Honorary Doctoral Degrees
CENTRE FOR PEACE STUDIES SRI LANKA
Centre for Peace Studies Sri Lanka has been at the forefront of developing new ideas about Conflict Resolution, Mediation, Peace keeping, Human Security and Peacebuilding. It has developed an international reputation for the practical application of these ideas in war zones and communities driven by conflicts, most notably in and outside Sri Lanka. This has involved working with warring parties, Government agencies, NGOs, regional and international organizations, together with the civilian communities caught up in these conflicts.
BACKGROUND OF THE PROGRAM
The Peace Ambassadors and Honorary Doctorate program has been a flagship program of the Centre for Peace Studies (CPS) Si Lanka. As such, it was first defined by the CPS. It was carried out to promote and support the role of people in peace‐building activities that contribute to living together in dignity and dialogue.
Honorary degrees are nothing new. The first was given out by Oxford in 1474 to King Edward VI’s brother-in-law, Bishop Lionel Woodville. Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, Oxford gave out hundreds more to prominent and wealthy men, and Harvard took that tradition overseas.
Universities and colleges can, and often do, give out as many honorary degrees as they want each year; usually to prominent people, past presidents, and stars. Meryl Streep, John Legend, and even Kanye West are among the long list of celebrities in the honorary degree club. Some celebrities have multiples, including most U.S. Presidents. Honorary degrees are and always have been a way for colleges to develop relationships with the rich and famous, leading to donations and plenty of publicity.
CPS firmly believes that Peace building in the world is not an easy target to achieve through the agreements or negotiation without the contribution of the people. It’s the prime duty of each and every individual. He Peace Ambassadors are people from across the World, active in civil society organizations and programs. Participants have been chosen due to their motivation to build a better world where a different peace is possible.
During the program, they learn about peace and human rights, they develop local programs for peace, and they advocate for human rights and dignity. Participants are also committed multipliers involved in an organization or network, institution and/or informal group. They thus act as ambassadors for the values of human rights, peace, and intercultural dialogue, and they will also bring these values to youth work and to youth initiatives in their communities.
The conflict situations addressed by the participants are those where communities are experiencing or recovering from armed conflict, frozen conflicts, racism and aggressive nationalism and hate speech. Discrimination and human rights violations experienced by communities or young migrants and internally displaced people are also covered by the program.