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Future Leaders’ Conference Challenging stereotypes, unlearning prejudice

Most schools in the country are segregated along ethnic, religious, socioeconomic, and even in many school gender lines.

FLC creates room for inherited prejudices to grow and thrive.  We believe real life experiences can overcome inherited prejudice.

This five-day residential conference is fashioned to create a safe environment and exciting experiences that enhance the capacity to break negative stereotype, and challenge inherited hate towards a certain community.

Over 3900 student leaders have experienced this conference in the last nine years. Over 150 Sri Lanka Unites chapters have been created in schools as a result of the conference.

The chapters follow SLU guidebooks and conduct awareness events in their communities. Over 75 Champions of Change projects have been conducted as a result (working with school from different communities) for a year.

Our journey doesn’t stop with Future Leaders’ Conference, but we believe it is just a beginning to connect with the student leaders from around Sri Lanka at a common stage.

Mentoring Weekend Community grievances addressed through meaningful interaction

Following FLC selected student leaders are gathered at a residential workshop and trained on how to plan and implement a social action project to address peace building in their communities.

Students learn how to

  1. write a budget,
  2. create a timeline of activities,
  3. engage stakeholders and
  4. organize social action projects.

For many rural schools this is the first experience of conducting a social action project. The students are taught principles of project identification, management, fund-raising, public relations etc. to help them design feasible projects.

Champions of Change Different backgrounds - One goal

Following mentoring weekend, schools of varying ethnic, religious and geographical backgrounds are partnered together, to work on a project to impact a community of their choice, catalyzing grassroots change to occur by pooling the efforts of multiple schools.

This program combines

  1. reconciliation,
  2. leadership,
  3. inter-communal dialogue and
  4. common responsibility of rebuilding a nation.

As students work together, they discover more shared interests between their two communities and build relationships which enhances the concept of reconciliation on a larger scale. The students are taught principles of project identification, management, fund-raising, public relations etc. to help them design feasible projects. Exceptional community projects will receive recognition and a well-deserved award at the next Future Leaders’ Conference Award Ceremony. Results Over the years, projects have been carried out across the country. A few noteworthy projects include;

  • a Buddhist school and Hindu school organized a community exchange program, this is the first time both communities have hosted families of another ethnic group.
    • a public awareness campaign against racism called “one for all”
    • 14 workshops in schools from the southern province to raise awareness on SLU and SHOW you care
    • anti-drug campaign and a THINK poster campaign to raise awareness on countering hate speech

Dream Team Peace is possible- everyone must know!

15-20 top peace-builders are selected and proven young leaders of the movement, after finishing secondary education will be selected and mentored to travel around the island.

This team is recognized as the ‘Dream Team’ at Sri Lanka Unites, and they travel around Sri Lanka talking about reconciliation and re-engaging with the school chapters in their own localities, to ensure that we continue to find ways to connect and inspire youth.

The selected student leaders of the Dream Team undergo training by a senior panel at Sri Lanka Unites, in which they will be taught and mentored about the journey ahead. Over the course of their journey around the island, they address and speak about reconciliation and youth empowerment. They are given the opportunity to meet with the students from all around Sri Lanka, from both SLU and non-SLU chapters and share their personal journeys, why they believe in youth led reconciliation through school assemblies and regional workshops.

Sri Lanka Unites has been carrying this initiative out continuously for six years and have trained 120 Student Leaders in the Dream team. And thus far, six consecutive Dream Teams have embarked on a journey of many challenges, rewarding moments and lessons.

The concept of the Dream Team has not only aided in carrying forward the message of Sri Lanka Unites, but it has also served as a platform for it to personally equip, educate, train and reinforce students of Sri Lanka Unites, who will go to becoming tomorrow’s leaders and take our country forward.