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MEET THE PRESIDENT: Activist Dr. R.B. Herath Is The Man Behind Global Peace Alliance

The 2018 ‘Give Peace a Chance’ Surrey Festival will have ample fun activities for the young, such as face-painting, origami peace doves and poetry. This free event, which open to the public, will be held on Saturday, Nov. 17 from 2pm to 5:30pm at Fleetwood Community Centre, 15996 – 84th Avenue, Surrey BC V4N 0W1. Refreshments will be served.

SURREY – Dr. R.B. Herath is a well-known writer, poet, dramatist, political reformist, and a peace activist and he is the chief architect behind the peace spreading Surrey-based Global Peace Alliance, which will be hosting the 2018 ‘Give Peace a Chance’ Surrey Festival this weekend.

This free event, which open to the public, will be held on Saturday, Nov. 17 from 2pm to 5:30pm at Fleetwood Community Centre, 15996 – 84th Avenue, Surrey BC V4N 0W1. Refreshments will be served.

Herath grew up as a young adult in Sri Lanka at a time of an ethnic crisis there. It was a time the government of the country dominated by its ethnic majority was passing laws and regulations that were discriminatory to its minorities. He was personally not affected by all this as he belonged to the majority ethnic group. However, he strongly felt that all citizens must be treated the same way irrespective of any identifiable differences, and stood up against such discriminatory laws & regulations as a student leader in his high school and undergraduate days.

Later, when the ethnic crisis got worse with threats of a separatist war he even founded and led a new democratic political party in the country with a platform for change to genuine democracy, hoping to avoid the impending separatist war with the help of a political solution. The new party in no time gained the support of all the ethnic groups in the country under a theme of ‘One Lanka – One Nation, One Nation – One Family.’ At the same time he also started to write and publish books on Sri Lankan politics in English as well as in Sinhalese, a vernacular language of Sri Lanka.

The first book written in English was titled Democratic Socialism. He wrote it after a constitutional change in the country, renaming it as The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. The books he wrote in Sinhalese include Sri Lanka Desapalanaya, Ayanna, Aayanna, Eyanna, Eeyanna (translation reads as A, B, C, D of Sri Lankan Politics) and Desappremayen Udavadiwa Darudariyanta Kavivalinma Liyu Lipiyak (translation reads as A Letter to Our Children in Poems Written through Patriotism). The former gave a detailed analysis of the contemporary political system of Sri Lanka. The latter was a book of poems. It gave a message of mutual respect, love and unity to the children of Sri Lanka in a child’s diction. The government of Sri Lanka at the time purchased thousands of copies of this particular book for distribution among its schools and municipal libraries.

Meanwhile, the political party he founded and led worked pretty hard hoping to bring about the change it stood for. However, four years down the road, the impending separatist war broke out regardless, and the next general election scheduled for 1983 was also postponed indefinitely. In the new situation, RB and a number of his closest colleagues left the country in 1984.

Since then, he lived in several countries in four continents: Asia, Europe, Africa, and North America. Wherever he travelled and lived he kept his eyes and ears open to grasp the real driving forces behind major human conflicts wherever they occurred and the lessons that could be learnt from all of them. This eventually made him a researcher in dynamics of conflict and conflict transformation. In the process, he also continued to write books on related subjects, one titled Sri Lankan Ethnic Crisis: Towards a Resolution, proposing a way to end the Sri Lankan ethnic crisis in a peaceful manner.

He finally settled in Canada with his family in 1990, where he pursued a professional career with the BC government. At the same time, he also served as a member of the Board of Directors of a number of peace and democracy organizations here, including the South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy in North America. He also had the distinction of being a Member of the Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform in British Columbia. He even wrote a book titled Real Power to the People: A Novel Approach to Electoral Reform in British Columbia sharing his experience on the BC Citizens Assembly process with the rest of the world.

His last book, titled A New Beginning for Humankind: A Recipe for Lasting Peace on Earth was out in December 2012. This particular book later led to the founding of the Global Peace Alliance (GPA), where he continues to act as its President and CEO. Within a short period of time GPA has gained support from both the young and the old in BC and beyond. Its main theme of rallying people for global peace under its banner is ‘One World, One People, One Family.’

He is married, and has three adult daughters and two granddaughters. He now lives with his wife, Hemamala, in Surrey, BC, Canada.

The 2018 ‘Give Peace a Chance’ Surrey Festival will have ample fun activities for the young, such as face-painting, origami peace doves and poetry. This free event, which open to the public, will be held on Saturday, Nov. 17 from 2pm to 5:30pm at Fleetwood Community Centre, 15996 – 84th Avenue, Surrey BC V4N 0W1. Refreshments will be served.

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