In July 2018, ACPR concluded our first year running our ‘Students Making Change’ program with university students from Jaffna and Batticaloa at a two-day conference. After 10 months of workshops discussing tools for civic and political engagement in the context of pressing current issues in the North-East, students came together in Jaffna to share projects they had worked on and engage in strategic planning and grassroots activism exercises.
“Students Making Change – Tools for Civic and Political Engagement” is a project aimed at working with a core group of university students in Jaffna and Batticaloa to provide the tools and knowledge necessary for greater civic and political engagement by students, with the aim of creating “student change-makers”. Ultimately the program seeks to address the current low levels of civic and political engagement by university students in the North-East by providing them with the tools and knowledge necessary to engage. This program was designed in consultation with student representatives from Jaffna University and Eastern University, and ran as a pilot in the 2017-2018 year.
The program included a series of workshops, mentorship and student-lead projects. Workshops covered a wide range of topics including: transitional justice, caste-based discrimination, constitutional reform, gender equality, and Tamil-Muslim relations. Students were introduced to a diverse group of civil society practitioners and academics, most of whom were Tamil-speaking and based in local communities. Student-lead projects included: a play by Batticaloa students on transitional justice, a workshop on gender equality and gender-based discrimination in Jaffna, and research on caste-based discrimination.
ACPR will be running the program again with a new batch of students in the fall of 2018. If you are a university student in Jaffna or Batticaloa interested in participating please email firstname.lastname@example.org.