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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2705

United States to Establish Exchange Program for Sri Lankan Students to Promote Race Relation Dialogue

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

Washington, D.C. 01 August (Asiantribune.com): The United States Department of State is to establish an Exchange Program for Sri Lankan students who are currently pursuing high school degree (Grade 11/12) with the objective of promoting a dialogue among various ethnic and religious communities in Sri Lanka.

This is one of the many steps and projects the State Department envisages to implement in its exchange program for FY 2010/11 to enable Sri Lankan high school students from various ethnic, religious, linguistic and other minority groups to participate in post-conflict resolution, understanding, and dialogue promotion workshops in the United States.

A Bill “Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011” making this provision for Sri Lankan high school students to visit the U.S. with full scholarship meaning air travel and accommodation provided is now before the U.S. House of representatives.

Section 223 of the Bill describing the purpose of the program says: “It is the purpose of this section to provide financial assistance to— (1) establish an exchange program for Sri Lankan students currently pursuing a high school degree to participate in dialogue and understanding workshops in the United States; (2) expand Sri Lankan participation in ex- change programs of the Department of State; and (3) promote dialogue between young adults from various ethnic, religious, linguistic, and other minority groups in Sri Lanka.”

The Bill lays out the general program as: “The Secretary of State shall establish an exchange program to provide scholarships to fund exchanges to enable Sri Lankan high school students from various ethnic, religious, linguistic, and other minority groups to participate in post-conflict resolution, understanding, and dialogue promotion workshops.”

The exchange program established shall include a dialogue workshop located in the United States for participants in such program.

Full expenses for Sri Lankan student participants in the exchange program in the United States will be borne by the U.S. Government which includes full or partial support of living expenses in the United States, travel expenses to, from, and within the United States.

Since the internal defeat of the separatist outfit Tamil Tigers in May the United States has been adjusting its overseas programs for Sri Lanka to promote reconciliation between ethnic communities through dialogues and socio-economic and political programs to meet the aspirations and grievances of all ethnic and religious communities in Sri Lanka.

This student exchange program is one that aimed at dialogue and reconciliation. The State Department through Section 223 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011 is seeking funds from the Congress.

- Asian Tribune -

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