Association of Medical Doctors of ASIA, founded in 1984, Consultative Status with UN ECOSOC since 1995

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2016 AMDA Peace Building Programme in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Publication date:2016-08-17
 


AMDA Peace Building Programme was initially started, having the history of 26-year ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka as a background. At the time of civil strife, both the Sinhalese and the Tamils hardly had any interaction or communication with each other, and the society was literally split into two.

 


It was during the time of ceasefire (2003 ~ 2006) when AMDA dispatched medical professionals from Japan to provide medical services and community health education to both communities in an equal manner. It is what AMDA calls “Peace Building through Medicine” which helps promote peace by building trust through medical services. As part of AMDA Peace Building Programme, AMDA started the youth exchange in 2011 for the second phase of this peace-building initiative.
 
Ever since, the youth exchange has been held on a regular basis where students from different ethnic/religious communities get together to nurture mutual understanding. This year, 6th AMDA Peace Building Programme was held in Muthur Central College of Trincomalee in the northeastern part of the country. The programme was organized in collaboration with AMDA Sri Lanka and St. John Ambulance Sri Lanka.
 
Including four participants from Japan, 77 students and teachers from different communities took part in the programme and interacted through religious, sports and cultural events and workshops. For the religious part, all participants visited Buddhist and Hindu temples, a Muslim mosque as well as a Christian church to experience different rituals of each religion.
 
  

On the second day of the programme, all students were mixed and divided into teams regardless of schools or communities. After the sports activities, they remained on the same team for the workshop that followed in the afternoon. The students introduced each other by drawing pictures to overcome the language barriers.In the evening, the students got together in the said teams to have a little fun (dance, singing and play) around the campfire. Despite having less time to practice, they all did a tremendous job on what they whipped up on the spot.
 
Their last day started with a clean-up in the morning. Each student learned the importance of clearing the venue before returning it to the school. The final event of the programme was to present the outcome of the three-day multicultural peace exchange. The students, again, remained on the same team to draw a picture together on what they learned through this precious experience. Each team had to explain in different languages that not everybody understood, but they were able to communicate through drawings. Likewise, cultural performance (dance, music, Japanese flower arrangements etc.) which featured the distinct characteristics of each ethnic group provided a rare glimpse into different cultures.
 
At the closing ceremony, Ms. Galappaththy, the Minister of Road Development, Land & Land Development, Skill & Manpower Development, Women Affairs and Water Supply from Eastern Province appeared in the event, and handed out the prize to actively-involved students with Dr. Samarage, the Chapter Chairperson of AMDA Sri Lanka.
 
 

“This programme is valuable as students living in central and north Sri Lanka can get the opportunity to interact with each other. This time, I participated in it as a teacher and learned a lot through local rituals, food and other new experiences,” one teacher said.
 
“Our students do not have a lot of opportunities to go out of our community and interact with students from elsewhere. Many of our students who participated lost their parents in the conflict. However, they must have had a great experience as well,” the other teacher commented.
 
AMDA sincerely hopes that those who took part in the exchange would play a role of peace advocate in the near future.
    •  Sri Lanka
    •  2016
    •  Peace Building
    •  Peace Building Project

 
 
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