International Research Conference on Humanities and Social Sciences – 2016

‘Transformation for Empowerment: Moving beyond Buzzwords’
University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka
10th and 11th November, 2016

The fifth International Research Conference on Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS-2016) organised by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka was held on 10th and 11th of November at ‘Sri Sumangala Mandiraya’ of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura. The conference was geared up to transform for empowerment and social innovation, and to move beyond catchphrases, as per its theme ‘Transformation for Empowerment: Moving beyond Buzzwords’, which alludes to Albert Einstein’s (1879-1955) aphorism, “the purpose of intellect is the transformation of a miracle to something understandable”.

Under the patronage of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura (Prof. Sampath Amaratunge) and with the guidance and advice of the current and the former Deans of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the university (Dr. D.P.S. Chandrakumara and Mr.Lasantha Nawarathna respectively), IRCHSS-2016 was chaired by Dr Chitra Jayathilake with the support from the secretary, Mr. Senani Harischandra, the members of the organising committee and the conference assistant. In order to reach its intent, IRCHSS-2016 created a forum for the comparative treatment of ideas, cutting-edge issues and problems. By drawing together diverse viewpoints for discriminating new ideas and supporting emerging perspectives, it invigorated, enlivened and encouraged international, intercultural and interdisciplinary dialogue, and constructed a space for academics, practitioners, researchers and professionals around the world to share their knowledge, experiences and research.

Accordingly, the conference was enriched, augmented and complemented with two keynote addresses, the chief guest’s speech, the poster presentation named ‘Crossing spatiality and temporality’, the symposium on media and society titled ‘Concerted thinking and collaborative work’, and 28 parallel technical sessions, plus the conference Closing Ceremony where awards of excellence were presented.Professor Rohan Samarajiva, the Founding Chair of LIRENasia, honoured the conference as the Chief Guest with a thought-provoking speech on ‘taking high-quality research to policy’. Keynote speakers were the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Keele, UK and the Professor Scott McCracken, Professor of Twentieth Century Literature of Queen Mary, University of London, UK.  Their talks, titled as ‘Urban Transformation and Universities for Regional and Emotional Empowerment’ and ‘Transformation for Disempowerment? Culture and Small Nations in the Age of Globalisation’, respectively, were highly academic and motivational. Mr. Wijayananda Jayaweera (Former Director, UNESCO International Programme of Development Communication), Dr. Mahim Mendis (Senior Lecturer of the Open University of Sri Lanka), and Mr. Asoka Dias (Director Station, MTV Channel (Pvt.) Limited) participated as the invited speakers of the interactive media symposium. Researchers from over 10 countries, including Sri Lanka, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Netherlands, Norway, the Czech Republic, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and Bangladesh, participated in the conference.

 All paper and poster presenters were awarded certificates of presentation while tokens of appreciation were offered to the chief guest, keynote speakers, the invited speakers of the media symposium and the session chairs for their contribution. IRCHSS-2016 culminated in the penultimate event, the presentation of awards of excellence to three research studies, namely, for the best abstract in Humanities, the best abstract in Social Sciences and the best poster. Upon the citations read by Prof. Hareendra Dissabandara and Prof. Hiran Amarasekera, representing the panel of judges, the recipients of the awards were announced; Ms. S. Sebastian Pereira for her abstract titled ‘Cartoons:Stereotypes and beyond’,  Prof. G.M. Bandaranayake and Mr. Sumanajith Kumara  for their abstract on ‘Modeling for River Basin Management: Its application to Mi Oya in the Dry Zone  of Sri Lanka’ and Dr. Gamini Ranasinghe for his poster about traditional traps for elephants, respectively. The closing ceremony included performances of the traditional Sri Lankan dance on the stage and the conference dinner: performances by the undergraduates of the Department of Languages, Cultural Studies and Performing Arts of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura and the conference dinner created a cordial social forum to reinforce the participants’ collaboration and concert.