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South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC):

Second SAARC Youth Camp - 2008

It was way back in 1980 that the idea of the regional co-operation among the countries of South Asia were conceived as the imperialism of the west suppressed them.

The first meeting of the Foreign Ministers of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives, Bhutan and Sri Lanka was held in Delhi (India) in 1983 and adopted the declaration on the South Asian Regional Co-operation (SAARC).


Secretary to the Youth Affairs Ministry S. Wirithamulla opening the 2nd SAARC Youth Camp by lighting the oil lamp. Senior Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Jayantha Palipana and Chairman of the NYSC Bashawara Senaka Gunaratne were also present.


A section of the delegates at the camp.

All these countries were reputed with a great civilization and they were Self-Sufficient countries. Under the rule of imperialism, these countries lost their reputation of their own and became dependent countries.

Though these countries got their freedom after National struggles, they became poorer and poorer. So they needed an umbrella organisation to develop themselves and to regain their prosperity and the SAARC was the product of it.

They also launched the integrated programmes to develop their countries in Agriculture, Health, Meteorology, Telecommunication and Rural Development.

The first assembly of heads of those seven countries met in 1985. For the function of the organisation they formed several institutions.

The SAARC youth organisation was formed in Bangladesh with youth delegations of 7 countries in 2006. There was another camp held in India in 2007 which was not recognised by the SAARC organisation. Therefore, this SAARC Youth Camp recently held in Sri Lanka (National Youth Services Council - Maharagama) was accepted as the Second SAARC Youth Camp.

The 2nd Youth Camp was held from July 27 to August 1 at the National Youth Services Council head quarters in Maharagama in view of the 15th SAARC Summit in progress at present in Colombo Sri Lanka.

The inaugural session of the camp was held on July 29 at 9.00 a.m. at the National Youth Centre Maharagama. The chief guest at the meeting was the Secretary to the Ministry of Youth Affairs S. Wirithamulla.

The Chairman and the Director General of youth services in Sri Lanka, Bashawara Senaka Gunarathne and the Senior Assistant Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jayantha Palipana were also graced the occasion.

The keynote address was made by S. Wirithamulla and the welcome speech was made by Bashawara Senaka Gunarathne.


The group photograph of the delegates who participated at the youth camp.

Jayantha Palipana and representing the delegates Mr. Md.Umran Bin Kamran Chowdhury of Bangladesh also spoke.

The cultural show with Udarata, Phatharata and Sabaragamuwa dances performed by the dancing group of the NYSC graced the occasion.

The theme of the youth camp was ‘Partnership For Our SAARC People’

Sixty delegates from 7 SAARC countries (Male 30/ Female 33) were participated at the youth camp.

The main discussion of the camp was conducted on July 30 and a memorandum with the proposals and suggestions of the delegates was drafted to be handed over to their Governments.

“All SAARC regional countries should strive jointly for the betterment of the SAARC countries without any distention in religion, language, ethnic differences. According to the history of our countries we all are Aryans. We must strive hard to be SAARCIANS in the future.” This was the final decision arrived at the discussion of the camp.

30th was listed as the aesthetic tamasha session. An aesthetic tamasha was held in the evening with musical dancing and acrobats items of all the participating countries.

The delegates visited Dalada Maligawa (Kandy), Elephant Orphanage (Pinnawala), Peradeniya University, SAARC Village at Nawalapitiya (recently commissioned to mark the 15th SAARC Summit in Sri Lanka) and Peradeniya Botanical Gardens on July 31.

City tour was arranged on August 1 and the participants visited the Parliament, children’s art exhibition at the Art Gallery (Colombo) and handicraft exhibition at Laksala and Lak Pahana.

The closing ceremony and the SAARC friendship campfire tamasha was held with pomp and glare at the NYSC grounds Maharagama.

The National Youth Services Council, Youth Affairs Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs jointly organised the camp.

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