Preparatory district level workshops for National Conversation based on the Himalaya Declaration begin
The first-ever district-wise inter-religious coordination committee promoting conversations on the merits of the Himalaya Declaration started yesterday in Kurunegala.
Yesterday, 9 February 2024, in Kurunegala, the first of the five planned workshops began in training the proposed 150 interfaith clergy and civil society members, as co-ordinators. They will be the key resource persons who will facilitate the planned 25 districts conversations, in the coming months. These planned 5 workshops will all be two-day workshops, spread around the country. The next one will be in Kandy, then in Batticaloa, Matara and Vavunia.
In each one of these workshops, persons from surrounding districts too will participate. In total today’s workshop had approximately 30 participants from these three districts and that comprised of clergy from Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Catholic and Christian religions and civil society members from each district too.
From the Sangha for Better Sri Lanka (SBSL) participants included, Ven. Madampagama Assaji Tissa Thero, Ven. Prof. Pallekande Rathnasara Thero, Ven. Kithalagama Hemasara Nayake Thero and Ven. Siyambalagaswewa Wimalasara Thero and Global Tamil Forum (GTF) was represented by Dr Elias Jeyarajah from the United States. In addition to Visaka Dharmadasa and staff from Association for War Affected Women (AWAW), three excellent professional facilitators, Mr Indika Perera, Dr. Dayani Panagoda, and Mr Nagaratnam Vijayskanthan, also provided translations.
Dr Elias said “It was wonderful to witness the continuation of the Nagarkot dialogue. Heard very favorable comments about Himalaya Declaration from most participants”
Each district will be represented by 5 inter-religious persons and a civil society member in total 6 per district. Therefore, from the 25 districts will be 150 coordinators. Once all 5 workshops are over, the national conversation will begin.