Sri Lanka is a country of rich cultural and religious diversity. Sadly however, people from the different religious communities have found themselves divided by the conflicts that have affected the country over the past three decades.
However, our Sri Lankan partners, the Centre for Peacebuilding and Reconciliation (CPBR) have long understood that instead of dividing people, religion can be a vital force for bringing communities together.
Their pioneering peacebuilding work trains religious leaders in conflict transformation skills and encourages dialogue between the different religious and ethnic groups of Sri Lanka.
And in April their work will be recognised by the religious charity, the Coexist Foundation, who have shortlisted the CPBR co-founder Dishani Jayaweera for their Coexist Prize, celebrating the positive role religion can play in peacebuilding, and showcasing inspiring stories from around the world.
The Coexist Foundation say they shortlisted Dishani “because of her exceptional work with Sri Lanka’s diverse religious communities”. They praised the way they had used religious teachings “to bring together the various faith leaders, and replaced violence with peaceful negotiation in a way that is both remarkable and admirable.”
Dishani was selected from over 200 applicants for the prize to make the shortlist of six. The prize giving will take place in April in New York.
With characteristic modesty, Dishani has insisted that: