|To mark the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi (2 Oct), which is also observed as SAARC Non-Violence Day and International Non-Violence Day, the SAARC Cultural Centre organized a series of events in Colombo.
Workshop and Symposium:
The SAARC Cultural Centre, in collaboration with the Mahatma Gandhi Centre, Sri Lanka organized a Workshop and a Symposium to mark to highlight the need for Non-Violence in our society. The events were held at Royal College, Colombo where a large number of school children, teachers and many others who value Gandhian principles participated.
Workshop on ‘Non-Violence and Self-reliance for Social Cohesion and Rural Empowerment’
The Workshop consisted two sessions viz., ‘Community Care and Empowerment’ and ‘Child Abuse’. Session 1 included presentations on Rural Empowerment and Good Governance, Self-reliance on Food and Energy, Alternative Source of Medicine and Health Care, Public Awareness and Civil Rights, Green Development and Future Development. Session 2 consisted presentations on Child Abuse and Culture of Non-Violence in the Passage of Adolescence-Adulthood Transition.
Symposium on ‘Swaraj and Non-Violence’
The Inaugural Address of the Symposium was delivered by Director, SAARC Cultural Centre. Prof. K.N. Sirinanda read two messages received from HE the President of Sri Lanka and the Secretary General of the SAARC. The Chief Guest at the symposium was Dr. Rashpal Malhotra, Director General, Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID), Chandigarh (India) referred to the Mahatma and current favourable trend in his address titled; ‘Cooperative Development, Peace and Security in South Asia: Focus on India and Sri Lanka.’ Elimination of violence as advised by the Mahatma and cooperation followed to a great extent by India and Sri Lanka, featured in his talk. With a view to bonding together of youth with the concept of Non-Violence, a ‘Resolution of the Non-Violence Youth Force,’ was adopted at the Symposium. Ven. Olande Ananda Thero in his Keynote Address spoke on ‘Relevance of Gandhian Swaraj-development models for today.’
Art Competition- ‘No to Violence’
The SAARC Cultural Centre also organized an Art Competition for Children which was themed on “Celebrating Non-Violence in the SAARC Region.” Titled as ‘No to Violence’ this Art Competition was aimed at creating awareness on the need to revive and inspire peace, tolerance, non-discrimination, co-existence, non-violence and respect for each other in our societies.
The paintings were submitted by two age groups; 5 years to 14 and 14 years to 19 and were based on two quotations from Mahatma Gandhi’s speeches, viz.,
“You must be the change you want to see in the world,” and
“My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God, Non Violence is the means of realizing him”.
There was an overwhelming response to the call for entries and over 525 entries from 52 schools from all over Sri Lanka were received. In a glittering Award Ceremony, punctuated with cultural performances, Cash Prizes were awarded for first, second and third places in both categories. In addition, 20 Certificates of Honourable Mention were also awarded in both the categories.
Winners of Art Competition:
1st Prize (Cash Award of Rs. 25,000): P. Imashi Nimthara Peiris, 13 yrs, St’ John’s Girls School
2nd Prize (Cash Award of Rs. 20,000): W.T.Sathiya Sathsarani Fernando, 11 yrs, Holy Family Convent, Kalutara
3rd Prize (Cash Award of Rs. 15,000): Zara Sanderson, 13 yrs, Elizabeth Moir School
1st Prize (Cash Award of Rs. 25,000): Hui Gyeong Song, Colombo International School.
2nd Prize (Cash Award of Rs. 20,000): Ishara Prasad Atulugama, Ananda College
3rd Prize (Cash Award of Rs. 15,000): Ranwalage Don Pamith Yugantha Ranwala, Ananda College
To mark the event, an exhibition of all award winning and selected paintings were exhibited by the SAARC Cultural Centre at the foyer of Navarangala Hall, Royal College.