Perhaps the biggest advantage of working towards social change outside of political office is the long-sightedness it affords. Politicians not only have to constantly prepare for the next set of elections, but they are swayed to design their policies in a way that provides immediate benefits with little thought of the long term costs over the span of several decades. During today’s weekly 5 hour meeting, SLU discussed possible short term sacrifices that could be implemented in the interest of a long term investment. This type of forward thinking is necessary for a new generation of Sri Lankans. Not only must we understand the past, but we must construct the future so that its eventual consequences do not unwittingly lead to a reiteration of a tragic history.
SLU’s forward thinking is also evident in its choice of speakers. This evening, the VP’s family hosted a dinner for Sri Lanka’s premier cricketer, an internationally renowned athlete. After we were all introduced to Sanath Jayasuriya, he confirmed his desire to speak at the conference and inspire a new generation for a post-war Sri Lanka. This man’s importance lies in the fact that he is a figure the youth of Sri Lanka respect and admire. Though a politician or expert might not be as well known to the young people of tomorrow, a famous athlete can carry a direct connection with the youth that have come to see him as a national hero.