asian Art and Architecture”.  The keynote provided a wonderful beginning to Research Seminar by discussing the shared heritage of South Asia.  Prof. Nimal De Silva through his keynote was able to intellectually stimulate the audience by combining tangible heritage and intangible heritage using a multi-disciplinary approach.  The inauguration was concluded with Dr. Lopamudra Maitra Bajpai giving the Vote of Thanks.

Academic Sessions
Seven multi-disciplinary academic sessions covering a vast range of subjects from Archaeology, Geoarchaeology, Art History, History, Tangible Heritage, Intangible Heritage, Museum Objects, Photo Documentation and new research on Buddhist Cultural Trails was presented and followed by very lively academic discussions.  The Sessions were as follows:
1.    The Paths of the Buddha – Chair: Prof. Nimal De Silva

  • Buddhism and Megalithism by Prof. Prathapachandran S. Panicker.
  • Ancient Buddhist Cultural Trails in Bangladesh by Mr. Md. Altaf Hossain.
  • Monks, Monuments and Mobility: The Buddhist Monastic Sites as Place Across Time in Central India by Dr. L. Lamminthang Simte.
  • Kanheri: The Spartan Caves with the Reflections of Cultural and Economic Trails in Western India by Prof. Avkash Jadhav.
  • Monks, Merchants and Pilgrims: Their Message for Asian Century by Dr. Susantha Goonatilake.

2.    Relics of the Buddha – Chair: Dr. Shivakant Bajpai

  • Relic Worship: Ruwanweli Stupa as the most Sacred Place of Worship for the Buddhists in the World by Mr. Prasanna B. Ratnayake.
  • An Overview of Buddhist Tangible Heritage Sites (Archaeological & Historical): A Study on Bangladesh Perspectives by Prof. Biman Chandra Barua.
  • Archaeological Sites of the Greater Lumbini Area in Relation to Buddhist Circuit by Ms. Mandakini Shrestha and Ms. Sabita Neupane.
  • Geoarchaeological Study of Stone Structures in the Temple of Tooth Relic Premises in Kandy Sri Lanka by Mr. Dilan Chathuranga Ranaweera.

3.    Buddhist Art & Architecture – Chair: Mr. Prasanna B. Ratnayake

  • Aurangabad Caves: A Lesser Known Buddhist Cave Temples in Maharashtra by Dr. Shivakant Bajpai.
  • Mahastangarh: A Buddhist Cultural Trail for Religious Tourism by Ms. Surayya Akhtar Jahan.
  • Mes Aynak: Recent Archaeological Excavations Along the Silk Route by Mr. Noor Agha Noori.
  • A Distribution of Anuradhapura Period Buddhist Monasteries in Mullaitivu and Mannar Districts in Northern Sri Lanka: A Study Using Geo Informatic Tools by Ms. Vasana Premachandra, Mr. M.V.G. Kalpa Asanga and Ms. P.M.R. Priyadarshani.
  • Buddhist Sites in Telangana State by Dr. Narsinga Rao Deekonda.
  • Early Buddhist Stone Meditation Furniture in Sri Lanka: Stone Beds and Brick Seats from Meditation Monasteries by Dr. Ayesha Abdur-Rahman.

4.    Merchants, Monks and Pilgrims – Chair: Prof. Biman Chandra Barua

  • Re-Reading Fa Xian: A Review of the Account on Ceylon with Reference to Contemporary Data by Mr. Dhammika Priyantha Chandrasekara.
  • Pilgrim Route from Sri Lanka’s North-Eastern Seaboard to Samanta Kuta (the Sacred Foot Print): Potential Outstanding Universal Value for UNESCO World Heritage Listing by Dr. Nilan Cooray.
  • An Identification of the Itinerary of the Ibn Battuta’s Pilgrimage to Adam’s Peak or Sri Pada Mountain in Sri Lanka by Prof. Anura Manatunga.
  • An Exploration of Facts of Buddhist Cultural Bond Between Sri Lanka and Myanmar During the Medieval Period by Dr. S.M. Haldhar.
  • Nibbana Scene: Depicted in Stone Sculptures of Madhya Desa and Myanmar (2nd century CE to 12th century CE) by Prof. Vinay Kumar Rao.
  • Assessment of Cultural Heritage in Mantota Rajamaha Viharaya, Mannar using an Intelligent System by Mr. D.S. Kalana Mendis.

5.    Nuns and Artefacts – Chair: Dr. Nilan Cooray

  • In the Footsteps of Their Sanghamitta: A Gendered Survey of Buddhist Sites in India and Sri Lanka by Dr. Garima Kaushik.
  • Sri Lankan Women Travellers as Buddhist Trailblazers by Dr. Hema Goonatilake.
  • Masterpieces of Buddha Sculptures in Meditation in the Bangladesh National Museum by Mr. Shawkat Nabi.
  • Buddhist Artefacts in the Collection of the Colombo National Museum by Mr. Ranjith Hewage.
  • Some Glimpse of Buddhist Stone and Bronze Sculptures in the Collection of National Museum in Nepal by Ms. Mandakini Shrestha.
  • A New Approach to Documenting Ancient Paintings by Ms. K. Sumedha Kumari, Mr. Arjuna Samaraweera, Ms. R. Nishanthi Ranasinghe, Mr. Palitha Herath, Mr. I.P.S. Nishantha, Mr. Mahesh Gurumetiya and Mr. Lasantha Athukorala.

6.    Heritage Management & Tourism – Chair: Ms. Mandakini Shrestha

  • Trail of Guru to Central Bhutan by Ms. Tshering Choki.
  • Amaravathi Buddhist Heritage Town: Rehabilitation under the HRISAY and PRASAD Schemes of the Government of India by Prof. Amareswar Galla.
  • Heritage Tourism: ‘Packaging’ History and Places in the Central Indian Buddhist Pilgrimage Circuit by Dr. Prerana Srimaal.
  • A Proposal for the Promotion of Cultural Tourism in Sri Lanka: Ancient Buddhist Monastic Site at Telulla by Ms. Wasana Sirimalwatte.
  • Whether the Brahmi Script was brought to Sri Lanka with Buddhism? by Mr. Prasad Fonseka.
  • Fragmentary Dharani Scriptures: An Untold Story about Buddhism in Sri Lanka by Mr. Bertram G. Liyanage.

7.    Tangible and Intangible Heritage – Chair: Mr. Noor Agha Noori

  • Buddhist Monastic Hospitals in South Asia in the Historic Period with Special Reference to Sri Lanka by Ven. Wetara Mahinda.
  • Traditional Healing System of Lepcha Community of North Sikkim with Special Reference to Dzongu Reserve Area by Mr. Worrel Kumar Bain.
  • Reconstructing Aromatic and Medicinal Practices Along the Silk Road: As Recounted and Evidenced from the Dunhuang Manuscripts by Dr. Jyoti Marwah.
  • Yantra and Mantra in Sri Lankan Theravada Buddhism by Dr. Wimal Hewamanage.
  • Buddhist System of Education and its Relevance in Remodelling the Present-Day Ailing Education System by Dr. Neelima Dahiya.

Cultural Tour
On 28th August, the participants joined a Cultural Tour to the Arankele Meditation Monastery and Dambulla World Heritage Monastery.  The Cultural Tour provided an opportunity for participants to discuss the different ideas on tangible and intangible heritage as well as practical heritage management issues.  During the Cultural Tour, the lively and stimulating discussions which commenced during the Seminar continued in a much more relaxed atmosphere.  The two Buddhist Monasteries and discussions at the sites highlighted the shared cultural heritage and the slight differences within the region exemplifying the “Unity within Diversity” theme of the SAARC Cultural Centre.

The discussions were not all academic nor limited to Buddhist Cultural Trails but expanded to environment, food, habits, conservation, heritage management and even clothes and fashion.  The relaxed atmosphere helped to create closer links and understanding among the participants and possible future collaborations were also discussed.

The discussions and ideas shared and acknowledge during the Seminar and the contacts established among scholars and academics will carry the torch of Buddhist Cultural Trails to the future.

 

SAARC Exhibition of Paintings

The SAARC Cultural Centre held the SAARC Exhibition of Paintings 2017 in collaboration with the “Saundaryabhimani Festival” conducted by the University of the Visual and Performing Arts in Colombo over a period of one week, from 3rd July 2017 to 9th July 2017 at the University Premises. There was a vast array of paintings by participants of the SAARC Artists Camps over the years, displayed at the Exhibition. The Centre was honoured by the presence of several representatives from the High Commissions and Embassies of the honoured SAARC Member States and other distinguished guests at the Inauguration ceremony which included opening the Exhibition with ceremonial Sri Lankan drummers and dancers. This was followed by a spectacular cultural display exhibiting a combination of music and dancing, infusing eastern and western traditions of modern day culture, which took place at the newly inaugurated Lionel Edirisinghe Rostrum.

SAARC Film Festival 2017

Since its inception in 2011, the SAARC Film Festival has been held in Sri Lanka, and with every year, has 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 different modes of art, will once again showcase films from the Region as expressions of culture at its forthcoming SAARC Film Festival.  This Film Festival is different from other Film Festivals, as the SAARC Member States nominate some of their art work which showcases the cinematic imagination of the SAARC Region, using the medium of Film.  A reputed panel of international judges select the best films, and several awards are presented as an incentive to continue producing quality, thought provoking and representational films for the Region.

It is an event unique to the Region and one that has caused interest and excitement amongst the people of South Asia since 2011. We now want to take it to the world, through the portal of South Asia specifically, and build it into a truly magnificent and international festival experience.  This year in 2017, the Festival hopes to expand further, with workshops and parallel events that would enhance South Asian Cinema even more. The message of tolerance and the power of film is easily experienced through the screen with every Member State given the opportunity to screen and showcase some of their best creations and form a vibrant collage and tapestry of meaningful films from the Region. The Film Festival will focus on films first screened after May 2015, from all Member States, inviting directors of these movies to partake in workshops conducted to encourage and improve future productions.

We warmly invite you to join us as we explore the world of Film and Cinema indigenous to the SAARC Region.  Please send in your nominations and benefit from the exposure this magnificent event will bring to the industry, artists, vision and creativity of the directors and movie makers of each valued Member State. Most importantly, be present as we showcase a very special part of culture and art within our varying and wonderfully diverse Member States.