Sri Lanka Unites and reconciliation. Transformation through change agents of a war infected nation
This qualitative master essay has taken place as a field study in the Sri Lankan post-war environment. The official peace started in 2009 and the country has had almost 30 years of war between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan government. The island is very segregated into clearly different ethnic and religious groups, which belonging has a big importance for the individuals. Very little contact takes place between the different groups and the prejudices between them have been built up for a long time and are hard to change. The focus in this research is the youth movement Sri Lanka Unites (SLU). Their vision is to bring youth together that are from different backgrounds and different geographical location in Sri Lanka. SLU does invite school prefects, evenly distributed from all over the island, to their annual Future Leaders Conference (FLC). There will possibilities be given to create friends from all over the country no matter background and through games and teamwork activities break down stereotypes about each other. When the FLC is over the prefects will go back to their school and starts create riffles on the water to their context regarding their new experience. In this study I have chosen to change the name prefects to change agents. The aim with this study is to gain understanding of the change agents’ experiences and attitudes regarding the reconciliation initiatives provided by Sri Lanka Unites including what the initiative mean for the change agents’ and their country’s future road to peace. The methodological approach has been ethnography and semi structured interview has been used as the method of data collection. Theories that have been applied are about culture, change process and attitude change. Earlier research has been focused on change agents, peace initiatives and attitude change. The major findings in this essay are that Sri Lanka Unites has a very big influence and do change a lot of the change agents’ attitudes. The change agents experience that they are a part of the solution on Sri Lanka´s road towards a peaceful country. Hence only time will tell how big the effects of the change agents and Sri Lanka Unites will have on the nations road to reconciliation.
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