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Sri Lankan Activist Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne Speaks at Bard on October 12

Darren O'Sullivan
Internationally Renowned Sri Lankan Activist Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne to Speak at Bard College on October 12 ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— On Friday, October 12, Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne, founder of Savrodaya—Sri Lanka’s largest charity organization—will speak at Bard College. Founded in 1958, Sarvodaya, is dedicated to nonviolence, peace, and the sustainable empowerment of people. The largest nongovernment organization in Sri Lanka, this grassroots movement involves people in more than 15,000 villages rediscovering their ability to influence their own destinies. Sarvodaya has energized them to build more than 5,000 preschools, community health centers, libraries, and cottage industries; establish thousands of village banks; dig thousands of wells and latrines; promote biodiversity, solar energy, rehabilitation, and peace. Ariyaratne will be introduced by Robert Martin, vice president for academic affairs at Bard. The talk is being organized by The Bard-Sri Lanka Project, the Trustee Leader Scholar Program project of Bard senior Jen Lemanski. It is free and open to the public and will take place at 3:30 p.m. in the multipurpose room of the Bertelsmann Campus Center. A former schoolteacher, Ariyaratne’s work promoting peace and village development in war-torn Sri Lanka has earned him many international honors, including the Gandhi Peace Prize (India), the Niwano Peace Prize (Japan), and the Alan Shawn Feinstein World Hunger Award (USA). He has also been nominated for the Nobel Prize. Ariyaratne is speaking at Bard as a part of a national tour of the United States. Centered on Buddhist-Gandhian philosophy, Sarvodaya continues to embody the meaning of its name: “the sharing of labor, thought, and energy for the awakening of all.” The group’s efforts have improved the quality of life for millions of Sri Lankans living in rural villages that were once ruled by hopelessness and poverty. One can visit a participating village and see houses built by Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, and Muslims next to one another. New homeowners eagerly tell of their close friendships despite different religious and cultural traditions—friendships that come from working together for common goals. For more information about this event, contact Jen Lemanski at 703-376-7578 or email (10.1.07)

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This event was last updated on 10-15-2007