Blog Archives

TEDxColombo. This Sunday @ Punchi (Speakers Revealed)

As readers of this blog would know, we are hosting TEDxColombo, a spin off from the world renowned TED conference. Based on the theme of “Ideas for Sri Lanka’s Future” at this important juncture in our history, the event would feature 4 live speakers and 3 Ted talks and lots of space for discussion, debate and lots of good ideas.

Date :  Sunday, 19th of July @ Punchi Theatre from 9.30 to 4.30 pm (registrations start at 9 am).

The speakers for the event are as follows,

  • Rohan Samarajiva (Chair of Lirneasia) on the topic of implementing tri-lingual government services.
  • Nushad Perera, CMO of Dialog Telekom on the topic of “Fixed vs. Mobile”.
  • Asantha Sirimanne, Editor-in-chief of Lanka Business Online on Fiscal Responsibility.
  • Lakshman Gunasekera, former Editor of Sunday Observer. on the Topic of Transforming Sri Lanka’s Media Culture

Watch the TEDxColombo twitter for updates and connect to us from Facebook. If you’d like to attend the event, register online. We are fast running out of places.  If you need quick info feel free to give us a buzz on 0774186560

Thanks for all the bloggers and tweeps who are helping us spread the word (blogs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 ) All of you deserve free tickets. email tedxcol[at] with the subject line “Blogger tickets” to get one.

We won’t be streaming the event, but we’ll be recoring it and sending it to TED, who might it put up on their site if they think it’s worth it.


We are TEDx-ing. Come.

TEDxColombo Poster

TEDxColombo Poster

Beyond Borders is hosting a platform where ideas for the future will be unveiled and discussed by leading academics, activists and media persons of Sri Lanka, in the form of TEDxColombo.

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and the TED conferences started out as an event bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader.

Speakers at the Global TED event over the years include Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, credited with inventing the World Wide Web, Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States of America, and world renowned performance poet Rives. TEDx is based on the same model, and we would also air some of our favoirite TED Talks during the event.

The themes of the presentations range from addressing the issue of the language barrier, to revamping the Sri Lankan media culture. The event will be held on the 19th of July, at Punchi Theatre, Colombo 8 from 9:00 am onwards. Tickets will be priced at Rs. 150/=, and would grant access to all the sessions.

The event programme and registration details are available here. Bookings for tickets can be made either by calling 0774186560, or emailing tedxcol[at] Come. We’d love to have you there.

On Youth, Youth Policies and Conflict

K. Guruparan — a BB-ite, father of the Sri Lankan Youth Parliament and well-known youth activist, spoke at a regional youth conference on youth organized by International Alert, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Youth.

Below is a synopsis of the comments he made as reported on the Bottomline newspaper.

The disillusionment of the youth in the North on the promises made by the moderate Tamil leadership led to the insurgency in the North while the disillusionment of the youth in the South on the promises made by the Old Left led to the insurgency in the 1970s, Sri Lanka Youth Parliament Member and Youth Activist K. Guruparan stated.

“No one can say that the current militia in both regions have a ‘youthful’ element, but it is undeniable that their origins were born out of youth unrest,” he said adding that in the North and the East, the ‘normalisation’ of war where the abnormal (eg; the killing of five in a village) is a normal day to day process, is very worrying. “We must work towards getting them out of this mentality. We must give the youth in the North and the East to come out and speak. To silence them is to suppress them and weaken them.”

Speaking of the state of the youth in the North and the East, Guruparan explained that the unemployment rates in the North and the East are 13% and 15.9% respectively, much higher than the national average. “While the national average of those who prefer work in the public sector is 53.4%, in the North and East it’s as much as 75%.”

He also pointed out that in the South now, most of the income coming into the region to the rural poor came from army recruitment and compensation. “We need a National Youth Policy, but we understand that the current draft does not refer to the ‘conflict’ in the country at all,” he informed, “And as a representative of the youth, we want the Policy to be more than just a piece of paper. We request a legislation to be enacted that holds individuals accountable to implement the Policy for the betterment of the youth.”

He stated that the recent Presidential Commission on Youth called for one third of the nominations in the Provincial Council to be represented by the Youth, but that the youth are then allocated to seats that the party does not win. “The most pressing need now is to have the ethnic conflict resolved and have civil society actively work towards the future of this country.” [bottomline]

The article covers comments made by other speakers at the event.

More about youth policies on this blog includes posts titled,  “young people are the future” and other nonsensePrinciples of meaningful youth participationYouth Participation and Democracy and How to make youth policy in three steps.

R.E.A.C.H. Now 2008 — A Youth Conference on HIV/AIDS

Save Lanka Kids is organizing a youth conference on HIV/AIDS from 19-21 October 2008. Registration is free till the 9th of October 2008. From the Conference website :

R.E.A.C.H NOW ’08 is a three day conference organized by Save Lanka Kids (SLK) with the main objective of empowering us youth to be Change Agents. By providing us with a platform to share our experiences that affect us from different parts of this country, and helping us identify the gaps in key selected areas related to issues that affect us, and formulating a recommendation that is youth focused to be presented to policy makers in this country to effect a youth positive response.
We the youth are the future of this nation, but also the most vulnerable when it comes to HIV and AIDS. Therefore it is our duty to educate and empower one another by joining hands in one forum to share experiences, opinions, ideas related to prevention strategies in working with youth in and out of school, also specific approach in working with MARP (Most at Risk Population). 

Coming together to advocate for PLHIV addressing the Stigma and discrimination that continues to affect their lives, It is also important that we demand for a youth friendly approach in the response to HIV and AIDS in Sri Lanka, because it is our moment, our generation therefore our responsibility.

For More information, please visit the R.E.A.C.H ’08 site.

Conference on Youth and Democracy in South Asia

In conjunction with India’s 60th anniversary of Independence Youth4Change movement attached to the Centre for Youth Development Activities (CYDA) organized a conference for youth and democracy in South Asia. The five day conference held from the 11th – 15th of August in Pune, India saw the participation of delegates from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and India.The conference kicked off with a colorful opening celebration welcomed the guests with music, dance and speeches from few distinguished guests including Mohan Dhariya, a freedom fighter in India’s freedom struggle.

The following 4 days consisted of plenary sessions and panel discussions on a range of topics in which young people presented their papers and their views.

The plenary topics included,

“Role of Young parliamentarians in democracy” with the key note address by Ms. Supriya Sule, MP and chaired by Mr. John Samuel of ActionAid international.

“Role of youth in shaping democracies” chaired by Dr. Amitabh Behar of NCAS Pune with the key note address by Mr.Gopi Menon of Unicef.

“Cultures and values shaping democracies” chaired by Mr. Josantony Joseph, with the key note address by prof. Ram Puniyani, IIT, Mumbai.

“Role of Media in democracy” chaired by Prof. Ujjwal Kumar Chowdhury, director, Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication (SIMC) with the key note address by CP Surendran, chief editor for Times of India in Mumbai.

“Youth Policies: situations and challenges in South Asia” key note address by Dr. Rajan Welunkar, Vice Chancellor, Yashwantrao Open University, Nashik.

The panel discussions gave the opportunity for the delegates to present their opinions and papers on several themes which included topics such as Women’s participation in South Asian countries, Globalization and democracy and the role of youth in sustaining democracy.

The conference ended with the freedom concert and the official celebration of India’s 60th year of Independence.

The Sri Lankan delegation consisted of representatives from Beyond Borders, Sri Lanka Youth Parliament and the Lions District of Sri Lanka. [pics]