A workshop on pluralism and inclusion for 35 of senior prison officers from prisons in Sri Lanka was held under NPC’s project Plural Action for Conflict Transformation (PACT) with the participation of the Commissioner General of Prisons Chandana Ekanayake.

Participants were encouraged to find new ways to build a positive masculinity towards serving and dealing with others respectfully.

Mr. Ekanayake shared part of his own story to motivate participants. He joined the prison as a jailor and worked his way up to become the Commissioner General of Prisons. His message was of encouragement to others to develop their skills. As a leader, he motivates people to build their own skills to become good leaders. He strives to treat people without discrimination, listen to them and be a role model through courage, strength and caring for others.

Prof. Upul Abeyratne, NPC’s Executive Director Dr. Jehan Perera and NPC’s Project Manager Saman Seneviratne joined the workshop as resource persons. Dr. Perera spoke about the current political situation and the role of NGOs. Prof. Abeyratne discussed the concept of pluralism and inclusion. Mr. Seneviratne discussed the challenges and opportunities in building a pluralistic society.

Participants discussed what pluralism was, the qualities of a pluralistic person and the structures needed to build a pluralistic Sri Lanka. A pluralistic person should recognise and accept diversity, have knowledge about human rights, be able to work in a diverse group and listen to other people’s ideas. There were many cases of wrongful imprisonment because of poor investigative processes.

Some participants said that before the workshop, they had not known what pluralism meant and its importance in establishing reconciliation. They hoped to share the ideas with colleagues and to
practice the values they learnt.

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