The final phase of the ‘Inter –University Gender Festival’ to celebrate gender equity and equality sponsored by the Centre for Equity and Equality of the Ministry of Higher Education, organised by the Centre for Gender Studies of the University of Kelaniya was successfully held on the 20th, 21st and the 22nd of February 2018 in the University premises. The festival was mainly held to promote public awareness on gender equity and equality.
Earlier, the Phase I of the ‘Inter –University Gender Festival’ was held in May last year at the Eastern University which enabled the undergraduates and academic staff to expand their knowledge in gender concepts and issues, the Phase II was held in November at the University of Peradeniya with the participation of undergraduates who follow Arts and Performing Arts from all the 15 universities, which covered a training programme on topics related to gender issues.
The Introductory Programme of the ‘Inter-University Gender Festival 2018’ was held on the 20th of February 2018 where Professor Uma Coomaraswamy, Director, Centre for Gender Equity/Equality, University Grants Commission, Professor Kumudu Wijewardene, Co-Chair of the Gender Standing Committee, University Grants Commission, Professor B.M. Jayawardena, Dean of the Faculty of Science, University of Kelaniya graced the event as the Chief Guests. During the Introductory Programme, there was a session where the undergraduates shared experiences and recapped Phase I & II. The session was chaired by Dr. Wijaya Jayathilake and Dr. S. Jeyasankar, Members of Gender Standing Committee, University Grants Commission.
On the day 02 (21st February), special workshops targeting schoolchildren and academic staff were held. Accordingly, the Student workshop on ‘Introduction to Gender’ was conducted by Professor Kamala Liyanage and Ms. Vasuki Jeyasankar while the Workshop for Staff members was conducted by Professor Uma Coomaraswamy and Dr. Nishadhini Peiris.
The undergraduates representing the Universities of Kelaniya, Jaffna, Uva-Wellassa, Sripalee Campus of the University of Colombo, Peradeniya, Visual and Performing Arts and Rajarata participated in this festival and there was a short film screening and panel discussion chaired by the veteran filmmaker Ms. Anoma Rajakaruna.
The closing ceremony of the festival was held on the 22nd February 2018 at Sri Dharmaloka Convocation Hall of the University of Kelaniya under the patronage of Professor Mohan De Silva, Chairperson of the University Grants Commission and Professor, D.M. Semasinghe, Vice – Chancellor of the University of Kelaniya. In addition, the event was graced by Senior Professor Lakshman Senevirathne, Deputy Vice – Chancellor of the University of Kelaniya, the Deans of faculties, the Heads of academic Departments, other academic staff and many undergraduates. The closing ceremony was also included a variety of aesthetic performances by the undergraduates of state universities.
The Phase III of the ‘Inter-University Gender Festival 2018’ was coordinated by Professor Maitree Wickremasinghe, the Founder Director of the Centre for Gender Studies of the University of Kelaniya and its Director at the present, Dr. Anusha Edirisinghe.