The Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR), in partnership with University Grants Commission (UGC) has introduced a new subject on Conflict Transformation and Reconciliation effective 2018, under the programme “National Unity and Reconciliation through Higher Education”. The MoU between ONUR and UGC was signed this week with the participation of Senior Official of 7 selected Universities and Higher Educational Institutes in Sri Lanka and Deans from all the Social Science Faculties across the island.
It has been seven years since the Twenty-six-year long war ended. However, issues which relate to reconciliation, social harmony and religious coexistence still prevail among diverse communities in the society. In this regard youth are considered one of the most vulnerable and marginalized in our society. Although the youth are at present highly segregated, they are capable enough to play a vital role as a catalyst for positive change for sustainable peace in Sri Lanka.
It is an essential requirement that, reconciliation is included as a subject to the education system in Sri Lanka. Today’s student will be the future’s leader in the society. It is important to acknowledge that the Students also have an equal right and responsibility to create a society which respects diversity among us as Sri Lankans.
Among Apart from the programmes being carried out by ONUR targeting School the students, this initiative targets the undergraduates who are important for the reason that they are about to take various responsibilities in the society. Therefore implementing “Reconciliation” as a introducing a subject on conflict transformation and reconciliation through curriculum to the University system is significant.
The seven universities and higher education institutes selected for the first phase of this programme are University of Ruhuna, University of Jaffna, South Eastern University, Visual and Performing Arts University, Swami Vipulananda Institute of Eastern University, Sri Lanka Bikshu University and Jamiah Naleemiah Institute. The implementation of the programme will be governed by the steering committee which was also formulated thereafter.
The foremost objective of launching this programme in universities is to initiate a dialogue among the University students belonging to different religious communities, leading to social cohesion and peaceful co-existence in the multi-religious and multi-ethnic society in Sri Lanka. The University student can become an agent for positive change by conducting various activities based on the interests of each higher education institute in the county.
MoU was signed by Chairman of UGC Prof. Mohan de Silva and Director General of ONUR Mr M S Jayasinghe. IStanding From Left: Prof. P.S.M. Gunaratne, Vice Chairman of UGC, Her Excellency Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Chairperson of ONUR, Dr. Priyantha Premakumara, Secretary to UGC and Ms. Sanduni Ariyawansha, Assistant. Director of ONUR