Center's Sri Lanka partners stress needs and opportunities in the wake of catastrophe

Center partners from Sri Lanka have made contact with the Center, letting us know they are safe, providing updates on the crisis, and expressing the deep need for support from friends everywhere. We frequently call upon these partners for their expertise and collaborate with them on various projects both in the United States and Sri Lanka. Our relationships are both professional and personal and therefore, we are sharing their thoughts and written appeals with members of our extended Center community. Although our Sri Lanka partners are re-doubling their efforts to serve the immediate needs of their communities, they contend that to most effectively address this crisis, they and the international community must take a long-term, integrated approach to relief and reconstruction.

(In a related Brandeis news article, Larry Simon, Brandeis University professor, urges a long-term approach to Tsunami relief and outlines options for assistance.)

Jehan Perera, the National Peace Council, was a Brandeis International Fellow in 1998 and has supervised Ethics and Coexistence Student Fellows serving in Sri Lanka. Based in Colombo, the National Peace Council is a conflict resolution organization dedicated to building a people movement for peace and creating the environment for a negotiated settlement to the conflict in Sri Lanka.

Harsha Nawaratne, chair Sewalanka Foundation, supervised Ethics and Coexistence Student Fellows serving in his foundation. The Sewalanka Foundation, based in Colombo, promotes social mobilization and institutional capacity building through economic development in poor and rural conflict-affected communities in all regions of the country. Cythia Cohen, with Dr. Hizkias Assefa, has conducted peacebuilding workshops for the staff of Sewalanka throughout the years. In addition to Cohen, the foundation has also hosted Daniel Terris.

Kassapa Diyabedanage, AHIMSA, has supervised Ethics and Coexistence Student Fellows in both 2003 and 2004. AHIMSA is a grassroots organization in Sri Lanka concerned with developing a non-violent culture in a war torn society. It has a strong reputation as a training institute on conflict resolution and on extending psychosocial support for victims of violence. AHIMSA has developed a program to raise funds through John Calogero, who is based in the United States. Former Ethics and Coexistence student fellows have also begun fund-raising efforts for the organization, which hosted them as interns.