Visit by PEACE Boat Delegates to OnePeople.sg on 17 May 2012
On 17 May 2012, Onepeople.sg hosted the Sri Lankan youth participants who were joining the Peace Boat voyage. This year, Singapore is one of the stops in the Peace Boat voyage. Peace Boat is working with two partners in Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Unites and Weeramantry International Center for Peace Education and Research (WICPER) on board the ship for a young leader capacity building programme, centred on understanding and responding to the conflict there as leaders in their communities.
The aim of the visit was to explore opportunities to bring the Sri Lankan and Singaporean youths together, as well as to explore the concepts of multiculturalism and diversity in society. The sharing session was engaging for both the staff of OnePeople.sg as well as the Sri Lankan youths.
Our staff shared the background of the different ethnic groups in Singapore, as well as programmes that have been initiated to promote harmonious living among the multi-racial community. The Sri Lankan youths disclosed the difficulties they faced back home in integrating the Tamil and Sinhalese with each other after the Sri Lankan civil war; they had been brought up during the period of unrest and fear of each other.
The light sharing session continued over lunch. It was indeed an engaging and fulfilling time with the Sri Lankan youths as we learnt more about the personal struggles and difficulties they faced, and how we could help them in their efforts to ensure peace between the Tamil and Sinhalese youths. It is hoped that they put their differences aside and live together in a united Sri Lanka.
As part of an eight-day mission, United Nations racism expert, Special Rapporteur Githu Muigai made OnePeople.sg one of the key stopovers in his first-hand study of issues relating to racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in Singapore. Mr Muigai was joined by Mayor Zainudin Nordin, OPSG Board members and youth facilitators in a dialogue where they shared their experiences in our collective efforts to champion racial harmony.
It was indeed a great honour to host Mr Muigai who was treated with a presentation on OPSG, tour of premises and multi-ethnic refreshments on 24 April 2010. Mr Muigai lauded Singapore's remarkable achievements in the area of racial and religious harmony and commended Singapore Government's fundamental commitment to tolerance and racial harmony through policies. He was deeply impressed by the work achieved and Racial Harmony efforts undertaken by OnePeople.sg as well as various community partners and agencies.