Young and Diverse 2016 – ‘We Celebrate Our Diversity’

A Sports and Cultural Event 

A festival of sports and cultural activities called ‘Young and Diverse 2016’ was organized for the third time by the GIZ Vocational Training in the North and East of Sri Lanka (VTN) Project in cooperation with the Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training. Around 650 trainees from vocational training satellite centres supported by the VTN in the Trincomalee district as well as students from the Sri Lanka German Training Institute (SLGTI) in Kilinochchi participated in this event which had the motto: ‘We Celebrate Our Diversity’.

HE Dr Heinz Walker-Nederkoorn, Ambassador of Switzerland to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, and HE Mr Jörn Rohde, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, together with Hon Austin Fernando, Governor of the Eastern Province, and Hon S. Thandauthapani, Minister of Education for the Eastern Province, graced this occasion which took place on the 28th of September 2016 at the Koneswaram Hindu College Grounds in Trincomalee.

As HE President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka expressed in his speech when he graced the opening ceremony of the SLGTI in Kilinochchi in July, vocational training in the north and east provides a solid basis for social integration and peace building.

The trainees who participated in this event were from various parts of the country and from different cultural and religious backgrounds. They were offered a range of sports and cultural events to enable them to understand and appreciate the diversity of their motherland. Through this awareness, the trainees were encouraged to establish good relationships with each other that, in turn, helped to build trust among the different communities that they represented.

The event gave them an opportunity to share and exchange their ideas and talents with other young people from across the country who came from different cultural backgrounds. Trainees competed in their favourite sports, formed teams with other trainees from all over the country, shared successes and, most importantly, had fun in an environment in which everyone was treated equally and fairly. In addition to this, a drama was performed by the Janakaraliya theatre group with a theme that reinforced the importance of being multilingual in a country such as Sri Lanka.

Much time and effort was employed to ensure that this event provided a positive experience that contributed to the students’ long journey of reconciliation as they come to terms with the peaceful context of the present and develop into emotionally healthy and well-balanced young people making a meaningful contribution to the future of the country as envisioned by the Government of Sri Lanka.

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