Monthly Archives: October 2013

The story of story in South Asia

The Story of Story in South Asia is a project aiming to explore the shared elements in the narratives of Buddhist, Jain and Brahmanical Hindu traditions.

The research aims to explore the role of story in the shaping of religious ideology in early South Asia, showing how Hindus, Buddhists and Jains used story to present and contest their ideas of self and other, and past, present and future. It will also consider how certain generic characters, such as the king or the sage, suggest points of contact between these religions.

The project is a joint venture between Cardiff University and the University of Edinburgh running from January 2013 to the end of 2015.

The three-year project will culminate in story-telling events in Cardiff and Edinburgh, a new book based on the project’s findings and various academic articles and papers to be shared among the academic community globally. We will also be convening a panel at a major international conference in order to raise awareness and critical discussion of our research theme amongst other scholars. There are also plans for a television documentary series that will explore how story has impacted on our past and on the modern world with an emphasis on South Asia and its diaspora.


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Nora dance performance at German Oriental Studies Conference in Münster

On occasion of the 32. German Oriental Studies Conference Kanit Sripaoraya, a Thai researcher and dancer, performed part of a traditional Nora dance.

Nora is a traditional dance of South Thailand (also known as “Chatri”), whose origins lie in the legend of Manohra and Sudhana. There are many different local versions of this legend. The choreography of the Nora dance varies from region to region, but is generally composed of 12 positions and 17 movements. Nora dance performances usually last several days and include rituals of paying respect to the Nora teachers and the invitation of ancestors.

Nora performance at a workshop at Walailak University, Nakhon Si Thammarat (courtesy of Kanit Sripaoraya)

Nora performance at a workshop at Walailak University, Nakhon Si Thammarat (courtesy of Kanit Sripaoraya)

To ensure that the Manora dance is preserved as a national heritage, Thai authorities on cultural matters are speeding up the registration of the performance to be listed by United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

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The Lontar Foundation for the promotion of Indonesian literature

The Lontar Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization based in Jakarta, Indonesia. Lontar’s primary aim is to promote Indonesian literature and culture through the translation of Indonesian literary works.

Before Lontar was established, in 1987, there was virtually no place in the world where one could regularly obtain translations of Indonesian literature. Today, more than two decades later, Lontar remains the only organization in the world whose primary focus is the promotion of Indonesia through literary translations.

Over the years, Lontar has undertaken a number of significant research and documentation projects in connection with the preparation of various publications. Most of these projects are open-ended in nature, they can be resumed, whenever additional funding becomes available. All physical materials collected during the course of a project are stored in the Lontar Foundation library.

In addition, Lontar is buildung up a digital library for online access to electronic books, audio files, films, and digital images from over 250 manuscripts.

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10th United Nations Day of Vesak 2014

Bai Dinh Temple, Vietnam, 7-11 May 2014

Every year since the resolution passed by the United Nation’s General Assembly on 15 December 1999 – the thrice-sacred day of Vesak (celebrating the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Buddha Gotama) is celebrated internationally. The International Council for the Day of Vesak has been granted Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council since 2013 – to honor commitments, the 10th United Nations Day of Vesak celebrations will take upon: “Buddhism and the UN Millennium Development Goals”, as the general theme of the 2014 UNDV Conference.

The organisers now call for papers for the 2014 United Nations Day of Vesak (UNDV). Celebrations and an Academic Conference will be hosted by the National Vietnam Buddhist Sangha and will be held in Bai Dinh Temple, Vietnam, from 7-11 May 2014. Additional support for the conference is coming from Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University in Thailand, and the International Association of Buddhist Universities.

The conference and celebrations are expected to draw a gathering of 10,000 people – including 1,500 Buddhist leaders, Buddhist scholars and Buddhist practitioners from all of the Buddhist traditions around the world, and 8,500 from Vietnam.

The academic conference will be held on the second day of events (9 May 2014), and will be again organized through the International Association of Buddhist Universities (IABU) in collaboration with National Vietnam Buddhist Sangha.

Papers are now being invited for the UNDV Conference’s main theme on “Buddhist Perspective towards achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals.” The interdisciplinary study is encouraged and the organisers welcome abstracts or proposals from scholars in all fields related to the main and sub-themes of the conference, which include the following:

1. Buddhist Response to Sustainable Development and Social Change

2. Buddhist Response to Global Warming and Environmental Protection

3. Buddhist Contributions to Healthy Living

4. Peace-building and Post-Conflict Recovery

5. Buddhist Education and University Level Curriculum

Acceptable articles, determined by the academic peer-review committee, will be published together along with those highlighted for presentation. The conference volume will be available prior to the beginning of the presentations.

For more detailed information on participation and presentation of a paper, please contact the Editorial Committee Manager at .

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