25 May, 2019

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Sri Lanka Youth Need Skills Of Diversity Management  

By Indraka Ubeysekara –

Indraka Ubeysekara

Sri Lanka is currently experiencing a renewed form of violence and ethnic tensions heightened aftermath of the April 2019 terror attack. The major segment in question is youth, radicalized and misguided by the extremist fractions which have both local and global roots. Speculations are being made that this extremist ideologies of one religion could create a breeding ground for hard-core radical segments of youth of other religions to propagate their divisive narrow political agendas instigating far costly racial, ethnic and religious divides in the country. 

The tensions between youth groups who belong to major ethnic communities in Sri Lanka in the recent past seem to have erupted over an isolated incident that take place in one part of the country but eventually spread out to the areas of multi-ethnic nature. In November 2017, a minor personal incident between two ethnic groups escalated into an ethnic clash in Sri Lanka’s southern town of Gintota, Galle leaving properties of both groups being attacked in several locations. In 2018, the houses, businesses and religious intuitions of a minority religious group were attacked by extremist groups in districts of Kandy and Ampara. After April 2019 attack, minority ethnic groups and refugees have been forced to leave from their residents amid attacks of revenge. A few days ago, the Negambo incidents also demonstrated a clash and mob arose with pure ethnical divides. All such incidents reveal the highly volatile nature of the ethnic co-existence in the country and how vulnerable youth are to be easily deceived by extremist religious/radical forces and resort to violence.    

One way to approach this increased level of ethnic tensions and build resilience in ethnic co-existence is to strengthen the skills of diversity management. Diversity management, by and large, is found to be a strategy in human resource management through which it is intended to foster a positive workplace environment by promoting recognition and respect individual differences. The concept, however, over the years has been embedded and adopted by other spectrum of disciplines such as school education, career guidance university curriculum, mostly in the Western context. The concept and the set of skills that the strategy desires to instill are to develop an appreciation for difference in race, gender, background, sexual orientation or any other factor that creates divisions. 

Diversity management as a strategy to combat current escalated ethnic tensions yields specific and long-term results. Today in Sri Lanka, the potentially disruptive divisions between communities have been caused along one’s religion or ethnic identity. What this shows us that Sri Lankan majority youth, given the current scenario, are not ready to foster a meaningful engagement with the other religious followers on based on the aspects of religion. At the same time, when analyzing the patterns of youth reactions to the recent incidents of ethnic misunderstanding, unfortunately most of the responses are in the shape of retaliation, hate speech, deliberate act of fake news dissemination, slinging mud; all the reactions that fuel religious violence and divisive sentiments across the country. Therefore, diversity management is found to be a neutral medium that bring the right message to mis-lead youth fractions and inculcate necessary attitude and behavior in the long-run.

We all should be reminded ourselves that diversity in a country is a strength rather than a burden. Characterized by strong relationships across divides, racial equity and social inclusion, it builds a solid foundation to promote unity and reduce differences. It offers society to richness of variety, opportunity of cross learning and ample space for innovation. Especially for youth, in their learning journey and early career development stage, it is a channel to hunt different skills learning from one another who bring different perspectives and views.  Singapore, using its multi-cultural strengths and diverse contribution of different ethnocultural groups has been able to turn a poor country to a most developed nation in less than a half a century. Canada, New Zealand and the UK are some other examples who have successfully dealt with majority-minority ethnic relationships and have become healthy places to live. 

What is significant today is to enable youth to celebrate diversity and outweigh the divisions. Skills of tolerance, inclusion, accept differences, respect and dignity, understand cultural nuances can make youth to handle ethnic tensions rationally and to be resilient against the forces of extremism and racism. Conflict-ridden history of Sri Lanka has already showcased violent youth uprisals erupted in the form of ethnicity both in North and South Sri Lanka, when youth are sidelined in the mainstream development landscape, thus, the way most of the youth behave today can result in disrupted future in where we all have to pay an unimaginable cost. 

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Latest comments

  • 0
    4

    Mr.Indika Ubeysekara; I think your article is BS..WHAT statistics of facts you have as evidence to prove what you are saying. Why don’t talk you about Global Geo politics, location of sri lanka in the Indian Ocean. USA’s Fight against communism and the attempt to use Buddhism and what they learned from that. Now, CHINA is becoming powerful, probably almost another super power. So sri lanka is important. Another thing is Sri lanka is growing fast and they want help from us. They always say we helped you and now help us and what ever happens now, they SAY, WE ARE ONLY TO HELP YOU. Read Thailand, Myanmar, Thialand are important in that sense. Thailand did not have colonization but they were caught in the trap. They tried to catch Myanmar in the trap. China is saving them and i think the death of U THANG the first Buddhist UN GENERAL. Military coup in BURMA are all related to that. Sri lanka’s trouble is , Since JRJ’s time, we are giving into it. WE HAVE DOLLAR KAAKAAS as presidents, PMs, and other politicians. When we get good ones they get shot or blow up.

  • 5
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    First and foremost, these losers need a job. Bunch of hoodlums with no jobs…………..this is what happens.

    • 2
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      Yoga, meditation, Fasting, Jogging and all forms of exercise must be promoted among people of all ages. The reason PT and sports was introduced to the school system is became ; sports or physical exertion is beneficial to the human condition. Sri Lankan’s are fat, unfit and eat too much. No amount of constitutional amercements and economic policy changes will negate the fact that Sri Lankan’s are unhealthy physically and mentally. The fact that one has to maintain a sound body and mind seems to be completely alien to the Lankan. This is the cornerstone of Buddhism and Hinduism. – the faith of 86 % of the nation. Look at our Rugby, Football and Cricket teams – most of them are fat. No wonder they are useless. A couple of years ago SL lost to Bhutan – the 184th ranked team in the world. Anyone Remember Arjuna Ranatunga walking between the wickets ? The national Rugby Captain Sudarshana Muthitanthri is actually fatter than Rangana Herath.
      Out of the 225 MP, only Wimal Buruwamsa ( cricket ) N,. Rajapaske ( Rugby ) , S. Fonseka ( swimming and water polo ) Fatty Ranatunga and Jayasuriya have played any sports.

    • 1
      2

      Tamil from the North; What is your first name. IS IT ABU OR AL

  • 0
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    BS, Singapore is a city state. It began with the Chinese MINORITY and indian and Malay majorities. SO, how can they go for Chinese MAJORITARIANISM. Did the new sate had a developed culture. Now new majority can not go for Malay culture. THE ONLY WAY to keep citizens is to let them make money. So they live in rat cages and make money. T hat is their life. In Sri Lanka, Sinhala Buddhists have lost their culture. Instead drugs, booze, sex, consumerism. Just wait until the govt can not handle the economy and cannot hire any more to the govt service as employment. Then they start racism. Se how all over the developed western world minorities and Muslims are attacked.
    ONE OF OUR stupid politicians identified Christ church attack as terrorism. IT IS BY AN EMPLOYED white man who took his frustration from Muslim cricket players and their families came from Bangladesh.

  • 2
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    Indraka,
    It is not only the youth who need Skills Of Diversity Management, the elders of all faiths and races who need real diversity management. Good parenting is paramount.

  • 1
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    This article appears to be a “copy-paste” work from some book read by the author during his higher studies, with the insertion of erroneous facts embedded in the first two paras, since:

    1. The theoretical aspects with consists (c) 80% of the article seems to be the writings of an author of higher intellect, withe the facts highlited relate to a comprehensive research based findings.

    2. The information, and other facts of rest of the article wherein the author tries to relate real-world events are in error.

    3. The quality of English between the last three paras of the article that relate to the theoretical aspect, is much higher in contrast to the quality of English in the first two paras, which I assume is the author’s only genuine contribution.

  • 0
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    To worry about diversity management there should be diversity in all or most spheres of life and places in Sri Lanka. It is simply not the case. The author should focus on historical, sociological factors that have contributed to the disintegration of society in Sri Lanka.

  • 0
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    Indraka Ubeysekara, admittedly, is not very one-sided in discussing the exotic title {“Sri Lanka Youth Need Skills Of Diversity Management”}
    Indraka adds one more to the list, explaining the 2019 Lankan Easter Sunday.
    Before recommending a degree in Diversity Management to all Lankan youth, Indraka must ask “Will Prof GL Pieris, former Colombo University VC, Chair SLPP which preaches ‘Reconciliation is treason’ pass the Introductory course 101?”
    .
    ‘Diversity Management’ got buggered when in late forties our founders created the language-divide which became language/religion-divide.
    By the way, ethnicity based on language and/or religion is not recognised worldwide. Close to 99% of us belong to the same ethnicity.
    .
    Till recently Tamil speaking people were blamed for our problems. For political exigencies, Lankan Muslims were given the opportunity to remove themselves from the Tamil-list.
    The chicken has come home to roost.
    .
    Indraka must address the role of Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), founded in 2012, and the role of the patrons, protectors and financiers in the 2019 tragedy.

  • 1
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    First and foremost tell the people the truth about our history, our race our religions and about our heritage. All the books taught to children are lies. Distorted history. They talk of Dutte gemunu sleeping curled up on bead saying Dhemalu one side and Sea on the other. Who saw that utterance? Only that Mahanama fellow in his dream. In fact Dutte was a Tamil speaking Naga. Who is the mystic Vijaya if at all? A hindu Indian who was drifting in the sea and ended up in Ceylon. Who is this mystic ravana? Now they say even Seetha is related to ravana. Not only history but even myths they are rewriting. There is a guy Eagle Eye says that Tamils are brought to SL by the Portughease and what an idiot he is. They ever dare to say in books that Sinhalas are ariyans and fair in complexion while Tamils are black. Come on guys. Atiyan is not a race to begin with and even Hitler claimed to be a pure Ariyan stock. In sanskrit Ariyan referes to a person of some respect like mahathmaya or aiya. Only race that existed in idia was Dravidians and their language. Ariyanism really after invasion by Persians and others in the north and from whom brahmanism originated.
    We in SL are a mixed race, all with a history in India. There is no native sinhala race as such. I saw a guy uttering that Buddha is a sinhalese born in SL. Even that racist Anagarika has to run away to India and take refuge there and even created trouble there.
    SL Muslims are Indian tamil converts and while in S.Indi, especially in TN the muslims are living peacefully with others while in SL for some curse tried to make them a different race and with a fanatic version of islam.

  • 1
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    I can tell you all about managing diversity. I am a member of the British Institute of Chartered Management Accountants. Every month they send me their professional magazine. This month I opened the envelope and to my surprise I found a Tamil film magazine. You can’t get more diverse than that. Now can the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications explain this miracle, or has the ICMA in London made a mistake?

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