Annual report of SAF Activities 2017

News SAF-India, Vasant Vihar, India - 9th February 2018


South Asia Foundation (SAF)

Report on Activities for the Year 2017



 Founded by UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Madanjeet Singh in 2000, the South Asia Foundation (SAF) is a secular, non-profit and non-political organization, comprising eight autonomous chapters in: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. SAF’s core objective is to promote regional cooperation through a number of UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Institutions of Excellence in the eight SAARC countries, with courses in Preservation of Cultural Heritage (Kabul), Human Rights and Common Law( Dhaka), Forestry Studies (Bumthang, Bhutan), Journalism (Chennai), Kashmir Studies (Srinagar), Regional Cooperation (Pondicherry), Green Energy Technology (Pondicherry), Development Studies (Kathmandu), Visual Arts (Lahore), Water Management (Moratuwa, Sri Lanka).

 (For details, please visit SAF website

 The SAF Governing Council comprises of eight Chairpersons & Vice-Chairpersons of SAF chapters, the details of which are given below:


Chairperson:                 Prof. Omara Khan Masoodi, Former Director, Kabul National Museum
Advisor:                        Hon'ble Sayed Makhdoom Raheen, Ministry of Information and Culture, Kabul.


Chairperson:                 Dr. Kamal Hossain, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dhaka
Vice Chairperson:          Prof. Jamilur Reza Choudhury, Vice Chancellor, University of Asia Pacific, Dhaka


Chairperson:                Hon. Lyonpo Sangay Ngedup, Former PrimeMinister and Minister for Agriculture, Bhutan
Vice-Chairperson:          Ms. Chime P. Wangdi   


Chairperson:                 Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar, Former Minister and Member of Parliament
Vice-Chairpersons:       Dr. Syeda Hameed, Former Member of Planning Commission, New Delhi
                                      Prof. Veena Sikri, Professor & Ambassador, Convener, South Asia Women’s Network (SWAN)


Chairperson:                 Dr. Nischal Nath Pandey, Kathmandu, Nepal
Vice-Chairperson:         Dr. Jan Sharma, Nepal


Chairperson:                 Prof. Salima Hashmi, Director, School of Visual Arts, BNU, Lahore, Pakistan
Vice Chairperson:         Mr. Najam Sethi, Editor-in-Chief, Friday Times, Lahore, Pakistan

 Sri Lanka:

Chairperson:                 Hon. Mrs. Chandrika B. Kumaratunga, Former President of Sri Lanka
Vice Chairperson:         Dr. Ronald Silva, Chancellor, Moratuwa University, Sri Lanka

 Each of the eight chapters may, at an annual meeting of the Governing Council or at any other special meeting, present a proposal that promote regional cooperation. A decision to accept or reject a proposal will be taken by unanimity. The responsibility for implementing the approved projects is entirely that of the Chairpersons and their Advisory Board members.  In conformity with the general principle that institutional projects funded by SAF would bear at least half the costs, either in funds or in kind.

Since August 2006, SAF has been recognized as an Apex Body of South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Kathmandu, Nepal, and its aims and objectives are in conformity with the spirit and purpose and principles of the SAARC Charter.

SAF has been admitted into an official relationship with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Paris, France since 17th October 2006.

 UNESCO Director-General Madame Irina Bokova announced on 26 October 2010, that the 12 SAF institutions can use the UNESCO logo as long as it is always associated with Madanjeet Singh's name and his official title of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. Consequently, all the Institutions of Excellence have been renamed as indicated below:

  1. UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Centre for Preservation of Afghanistan’s Cultural Heritage (UMCPACH) (Afghanistan)
  2. UNESCO Madanjeet Singh South Asian Institute of Advanced Legal and Human Rights Studies (UMSAILS) (Bangladesh)
  3. UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Centre for South Asia Forestry Studies (UMCSAFS) (Bhutan)
  4. UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Centre of South Asian Journalism (UMCSAJ) (Chennai, India)
  5. UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Institute for South Asia Regional Cooperation (UMISARC) (Puducherry, India)
  6. UNESCO Madanjeet Singh School of Green Energy Technology (UMSGET) (Puducherry, India)
  7. UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Centre of Development Studies and Regional Cooperation (UMCDSRC) (Nepal)
  8. UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Institute for South Asian Arts (UMISAA) (Lahore, Pakistan)
  9. UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Centre for South Asia Water Management (UMCSAWM) (Moratuwa, Sri Lanka)

Group Scholarships, sixteen or eight students, depending on the quantum of support that SAF extends to these Institutions of Excellence, two/one each from each chapter, based on gender equity are awarded by these Institutions representing all the eight chapters of the SAF.  The underlying principle being that the Institutions of Excellence would earmark 70% of the funds provided on group scholarships and 30% on scholarship related expenditure, comprising items such as the purchase of books, inviting short-term teachers and instructors from other SAARC countries, temporary staff for projects such as workshops, research etc .

 The Group Scholarships Scheme proved a great success in furthering the principle of regional cooperation.