HISTORICAL MILESTONE OF THE JOURNEY
The FOUNDATION OF SAARC WRITERS AND LITERATURE is the ONLY SAARC APEX BODY in the SAARC region, working under the SAARC banner, projecting, nurturing and strengthening cultural connectivity through literary and cultural interactions among the SAARC countries, for peace and tranquility in the region, through people to people contacts and dialogue.
The foundation of SAARC writers and literature (FOSWAL) as an Apex Body Of SAARC, is the only organization in eight SAARC countries: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Afghanistan, legally authorized two organize literature-related and cultural interaction, seminars, conferences, festivals, under the SAARC banner and with SAARC logo.
FOSWAL launched its vision of cultural bonding among the neighboring SAARC countries in 1987, and emerged as the first and the only non government organization working in the specific area of culture, for creating cultural connectivity through a think tank of intellectuals and writers, creative fraternity and peace activities, who have common sensitivities and common concerns for the socio-cultural-political-economic-tribal-gender issues of the region.
Writers of Pakistan set foot of Indian soil, for the first time after partition, in 1987. And writers from India set foot on the soil of Pakistan , with us, for the first time in 2001.
The FIRST-EVER SAARC WRITERS CONFERENCE was organized in April 2000.
“We are the mad dreamers of the SAARC region. Let governments do their political and diplomatic work. Let us, the writers and the creative fraternity of the region, endeavor to create bridges of the friendship across borders, and beyond borders”: declared the 2000 resolution.
Though we have been building bridges of culture connectivity with all the countries of the SAARC region since 1987, we traced the countries-old civilization and cultural link even beyond SAARC region, extending to Afghanistan and Burma, and expended our vision and trust with local passion, determination, and commitment, from 1999 onwards, when we started organizing and putting in place our national chapters in all SAARC countries.
In April 2000, two poets from Afghanistan participated in our SAARC writers conference and sung their lyrical poems in PUSHTO and DARI.
The participation of Afghan poets eventually culminated in Afghanistan becoming the eighth member of SAARC in 2007.
SAARC secretariat realized the importance of our work, and the secretary general HOSTED our SECOND SAARC LITERARY AND CULTURAL CONFERENCE, in SAARC secretariat’s own theatre hall, in Katmandu , in November 2000.
Everybody realized at the highest levels, that it was a major step of track II initiatives in the region, and produced miraculous results. The SAARC charter was therefore amended during the 13th SAARC summit in Katmandu , and ‘cultural exchanges’ included in the SAARC constitution.
From 1986 when we launched this crusade of getting ‘cultural connectivity’ included in the SAARC vision, to 2001-2002 when it was eventually included, we walked long miles through dense forest and deserts, swimming against the current, but it was eventually worth all the effort.
FOSWAL was given the honor of SAARC RECOGNIZED BODY by the SAARC SUMMIT, on January 1- 2, 2002
Our status has been elevated to SAARC APEX BODY.
It is a life long commitment and devotion for which the writer president of FOSWAL Ajeet Cour has also been honored with ‘Padm Shree’ : as a cultural pioneer in the SAARC region, as a writer, as a crusader for conservation of environment, and for preservation of intangible and tangible historical heritage of the SAARC region, focusing on and working for exploring and documenting folklore and tribal arts and crafts, historical monuments and anthropological treasures, which are common link of the SAARC region since Indus valley civilization, and exploring emotional linkage like Buddhism and Sufism.
In these time of conflict and terror and instability in the region, FOSWAL keeps highlighting the common concerns, through culture and literature, though theatres and films, through visual arts and performing art. Exploring common highlights in creativity common folklore, and common civilization links among people living in the SAARC region, through conferences and seminars, festivals of literature, poetry folklore; through translations of creative literature and idea, and publishing anthologies of poetry and fiction from across the eight SAARC countries, and publishing the quarterly SAARC journal ‘beyond borders’.
So far we have organized 31 major SAARC cultural and literary events, festivals of folklore, conferences on Buddhism and Sufism, in all the countries of the SAARC region.