Project On “Promoting Non-Violent Communication (NVC) And Responsible Use Of Media.”

The Department of Social Sciences of the Faculty of Management, Social Sciences and Humanities (FMSH) is delighted to have received support to initiate a project to teach Non-Violent Communications (NVC) and instill knowledge on the ethical and responsible use of media. Through a grant worth more than 21 million rupees from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the European Union’s (EU) Service for Foreign Policy Instruments, the proposed initiative was launched in November 2020 at the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) in Sri Lanka.

UNDP is the United Nations’ global development partner of choice, working towards eradicating poverty, inequality, and tackling climate change through the provision of human development solutions. UNDP works in 170 countries and territories to develop strong policies, skills, partnerships, and institutions towards the 2030 agenda and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This joint venture between KDU and UNDP relates particularly to Goals 4 and 16 of the SDGs on securing Quality Education, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. It has a significant relevance to elements on Higher Education and Social Integration in Sri Lanka’s National Policy Framework. The initiative will engage and educate school students, undergraduates, young media personnel/journalists, military and police officers in Media and Communication Studies. The objectives of the project are:

  • To develop and conduct a national program on Non-Violent Communication and the responsible use of media.
  • To develop a curriculum for a comprehensive academic program based on the ladder system of Sri Lanka Qualifications Framework (SLQF), which includes Certificate, Diploma and Degree level programmes.
  • To establish a center with digital infrastructure worth of 9.5 million rupees for Media Studies, which will be a home for undergraduates at KDU to obtain knowledge in this field.

The NVC project encompasses two essential aspects related to the prevention of hate speech as well as the promotion of social cohesion through media. The first includes teaching target populations about non-violent communications approaches that include promoting compassion, love and healthy values at the personal and interpersonal levels. The approach has been successfully applied to other sectors such as education, business, psychotherapy, justice among others. The second involves promoting ethical and responsible uses of media. The objectives of the programme overall include enabling participants to improve their compassion and empathy towards other human beings and apply their understanding of NVC and responsible uses of media to their daily lives.

The project is more broadly expected to prevent violent extremism and to promote ethical use of media among youth. As the first comprehensive academic program of this kind in the Sri Lankan University system, there are high hopes that its learnings and outcomes will pave the way for other successful programmes of a similar nature in the future. The successful proposal for this initiative was prepared by Mr. Nuwan Herath – Head of the Department of Social Sciences; together with the agreement between the two organizations with the leadership of Major General Milinda Peiris – Vice Chancellor, KDU and Mr. Robert Juhkam – Resident Representative, UNDP in Sri Lanka. At present, Dr.  Hemantha Premarathne – Senior Lecturer, KDU serves as the Programme Coordinator under the supervision of Mr. Kithsiri Amaratunga – Dean of the Faculty of Management, Social Sciences and Humanities. On the side of UNDP, the programme is coordinated by Dr. Priyan Seneviratne – Technical Specialist, UNDP.