Press Release

Thirteenth Meeting of the Governing Board of the SAARC Cultural Centre Colombo, Sri Lanka, 28-29 November 2023

The SAARC Cultural Centre in Colombo, Sri Lanka convened its 13th Governing Board Meeting at the Galle Face Hotel, Colombo from 28th to 29th November 2023. In a pioneering move, the meeting embraced a hybrid format, hosting esteemed Governing Board Members physically from Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, while Bhutan, India, and Nepal participated virtually,

The distinguished Governing Board Members were Mizanur Rahman, Joint Secretary (Administration) of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs of Bangladesh; Tshering Choki, Senior Programme Officer, Ministry of Home Affairs of Bhutan; Yash Veer Singh, Director, International Cultural Relations of the Ministry of Culture of India; Shamun Hameed, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Dhivehi Language, Culture and Heritage of Maldives; Dr. Suresh Suras Shrestha, Head of Division/Joint Secretary, Culture Division of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation of Nepal; Humaira Ahmed, Secretary, National Heritage and Culture Division of Pakistan; and Somarathne Vidanapathirana, Secretary, Ministry of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs of Sri Lanka.

The ex-officio members, T.P. Dharmasena, Director-General of SAARC Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka; Irosha Cooray, Director – Education, Security and Culture Division, SAARC Secretariat, Kathmandu, Nepal; and Renuka Ekanayake, Director of the SAARC Cultural Centre, Sri Lanka.

Ms. Ekanayake, the Director of the SAARC Cultural Centre presented to the Governing Board a Report on the Centre’s activities for 2023 and outlined the proposed programs for 2024.

The Governing Board commended the activities conducted by the SAARC Cultural Centre in the year 2023, which included collaborative ventures such as an Exhibition of Paintings with the Royal Asiatic Society, SAARC Talk Series, SAARC Special Lectures in partnership with entities like the Department of Archaeology, University of Kelaniya, and National Library and Documentation Services Board and the SAARC Film Day in collaboration with the National Film Corporation. 

The Board approved the proposed programmes and activities for the year 2024, with Member States pledging their full support.

"The SAARC Secretariat, together with the SAARC Cultural Centre, looks forward to an exciting 2024, marked by Food Festivals, Film Festivals, Musical Extravaganzas, Textile and Fashion events, Artists Camps, Research Seminars, and Workshops. The Secretariat anticipates a vibrant year of cultural rejuvenation across the SAARC Region, showcasing resilience and rebuilding post pandemic for further cementing SAARC fraternity.


SAARC Secretariat

Kathmandu, 07 December 2023