Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya delivering the keynote address at the annual South Asian Arts Festival at the American University in Washington DC stated that ‘Arts’ is an excellent medium to promote unity and look past differences.
“In the world we live today, it is entirely focused on differences that we may share as humans, but not the things we have in common,” the Ambassador said at the opening of the day long festival held in the university premises recently.
“Fostering discussion among students and scholars, as well as enjoying what these talented South Asian performers have to showcase, is an excellent way to look past those differences and come together to promote the creativity and unity that can be conveyed purely through music, dance, theatre, and other visual arts,” he added.
The Ambassador opined that promoting culture is a powerful tool of diplomacy as it helps building bridges between communities through increased opportunity to learn about each other. The student organisers described the intercollegiate South Asian Arts Festival (SAAF) as a platform to generate discussion of South Asian art and diasporic identities. The festival featured South Asian arts in different mediums including music, dance, paintings, drama, movies, literature and poetry. Choreographer Chathuri Wickramarachchi, together with Sarindee Wickramasuriya, Fenoli Lowe, Dinali Weeraman, Natalia Adikarige and Amali Perera of Sri Lankan Dance group performed a fusion dance combining the different traditions of Sri Lankan dance. The festival also featured South Asian food, panel discussions, movie screenings, and a number of guest speakers.