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Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga is awarded the 2019 Common Ground Award for her vision and commitment to peace and reconciliation

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Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Sri Lanka’s first and only female President, was awarded the 2019 Common Ground Award for her vision, courage and commitment to peace and reconciliation by Search for Common Ground at a reception organized in her honour on Monday 17 June 2019 at the Cholmondeley Room, House of Lords in London. The former President received the award from Roza Otunbayeva, the 2018 Common Ground Awardee and the first female President of Kyrgyzstan.

The event was attended by Her Majesty Queen Noor al-Hussein, Honorary Chairwoman of Search for Common Ground UK who in her address commended former President Kumaratunga for her work in peace building and reconciliation, and for her steadfast commitment to democracy.  Mme Kumaratunga in her address dedicated her award to ‘the hundreds and thousands who are the unsung heroes of the struggle for peace, understanding amongst all beings’.  She also remarked that in the fight against terrorism, ‘it may be more productive to use the weapons of understanding, discourse and negotiation’, ‘coupled with an honest intent to resolve the root causes of each relevant conflict.’ Former President Kumaratunga is the Chairperson of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR).

The distinguished gathering included Lord Stone of Blackheath; Shamil Idriss, CEO of Search for Common Ground; its UK Board of Trustees chaired by Lord Purvis; UK Minister of State at the Department of International Development Dr Andrew Murrison; Envoys of Sri Lanka and Kyrgyzstan in the UK; members of the House of Lords and Commons; and civil society.

Search for Common Ground is an international non-profit organization headquartered in Washington D.C. and Brussels, whose mission is to transform the way the world deals with conflict away from adversarial approaches toward cooperative solutions.  Previous winners of the Common Ground Award include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former US President Jimmy Carter, and former President of Kyrgystan Roza Otunbayava.

 

Sri Lanka High Commission

London

25 June 2019

 

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