Promoting Peace and Reconciliation | Sunday Observer

Promoting Peace and Reconciliation

Active Citizen workshop in Galle
Active Citizen workshop in Galle

Restoration of friendly relations after a dispute or a misunderstanding is ‘Reconciliation.’ The Sri Lankan Government and other humanitarian organisations have been actively and diligently working towards peace and reconciliation post the deadly war against terrorism that was tormenting the nation for three decades.

Efforts taken in the form of educating and bringing awareness to people from the grass root level, building strong multi-ethnic bonds, human rights awareness, freedom of speech and various areas that initiate and promote peace and reconciliation are being constantly carried out. Nevertheless, the island has still not accepted it with both arms.

Although Sri Lanka now has the premise and infrastructure to leapfrog in terms of peace and reconciliation, the change within oneself has still yet to see the light of day. This has been the most challenging factor. Furthermore, the political instability, the inflation and depreciation of the currency to the lowest level in the history of the island and immense international pressure and intervention has pushed the country to take a deep plunge in terms of growth and financial stability.

Addressing the challenge at hand has become the most important need of the hour, and the active participation of youth is deemed vital in succeeding in this endeavour.

Although this initiative has been commendably kicked off and a great deal of participation from the youth can be observed, unfortunately, it is a rare sight to see youth from villages taking part. It is mostly the youth from the cities that show interest in supporting these endeavours initiated by the respected organisations.

To support this initiative that is expected to bring positive changes among us and society, International Youth Alliance for Peace (IYAP) supported by The British Council, Sri Lanka conducted an Active Citizen workshop in the Galle district for a period of five days under the subject PALP (Peace Ambassador Leadership Program). Active Citizens is a global network of community leaders that is being developed by the British Council and local civil society partners in participating countries.

The program where 25 participants from the Galle district comprising different religions, cast and creed (including Buddhist, Hindu, Christians and Muslims). Most importantly, four of these participants represented the Southern Province Deaf Association (SPDA). The participants were given valuable insight on how to actively march towards achieving peace and reconciliation first within oneself and then towards the nation. As part of the one-year program, these 25 participants will be trained. They will closely monitor the participants and guide them in participating and actively contribute to attain the end goal. To encourage them to act, think and work towards a peaceful world ultimately becoming an active citizen.

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