Sri Lanka at the Crossroads

Sri_Lanke_Event_12_HHOn October in the University of Virginia Colonnade Club where our Sri Lankan friends gathered last spring, we hosted an event called Sri Lanka at the Crossroads: War, Peace, and Democracy. It was a cold rainy night which reminded us a lot of their visit, but we still had a capacity crowd of 50 people. Those who served as speakers or panelist last spring who were in attendence included Larry Sabato, Ken Stroupe, Chip Mann, John Hager, and Stewart Gamage. Our team captain Joseph and Meg and I were also there, of course.

Professor Sabato spoke and introduced the keynote speaker, The Honorable E. Ashley Wills, U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka from 2000-2003. Amb. Wills discussed his time as a U.Va. student, career, experiences in Sri Lanka, and the direction he feels it is headed. His expertise was vital to this event, and we thank him for his participation. Meg and I gave a presentation on the 18 Sri Lankans’ participation in Global Perspectives on Democracy last March and our participation in the return exchange to Sri Lanka.

We had such a rich experience in Sri Lanka that our presentation probably went longer than it should have. There was just so much to talk about: the program here, reuniting with our friends, the organizations we visited and people we met, the political situation, beauty of the country, the food we now greatly miss, etc., etc., etc. We could have easily gone on for many hours if not days. We and the audience especially enjoyed a live Skype video call with Hemantha and Chaminda about their Democracy Corps – Sri Lanka program. They were projected larger than life onto a screen for all to see. Everyone was impressed with the work that they and all of the 18 are doing.

Visit http://www.virginia.edu/uvatoday/newsRelease.php?id=10035 to read more about this event.

Thanks to all of our Sri Lankan friends once again for being such excellent program participants and showing us around your country. Hopefully we can find a way to get back to Sri Lanka soon.

Daman

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