Symposium and Exhibition on Pakistan’s Buddhist Heritage


ISLAMABAD, MAY 28 /DNA/ – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is organizing a symposium and an exhibition, titled “From Gandhara to the World”, on 28-29 May 2024. A large number of Islamabad-based diplomats, government functionaries, scholars, artists and art-lovers are attending the event, alongside around 25 foreign delegates, including some at the Ministerial level, from Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam.

The event is being organized in connection with the ‘Vesak Day’, which commemorates Lord Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death. It is aimed at showcasing Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage, and underscoring the importance that the government attaches to inter-faith harmony.

Sri Lanka’s Minister for Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs, Honorable Vidura Wikramanayaka was the guest of honor at the inaugural session, which took place earlier today. While the welcome remarks were delivered by Additional Foreign Secretary, Ambassador Maryam Madiha Aftab, prominent Buddhist monks and scholars also addressed the inaugural session. Their list included Most Venerable Thich Ductuan from Vietnam, Venerable Anil Sakya from Thailand, Mr. Om Charan Amatya, scholar-cum-politician from Nepal, Mr. Stefano Davide Bettera, President, European Buddhist Union and Mr. Li Xiguang, Director, Pakistan Culture and Communication Centre, Tsinghua University, Beijing.

A message from Venerable Dhimbulkumbure Sri Sarankara Vimaladhamma Thera, Chief Incumbent of the Ancient Rajamaha Viharaya of Kandy, Sri Lanka was also read out by Venerable Tempitiye Indawimala.

In his keynote address at the inaugural session, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Chaudhary Salik Hussain, emphasized the importance of building bridges between different communities, celebrating the shared values, and working together for a more peaceful world. He underscored that Gandhara, which brought together diverse cultural influences, is a powerful symbol of what can be achieved through understanding and collaboration.

The subsequent sessions of the symposium will explore various dimensions of Gandharan heritage that emerged, over three thousand years ago, in the northwest of Pakistan out of the interaction between Hellenistic and local philosophical and cultural traditions.