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Japanese award to Sri Lankan centre for peace

TOKYO (AsiaNews): Sri Lanka’s Centre for Peace Building and Reconciliation is this year’s winner of the Niwano Peace Prize, which is awarded by the Niwano Peace Foundation each year in Japan.

The centre was founded in 2002 by Dishani Jayaweera and Jayantha Seneviratne, both of whom belonged to the Sinhala Buddhists since its foundation.

A not-for profit-organisation that promotes the building of peace and non-violent conflict resolution, it gives support to personal and social development within and between ethnic, religious, linguistic and regional groups in Sri Lanka, engaging on all levels, local and national.

To achieve the goal of national reconciliation, the centre focussed on those considered to have greater influence and greater promise of transformation: religious leaders, women and young people.

The prize is named after Nikkyo Niwano, the founder and first president of the lay Buddhist organisation, Rissho Kosei-ka. Niwano believed that peace is not only the absence of conflict, but a dynamic harmony in the interior life of the people, as well as in communities, nations and the world.

Seeing peace as the goal of Buddhism, Niwano devoted much of the second half of his life to promoting peace in the world, especially through interreligious dialogue and cooperation.

Each year the foundation calls for nominations from people of recognised intellectual and religious stature internationally. In the nomination process they are then invited to propose candidates from about 600 people and organisations from 125 countries.

Nominations are rigorously screened by the International Selection Committee of the Niwano Prize, currently composed of 10 religious leaders from various parts of the world, who are involved in movements for peace and interreligious cooperation.


The award ceremony will take place in Tokyo on May 12. The winner will receive a certificate, a medal and 20 million yen ($1.46 million).

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