Peace and Unity through Religion and Sports in Sri Lanka, 2014
As part of AMDA Peace Building Program in Sri Lanka, AMDA, in collaboration with AMDA Sri Lanka and "Religions for Peace", conducted "Peace and Unity through Religion and Sports" from August 27th to 30th, 2014 in Colombo. The aim of this program is to foster an understanding of peace among different ethnicities through sports and, cultural and religious activities. AMDA conducted this program for the fourth time and it was the second time that Japanese junior and high school students from "KOUSEIGAKUEN" in Tokyo participated. This year, 15 Japanese students, participated in this program with local Sri Lankan students from Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, and Christian background from 8 different schools in and around Colombo.
On the first day of the program, various religious programs were conducted. All students visited Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, and Christian places of worship to see and learn about each other's believes and customs. On the way of visiting, in the bus, students introduced their popular songs to each other and enjoyed music.
The second day was about sports and culture program. About 110 students with their teachers were divided into mixed teams and played volleyball, Elle (a local game similar to baseball) and jumping ropes. Students overcame language and cultural barriers and enjoyed their time through these games. In the evening, students from each school performed music and dance around the "campfire". The Japanese students introduced Japanese traditional dress called Yukata.
The third day was about health program and a closing ceremony. Students enjoyed exercising and interactive session. This session, we found, helped to increase the communication among the students. They enjoyed not only the verbal communication but also the non-verbal communication through the mixed-team activities. Finally, students were awarded with trophies and certificate at the closing ceremony and the whole program came to an end with the final group photo-shoot.
Through this program, students became friends beyond ethnic or religious difference after interacting and understanding each other through different activities.