Building peace in Sri Lanka

As I made my way to my parents’ home this past weekend for the holiday, I could not help but think back to last week and meeting Dr. Jayantha Seneviratne (Jay). Jay is the husband of Tanenbaum’s Peacemaker in Action in Sri Lanka, Dishani Jayaweera, and her partner in founding and leading the Centre for Peace-Building & Reconciliation (CPBR). Jay was in New York to visit with his son and I could not help but be reminded of his pilgrimage as I making mine.

Jay took time to stop by our office and update us on the situation in Sri Lanka and the efforts of the CPBR. His news was not the best, but it was hopeful. As forces within the current government are trying to consolidate their powerbase, some of the less scrupulous among them have had no problem fanning the flames of the sectarianism that drove the 30 year civil war that ended in 2009.  At the same time, the forces working for a sustainable peace are also gathering strength and developing networks amongst themselves that make them a more united front.

In this tense setting, efforts to create relationships between the Sinhala and Tamil communities are now critical for a peaceful future, and creative methods to foster communication, especially among the young generations, are needed. Jay shard one such project with us and I though some members of the wider Tanenbaum community might find it interesting. The project used photography to show commonalities between the communities and start conversations across entrenched boundaries. The link to a description of the work is here, and those of you who want to see some of the great photography that was produced can see it here.

Mihai MorarChief of Staff