K. V. Wimalawardana and K. Kumaraveloo
Two Principals of schools in Sri Lanka to be presented with the 2008 Hiroshima Prize in Stockholm
Press release from the Hiroshima Foundation on 25 March 2008
On 19 April the Principals of two schools in Sri Lanka, both of them in Deraniyagala, will be presented with the Edita and Ira Morris Hiroshima Prize for Peace and Culture for 2008. One is the Sinhalese Kanishata Vidyalaya School and the principal is Mr K.V. Wimalawardana. The other is the Katirareshan Tamil Maha Vidyalaya School whose principal is Mr K. Kumaraveloo. The prize giving ceremony will take place in the Nobel Museum in Stockholm. The two Principals will attend the ceremony accompanied by one 15-year old girl pupil from each school. Professor Daniel Tarschys, the Chairman of the Board of the Foundation, declares that the prize is given in recognition of the Principals’ joint efforts to foster mutual understanding for Tamil and Sinhalese culture among the pupils of the schools. The work of the two principals is the first of its kind in Sri Lanka. Each school will receive 50,000 dollars. Their intention is to construct similar assembly halls on the respective premises of the schools so that pupils from both schools can join together for theatre performances, dance and other cultural activities. This will encourage cultural exchange and dialogue between the Sinhalese and Tamil communities in the area. Speaking on behalf of the Board, Professor Tarschys expressed the hope that the valuable work done by the two schools would serve as an example to other places in Sri Lanka and help the country to achieve the internal peace and harmony which the international community warmly wished. The initiative could also serve as a model for schools in other countries with conflicts between different ethnic or linguistic communities. In deciding on the award the Board had wanted to emphasise the importance of the school and the teacher in society and of making children and young people aware of and understand the culture of others at an early age as well as the importance of involving parents through their children.
The assembly halls will also become a lasting tribute to Edita Morris and the ideas she wanted to promote.
The purpose of the Edita & Ira Morris Hiroshima Foundation is to promote peace by supporting efforts in the cultural sphere to favour peace and reconciliation. The Foundation was created in 1989 following a bequest by the Swedish writer Edita Morris (1902-1988) who was married to the American writer Ira Morris (1903-1972).
The Foundation presents awards to women and men who contribute, in a cultural field, to fostering dialogue, understanding and peace in conflict areas. The award is now presented every second year. The 2006 prize was given to Elena Nemirovskaya, Director and founder of the Moscow School of Political Studies. In 2004 the prize was awarded to Borka Pavićević, founder of the Centre for Cultural Decontamination in Belgrade, with additional prizes to Biljana Srbljanović and Jasmina Tesanović, Serbian authors and peace activists. Further information on the Foundation and previous recipients of awards since 1990 can be found on the Foundation’s website http://www.hiroshimafoundation.net . The Board of the Foundation is composed of Professor Daniel Tarschys, chairman, Gertrud Gidlund, Suzanne Osten, Thomas Ouchterlony, secretary, Russell M. Porter, treasurer, and Chandrasiri Rajakaruna, deputy treasurer.