The highlight was cooking demonstrations of food representing different cultures prepared by local culinary experts representing their ethnic communities. The food was to sampled and enjoyed by the people.
There were cultural performances by youth from different ethnic communities, giving the participants the opportunity to experience Sri Lanka’s diverse culture. Sessions were conducted on how different communities had been living in harmony since ancient times.
An NGO Coordinator from Kegalle said “Our country is a multi ethnic country. We have seen what happens when a minority is suppressed and their cultural and religious values are not respected by other communities. Therefore it is of importance to understand the customs, clothing and food of different cultures and religions in our country.”
“In the past, we had a lot of opportunities to work with different ethnic groups, which paved the way to understand different cultural values. Today’s youth are an isolated generation, which is why this programme is very important,” said a Batticaloa government official.
Under NPC’s project Plural Action for Conflict Transformation (PACT), funded by Miseroer and Cafod, orientation meetings for District Inter Religious Committee (DIRC) members were held in Hambantota and Nuwara Eliya. Hambantota DIRC members identified two areas in Tangalle and Kirinda as hot spots of ethnic and religious tensions. They decided to conduct a workshop on pluralism. In Nuwara Eliya, NPC donated a laptop to the DIRC for administrative and financial work.