The Staff Development Unit of the University of Kelaniya organized the Workshop at University of Jaffna from 13th-15th February 2012. Professor John Brewer, Sixth Century Professor of Sociology at the University of Aberdeen, and President of the British Sociological Association served as the resources person. Fifty members of the academic staff of local universities (25 from the University of Jaffna, 20 from University of Kelaniya, 1 each from the University of Moratuwa, the Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, the Ocean University of Sri Lanka and the Kothalawala Defense University) participated in the Workshop. Mr. G. A. Yamal Perera, Lecturer in Fisheries & Marine Science represented the Ocean University of Sri Lanka at this event.
The seminar dealt with problems of post-conflict societies such as tension between ‘truth’ and ‘reconciliation’ and between ‘justice’ and ‘peace’, experiences of victim-hood, problems of remembrance and commemoration, social integration of former combatants, and development of citizenship education for the new society. It also dealt with the process of healing as a whole, which needs further deep discussion in Sri Lanka. Each participant was requested to serve as trainers for 50 students in single identity work.
Objectives of the Workshop:
- - To train a group of lecturers who are interested in contributing to ethnic cohesion by conducting workshops to the student body of the national universities in Sri Lanka
- - To convince the leadership of the academic community of the need to train middle-level leaders to work for sustainable peace in Sri Lanka
- To train university lectures on integrating elements of peacemaking into the curricula of the university wherever possible (e.g. cultural studies and peace; economic growth and the need for sustained peace etc.)
- - To enable lecturers to introduce internships involving peace activities across the ethnic divide
- - To train lecturers in managing conflicting views among students across the ethnic divide
- - To train lecturers to create solidarity among ethnically diverse student bodies by inculcating inter-religious and holistic secular values such as the capacity to listen, forgive, and extend metta, muditha, and karuna to all.