The Words of the Liyanasuriya Family
Negambo, Sri Lanka -- The Main Hall of St. Peter's College in Negambo was the site of an International Day of Families program on May 16. Participants included 122 student leaders and 23 staff members of the Negambo Zonal Education Department in the Western Province of Sri Lanka. Mr. Gamini Fernando (Assistant Director of Education) was the MC of the program.
The program started with the singing of the National Anthem, followed by religious observances by Ven. Madaganoya Anomadassi Thera (Buddhist) and Rev. Father Sanjeewa Fernando (Roman Catholic). This was followed by the welcome address delivered by Mr. R.A. Kularatne Ambassador for Peace (Former Director of Education)
Then opening remarks were given by Dr. Chula Senaratne, Consultant to UN Volunteers at the UN Office in Colombo, explaining the history of the UN International Day of Families and this year's theme. He read out loud the message issued by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to mark the day.
Father Fernando delivered a speech on "How Religion Helps to Strengthen the Family through the Positive Attitudes of Its Members." He said, "It is unique that in Sri Lanka most of the homes have three generations living together very happily. Grandparents look after the grandchildren when the parents are away earning a living. So every member has a very important role to play with in the family."
Mr. Kularatne spoke about the "The Importance of Education in establishing Intergenerational Solidarity in the Family." He said, "Sri Lanka is the only country I am aware of in which the younger members of the family kneel and pay respects with their hands and forehead touching the floor. This is not only for their parents but for the elders and teachers also."
After a short tea break, Ven. Thera delivered a Buddhist talk on the importance of strong family ties for a peaceful society, highlighting the teaching of Lord Buddha. He emphasized that the teachings of Lord Buddha clearly stated a long time ago that the peace and harmony of the family is the essence of peace and harmony in the society. He said, "The child will observe how his parents treat their own parents and learn how to treat and respect the elders. If the parents fail to respect their parents, the parents in return are bound to get the same kind of treatment from their own children. It could work like a boomerang."
Finally Miss. Dinesha Liyanasuriya, Project Director of UPF-Sri Lanka, delivered a well-prepared PowerPoint presentation with the teachings of UPF Founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon on the topic of "Raising Good Leaders through Character Education in the Family and Community."
A vote of thanks was given by Mr. Gamini Fernando, followed by lunch.