Cambodia - Sri Lanka 2012 New Year celebrations
To mark the New Year, the Ottawa - Hull Cambodian Buddhist
Association invited the Sri Lankan community in the National Capital
Region, to celebrate the Cambodian and Sri Lankan civilizations that are
over 2500 years old.
This joint Cambodia - Sri Lanka 2012 New Year celebration was a
Participants at the New Year celebrations
For the first time in Ottawa, the Cambodian and Sri Lankan
communities got together in friendship and peace, celebrating both the
New Year and Canadian cultural pluralism. The Canadian Multiculturalism
Act provides freedom and recognition to unique cultural groups. It also
enables Canada's diverse cultural groups to share each other's cultural
The Sirin Research Centre, which aims to bring together persons of
diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, displayed photographs
of Sri Lanka and a large Sri Lanka model map made by Dr. Nimal de Silva
who is originally from Ambalangoda. Dr. de Silva is a scientist working
in the University of Ottawa's Earth Sciences department and has been a
supporter of Sirin initiatives since 2004.
The opening ceremony was attended by Venerable S. R. Viriyadhammo who
has strong connections with Sri Lanka. Sirin's Chairman, Visita
Leelaratna commented on the positive changes taking place in Sri Lanka's
multicultural society and proclaimed that "together we are strong".
As an example of over 1200 years of friendship between Sri Lanka and
Cambodia, Leelaratna presented Yapahuwa, the capital of Sri Lanka
founded in the latter part of the 13th century, where the city's ruins
reveal Cambodian-style architecture.
There were several guest speakers at the event. Dr. Harold Mendes, a
psychologist and a senior human resources consultant gave a talk on
developing a peaceful mind and stress relief.
Megha Leelaratna, co-founder of the Sirin Research Centre discussed a
number of issues including insights on multiculturalism from Nobel Prize
Winner, Amartya Sen who wrote Identity and Violence.
In her speech she highlighted the following quote from Sen's book:
the "demand for multiculturalism is strong in the contemporary world
since increased global contacts, interactions and extensive migrations,
have placed diverse practices of different cultures next to each other."
In conclusion, Megha asked the audience to support the promotion of
diversity and multiculturalism. She underscored how harmful and
unproductive it is to our society to divide and discriminate others
based on culture, language or religion.
Dr. Solange Guberman, was also among the distinguished guests. The
Sri Lankan community in Ottawa consists of various ethnic and religious
Several diverse groups joined in friendship with Cambodian Canadians
and other Canadians at the ceremony.
This joint event supported the idea of diverse cultures working
together for the common good of Canadian society. For more information