A 45 minute drive from the SLU office took us to Selyna’s apartment in Colombo 10. That evening, we were to have a departmental meeting that covered the best way to schedule programs for the upcoming Future Leaders Conference. As we settled into the living room, the meeting began by consulting the time tables for the student’s arrival, registration, and opening ceremony. Soon, we were deliberating over different options for the students’ time to unwind in between workshops and small group sessions, and the conversation turned to the nature of conflict.
|The program team in discussion while taking notes|
For many, the conflict lies in a negative stereotype that has been passed down one generation after the other. Several years ago, when SLU initially asked a gathering of young Sinhalese about their opinions of Tamils and vice versa, no one from either ethnicity had met someone from the other group on which to base their impressions. All of the negative reactions had been based on predetermined prejudices from others who also had had no personal interaction. This leaves us with the news that real change is possible and introducing these young people to each other as equals and peers is a good place to start.
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