2022 International Conference and Art Festival

for Promoting Social Cohesion and Interfaith Harmony


The 2022 international conference and art festival in Islamabad was designed to invite a renewed attention to the immense value and knowledge of Pakistan’s Gandhara Buddhist heritage for peace, development and scholarship. The conference and art festival brought together local and international scholars, experts, artists, religious leaders and devotees to explore the Gandharan Buddhist history, philosophy, art, and architecture. The conference sessions were designed to provide a forum to promote social cohesion and interfaith harmony in Pakistan by bringing together diverse religious faith leaders including Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs to establish a dialogue. Artworks at the art festival gorgeously depicted the beauty of Gandhara art and the richness of Pakistan’s religious heritage by young and experienced artists. The artworks remained on display at PNCA for two days. Post-conference trips to sacred Buddhist sites and museums in Taxila, Peshawar, Mardan and Swat were regarded as an enriching experience and a spiritual journey by over forty conference delegates. Many of the visitors suggested to continue this 3-day trip in future as well.


Over 50 local and international scholars presented their research at the conference sessions organized to facilitate both in-person and online presentations. The sessions provided an opportunity to multiple presenters to speak on a common theme of the conference. Presentations by the panelists were followed by questions and answers to gain deeper insights into the topic.

    • Road to Buddhism: From Lumbini to Gandhara and beyond the Silk Road
    • Buddhism in Pakistan: History and Philosophy
    • Development of Gandharan Art and Architecture
    • Role of Religions in Promoting Social Cohesion and Interfaith Harmony
    • Potential of Religious Tourism in Pakistan

2022 International Conference and Art Festival

Program Book

Conference Program


The President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi inaugurated the conference and art festival on March 14, 2022. The Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) in Islamabad was the conference venue. The President of Pakistan arrived at the venue accompanied by the First Lady Begum Samina Alvi. The Vice Chancellor of Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) Professor Muhammad Ali, President of Silk Road Centre Dr Fasiha Ijlal Hussain, and Director of Taxila Institute of Asian Civilizations QAU Professor Ghani ur Rahman received the President of Pakistan and First Lady at the venue. President Arif Alvi and First Lady inaugurated the art festival at the Main Gallery of PNCA. They toured the exhibition and showed keen interest in the artworks at display in various genres ranging from miniature painting, photography and videos to 3D printing of ancient Buddhist monasteries and stupas of Gandhara. The President of Pakistan and First Lady interacted with the artists. They lauded the incredible work done by the artists and artisans to display the rich cultural heritage of Pakistan.

From the art exhibition venue, the President of Pakistan and First Lady went to the main auditorium of PNCA where a large gathering of scholars, artists, Buddhist delegates, diplomats, senior government officials and students were waiting for the distinguished guests to launch the conference. Addressing the inaugural session of the conference, the President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi said that Pakistan was a home to the world’s ancient civilizations including Buddhism. He lauded the conference and art festival and stressed upon making many of such efforts to preserve and promote religious tourism to bring different people of the world together.

Conference Sessions and Art Exhibition

Tour - Amluk Dara

Tour - Bazira

Tour - Butkara

Tour - Swat Museum