Prof Satchitanandan speaking at Nalliah Auditorium – Batticaloa.
Three Sri Lankan poets travelled with Prof Satchitanandan, former Chief Executive of the Indian Sahitya Academy, to three different universities for extended poetry programmes. Prof Satchitanandan, a distinguished writer and critic and translator spoke about Indian poetic traditions and also about his work, from which he read to great audience appreciation. This was followed by a discussion involving So Pathmanathan, Ariyawansa Ranaweera and Kamala Wijeratne about Sri Lankan poetry, based on their contributions to ‘Mirrored Images’, the collection of English, Sinhala and Tamil Poetry that had been published by the National Book Trust of India. Prof Amarakeerthi Liyanage who had also contributed to the book participated in the discussion at Peradeniya University, while Dr Major Ariyaratne and Mahinda Pathirana who had supplied translations took part at Sabaragamuwa University in Belihuloya.
Audience at Eastern University
In Batticaloa the meeting was held at the Fine Arts Department and was attended by local writers as well as students and staff.
Prof Satchitanandan’s visit was sponsored by the Indo-Sri Lanka Foundation, and the tour was facilitated by the Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration. Many ideas about the important role literature could play in bringing people together were raised in the discussion which Prof Satchitanandan chaired, with invaluable contributions from the panellists who had wide experience through their work as teacher educators and, in the case of Mr Ranaweera, Secretary to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. The need to promote training of translators was stressed by all, and it is hoped that the Ministry will be able to take
In this edition….
…A three-day “lockdown” workshop produces inspired urban design for Mannar’s town plan
…Visible progress made on the women’s rice mill project
…A community tourism strategy gets the attention of the International Financial Corporation
…Successful overseas volunteer programs in 2013 will generate further ones in 2014
The past three months in Sri Lanka have been a mixed bag, of frustration and hampered progress on some of our larger projects and encouraging headway on our more community-level ventures. The political backdrop of this trip was vibrant and at times volatile due to the holding of the Northern Provincial Government elections and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM). The Government was also preoccupied with preparations for the forthcoming return to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in March of 2014.
A highlight of this period was having 15 overseas volunteers work alongside local counterparts on a range of projects. Although our town planning initiatives didn’t quite go according to plan, Diaspora Lanka brought out 11 Australian planning professionals who assisted to fast-track the Mannar urban development plan. Two volunteers came from Estonia to work on a community tourism strategy and an English-based activity program, while two further volunteers from Vietnam and Australia focused on establishing an ‘English as a Second Language’ (ESL) program.
Other pleasing developments included the progress made on establishing a rice mill so that women made vulnerable by the war can earn a daily income and the establishment of the Computerizing Mannar Villages initiative for children and youngsters in two more remote areas of Mannar.