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Making Peace

Donation gives students of social change opportunity to work in Sri Lanka

Sarvodaya-Canada, a charitable trust that promotes social and economic justice throughout Canada, has donated $200,000 over five years to New College to fund study in peacemaking and social change.

The donation will create a half course for senior-level undergraduates on the history of social change, beginning in fall 2007, says New College principal Rick Halpern. Students who take the course will be eligible to work with a local non-governmental organization, applying the skills they learned in class. The gift will also fund a work abroad component in Sri Lanka for between three and five students who performed well in the course and the local placement, and are interested in developing a further understanding of peace and advocacy. Those selected will work directly with Sarvodaya’s founder, A.T. Ariyaratne, on a peace project in Sri Lanka.

“Sarvodaya-Canada has made a very important investment in the University of Toronto,” says Professor Halpern. “As issues of poverty, war and terrorism continue to infiltrate our everyday world, we are pleased to have a partner with whom we can develop a program that pairs classroom and practice to enhance our students’ understanding of peace and equity.”

Peace education is one of Sarvodaya-Canada’s top priorities. “We are excited about giving future leaders the opportunity to develop the skills to promote peace both locally and internationally,” says Lloyd Field, chair of the board of trustees for Sarvodaya-Canada.

Ariyaratne was this year’s winner of the Acharya Sushil Kumar International Peace Award. At the award ceremony in Toronto, he said peace can be achieved only if societies place a collective premium on sharing time, thoughts, efforts and resources. Ariyaratne founded Sarvodaya in 1958 based on Buddhist and Gandhian principles.

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