“Embassy of Sri Lanka facilitates student US study tour for “Project Common Bond”
Posted on July 28th, 2012

Embassy of Sri LankaƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Washington DC Press Release

Five teenage schoolchildren from Sri Lanka who had lostƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ a family member toƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ an act of terrorism attended this yearƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s “Project Common Bond”, a weeklong peace building and conflict resolution program held in the United States.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The program was organized by TuesdayƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Children, a New York based nonprofit organizationƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ serving the needs ofƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ those affected by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in the United States, as well asƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ other victims of international terrorism and their families.

Responding to aƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ request made by the Embassy of Sri Lanka, TuesdayƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Children generously granted the opportunity for theƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Sri LankanƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ students affected by terrorism to attend this inspiring and rewarding program. The group comprising of three female and two male students became the second batch of Sri Lankan students toƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ benefit from this yearƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s nine day “Project Common Bond”ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ program now in its fifth year. Last year too, a group of six Sri Lankan students attended “Project Common Bond” for the first time.

This yearƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s “Project Common Bond”ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ program was heldƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ from July 12thƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ to July 20thƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ at the GovernorƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Academy in Byfield, Massachusetts. The participants followed a curriculum designed by Harvard University Law School and Weatherhead Center for International Affairs in Cambridge.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The program incorporated therapeutic community-building activities, conflict resolution, peace into action projects and team events designed to foster trust, healing, cooperation and communication.

The aim of the program as elaborated by the host organization is to ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-impact the lives of young people who have suffered a similar loss as a result of an act of terrorism ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” and in doing so, give them the skills they need to make a difference in the lives of othersƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚.

During the program the Sri Lankan studentsƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ shared their personalƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ experiences with youthƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ from the United States, Argentina, Ireland, Israel, Northern Ireland, Palestine, Russia and Spain, Algeria, France, Morocco, Nigeria and Pakistan.

OnƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ the completion of the program the students embarked on a two-day educational tour inƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Washington DCƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ arranged by the Embassy of Sri Lanka. During this studyƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ tour the students visited the national museums,ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ historical monuments, the White House and Capitol Hill.

The Embassy of Sri Lanka,ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Sri Lankan ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” American community members in Boston and inƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ theƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Greater Washington Area felicitated the visiting Sri Lankan students.

The students were able to visit Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) , New England Buddhist Vihara and other landmarks in the outskirts ofƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Boston with the Sri Lankan ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” American community members in the area.

DuringƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ a reception for the studentsƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ held in Virginia, a group of Sri Lankan ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” AmericanƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ benefactorsƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ presented among other mementos laptop computers to each student to assist with their learning.

Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Sri Lanka Ambassador Esala Weerakoon speaking at this gathering reminisced painful past under the clutches of terrorism and expressed his empathy with the losses suffered by the students.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-We suffered from the scourge of terrorism for three decades. These sons and daughters were directly affected from terrorism and they know the pain. We can empathize with you the pain you have gone throughƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚, he said.

He also recognized the contribution the political leadership and the sacrifices made by the war heroes in eliminating terrorism and bringing back peace and security to the nation.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-It is the time to recognize the political leadership that His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa gave to eliminate once and for all the menace of terrorism from Sri Lanka .Also, at the same time we have to reflect and think of all those valiant heroes in the armed services and the police who sacrificed their lives to fight the menace of terrorismƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚, he added.

The students left the United States for Sri LankaƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ on July 24th. TheƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ participants were; Ms. Ayodya Perera, Ms. Ridmi Wijetunge, Ms. Piyumi Wickramasinghe , Master Himesh Withanagama, Master Achira Samaranayake andƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Mrs. Umayangani Abeyratna,Chaperone. (Ends).

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