SAF Sri Lanka Chapter's Introduction

 

Founder's Prologue

The assassination of Lakshman Kadirgamar, the former Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, is a setback from which SAF has yet to recover. As chairperson of the Sri Lankan chapter of the SAF since 2001, he took a great deal of interest in SAF activities and his advice and guidance were invaluable. He was an indefatigable advocate of democracy and the peaceful resolution of Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict through dialogue. He was also an opponent of terrorism; a conviction he shared with his countryman, Veerasingham Anadasangaree, who was awarded the 2006 UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence.

The Second SAF General Conference, held in Colombo on 18th February 2003, was arranged by Hon Lakshman Kadirgamar and inaugurated by the President of Sri Lanka, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, following a pre-recorded video message by the UNESCO Director-General, Koïchiro Matsuura. This well-attended conference was a turning point in terms of its decision to pay special attention to basic education and teacher training for deprived communities within the framework of regional cooperation.

These themes were also the focus of the fourth SAFLI Steering Committee meeting held the next morning, during which Vice-chancellors/rectors of open universities and representatives of other institutions in SAARC countries formally decided to offer a PGD-ESD (Post Graduate Diploma course in Environment and Sustainable Development).

It was resolved that SAFLI would cooperate with NGOs working for the much-needed education of abandoned children. Of particular focus would be NGOs working with local input to achieve the widest possible reach, such as the Sarvodaya Suwasetha Sewa Society in Sri Lanka and the SOS villages established by SOS-Kinderdorf International.

 


Confidence in online education for the marginalized and disadvantaged communities had been shaken by the bursting of the IT bubble, which led to the closing down of formerly promising e-learning ventures such as fathom.com. We were happy, therefore, with the change in direction, which meant that the South Asia Foundation would be returning to its founding principles of regional cooperation through grassroots activities.

As with our efforts to help earthquake victims in Kashmir, the SAF contributed US$ 50,000 to the Sri Lankan tsunami relief fund. Hon. Lakshman Kadirgamar decided to spend this amount on the education of orphans whose parents had perished in the Tsunami floods.

In 2006, Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Foreign Affairs succeeded Hon. Lakshman Kadirgammar as chairman of the SAF chapter, and in 2007 the former President of Sri Lanka, Hon. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga took over as chairperson, while Mr. Samaraweera became a member of the SAF Advisory Board.

Madanjeet Singh
SAF Founder

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SAF Sri Lanka Chapter

SAF Chairperson: Hon'ble Chandrika Kumaratunga
Former President of Sri Lanka.
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SAF Vice-Chairperson:
Dr. Roland Silva

SAF Secretary: Ms. Swinitha Perera - Contact email