“Democracy Corps -Sri Lanka” Launched!

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In 2004 the U.Va. Center for Politics Youth Leadership Initiative started a program called Democracy Corps.  It was founded to improve civic and political engagement of America’s youth and help answer questions about why we have a democracy and how they can be involved in it.

Two of the 18 Sri Lankan exchange participants, Chamida and Hemantha, have taken the program and made it their own. On August 14 when we were in Matara in the south of the nation they launched Democracy Corps – Sri Lanka with about 20 participants in attendence. It is incredible what they are working to accomplish.

There is traditionally extremely little engagement between the people and the national government. Once elections are concluded, democracy is basically put on hold until the next call to the polls. Sri Lanka has a unitary system of government with few if any checks and balances, and all power comes from the top down.

The participants in the program are already starting projects of their own and helping other Sri Lankans to take a greater role in their nation’s future. As our director, Larry Sabato, says, “Government works better when politics works better, and politics works better when citizens are informed and involved participants.

Chaminda and Hemantha have discovered not to their surprise that the ground is fertile for such a movement. Congratulations to them and all who are involved!

Daman

Visit their website at http://democracycorpssrilanka.ueuo.com.

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