Saving Planet Earth – practical training for our future leaders

Student representatives from Sri Lanka’s 16 universities are learning about spearheading and supporting environment protection initiatives and saving Planet Earth as essential capabilities of the world’s future leaders.

The four-day workshop is being conducted by the Weeramantry Centre for Peace Education & Research at the Subodhi Institute of Integral Education, in Wewela, Piliyandala.

Social harmony, integration and the role of future leaders are other areas covered in the workshop programme.

The workshop began with addresses by religious leaders who drew on the teachings of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam to make the point that the world’s citizens are stewards and trustees of the Earth and its resources, and not owners of the Earth.

Environment and Natural Resources Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka spoke about the importance of raising environment awareness among young people. He said world leaders would be discussing burning issues relating to the environment when they meet in Denmark next month for the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change.

In his keynote address, Justice C. G. Weeramantry, former senior Vice-President of the International Court of Justice, in The Hague, spoke on the concept of Earth trusteeship. “The environment, Earth resources, our cultural heritage and political power are all subjects of trusteeship,” he said.

Justice Weeramantry said the world’s religions, in their wisdom and humanity, support the concept of Earth trusteeship, and that this all-important concept should be understood by the entire community.
Peace education is an important aspect of the process, Justice Weeramantry said. Now that the war has ended, Sri Lanka can serve as a model for peace and reconciliation to the rest of the world, he added.

The Bishop of Colombo, the Rt. Rev. Duleep de Chickera, spoke on the role of future leaders in showing the way to social harmony and integration.

Professor Erantha de Mel, president of the Institute of Professional Psychologists, spoke on post-war trauma and rehabilitation and reintegration, while Ranjit Page, managing director, Cargills (Ceylon) Ltd, spoke on how students can give leadership and devise innovative ways to build up the economy from the village level up.

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