About The Event
Traditionally we think of culture as arts and crafts, festivals, dance, literature, movies, music, fashion, food, and even healing. Some of the prolific cultural exports include categories and brands that we often encounter: Bollywood, Hollywood, K-Pop, Ralph Lauren, Armani, Manipur sarees, McDonald’s, pizza, sushi, Scotch whiskey, Guinness, Dubai Expo, Olympics, Russian ballet, Chinese acupuncture--and the list goes on. Have you wondered how big these exports are for the producing countries?
Fortunately, there is a growing group of businesses from Sri Lanka such as Spa Ceylon, Galle Lit Fest, Ministry of Crab, Channa and Upuli dance, Buddhi Batiks, and Bathiya and Santush concerts, that highlight Sri Lankan culture as a key differentiator in reaching export markets. In fact, we see this category as a higher value-added layer—above the export of raw crops and unskilled labor, above the export of value-added crops, trained labor, garments and above specialized exports such as IT services, advanced manufacturing or tourism.
What do these businesses have in common? How do we define them? What can we learn from countries that have effectively developed culture as an export? And, in a world connected digitally how can your business leverage culture to grow your exports?
Please join the panelists Ms. Giselle Harding (Galle Lit Fest), Ms. Shehara de Silva (John Keells), Mr. Anushka Wijesinha (Economist), and Mr. Shalin Balasuriya (Spa Ceylon) moderated by Asanka de Mel (LOVI) as we explore Culture as an Export
Meet The Panel
Asanka de Mel
Asanka founded LOVI to create an authentic, ambitious, united and contemporary fashion identity rooted in Sri Lankan ethos—with the hope of sharing his love of this island paradise, its people and its culture with the world.
Shehara de Silva
An experienced international communication and marketing expert, with a track record of high impact Strategy development in Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Shehara has been behind the success of several local, regional and multinational brands including Tourism Malaysia .
Born to Trinidadian/British parentage, the island of Ceylon has many familiarities for Giselle. Moving to Galle from Dubai a few years ago, Giselle and her husband Joseph De Alwis, opened Wild & the Sage; a quaint independent bookshop on the south coast. The shop quickly established itself as an arts and literary hub, hosting author talks, children’s story time, workshops and bookclubs.
Shalin is the co-founder of Spa Ceylon, Sri Lanka’s leading luxury lifestyle brand, which launched in 2009, and has since witnessed exponential growth both locally and internationally.
Anushka Wijesinha is the Co-founder/Director of the interdisciplinary policy think tank, Centre for a Smart Future.
He is an economist with a track record in Government, private sector and think tanks. Internationally, he is a competitiveness and export strategy expert for the United Nations International Trade Centre and has worked with them on projects in Mongolia, Pakistan, Myanmar, Iran and Sri Lanka.