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Wednesday, 4 January 2012






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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 tremendous success.

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 heritages.

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 groups.

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 www.e-sirin.com



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