Sri Lanka is ripe for reconciliation and the opportunity for a better future. The youth of the country need to be told a different story from the one that has become so entrenched in the minds of the older generations. If the future is not to repeat itself, the old stereotypes must be avoided; a new spirit of cooperation and understanding must be forged. Instilling the vision of a hopeful future in the youth of this nation is of vital importance, and is one of the goals of Sri Lanka Unites’ Future Leaders Conference, which is to be held for the fourth consecutive year this August.
Sri Lanka Unites is a youth reconciliation movement led by a core team of young professionals drawn from all ethnicities working in various fields. The organization aims to unite youth of all ethnic and religious groups across Sri Lanka giving youth the powerful potential to work towards sustainable development, peace and prosperity. The flagship event of this organization is the annual Future Leaders Conference.
The Future Leaders Conference is the key annual event of the Sri Lanka Unites (SLU) movement. In its fourth year, the conference will bring together 500 youth leaders between the ages of 15 to 18 from 75 schools across Sri Lanka. They will be mentored by 100 local and international university student volunteers and will also be joined by 75 teachers. Student leaders, local volunteers and teachers will be awarded full scholarships to attend this four day residential conference. During the conference participants will be exposed to important leadership principles that will serve them well in the years to come.
This year the conference will be held at Jaffna College, in Vaddukoddai in the Jaffna peninsula. This is indeed an historic event, as students from all 25 districts of the country gather at Jaffna and experience the culture and hospitality of their compatriots of the North. Organizing an event of this nature in Jaffna is a mammoth task, and this task has been cheerfully taken on by the Sri Lanka Unites team, who are making preparations to make this year’s conference one that would leave a lasting impression on the minds of the participants, and instill in them the passion to achieve a truly reconciled Sri Lankan society.
Sri Lanka Unites aims to have direct confrontation with the minds of the next generation. Cooperation, rather than competition, moves the self interest from just one group of people and enlarges the scope to include the entire nation. Sri Lanka Unites correctly recognizes that sustainable development in Sri Lanka will only be possible after the people are willing to believe that their futures are intertwined with the whole of the country and not along their ethnic boundaries.