The Regional Centre for Strategic Studies (RCSS) and other Sri Lankan partners of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) conducted a two-day residential workshop for youth, titled ‘Youth for Democracy: Young Leaders Dialogue’ on the 21st and 22nd of December, 2019. The GPPAC Sri Lanka members, namely the Association for War Affected Women, Centre for Policy Alternatives, National Peace Council, Viluthu Centre for Human Resource Development and Women and Media Collective, joined hands with RCSS to organize the workshop.

The workshop involved 30 youth leaders from Universities around Sri Lanka and initiated a discourse on the vital role that youth could play in strengthening democratic resilience and emphasized the importance of continuing the discourse further. Students from the Jaffna, South Eastern, Eastern, Peradeniya, Sri Jayewardenepura and Colombo Universities attended the workshop.

Among the topics discussed at the Workshop were Mandate Through Election in Democracy, Challenges of Youth in Democracy and the Role of Youth in Conflict Prevention & Economic Development. The resource persons included Mr. Manjula Gajanayake (Centre for Policy Alternatives & Centre for Monitoring Election Violence), Mr. Dhananath Fernando (Advocata Institute), Ms. Nuzla Rizkiya (Association for War Affected Women) and Ms. Natasha Fernando (RCSS). The participants of the workshop also took part in a ‘Role Play’ activity, which focused on team-building, problem solving and conflict resolution.

Youth participants viewed it a useful experience as it generated thought-provoking discussions on youth and democracy and created an environment for the students from different social backgrounds to engage with each other and build better relationships.