2019 Common Ground Awards
A celebration of 20 years of unprecedented British peacebuilding
House of Lords
The Cholmondeley Room
Westminster, London SW1A 0PW
Drinks and canapés: 18.00 Hrs
Programme begins: 18.30 Hrs
On 17 June 2019, we celebrated over 20 years of partnership between the UK and Search for Common Ground at the Cholmondeley Room at the House of Lords. This year’s Common Ground Award was presented to H.E. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, the former President of Sri Lanka, for her outstanding political vision and courage.
The celebration was made possible by Honorary Chairwoman Her Majesty Queen Noor al-Hussein, the Search for Common Ground UK Board of Directors, and the House of Lords, by kind permission of Lord Stone of Blackheath.
About the Awards
The Common Ground Awards are presented annually to honour outstanding accomplishments in conflict resolution, negotiation, community building, and peacebuilding. Recipients have made significant contributions toward bridging divides and finding solutions to seemingly intractable problems. We honour those who deal with conflict in new ways; who meet crises with creativity, wisdom and courage; who inspire and bring hope to others. Recipients of the Award work in their local communities or internationally. They show us what can be achieved when we work with, and for, each other.
Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Executive President of Sri Lanka [1994 – 2005]
Madam Kumaratunga was born in June 1945 to a family with a long history of public service. She married film actor and politician Vijaya Kumaratunga who together with her championed a political solution to Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict. He was assassinated by extremists in 1988.
In 1994 as newly elected President, her government inherited a nation plagued by violent politics. Her Government re-established democracy, democratic institutions and respect for Human Rights. She is the first Sri Lankan leader, in 60 years of Independence to have spoken against extremism and worked towards building understanding and integration between all Sri Lankan communities. It is noteworthy that she continued peace and reconciliation negotiations with the rebels, even after she survived an assassination attempt.
Madam Kumaratunga is presently the Chairperson of the Office of National Unity and Reconciliation set up by the Government of Sri Lanka. She has two children, Yasodhara, a medical doctor, and Vimukthi, a veterinary surgeon.