Lanka First opens its own secretariat
Sri Lanka First, now known officially as the Business Initiative
for Peace (BIPED), has established its own secretariat at No32B
Sir Mohamed Macan Markar Mawatha, Colombo 3 since January 18.
organization said in a statement that it began as a coming together
of volunteer business leaders who gave off their time, money and
resources to create a voice for business in Sri Lanka’s volatile
educational visit to engage with the South African business leaders
involved with the peace process in their country and the subsequent
conference held in Sri Lanka started to gather momentum. Plans were
a foot to set up a Business Trust fund to help war affected micro
enterprises in the conflict areas to commence their economic recovery.
idea was inspired by the South African Business Trust Fund set up
by the National Business Initiative. But with the tsunami much of
these initiatives were put on hold as the priorities of business
shifted to helping tsunami recovery, it said.
BIPED has now drawn up a plan of action to get business engaged
in playing a much more proactive role in the current situation.
“With the current deteriorating peace process the role of
business is going to be important. A group of our members have sought
a meeting with the Secretary to the President to see how we can
assist the process,” said Neela Marikkar, its chairperson.
are also in dialogue with other civil society groups to see how
they can work together to further the cause of peace in the country.
Kiru Jayatilaka, former Director of the Tea Board who takes over
as the Director of the BIPED Secretariat, says “We are planning
to keep not only our members engaged but broaden our network of
members this year. We hope to work closely with the regional chambers
initiative namely the Business for Peace Alliance and the business
chambers. What is important is for business at this crucial time
is to come together and strengthen our hand to prevent war breaking
Amalean, Treasurer, said that, “contrary to the misconception
of a few individuals all our programmes are funded directly by ourselves
and business including the running of the secretariat. We will always
maintain our independence, but we will be open to partnering organizations
on specific projects that are in line with our vision.”
main office bearers are Chairperson Neela Marikkar, Vice Chairperson,
Dickie Juriensz, K. Ravindran, Treasurer, Sharad Amalean and Secretary
- Kiru Jayatilaka.