Sunday, July 26, 2009

FLC Countdown: 12 Days, Reflections

Today, dozens of Sri Lankan volunteers descended upon Colombo for the Volunteers Informational Meeting. Amidst the conversation and icebreakers, the dream and components of Sri Lanka Unites were discussed in detail and. The Future Leaders Conference, though at present focus of the organization, is only one segment of SLU. The follow-up work with conference is just as important, and there will be an awards ceremony next year to celebrate those students who pursued reconciliation most avidly. In addition, Sri Lanka Unites hopes to establish Houses of Reconciliation around the country to provide the resources and community for young people to change the future.

After the layout of the organization was explored, the volunteers themselves expressed their opinions of the current ethnic divide. One such person related how the divide between the Sinhalese and the Tamils was largely imagined. He stated that there is no large difference between these two groups, only the language separates them. Many members of small village communities never leave their area, and the lack of exposure to other regions contributes to their misperceptions of others. In fact, language has been a big issue in the history of Sri Lanka, sparking several pieces of legislation that either promoted Sinhala as the only national language or included the use of Tamil in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

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