A Roundtable on Principled Approaches to Conflict Resolution was held Thursday at the Trans Asia Hotel, Colombo.
The Roundtable was organised by the National Peace Council in collaboration with the Governance and Institutional Strengthening Project and the Canadian International Development Agency. The session included presentations by members of a Canadian delegation as well as local participants.
The discussions focused on three major areas of conflict resolution including basic concepts and strategies, industrial and labour disputes and the role of the media.
While the members of the delegation outlined the Canadian experience, local participants related it to the Sri Lankan situation. Each session was followed by a discussion in which all participants had the opportunity to express their views.
Members from the Canadian delegation who made presentations included Professor Stephen Owen, Member of Parliament; Flaurie Storie from the Canadian International Institute of Applied Negotiation; Lynn Harnden, partner of Emond, Harnden, Barristers and Solicitors; and Rose Dyson, President of Dyson and Associates, Consultants in Media Education.
Local presenters included Gamini Keerawella, Secretary to the Ministry of Ethnic Affairs and National Integration; Jayadeva Uyangoda from CEPRA; Gotabaya Dasanayaka of the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon; P.P Deveraj, Member of Parliament and from the Ceylon Workers’ Alliance; Lakshman Gunasekera, Editor, Sunday Observer; and Jehan Perera of the National Peace Council. Other participants included members of the business community, civil society and the media.
The Canadian delegation, in Sri Lanka for approximately a week, have held several meetings during their stay with various sections of the community including a joint session with members of the business community and civil society.
Owens said, “They had a little suspicion I think regarding each other at first. These were influential people from both areas and didn’t know each other. It ended up on a positive note, both sides wanting to know how they can continue to work together from here.”
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