|Sri Lanka: SCOPP celebrates International Peace Day, 2008|
|Friday, 19 September 2008|
A visit by young cricketers from the East to the South is the main item in the Peace Secretariat celebration of International Peace Day on September 21st 2008.
Following the liberation of the East last year, much effort has gone into political and economic development. The election of a Provincial Council in which both the government and the opposition are mult-ethnic, unlike in the past, and the new investment that has flowed into the area are a harbinger of the pluralistic prosperity the East can soon enjoy.
However it is also necessary to pay attention to social harmony if we are to ensure prosperous development. Whilst much needs to be done following the divisive attitudes of the past, the Peace Secretariat thought it would be appropriate to arrange a cricket match between two different parts of our country as a symbol of how peace can flourish. The interaction of youngsters is essential to build up the future of Sri Lanka, and we were pleased at the unstinting cooperation we received from so many individuals and branches of government to take the idea forward.
This marks general recognition of the fact that sports is a medium to promote goodwill among the various communities, leading ultimately to peace building. It also provides people with much needed diversion from the tragedies brought about by terrorism, the traumatic effects of the war and the harrowing experience of the tsunami.
Thus a friendly cricket match between the young cricketers of the Eastern province and of the Southern province will take place on 21st September at the international cricket grounds in the picturesque southern fort city of Galle. Both teams will include players from different ethnic groups.
The Ministry of Sports of the Central Government has readily underwritten the transport cost of the team while an equally enthusiastic Sri Lanka Cricket has assumed the organizational aspects of the game. From the time idea was mooted up to now the arrangements have progressed seamlessly, underlining the commitment of officials at all levels to make this peace building exercise a resounding success. The Defence Ministry has made arrangements for the Eastern team to travel to the south without any glitch.
The concept of Peace through Sports has been fully endorsed, among others, by the Chief Minister of the Eastern Province. Initially he had hoped to be present in person at the match but unfortunately this is not possible as he is currently on a seminal promotional tour to Japan, which has been at the forefront of efforts to develop the East. However, representatives from the Eastern Provincial Council will be at hand to witness the match.
The Southern Provincial Council, under the guidance of the Chief Minister and fully supported by the Governor has come forward to host the Eastern team with elaborate arrangements to make the visit a memorable one. The reception organized for the visitors will exemplify the feeling of brotherhood of amongst youngsters as well as the older generation.
Galle – Southern Sri Lanka
On the eve of the match, the Southern Chief Minister will host the Eastern cricketers to a dinner which will be attended by distinguished personalities including national players. Arrangements have been made for the visitors to interact with southern players led by the legendary Sanath Jayasuriya. The guests will be entertained with a southern cultural programme. Arrangements have also been made by the Southern Provincial Council for the players to visit important locations in the south including places of worship. There will also be a special Pooja at the Galle Hindu temple.
The Southern Province Education Ministry has made arrangements for students of all schools in the Galle district to be present during the match. Their presence is expected to boost the morale of the Eastern cricketers.
The entire Galle Town has assumed a festive atmosphere with banners and buntings to welcome the cricketers from the East of the country, sending out a strong message for peace and harmony. The teams will be conducted to the grounds by five traditional bands selected from leading schools in Galle, and will be accompanied by Community and Religious leaders of the South.
The Organization “Tomorrow for the Youth” (Tharunyata Hetak) has donated the trophies to be presented to the teams. The President of the Youth Organization and son of HE the President, Mr. Namal Rajapaksa will participate in the event as a Special Guest. He will also discuss special programmes to benefit the youth of the East on this occasion.
A song and dance fiesta will cap the events of the day. It will provide a rare opportunity to the distinguished guests to hear sounds of the East in the South, not from professionals, but from the young players themselves. The representative of Sri Lanka Cricket in the East has let out the secret, noting that the Eastern youths are preparing to practically storm the south with their performance on and off the field.
On the 22nd September, the visiting Eastern young cricketers will be received by the principals and students of two citadels of learning in the South, Richmond and Mahinda colleges. This will lead to a friendly discussion between the youths from both parts of the country. Mementos will also be presented to the visitors to cherish this meeting among students.
International Peace Day 2008 is expected to be a memorable day with the concept of Peace through Sports gathering momentum to break through barriers in uniting the youth of this country.
Social and Economic Affairs Unit
Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process
|Last Updated ( Monday, 09 March 2009 )|
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