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* Sri Lankan youth have a significant contribution to make for reconciliation and development
Mon, May 5, 2014, 06:56 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

May 05, Colombo: Sri Lankan youth have faced much suffering and hardship during the three decade long armed conflict and now they have an opportunity make a significant contribution to the country's reconciliation and development, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said today.

In his message of greetings to the World Conference on Youth 2014 that will commence tomorrow in Colombo, the President said the conference is held at a most appropriate time when Sri Lanka has crossed the threshold to peace and is progressing on the path of reconciliation and development where youth have a significant contribution to make.

"The peace that we cherish in Sri Lanka today follows three decades of armed conflict and terrorism, in which our youth faced much suffering, hardship and obstruction to progress," he said.

He said in this new age of technological progress, especially with the advances in Information Technology, the youth have increasing opportunities to go forward through innovation and create new opportunities for social advancement.

World Conference on Youth 2014 under the theme "Mainstreaming youth in the post-2015 development agenda" will be held at the BMICH in Colombo from 6th - 10th May 2014.

The opening ceremony of the conference will be held in the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Conference Center (MRICC) in Hambantota.

Welcoming all foreign participants of the conference to Sri Lanka, the President said the Sri Lankan delegation includes youth representatives from the indigenous communities and the differently abled.

Full Text of the President's Message:

I am pleased to send this message of greetings to the World Conference on Youth 2014 being held in Colombo.

This conference is held at a most appropriate time when Sri Lanka has crossed the threshold to peace and is progressing on the path of reconciliation and development where youth have a significant contribution to make.

The peace that we cherish in Sri Lanka today follows three decades of armed conflict and terrorism, in which our youth faced much suffering, hardship and obstruction to progress.

The National Policy of Sri Lanka states: "This century belongs to the youth. It is the century of knowledge." This clearly shows the importance given to the progress of youth in the country, and the emphasis on listening to the voice of youth in the tasks of national development.

In this new age of technological progress, especially with the advances in Information Technology, the youth of a country have increasing opportunities to go forward through innovation and create new opportunities for social advancement.

I note with great satisfaction the large number of youth participants at this event representing difference countries and societies in a rich diversity of peoples and cultures. I am glad that the Sri Lankan delegation includes youth representatives from our indigenous communities and the differently abled. Your deliberations will make an important contribution to world strategies on youth in the coming decades.

I welcome all foreign participants to Sri Lanka and trust you will enjoy the friendship and hospitality of our people. I commend the contribution of many organizations and individuals to make this conference a success.

I wish this World Youth Conference 2014 every success in the task of addressing the cause of youth and their wellbeing in the world today.

Mahinda Rajapaksa

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