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Preparatory district level workshops for National Conversation based on the Himalaya Declaration began today

February 10, Colombo (LNW): The first ever district wise inter-religious coordination committee promoting conversations on the merits of Himalaya Declaration started today in Kurunegala.

Today, 9 February 2024, in Kurunegala, first of the five planned workshops has begun 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 days workshops, spread around the country. 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. Like in todays and tomorrows, although the workshop is held in Kurunagela, participants from Puttlam and Anuradhapura were also took part. 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 districts 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), there were three excellent professional facilitators Mr Indika Perera, Dr. Dayani Panagoda, and Mr Nagaratnam Vijayskanthan who also provided translations.

Dr Elias said “It was wonderful to witness the continuation of the Nagarkot dialogue. Heard very favourable 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. That’s the current plan.

Dialogue continues tomorrow.

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