19 December 2016 – Amman: Generations For Peace has launched a peace-building programme with the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to break down conflict divides and develop greater dialogue, education and engagement within and between communities in Sri Lanka.
Following decades of violent and bitter civil war in Sri Lanka, the programme is designed to support the coalition government’s efforts to achieve accountability, recognise the rights of victims, and foster a pluralistic national identity. Through peace-building activities at grassroots, district and national levels, Generations For Peace and the National Peace Council will encourage communities divided by conflict to meet and interact; break down barriers and stereotypes; and nurture deeper understanding, tolerance, and trust.
The programme aims to strengthen District Inter-Religious Committees, led by religious leaders from Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities, and help mobilise communities through empowerment, youth leadership, active tolerance, and responsible citizenship.
“This new programme seizes a pivotal moment in Sri Lanka’s history. It builds on the initiatives we have been running since 2009, scaling up our grassroots peace-building activities from two to eight districts,” said Mark Clark, CEO of Generations For Peace. “Partnering with the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka provides a hugely exciting opportunity to harness our complementary strengths and experiences in order to link activities at every level, from community to national. By doing this together, with USAID’s support, we can deliver people-to-people peace-building activities that engage both key people and more people, and ensure communities are better-prepared to accept, engage in and contribute to the coalition government’s efforts to foster a pluralistic national identity founded on shared values and respect for diversity.”
Director of the National Peace Council Jehan Perera said: “We are pleased to be partnering Generations For Peace which is an international leader in the field of civic activism. The National Peace Council has been working towards making Sri Lanka a more inclusive and peaceful country for over two decades. With the end of the civil war in 2009, we have our best opportunity to make our work fruitful. Nevertheless, the wounds of war, and of a military solution, remain deep. The people-to-people activities in this project especially with youth, which bring to bear Generations For Peace’s strengths, will contribute greatly to the healing process.”
The programme, which will run until November 2018, will benefit 6,400 community members in Ampara, Galle, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Matara, Mullaitivu, Nuwara Eliya, and Puttalam.
The American people, through USAID, have provided development and humanitarian assistance in developing countries worldwide for over 50 years. Since 1956, the U.S. Government has invested over $2 billion to benefit all the people of Sri Lanka.