A Cultural Journey to build a society with harmony ensuring the participation of the community −Message from Mr Thilak of Sri Lanka−

【画像】Name: Mr. Thilak Nandana Hettiarachchi
Ministry of Public Administration, Local Government and Democratic Governance
Name of the Program: Participatory Community Development for Practitioners for
Reconciliation and Creation of Society for Coexistence in 2015
Program period: 26th of October to 19th of December 2015

※Introduction in Japanese「紛争解決と共生社会づくりのための実践的参加型コミュニティ開発手法」2015年度の研修に参加し、昨年12月に帰国したティラックさんから、素敵なメッセージが届きました。研修中に遭遇した様々な体験に感動し、立ち止まり、考えながら過ごした日々を振り返り、強く心に残った出来事をつづってくださいました。行政官として働きながら、劇団の劇作家としての顔も持つティラックさんにとって、日本のヒーローは、世界的に有名な作家の川端康成と映画監督の黒沢明だそうです。伝統的な日本社会のイメージから、現代の日本社会の姿と課題を学び、多くのことを吸収して帰国し、これからの自身の仕事の意義を見つけたというティラックさん、研修中の経験をシナリオ作りに活かした聴衆を魅了する劇の披露も待ち遠しい限りです。

On the journey to the new chapter of my life

Group Discussion

On the evening of 25th October 2015, I never believed that I was on the threshold of a new horizon full of new experiences. I arrived in Japan on that day as an officer in Sri Lanka Administrative Service as well as a dramatist and director of Sri Lankan Theatre, who has to perform the duty in one and the same time in the official as well as subjective spheres. My aim was to turn a new page in my life, but before me there were glimpses of a huge world.

The format of the course has been designed according to a participatory learning methodology, which enriches the theme of the course itself. Therefore, the course has gradually been converted to a practical workshop which looks forward mainly on discussions, presentations and exchange of experiences among the participants who were induced in team spirit. At the beginning, it was found that every colleague participated in the course was a representative from different societies affected by conflict. Participants were from all over the world, explorers pursuing the dream of building a society inculcated with values, morals and ethics. The course ( Knowledge Co-creation Program) itself has been designed to open different windows to create dialogues without any restrictions to share, analyze and carry out debates on different societies, cultures, thinking patterns, conflicts and conflict management approaches. Therefore, in the true sense of the words, it was a training program combining 11 countries of the present world. In other words, it was a program of multi state, multi cultural as well as multi vision.

Field trip to Hiroshima, Kamagasaki and Tohoku

Exchange with citizens in Hiroshima

55 days had never been a difficult or tedious exercise due to the diversity of involved organizations. Various field visits had been prime activities of the whole program. On the eve of our visit to Hiroshima, the most horrific tragedy of human civilization was presented and it was a moment where all of us were on the verge of tears. At that unforgettable moment, I was amazed by the secret behind the emotions which gave us a terrible shock despite of national, religious, linguistic, cultural and all other differences. Field trip to Hiroshima was an unforgettable and awe-inspiring event. Hiroshima, which was once an arena of the tragedy of human history, is now a city for peace. The opportunity given for sharing the life of the Japanese in a rural village staying with them in their houses undoubtedly opened a path for us to experience their food habits, and their traditional foods, their domestic tools and customs which is the inheritance of a long lasted tradition of Japan. So those were the nights which illuminated our mind with numerous stars.

Field tour to Kamagasaki in Osaka city made all of us weeps for humanity. The laborers remind us of the harsh reality of the capitalist society based on inevitable exploitation. Every city opened us a new chapter of the life of the human. The discussion held after every such tour was an opportunity to make reminiscences and also to release the emotions of our hearts and therefore it should be pointed out as a fruitful learning methodology.

During our field visits to Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami affected areas, we have met people, who have undergone struggles against natural disasters such as Tsunami, earthquakes with their strong determination and perseverance. During our stay in Japan we could witness a multiple-approach which is implemented with a view to make the social life of the people more progressive and further to manage their grievances. Government of Japan, its agencies, Non Government Organizations and civilians of the country make their utmost contribution in different approaches to achieve these goals. The most valuable lesson I learned during this period is the methodology for learning lessons from the past experiences.

Participation in the program and the way forward

With a group of picture-story show, MUSUBI in Kamagasaki

During the whole training period there was a mystery, which gave me a thundering effect and a shock. As a dramatist I was really moved seeing the moments where people from every corner of the world divided by geographical as well as political boundaries shared their tears, smiles and feelings as members of one family. I was really satisfied with this experience in which different people became the fellow travelers of the journey. I was fortunate to touch the common feelings hidden in the hearts of people which overflowed during this period breaking every barrier made of nationality, religion, color of skin etc. At those moments I was like a child who was amazed at the first sight of a train in his life. The common characteristics of human nature ? this is the wonder of the world.

While travelling in Japan, I never forgot to transform my thoughts and feelings to words on a paper. So when the time came to say farewell to Japan, I returned to the airport with two new scripts which were written during my stay in Japan. Keeping memories of Japan in the mind, I will enter the stage in future to entertain the audience of my country. During the time to prepare for Action Plan, I was focusing on the creation of a program to make the public service delivery more effective whilst centering the community based organizations and further to introduce a system to promote harmony among nationalities.

On my arrival to Sri Lanka, I was granted an opportunity to share my knowledge and experience with other staff officers of the Ministry. At the conclusion of my presentation the Secretary of my Ministry called for double cheer showing his appreciation and the applaud I received at that occasion is still ringing in my ears encouraging me. Finally I would like to make this opportunity to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all the staff of JICA and Kansai NGO Council, who labored to plan and implement the training program successfully.