Location: TLH 1 Hall, Faculty of Technological Studies, University of Vavuniya (UOV)

The inaugural session of the Asia-Pacific Peace Research Association Conference (APPRAC) 2024 commenced with great fervor and enthusiasm. The event began with the registration of participants followed by the arrival of esteemed guests at the conference main hall.

Traditional customs were honored with the Inniyam, Drum, lighting of the traditional lamp, symbolizing the illumination of knowledge and wisdom. This was succeeded by a captivating welcome dance, setting a vibrant tone for the proceedings.

Mrs. S. Mathivathany, the Convener of APPRAC 2024 and Director of the Harmony Centre at UOV, delivered a warm welcome address, extending gratitude to all attendees for their presence and emphasizing the significance of peace research in contemporary society.

Distinguished Co-Chairs of APPRAC 2024, namely Prof. T. Mangaleswaran from Sri Lanka, Kelli Te Maiharoa from New Zealand, Rajib Timalsina from Nepal, and Dr. Senthan Selvarajah from Sri Lanka/UK, delivered insightful inaugural addresses, highlighting the importance of collaborative efforts in fostering peace and sustainability across the Asia-Pacific region.

Prof. (Mrs.) GAS. Ginigaddara, the Vice Chancellor of Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, has attended as Special Guest and Professor Matt Meyer, Secretary-General of the International Peace Research Association, graced the occasion as Chief Guest of the Conference with their enlightening speeches, underscoring the role of academia in promoting peace and addressing global challenges.

The keynote speech on ‘Artificial Intelligence and Entrepreneurship: Implications for Peace’ by Prof. M. Arumugam shed light on the intersection of technology, entrepreneurship, and peacebuilding, offering valuable insights into harnessing innovation for sustainable development.

Engaging panel discussions on ‘Building Pathways for Peace and Sustainability’ and ‘Indigenous Research Methods and Culture of Peace’ provided platforms for interdisciplinary dialogue and knowledge exchange. Prof. Aslam Khan, Mahatma Gandhi Central University has chaired this panel and Dr Jehan Perera from National Peace Council, Professor N. Selvakumaran and Dr.R.Ramesh have contributed as panelists.

Additionally, a workshop on ‘Early-career Scholars: Ideas on Writing and Publications’ facilitated by Professor Emeritus Roy Tamashiro empowered young scholars with valuable guidance on academic writing and publication strategies.

Book stalls and Entrepreneurs’ productions were exhibited in front of the Technological building. Nearly 30 local entrepreneurs were showcased their international level branded items. Also, 400 books were showcased.

Parallel technical sessions covering diverse thematic areas were conducted across multiple venues within the university, fostering scholarly discourse and collaboration among participants.

The day concluded with vibrant cultural performances and a sumptuous welcome dinner at Hotel Oviya, offering participants an opportunity to unwind and network in a relaxed atmosphere.

The Cultural Session and Network Dinner of the Asia Pacific Peace Research Conference held at Hotel Oviya on 07.03.2024 was a resounding success, bringing together participants from diverse backgrounds to celebrate cultural diversity and foster meaningful connections.

The evening commenced with the arrival of guests at 6:00 PM, setting the stage for an enchanting cultural extravaganza. The program commenced at 7:00 PM with a captivating Welcome Dance, followed by an Opening Welcome Address delivered by Prof. T. Mangaleswaran, Co-Chair of APPRAC 2024 and Vice Chancellor of UOV.

The Cultural Session showcased a rich tapestry of performances, including traditional dances by Indigenous people, Traditional Drum Dance, Kovalan Kannaki Koothu, performances by Burghers, Kudamoothat Kummi, Modern Dance, Raban Dance, Karakam, Panrippallu, and Kaaman Kooththu. These performances not only entertained but also provided insights into the cultural heritage and artistic traditions of the Vanni region.

The evening concluded with a moment of reflection, where attendees had the opportunity to contemplate the significance of cultural exchange and appreciation in fostering peace and understanding. Profound gratitude was expressed during the Vote of Thanks, acknowledging the efforts of all participants, performers, organizers, and sponsors in making the event a memorable success.

Following the Cultural Session, attendees transitioned into the Network Dinner, where lively conversations and exchanges continued in an informal setting. Prof. Jeyasankar, from Eastern University, coordinated the Network Dinner, ensuring that participants had ample opportunities to network, forge new connections, and engage in meaningful discussions on peace research and related topics.

The Cultural Programmes and Network Dinner served as a fitting prelude to the Asia Pacific Peace Research Conference, fostering camaraderie, cultural exchange, and intellectual dialogue among participants, and setting a positive tone for the days ahead. Overall, Day 1 of the APPRA 2024 conference witnessed a rich tapestry of intellectual exchange, cultural celebration, and camaraderie, setting a promising trajectory for the ensuing days of deliberation and collaboration towards peace and sustainability in the Asia-Pacific region.