March 16th - 22nd, 2014 twelve writers, teachers, literary organizers, and cultural entrepreneurs from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Kyrgyz Republic, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the United States convened for a week-long symposium in the Maldives. The symposium began with a series of lectures and discussions on the writing traditions, pedagogies, and practices in the participants’ respective countries. Building upon shared heritages, participants collaborated to design culturally-relevant bi-lateral and multi-national educational initiatives centered on creative writing to be implemented at the local level.
Why the Maldives?
The ancient Silk Road was a network of trade routes that spanned more than 4,000 miles, linking the economies of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia and providing a conduit not only for goods and technologies, but also for culture, ideas, and people. When conditions along the Silk Road complicated overland trade, traffic shifted to a maritime route. The island nation of the Maldives, astride the shipping lanes of the Indian Ocean, once a key stop on that sea route, is an ideal location for the people-to-people exchange of creative writing pedagogies, regional networking, and cooperative project development that form the core of the Silk Routes project. As rising ocean levels threaten this island hub, a united effort is needed to reinforce the cultural linkages of the historic Silk Road, and to build a new Silk Road linked by the creative economies emerging out of the pedagogy and practice of writing.