Tuesday, 06 December 2022 07:32

Government Officials Learn About Pluralism and Inclusion

Two residential workshops on pluralism and inclusion were held in Kandy and Galle for senior officials of the Kegalle and Galle District Secretariats and the Divisional Secretaries under NPC’s project Plural Action for Conflict Transformation (PACT). The Kegalle and Galle District Secretaries, Additional District Secretaries, Assistant District Secretaries, Divisional Secretaries, Director of Planning, Director of Development and the Chief Accountant participated in the workshops. There were 75 participants at each workshop, which were organised by the Kegalle and Galle District Inter Religious Committees and NGO coordinators of the districts.

Prof. Upul Abeyratne, Dr. Jehan Perera and Saman Seneviratne were the resource persons. Dr. Perera spoke about the current situation of the country and the role of NGOs. Prof. Abeyratne discussed the conceptual ideas of pluralism and inclusion. Mr. Seneviratne, using presentation and games, outlined the practical challenges and opportunities encountered in promoting values towards a pluralistic Sri Lanka.

Several Divisional Secretaries said that they had encountered these issues while they were carrying out their duties but they had not realised how important the problems were. They now understood that special attention should be given to the problems of minority groups, adding that a formal mechanism should be established to address them. “Every citizen should enjoy equal rights. This is what we understood through the workshop.

Necessary mechanisms should be set up to strengthen the practice of pluralistic values in the public service. We ask NPC to assist us to go on an exposure visit to the North to understand the practical problems faced by people living there,” said Kegalle District Secretary Mahinda S. Weerasooriya. “At a time the country is in an economic crisis, it is essential for everyone to work together. When performing our duties in the Galle district, we try our best to give equal opportunities to everyone,” said Galle District Secretary Shantha Weerasinghe.

Both District Secretaries said that the workshops were well organised and thanked NPC. Many officials had not known about pluralism before the workshops but now they would implement what they had learnt.