SAARC International Conference on Development of Museums in South Asia: ‘Curating Culture for Present and Future’ Concludes Successfully

SAARC Cultural Centre is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the SAARC International Conference on Development of Museums in South Asia: ‘Curating Culture for Present and Future’ in Colombo, Sri Lanka. and its associated activity, A Poster Session on latest research on the South Asian Museums.

The Conference, which included  country reports, paper reading sessions,  a poster session on latest research on the South Asian Museums and two round table discussions, was organized by the SAARC Cultural Centre from 23-25 October 2014 at the Department of National Museums, No. 854, Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha, Colombo 7, Sri Lanka. It was attended by over 50 participants, from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

The Conference was convened with a view to providing a platform to the key stakeholders in the field of museums 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
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; Dr. Nanda Wickramasinghe, Secretary, Ministry of National Heritage, Sri Lanka delivered the Keynote Address while Ms. Apsara Karunaratne, Research Assistant,  SAARC Cultural Centre proposed the Vote of Thanks.
Academic Sessions
A total of twenty research papers were presented in seven academic sessions. The sessions were as follows:
Introductory Session (1 Session),
Country Reports (2 Sessions),
Museum Management and Learning (1 Session),
Museum Management and Modern Technology (1 Session),
New Trends in Museum Management (1 Session), and
Strengthening Culture through Museums: The Role of Smaller Museums (1 Session)
Round Table
Two Round Tables on ‘Social and Intellectual Engagement through Museums’ and ‘Role of Communication, Cooperation and Collaboration in Museum Management’ were held and were led by Prof. Anura Manatunga (University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka) and Prof. P.B. Mandawala (University of Sri Jayawardhanapura, Sri Lanka) respectively.
The Plenary Session
At the conclusion of the Academic Sessions, a Plenary Session was held on 25 October 2014 as a closed-door event with the participation of all Resource Persons and Chairpersons of the Academic Sessions. It was chaired by Dr. Sanjay Garg (Deputy Director-Research, SAARC Cultural Centre and 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
The Valedictory Session of the conference was held on 25 October 2014 at the auditorium, Department of National Museums, Sri Lanka and was attended by the participants of the conference. Dr. Edwin Ariyadasa, a veteran journalist and media commentator in Sri Lanka, graced the occasion as Chief Guest and distributed certificates and mementos to all participants and Special Invitees of the Conference.
Post-Conference Tour

A full day post-conference tour was organized for the participants of the conference to sacred city of Anuradhapura on 25 October 2014.

Anuradhapura was the first capital of Sri Lanka during the Anuradhapura kingdom that lasted for nearly 1,500 years starting from 4th century BCE. Today, Anuradhapura is one of the most sacred cities of worship for Buddhists and one of the best archaeological sites in the country and is the site for the The Eight Holy Places famously known as Atamasthana. It has been listed in the UNESCO’s List of World Heritage Sites