Compiled by Nicola Jayasundera


Savaira Sammoon weighs the rich rewards that unity promises to deliver

Q: What’s the good, the bad and the ugly here in Sri Lanka?

A: The good in Sri Lanka is that its youth have proven to be passionate and driven. Following decades of division, the country came together in 2022 in a globally recognised display of unity and determination, with young leaders rising to the forefront in activism and policy-making.

With such a motivated group of future leaders and policy makers, Sri Lanka has the potential to build a bright future for itself.

However, the bad is that we seem to constantly hold ourselves back. We often fail to realise our full potential and fall prey to short-term political manoeuvres that only exacerbate the inter-generational burdens that Sri Lanka’s youth will have to face.

Q: And what are the challenges facing the country today?

A: Apart from the failures of our leaders and the inability to create a stable political climate, Sri Lanka’s most significant challenge is the popular aversion to conversation and free exchange of ideas.

Without open dialogue and tolerance, we will not be able to progress as a country in the increasingly liberal world of the future.

Q: Do you believe that Sri Lanka will be united one day – and why, if so?

A: I believe that Sri Lanka will be united only when every citizen works for the nation’s welfare and best interests – and upholds the shared goals of all communities over personal bias and hostility.

Whether it is through religious acceptance, inter-communal cooperation, greater representation of women and ethnic minorities in parliament and so on, Sri Lanka can certainly work harder to achieve unity.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

A: Over the next decade, I look forward to making the most of what the world and higher education have to offer. I believe there’s much to learn from the abundance of diverse perspectives that I’ll no doubt encounter – such as those of my experienced professors and lecturers, and fellow students who hail from varying backgrounds.

After university, I hope to be a dedicated member of my community while continuing to give back to my home from wherever I may be.

Q: And where do you see Sri Lanka in a decade from today?

A: I hope to see Sri Lanka with a new generation of leaders who are focussed on innovation and reform through strong policies.

With a determined society that’s focussed on utilising the country’s national resources and building a strong education system, Sri Lanka will definitely fulfil its true potential.

Q: Who is responsible for climate change and global warming – and what must be done about it?

A: There is no doubt that the major fossil fuel and oil businesses of the world, and legislators who refuse to reform, are responsible for exacerbating climate change. Environmental change must be implemented on a global scale with enforced cooperation through committed leadership.

If global temperatures aren’t brought under control, my generation will have very little to look forward to and work towards.

Q: How do you view the growing importance of social media today?

A: Social media is an incredibly powerful platform. As with any powerful tool however, both dangers and benefits exist.

Social media can empower youth and marginalised sections of society. It can be used to promote community relations and acceptance, and also enable communication and learning.

Nevertheless, it is becoming increasingly unstable and dangerous as hate speech and cyberbullying are becoming more frequent occurrences. For social media to be used purposefully and positively, big tech businesses need to play a larger role in regulating misinformation and prejudice.

Q: Where do you see the world in 10 years?

A: Asia has played a prominent role on the world stage in recent years, and the West is becoming increasingly polarised due to political factionalism and misinformation. I believe that nations such as China, India, South Korea and Singapore will emerge as economic and political superpowers.

Though the world is becoming fragmented by war and ideology, I hope to see the international community present a united front against common issues such as global warming as the consequences of ignorance loom larger every day.