Udeshika Jayasekara- Researcher of INSSSL participated in the “Dialogue for Peace” Workshop for Youth in Rishikesh, India

KAICIID (King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue) partnered with Parmarth Niketan, World Organization of Scouts Movement (WOSM) and the Global Wash Alliance to hold a four days multi-tiered workshop from 14th February to 17th February 2020 at Parmarth Niketan in Rishikesh, India.

The first three days was a workshop on Dialogue for Peace for youth activists from across South Asia. Apart from 75 leaders representing India, leaders from other parts of South Asia such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Afghanistan also represented the workshop.

Three days of training was followed by a working level policy component. The last day was designed as an intergenerational dialogue incorporating policy makers and the youth in breakout sessions. The day started with the youth sharing their own experiences and work in general and the experience they gained from the three days’ workshop, with a particular emphasis on presenting the needs for youth from the policy making side. This was followed by dialogical breakout sessions facilitated to deal with topics such as: How religious leaders and policy makers can better support the connection of youth to policy; how youth can actively undertake initiatives that implement these policies and processes.

Udeshika Jayasekara, Researcher from the Institute of National Security Studies under Ministry of Defence, represented Sri Lanka for this Peace workshop. She shared her experience and knowledge from Sri Lankan context.

Intercultural and interreligious dialogue are tools that can help build and strengthen understanding across communities by strengthening the existing relations among communities, building new bridges between groups and promoting peaceful coexistence. Such participation is particularly important for community leaders, who can be found in different parts of society, and role models, who are increasingly among the youth. Therefore this workshop was important to foster youth leaders with the tools necessary to help strengthen coexistence among future leaders and to connect them with policy makers to strengthen youth engagement and involvement in policy processes.