Promoting mutual understanding in Sri Lanka

Focused on the Sri Lankan context, the Training of Trainers session gathered some 65 youth and community leaders, including representatives from national institutions, universities, and civil society organizations, to discuss novel ways to promote social cohesion and dialogue in their communities.

By drawing on UNESCO’s approaches to support intercultural skills through Story Circles and scenario-based peace education, participants of the workshop were equipped with knowledge and tools to facilitate these methodologies for dialogue in their communities.

Taking part in Story Circles was a fantastic experience – I enjoyed connecting with participants at a human level and listening to each other’s stories.
Workshop participant

Community leaders also were invited to reflect on various challenges to social cohesion through simulation activities, allowing them to explore the nuanced risk factors, root causes and vulnerabilities which can drive conflict, and to identify the kinds of solutions, as well as social structures and systems, that are needed to strengthen social cohesion and dialogue.

The workshop’s townhall activity was a great approach to practicing diplomacy that could be implemented at schools and universities.
Workshop participant

The workshop series addresses a need within the region to build the capacities of youth leaders to champion social cohesion and promote intercultural dialogue, particularly given the increase in global levels of social tension and divisive communication in current times.

Following the Training of Trainers session, the community stakeholders will be supported to utilize the approaches within their own communities and contexts. Benefitting from access to a platform for good practice sharing and a series of peer-support sessions, UNESCO will help the 65 youth leaders to engage over 800 community beneficiaries across Sri Lanka, strengthening socio-emotional resilience for cohesion and peace throughout the country.

For more information, please contact:

Euan Mackway-Jones or Maija Lyytinen (