Nishantha Horakanda Arachchillage Kumara
Nishantha Kumara is a veteran peacebuilder specializing in interreligious dialogue and holds a MA and postgraduate diploma in conflict and peace studies from the University of Colombo. Currently he works at the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka as the project manager for the Collective Engagement for Religious Freedom project. He has considerable experience in inter-religious dialogue, as he worked as a project manager for interreligious dialogue projects of the Sarvodaya Movement and Center for Peace Building and Reconciliation where he led the formation of interreligious groups and dialogues at local and national level. In 2013, he was selected for a 4-month US Department of State Community Solution Program fellowship on conflict resolution and tolerance and also the International Visitor Leadership Program.
He is the Sri Lankan representative of MasterPeace Foundation, an award-wining global peace movement and a core member of South Asian Peace Alliance. In addition, he is the assistant country director of Sri Lanka for the Global Peace Chain.
His motto is “Right vision and right understanding initiate right actions.”
Interreligious Activities and Initiatives
Inter Religious Youth Council (IRYC)
The project focused on interfaith relations among youth leaders as a way to enhance resilience of the local communities to violence and hate. 30 young people from Buddhist and Islam communities were provided with opportunity to connect, build understanding and trust, receive training on Pluralism, Inter Religious Dialogues focused on interfaith relations. They had opportunity to dialogue with one another on issues affecting the communities, identify ways to continue inter religious youth council which became the platform of promoting inter religious dialogues the district of Beruwala. Since the most of the participants had never met before, the first training was dedicated to getting know each other and restoring trust and relationships after the Easter-Sunday bomb attacks. Youths felt personally engaged and led to exploring the definitions of concepts such and religious pluralism, identity and diversity. The project created a safer space for the youths to share, reflect and learn from each other and had the opportunity to experience and learn from a variety of workshops, training and dialogue practice. The youth group traveled together for an interfaith journey to a Buddhist temple and Mosque which built relationships among the youth group. This exposure heightened their awareness of the range of possibilities for inter religious work and of its importance and break through feelings of isolation, and re-build connection after the Easter Sunday bomb attacks.