The Regional Centre for Strategic Studies (RCSS), a think-tank based in Colombo, focused on regional security and strategic studies together with the Global Partnership for Prevention of Armed Conflicts (GPPAC), which is a network of civil-society organisations based in the Hague, the Netherlands, dedicated to conflict prevention and peace building across the world, organised a week-long program consisting of thematic events, from 4 to 8 June, at the Ramada Hotel, Colombo. The framework for the weeklong thematic events was on the pertinent topic of conflict prevention culminated in ‘GPPAC – RCSS Week 2018’.
The event presented an opportunity to many scholars, academics and members of civil society organisations from across the world to engage with each other and collaborate on the promotion of conflict prevention and peace building.
The inauguration ceremony, held on 4 June, was attended by the Speaker of the Sri Lanka Parliament, Karu Jayasuriya, MP, who delivered the Keynote Address. Other speakers at the inauguration included Darynell Rodriguez Torres, the Executive Director of GPPAC, Sharon Rolls, the Executive Director of FemLINKPACIFIC: Media Initiatives for Women, which is a feminist media organisation that has been instrumental in the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in the Pacific, and Prof. Gamini Keerawella, the Executive Director of RCSS.
The week-long event consisted of three main thematic activities, this included an International Steering Group (ISG) meeting of GPPAC members, which marked the first ever meeting of the GPPAC ISG members in Sri Lanka. As the ISG members are internationally recognised figures in the prevention of armed conflict and peace building in their respective regions, it was significant that this event was hosted in Sri Lanka.
The other two thematic activities consisted of a Conference on the ‘Trends in Youth Radicalisation in South Asia’ and a Regional Steering Group (RSG) meeting, which involved representatives from the South Asian region.
RCSS also organised an event on the sidelines of this week with the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR), on the 6th June. The ONUR staff delivered a video presentation and ground-views from Sri Lankan youth affected by our civil war, in order to highlight the activities that the Sri Lankan Government does together with the civil society in Sri Lanka to stop the recurrence of conflict in the country.
Moreover, the Conference on ‘Trends in Youth Radicalisation in South Asia’, conducted on 7 June, aimed to identify the diverse trends and processes in youth radicalisation in South Asia in order to propose strategies on how to promote positive youth radicalism and encourage the empowerment of youth in South Asia. This Conference drew members from the Sri Lankan civil society and most importantly the voices of the Sri Lankan youth, who heeded the Conference participants for their voices to be heard and for them to be empowered to effect change in Sri Lanka.