“Unity in Diversity; Building Shared and Inclusive Societies for Peace and Prosperity”

13th Anyiam-Osigwe Lecture in Nigeria
Delivered by SAPRI’s Chair – HE Chandrika Kumaratunga


peacePoverty is considered to be the greatest challenge facing all countries. Governments have formulated and implemented thousands of programmes to alleviate or end poverty and deprivation.
However, rarely do governments recognize the importance of searching out the causes of conflict and resolving them. Unresolved conflict invariably leads to violence and civil war. This in turn compounds the problems of poverty.

The colonial rulers transformed diversity into sources of friction, employing diversities “to divide and rule”. From being a cultural strength, diversity was transformed into a political and social weakness. With the advent of colonialism, diversity was no more celebrated and accepted as part of an existential necessity, but was seen as something to be opposed. Of course it was greatly advantageous to the invading rulers to divide us in order to rule and dominate us better”.
“Hence ethnic and tribal differences, religion differences and so on were exacerbated causing division and conflict.


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