SAARC International Conference on Development of Archives in South Asia: ‘The Future of Archives and Archives of the Future’ Concludes Successfully
SAARC Cultural Centre is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the SAARC International Conference on Development of Archives in South Asia: ‘The Future of Archives and Archives of the Future’ and its associated activity, An Exhibition of Historical Documents and Archival Photographs.
The Conference, which had paper reading sessions and round table discussions, was held from 3-5 December 2013 at the Department of National Archives, No. 7, Philip Gunawardena Mawatha, Colombo 7, Sri Lanka. It was attended by over 100 participants, from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the USA and the UK.
The conference was convened with a view to providing a platform to the key stakeholders in the field of archives and records management in the region to assess their preparedness, share their challenges and problems, showcase their achievements, voice their concerns and learn from the experts for effectively managing their existing and future collections over the long-term.
Inaugural Session Click here for picture
The conference was inaugurated by Hon. Dr. Jagath Balasuriya, Minister of National Heritage, Government of Sri Lanka. The Welcome Address was delivered by Mr. G. L. W. Samarasinghe, Director, SAARC Cultural Centre. Mr. G.P.S.H. de Silva, Former Director, Department of National Archives, Sri Lanka delivered the Keynote Address while Ms. Soundarie David Rodrigo, Deputy Director-Programme, SAARC Cultural Centre proposed the Vote of Thanks.
A total of sixteen research papers were presented in seven academic sessions spread over three days (3-5 December 2013). The sessions were along the following themes:
- Introductory Session (1 Session),
- Country Reports (3 Sessions),
- Digital Preservation of Conventional Archives: Democratising and Privileging (1 Session),
- Future of the Conventional Archives (including paper, film and sound) in Digital Age (1 Session), and
- Digital Archives: Emerging Trends (1 Session)
Two Round Tables on ‘Managing Digital Records: Rhetoric vis-à-vis Practice’ and ‘Access to Archives in Information Age: Risks and Responsibilities, User Management, and Right to Privacy’ were held and were led by Dr. James Nye (Digital South Asia Library, USA) and Ms. Geetanjali Ranawaka (National Intellectual Property Office, Sri Lanka) respectively.
The Plenary Session Click here for picture
At the conclusion of the Academic Sessions, a Plenary Session was held on 5 December 2013 as a closed-door event with the participation of all Resource Persons and Chair Persons of the Academic Sessions. It was jointly chaired by Dr. Sanjay Garg (Deputy Director-Research, SAARC Cultural Centre and Convener of the Conference) and Dr. C. Saroja Wettasinghe (Director, Department of National Archives, Sri Lanka and Co-Convener of the Conference). The Plenary Committee perused all the Feedback forms received from the participants of the Conference and summarised the main suggestions emerging out of the deliberations and prepared a document laying out a road-map in the form of recommendations for the SAARC Member States. The recommendations will be forwarded to all SAARC Member States.
Valedictory Session Click here for pictures
The Valedictory Session of the conference was held on 5 December 2013 at the auditorium, Department of National Archives, Sri Lanka and was attended by the participants of the conference. Mr. G.L.W. Samarasinghe, Director, SAARC Cultural Centre distributed certificates and mementos to all participants and Special Invitees of the Conference. A Cultural Show and Farewell Dinner was hosted by the Director, SAARC Cultural Centre at Ape Gama, Battaramulla.
Post-Conference Tour Click here for the pictures
A full day post-conference tour was organized for the participants of the conference to Galle on 6 December 2013.
Galle is the Southern capital of Sri Lanka and is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is blessed with natural beauty that has found expression in the form of a magnificent coastal belt expanding from Hikkaduwa to Unawatuna and also houses colonial remnants such as the world famous Galle Fort and the St. Mary’s Cathedral.
Commencing the day’s activities, participants visited the Maritime Archaeology Museum and Maritime Museum. They were served morning tea at the Maritime Museum. This was followed by a visit to the Galle National Museum, Martin Wickramasinghe Folklore Museum and a visit to Koggala beach. The Martin Wickramasinghe Trust generously hosted the lunch for the delegates.
A Special Interactive Session was arranged with Hon. Kumari Balasooriya, Governor, Southern Province, in an informal setting at the Governor’s Residence. This was followed by a visit to the historical Galle Fort. The transport for the post-conference tour was facilitated by the Travel Partner of the conference: Aitken Spence Travels (Pvt.) Ltd.
Associated Activity- The Archives and the SAARC: An Exhibition of Historical Documents and Archival Photographs
As an associated activity of the conference, an Exhibition of digital prints of historical documents and photographs of archival value in South Asia was mounted at the Conference venue and was inaugurated by Hon. Dr. Jagath Balasuriya, Minister of National Heritage, Government of Sri Lanka and the chief guest of the event. The exhibition will be on public view till 14 December 2013.