The Bakeer Markar Centre for National Unity

Following the demise of M. A. Bakeer Markar, his son Imthiaz Bakeer Markar founded the Bakeer Markar Centre for National Unity (BMCNU) in 1997 with the support of the close associates of M. A. Bakeer Markar. The Centre is an independent and non-profit organisation that attempts to promote the legacy of the late M. A. Bakeer Markar, through continuous efforts to realise the true sense of national unity in Sri Lanka through various initiatives. Among the highlights of the Centre is its annual M.A. Bakeer Markar memorial oration which is delivered by an illustrious personality each year. This event is also patronised by representatives of diplomatic missions in the country. To date, over 20 such orations have been delivered.

With the objective of fostering national unity, the Centre works closely with the media, civil society, academic and other professionals. Galvanising leading media personalities, journalists and other professionals in the industry, BMCNU hosts workshops, seminars and panel discussions to create a public discourse on ‘media’s role in reconciliation and building Sri Lankan unity.’ The Weligama Declaration of 2006 was realised by BMCNU as a result of such efforts. The Weligama Declaration, to which Sri Lanka’s leading media organisations are signatories, pledges to act collectively in national interest.

This was followed by the Beruwala Declaration in 2007 where representatives from civil society, journalists, scholars and other professionals called for socio-political and economic reforms which would spur national unity.

The Centre is also committed to capacity-building of journalists who are instrumental in shaping the public opinion.

To foster a sense of social harmony and national integration in the minds of young Sri Lankans, BMCNU has initiated art competitions and tri-lingual essay competitions. BMCNU has collaborated with both public and private organisations on several occasions to host these events, covering all provinces of the island.