CONFERENCE ON CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN SOUTH ASIA, INDIA, SEPTEMBER 2005

The Conference on Cultural Diversity in South Asia was inaugurated by H.E. Mr. Kama Dhoj Adhikary, Ambassador of Nepal in India. The Conference was convened in collaboration with UNESCO, as it was held with the specific aim of contributing substantially to the Draft Convention on Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions. This Convention was adopted by UNESCO in October 2005. The eminent delegates, who participated in the deliberations, included Mr. Naeem Tahir, Director General, Pakistan National Council of Arts; Mr. Mukhtar Hussain Tirmizi and Dr. Misbah Tirmizi; Mr. Rai Riaz, Minister (Press); and Mr. Munnawar Syed Bhatti, Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi; Ms. Yasmin Tahir, expert on theatre and cultural issues from Pakistan; Mr. Sushil

Jung Rana, Secretary (Culture), Nepal; Ms. Elke Selter, UNESCO, Nepal; Mr. Phuntsho, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, Bhutan; Dr. Sudharshan Seneviratne, Senior Adviser, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sri Lanka; Mr. Fakhruzzaman Chowdhury, eminent author, writer and broadcaster, and Mr. M. Talukdarfrom Bangladesh; H.E. Mr. Abdal M. A. Haleem Mohammed, Ambassador of Sudan in India; Ajeet Cour, President, Academy of Fine Arts and Literature; Ms. Jaya Jaitley, eminent culture activist; Dr. Namwar Singh, eminent writer and scholar; Mr. Deb Mukherjee, senior Indian diplomat; Mr. R.P Perera, UNESCO, Delhi; Mr. K. Jayakumar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Government of India; Dr. H.K. Kaul and Mr. Gopal Sharman, eminent Indian poets; Mr. Suneet Chopra, art critic; Mr. Reoti Saran Sharma,

theatre activist; and Ms. Anju Bhalla, Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
The Government should strengthen local level village institutions to focus and serve cultural needs. The Responses and Recommendations of the Conference were conveyed to all the UNESCO offices in South Asia and to the headquarters of UNESCO in Paris.