The idea of the conference is, to discuss a new approach to analyze Asian culture, focusing on water’s symbolic roles in beliefs, values, and rituals. The theme has focused on the symbolic meanings of natural entities like water in social ceremonies and events. For instance, one can find a ritual to offer water for obtaining merit in Theravada Buddhism, and water festival is a common national event in Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. People pray to water spirit (in Myanmar, it is “Nat”) for safety when they travel on rivers or oceans. Each country has its own value, belief, and meanings of water which suggest water as a symbol representing surprisingly diverse values in connection with mysterious stories and legends.

Keynote Speakers:

Dr. Elizabeth H Moore, Professor Emeritus, School of the Arts, SOAS, University of London: Joining sacred and secular – water in the wider landscape of Bagan

Dr. Takatani Michio, Professor, Hiroshima University, Japan: Prayer for Water, by the Water and for the “Water in Japan”

Dr. Mo Mo Thant, Professor/Head, History Department, University of Yangon: Myanmar Perspective of the Sacred Lotus

Dr. Mya Mya Khin, Professor/Head, Anthropology Department, University of Yangon: Religious Ritual and Ideational Superstructure