President Mahinda Rajapaksa will inaugurate tomorrow the three-day Rotary South Asia Conference for Development and Cooperation hosted by Sri Lanka.
The President will address the ceremonial inauguration on Sunday at 9 a.m. at Galadari Hotel whilst the conference will be held at Cinnamon Grand.
Around 300 delegates and speakers of repute from the corporate and state sectors from the South Asia region, comprising countries, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka are scheduled to attend the conference.
The primary objective of the conference is to have discussions and deliberations on close cooperation in areas of economic, health, education and culture among the countries and seek to establish a declaration that could be further pursued with the respective governments. Rotary plays a role as a ‘catalyst’ of hosting the conference.
Among the participants are Wockhardt Chairman and former President of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Habil Khorakiwala, Hero Group Managing Director and CEO Sunil Kant Munjal, Pakistan-India CEO Forum President Amin Haswani and Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital’s Cardiac Surgeon Dr. Devi Shetty, considered as the Henry Ford of heart surgery, whilst several other top names are slated from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal as well. Among them are President of SAARC Chamber Bangladesh Anisul Huq, and President of Fed Chamber of Commerce, Pakistan Haji Gulam Ali and Some of the political personalities who will attend the Conference are India’s Minister of Law and Justice Salman Khurshid, Pakistan’s Senior Minister and Commerce Minister Makdoom Amin Fahim and Bangladesh Minister Womens Affairs Dr. Sheron Sharmin Chowdhury, India’s former Foreign Secretary, Ambassador Shashank and India’s Additional Solicitor General Vivek Tankha.
Rotary International President Kalyan Banerjee and The Rotary Foundation Chairman Bill Boyd, Past President and Conference Chairman Raja Saboo, former Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF and Asst Secretary-General of the UN Gul Chandra Gautam are some of the other popular personalities.
A plethora of Sri Lankan experts will also address the conference including Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal and Special Adviser to the President of Sri Lanka Milinda Moragoda.
Highly respected Managing Director and Editor in Chief of The Hindu N. Ram will be among top media personalities attending the conference.
Ram will moderate the first plenary session titled “Reaching within – Bonding South” on the inaugural day of the conference. The session to be moderated by Ram which will be philosophical and motivational will focus on the imperative for cooperation amongst South Asians. It will have Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal and Pakistan’s Senior Minister and Commerce Minister Makdoom Amin Fahim as speakers with Rotary International Past Director Sushil Gupta as the session chair. Among other media personalities attending are Hasan Shariar, International President of Commonwealth Journalists’ Association Zahid Malik, Chief Editor of Pakistan Observe, and Pratap Pawar Chairman of Sakal Media group.
The conference will also focus on issues such as “Reaching Within – Embracing Human Values”- Dealing with other humanity subjects; “Reaching Within – Ushering Prosperity” – l feature business/agricultural and other economy driving subjects; “Reaching Within – Changing Lives” focusing on Primary Education and Health concerns and Reaching Within – the role of the media in South Asia; “Reaching Within To Embrace Humanity – The Rotary Foundation Leading the Way” and presentation on proposed South Asia Foundation/Society. The conference will conclude on Tuesday with a Colombo Declaration on Rotary and South Asia – Where do we go from here.
The Rotary movement is the first international service organisation, founded 106 years ago. It has 33,000 clubs world over with over 1.2 million Rotarians. The first Rotary Club in Sri Lanka was formed in Colombo in 1929. Currently there are 65 Rotary Clubs in Sri Lanka, with nearly 1,800 Rotarians. Rotary International has an observer status in the United Nations. Rotarians serve the community by implementing educational and humanitarian projects.