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Activities of ISLF

The India- Sri Lanka Foundation (ISLF) was established on December 28, 1998 by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the governments of India and Sri Lanka, with the objective of fostering Indo-Sri Lanka relations through the enhancement of economic, scientific, educational, technical and cultural cooperation and the promotion of greater understanding between the people of the two countries.

The thrust areas identified by the Foundation for promoting understanding and cooperation are education and culture, archaeological studies, agricultural research, science and technology, health, technical training, development studies and women's studies.

The Foundation is financed through revenues (interest earned) from a Trust Fund set up with grants made available by the two governments.

As per the guidelines laid down in the MOU, the revenues from the Fund are used for funding the following activities:

* Financing higher studies, research and other educational activities at institutions of learning located in India and Sri Lanka

* Financing visits and exchange of scholars, academics, professionals, artists and experts involved in areas of activity covered by the Foundation

* Assisting/financing activities such as seminars, symposia, workshops on subjects of common interest

* Extending financial support to non governmental organizations (NGOs) in India and Sri Lanka whose work facilitates achievement of the objectives of the Foundation

* Contributing towards the publication of standard works on India-Sri Lanka Relations in specified fields

* Encouraging translation of standard works of Sri Lankan literature into Indian languages and vice versa and arranging for their publication

* Adopting any other measure which may be considered necessary for the fulfillment of the objectives of the Foundation.

The management and direction of the Foundation are vested in a Board of Directors. The High Commissioner for India to Sri Lanka and the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka to India act as the co-chairpersons of the Board.

The other four members are nominated by the two Governments. Following is the present composition of the board of directors of the Foundation:

1. Co-Chairperson & High Commissioner of India, Ashok K. Kantha

2. Co-Chairperson & High Commissioner of Sri Lanka,Prasad Kariyawasam

3. Board Member, Rasgotra

4. Board Member, Prof. P.V. Indiresan

5. Board Member,Sunimal Fernando

6. Board Member,Thirukumar Nadesan

During the last 13 years, the Foundation has implemented 352 projects from both countries ranging from exchange programmes of academia/scholars, participation in seminars/workshops, publications of works, exhibitions, training programmes and travel assistance for participation in art and cultural events, etc. The Foundation has extended assistance amounting to a sum of approximately Sri Lankan Rupees (SLR) 65 million (Indian Rupees(INR.)29.8 million approx) on these 352 proposals.

Outreach efforts

The Foundation has taken a pro-active approach to create awareness about ISLF and to reach to the hinterland for ensuring equitable spatial distribution for the proposals received. Effective use of press releases has been made to publicise the various events/activities supported by the Foundation. Both the Secretariats have engaged the respective consulates/posts in generating awareness about ISLF and to solicit quality proposals. The link to the ISLF webpage has been included by both the secretariats in their respective High Commission's websites and the link is regularly updated. The Indian Cultural Centre in Colombo has been involved in utilising the visits supported by ISLF so as to have synergy of efforts. Similarly, efforts to involve think-tanks/NGOs have been fruitful and have led to excellent working relations between such Organisations/ Institutes of the two countries.

Some of the regular activities implemented by the foundation

Student exchange programme

This programme aims to develop closer interaction and nurture bonds of friendship amongst school students, enabling better understanding among the youth of the two countries.

Youth exchange (Sports)

The first set of cricket matches between the Jaffna District under 19 cricket team and Delhi Public School, R K Puram were held in New Delhi during September, 2011.

Public lecture series

A milestone for the Foundation was the inauguration of the ISLF Public lecture series in 2011 with talks delivered by Former Foreign Secretary of India,Ambassador Shyam Saran in Colombo, Jaffna and Matara.

The feedback received has been very positive and the Foundation is being approached to organize similar lectures by eminent personalities at regular intervals.

Gifting of learning materials

The Colombo Secretariat gifts learning material to needy children on an annual basis. So Far, the Foundation has gifted gift packs to children in Batticaloa, Jaffna, IDP camps in Vavuniya and the Central Province. The Foundation this year has decided to gift school bags to deserving students in the Northern Province.

Inter-university debates

The inaugural inter-University debate between University of Delhi, India and University of Colombo, Sri Lanka successfully organised in 2011. Some of the projects implemented by ISLF in the recent years

* Renowned kathakali dancer and solo performing artist,Smt. Maya Krishna Rao performed 'Ravanama' at the 68th Birth commemoration of Neelan Tiruchelvam. This performance was organised by the Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust. (February, 2012).

The Colombo Secretariat supported the visit of two writers, Nayantara Sahgal and Geetha Hariharan from India to participate at the Galle Literary Festival, 2012 (January, 2012)

* Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore's dance drama 'Shaap Mochan' was restaged in many parts of Sri Lanka for which the Foundation extended part financial support (November, 2011). A Retrospective of Best of South Asia was organised in Colombo by Kanak Mani Dixit of Film South Asia, Nepal in association with Young Asia Television (October, 2011)

* 16 participants from the University of Colombo to participated at the eighth South Asian Economics Summit held in New Delhi (September, 2011) and six Ayurveda doctors of the Colombo Municipal Council visited Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala and Trivandrum Kamaranathpuram Sanjeewani Research institute in Kerala (November, 2011)

* Senior Lecturer, Department of Sinhala, University of Colombo,Dr. Sandagomi Coperahewa published a commemorative volume containing articles about Tagore on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Gurudev Rabindarnath Tagore, with support from the Foundation (May, 2011)

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