Ancient cultures: new futures

Sri Lankan society has for many years been beset by conflict, the most destructive experience of which occurred during the war from 1983 to 2009 in which many tens of thousands of people died. Despite the formal end of hostilities the legacy of division, hostility and suspicion continues, in many areas compounded by poverty and economic and political disadvantage. This project, which builds upon work begun in 2009, is done in collaboration with Global Reconciliation, an international foundation based in Australia. In 2010 and 2011 the project involved AFL indigenous and other players in reconciliation tours of critical areas in the country. In August 2012 the project ran the first globally connected, national civil-society reconciliation conference in Sri Lanka since the war.

The overall aim of the project is to explore the possibilities, and to help establish the social infrastructure, for community-based collaborations across national, religious, ethnic and political differences in Sri Lanka.

The first, exploratory, stages of the project will entail two specific objectives:

  1. The building of a coalition of groups and individuals to support collaborative partnerships across difference in Australia, Sri Lanka and internationally
  2. The convening of a national workshop in Sri Lanka to explore models, tools, openings and possibilities for advancing the building of partnerships across difference (24–26 August 2012 with over fifty participants from across the country and across political and religious lines.
Start By 1 July 2012
Completed By 31 December 2014
Funding Philanthropic Funding from multiple sources, mostly through the Global Reconciliation Foundation.

Outcomes It is intended that the outcomes of the project will include the establishment of a continuing coalition of individuals and groups equipped with a range of model ways of working to work together at the community level to extend the possibilities of a peaceful, trusting and prosperous society.

The meeting will also work towards a communiqué and a formal plan, which may nominate particular, community-based projects for which support may subsequently be jointly sought.

Researcher(s) Paul James, Paul Komesaroff (Monash University), Suresh Sundrum (University of Melbourne)
Program Global Indigeneity and Reconciliation
Location(s) Colombo – Sri Lanka