Bampalapitya Hindu College with over 700 students actively involved in the national integration under the “Reconciliation friendly Schools Programme” initiated by His Excellency the President Maithripala Sirisena as the Minister of National Integration and Reconciliation.
The reconciliation-friendly school programme was held in Bamplapitiya Hindu College on 30.6.2017 and Bryce Hutchession, Australian High Commissioner for Sri Lanka participated as chief guest. State Minister of National Integration and Reconciliation, A.H.M. Fowze, Deputy Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs, Dr. Harsha De Silva, Representative of Unicef, Tim Sutton, Secretary, Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation, V. Sivagnanasothy and Principal, Hindu College, T.P. Parameswaran and other important dignitaries participated in this event.
The objective of this event is to promote national integration and reconciliation among school teachers and children and empower school children as peace messengers and peace advocates in the society. The programme emphasize that in a pluralistic society it is important to recognize the multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural and multi-regional diversities as a source of strength and richness while inculcating the concept of motherland as a theme for stronger integration and reconciliation said V.Sivagnanasothy, Secretary, Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation.
The schoolchildren and participants expressed the need for healing, reparation, transitional justice and arrangements for non-recurrence as important elements in the reconciliation process. Religious fanatism, ethnic extremism , regional extremism and racism and the economic imbalances have affected the national unity, co-existence, peace and reconciliation in the past. Lack of trust, mutual understanding and hatred have created divisions and segregation among societies in specific pockets. Shortsighted political and vested groups have been instrumental in creating disturbances through hate speeches and religious and ethnic clashes in such places.
The integration-friendly school programme aims to create a change in the attitude , mindsets and behavioural patterns which calls for respect of other religions and ethnicities as a way forward said, V.Sivagnanasothy, the Ministry secretary. The Government policy on official languages and singing the national anthem in both languages has strengthened integration process. The reconciliation declaration read in all three languages and the students and the school administration committed to continue the discussions as an on-going activity in the school assembly. All the special dignitaries spoke about the integration and reconciliation and the Australian High Commissioner explained the experiences of Australian indigenous community reconciliation initiatives as a success story Sivagnanasothy, Secretary, Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation.