Dishani Jayaweera

After a protracted armed conflict, it is essential for Sri Lanka to step up its peacebuilding initiatives and reconciliation efforts to fully include women, youth, and diverse members of society.

Jayaweera, is a committed and powerful force working to help transform post-conflict Sri Lanka. In 2002, she cofounded the Centre for Peace Building and Reconciliation (CPBR) to bolster the capacity of women, youth, and community leaders of different ethno-religious groups to engage in healing, reconciliation, and peacebuilding. One of their key achievements was setting up Interfaith Dialogue Centres (IFDC) island wide. IFDCs serve as a neutral space where different religious leaders and community members collectively discuss, plan, design and take action to promote reconciliation and peacebuilding at local, regional, and national levels. With Jayaweera’s and the CPBR team’s guidance, support and facilitation, six IFDCs are now operating numerous interfaith peacebuilding and reconciliation work at the grassroots to keep the peace in their locales.

In addition to CPBR, Jayaweera also cofounded a sister organization called WOMAN, to create safer spaces for women to come together to define and design the role women can play in social and ecological wellbeing. WOMAN has 37 community leaders and they work with 150 women who are affected by different forms of violence. All activities of WOMAN are designed to recognize the critical role that women play in building peace fostering reconciliation, and effecting communal healing. The other key component is the Female Religious Leaders Initiative which is aiming to form a Female Interfaith Council to design and implement an initiative to Heal the Past: Build The Future.

Country: Sri Lanka
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