Reconciliation Impossible? A Grassroots Perspective

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Venue: Ryerson University, Room RCC204, Toronto, ON M5B 2K3

As part of the Sri Lankans Without Borders (SLWB) Voices series, SLWB has invited Prashan De Visser and Christin Raja of Sri Lanka Unites (SLU) for a series of speaking engagements directed towards the Sri Lankan Diaspora in Canada. They will be speaking about the reconciliation efforts taking place in Sri Lanka and how SLU is engaging and empowering the youth of Sri Lanka to be leaders of change while promoting sustainable peace in the country.

The event poster has become popular on social media.

The event poster has become popular on social media.

With the end of the decades long civil war, there still exists painful memories of Sri Lankas past as well as concerns about its future. Not only did the war bring about suffering, mass displacement, and fear in the country, it also polarized the communities in SriLanka as well as overseas. With all that has happened, there are mixed feelings revolving around the possibility of reconciliation. This event hopes to bringout these perspectives so that these conversations could start taking place amongst the communities. Our guest speakers, Prashan De Visser and Christin Raja of Sri Lanka Unites will be discussing their experience growing up in Sri Lanka and how they came together to form the movement for reconciliation among the young Sri Lankan population. This event aims to provide Canadians with an opportunity to learn what steps are being taken, at a grassroots levels, to address the needs and concerns of Sri Lankans at the conclusion of a decades long civil war.

Sri Lankans Without Borders was founded in Canada by a group of individuals with different ethnic, political and personal identities. It has grown to become a large, international network for the members of the different diaspora communities including but not limited to those from the Burgher, Malay, Muslim, Sinhalese and Tamil communities. The mandate of SLWB is to facilitate candid dialogue and conversation amongst these communities. We acknowledge the difference in opinion and experience that exists and it is our hope to create safe spaces in which dialogue can occur and from which we can learn from one another. We also welcome the insight and experiences of other communities whose unique experiences may help us reflect on our own.

We hope you are able to be a part of this great opportunity to meet and hear from the founders of this youth movement and to learn about the reconciliation efforts taking place in Sri Lanka. For more information, please contact slu2012@slwb.ca. Due to limited seating, preference will be given to registered participants only. Please register each person individually.CLICK HERE

Speakers

Prashan De Visser

prashan-de-visser

Prashan De Visser

Prashan De Visser is the Founder and President of Sri Lanka Unites, a youth movement for hope and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. Prashan spends part of his time as a TV host on Channel One – MTV. He has hosted shows such as, Good Morning Sri Lanka and All About Success – Taking a closer look at the lives that influence Sri Lanka. Currently he is the co-host of a foreign policy show called Global Perspectives which was recently the highest rated show of the year on Channel One – MTV in Sri Lanka.
Prashan completed his high-school education at Wesley College, Colombo where he was the Deputy Head Prefect. He completed his Bachelor of Arts in International Relations at Gordon College in Boston, MA. He was the first South Asian student to be elected Student Body President at his university. He also worked a short stint in Washington D.C. for Senator Rick Santorum, Senator John McCain, and the Senate Republican Conference. He is eager to pursue his graduate studies in Foreign Policy and Conflict Transformation.

Prashan returned to Sri Lanka to initiate his vision for Sri Lanka Unites and is committed to the cause of reconciliation, conflict transformation and youth engagement in Sri Lanka as well as across the world. He is also an international speaker and trainer in conflict transformation and proactive youth leadership. He has spoken at international youth conferences in Kenya, Pakistan, Australia and USA. Recently he presented on the “Role of Youth in Reconciliation” at the inaugural national reconciliation conference organized by the Lakshman Kadirgarmar institute.

Christin Raja

Christin Raja

Christin Raja

Christin Raja is native to Northern Sri Lanka. He completed his high school education at St. Anthony’s College, Wattala. Christin has conducted research in the areas of Theology, Human Resource Management, Business Administration, Conflict Transformation, Peace Building, and Disaster Management. He is a certified by the Ministry of Higher Education in conjunction with Columbia University in New York to train facilitators of Social Harmony and Conflict Resolution. He also participated in an international course on community centered development and disaster preparedness in Haifa, Israel.
From 2007 to 2011 he worked for Sri Lanka’s largest NGO, Sarvodaya, as Director of the Northern Province. He helped a great number of displaced people and led many initiatives for Sarvodaya in the resettlement process of people from the Vanni regions. Christin is passionate about serving the resettlement and Internally Displaced People (IDP) having lived most of his childhood as a refugee.

Currently, Christin serves as National Director and Vice President of Sri Lanka Unites, the youth movement for hope and reconciliation among young people in post-war Sri Lanka. He is passionate about empowering young people regarding reconciliation and leadership. Christin is eager to pursue his higher education in disaster management and development. Christin is a gifted motivational speaker and uses his trilingual talents to spread the message of Sri Lanka Unites to youth across the nation