The Asian German Sports Exchange Programme (AGSEP) is an AGO which has been conducting intercommunity SFD programs with the social aim of improving relationships between estranged Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim communities in Sri Lanka since 2002. In steady cooperation with local community groups, A.G.S.E.P.’s vision is to ‘contribute to the re-establishment of peace’ in the divided country (37).
For this website the experiences created at AGSEP’s 2007 Intercultural Sports Meeting (ISM) project were investigated. The project’s effect on intergroup relations and the stock of social capital available to the three disparate Sri Lankan communities Marawila/Nattandiya (Sinhalese, western Sri Lanka), Anamaduwa (Sinhalese, north-western Sri Lanka) and Nilaveli (Tamil and Muslim, LTTE controlled north-eastern Sri Lanka) was also explored. It reached 150 young Sri Lankans between the ages of 6 and 16 years, who came together for a multi-sports event project that offered cricket, football and volleyball games, creative sports, swimming clinics, and a variety of cultural performances over a long weekend in January 2007.
All sport activities were staged in the multi-purpose sports venue Peace Village in the rural fishing village of Nattandiya. Importantly, the ISM formed part of an established and nested SFD program orchestrated by the Marawila/Nattandiya communities. Under a ‘Games for Peace’ umbrella – and with significant support by the German aid agency Friedensdorf International (Peace Village International) – the communities engaged in regular sport and physical activity programs with the intention of deepening existing relationships and networks. On the other hand, ‘highlight events’ such as the ISM looked at a widening of participation and program scope. They were used to showcase the SFD program and its related initiatives to a wider cross-section of a host community, including potentially new participants, family members, sponsors, government bodies and sport associations.
The Guest of Honour and the Minister for Nation Building in Sri Lanka, Mr. Dassanayake, officially opened the ISM. After a number of cultural performances and welcome speeches, the children were split into ethnically mixed groups that engaged in different sport activities. Cricket and football were chosen for their potential in team-building and co-operation; creative sports, arts and crafts promised to allow for the expression of talent and interest in ‘something new and different’; and swimming sessions had the educational advantage of teaching the children a new skill – water having become associated with danger for a large proportion of the Sri Lankan youth after the Tsunami disaster in 2004 (39). Further, cultural performances and dance shows provided a special flair during the evening programme, which led into nights of music and dancing at the Peace Village complex. The organisers tried to provide for both structured sport activities and free time for the
1. Tag: Flight Germany – Sri Lanka with renowned flight company (est. 10 – 12 h depending on connection)
2. Tag: Arrival in Sri Lanka. Hoteltransfer – 45 minutes. Fruit cocktail reception at the hotel. Ceremonial Oil lamp opening by ambassador of Sri Lankan Sports and hotel direction. Remaining day: free time (swimming in Indian Ocean or hotel pool, both 29 degree Celsius)
3. Tag: *Day trip to elephant orphanage in Pinnewela: Small and big elephants find a second home here. You can watch the bathing and milk feeding of elephant babies. Later will be a visit to the spice gardens (pepper, coffee, cocoa, vanille, and many more)
4. Tag: Official matchday against one of Sri Lanka‘s chosen teams
5. Tag: Beach and pool relaxation day
6. Tag: *Black-River-boat tour: here you can explore the world of „Crocodile Dundee“, see Warans in their natural habitat and watch some of the rare birds only found in east asia
7. Tag: Match against chosen Sri Lanka team
8. Tag: Day at the beach
9. Tag: *Day trip to Kandy: the old royal city in the highlands tells a story of long gone centuries of religious secrets in South Asia. The tooth temple in Kandy is one of Asia’s best known sacred places. In a ‘dagoba’ made out of pure gold lies buried the tooth of Buddhas. Every year on the first full moon of August, the relique is being cleaned during a big and colorful parade.
10. Tag: Fun beach-tournament
11. Tag: beach day and/or second day Fun tournament in the inside stadium.
Barbecue with traditional music at night.
12. Tag: Colombo-shopping-tour, city sight-seeing and temple visit*
13. Tag: beach day
14. Tag: return to Germany
The price for the complete 14 day package incl. airport transfer, hotel stays with breakfast and dinners, as well as all matches is starting at 999€ per person. All starred * events come with additional fees. Last updated 2015.
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