Fanfare, ecstasy and glamour marked the beginning of the 6th South Asian Universities Youth Festival (SAUFEST) that got underway at the Punjabi University's Guru Tegh Bahadur Hall here on Sunday.
Organised by the department of youth welfare, in collaboration with the Association of Indian Universities (AIU), this is the first-of-its-kind mega event being organised by the Punjabi University on its campus.
More than 250 youths from 40 universities across six countries would be vying for top honours at the five-day event.
During the inaugural session, speakers advocated the cause of formulating a 'cultural policy' to promote the unique cultural diversities among the member-nations of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
In his presidential address, vice chancellor, Dr Jaspal Singh said, “It is an exceptional privilege for the Punjabi University to host a cultural event of such magnitude as the university was the second in the world to have been named after a regional language and culture.”
“We should make efforts to develop a unique SAARC cultural identity, which could help us transcend metal slavery that is more dangerous than the physical slavery,” he added.
AIU, he said, in collaboration with Indian Universities, could play a pivotal role in this direction.
Chief guest Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, MP Rajya Sabha, said, “The youth are our the biggest assets; they can spearhead that fast growth and development of our country.”
Former Rajya Sabha MP and ex-chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, Tarlochan Singh, hoped that Pakistan would also think over participating in SAUFEST in the future; it would generate a feeling of brotherhood and peace among the two neighbours.
Dr Jaspal Singh released a souvenir, prepared by the Centre for Advanced Media Studies and honoured the dignitaries.