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Though there has been rapid urbanization in South Asia, the rural areas have their own challenges and complexities. There is a need for integrated rural development to foster growth, reduce disparity and enhance quality of life. In view of these, the Department of Geography, Chowgule College, in collaboration with University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka had a collaborative workshop on “Rural Development”. Twenty Six students of Postgraduate Diploma in Rural Development along with two Professors, Prof. Lal Mervin Dharmasiri and Prof. Sunethra Thennakoon, attended lectures on Self-help Groups, Women Empowerment, Cottage Industries, Sustainable Agriculture, Rural Landscape and Transformation , Rural Employment and also visit Pottery Institute, Adarsh Gram, CIBA, etc.

In the inaugural function, Prof. Lal Dharmasiri stated that ‘India and Sri Lanka share a lot of commonalities and therefore it will be an opportunity to learn and deliberate.’ Further, he stated that “India – Sri Lanka is seriously thinking of ‘Indo-Sri Lankan collaborative Programme’ and these two educational institutes should take this as an opportunity.”

While Dr. Nandkumar Sawant, the Coordinator of this programme, stated that this is an excellent opportunity to showcase rural Goa and to extend international relationships with SAARC Regions for future academic endeavors.

Dr. R. V. Gaonkar, the Principal of the college, stated, “So far Chowgule College has had Cultural Exchange Programmes with Japan and Sweden, but this is a first Academic Exchange Programme with a foreign University.” He congratulated the Department of Geography for such an initiative.

Dr. Rekha Gaonkar, in her first lecture, talked about ‘Self-help Groups and Women Empowerment’. She brought out that the rural women through self-help groups are able to empower themselves politically, economically and socially too.

The function was coordinated by Namrata Nagzarkar, Student, MA Geography, and Vote of Thanks was given by Mallica Desai, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography.