When one word makes all the difference: Creating lexicons on power-sharing and federalism for Sri Lanka

The Forum of Federations, in collaboration with the Colombo-based Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), recently held a workshop on the vocabulary of federalism and power-sharing with a group of 35 participants from Sri Lankan media, government, civil society and non-governmental organizations. The workshop, titled ‘Federalism and Challenges of Translation,’ was held from June 3 to 5, 2007, in Kalutara, Sri Lanka, about 45 kilometres from Colombo

The outcome of the workshop was the beginning of a lexicon of terminology that is value-neutral and culturally-sensitive, and translates and captures the meaning of federalism and power-sharing terms in the Sinhala and Tamil languages. The terminology is meant to be used in public discussions about federalism in Sri Lanka.

International resource persons included Ms. Katy Le Roy (University of Melbourne, Australia), Dr. Akhtar Majeed (Centre for Federal Studies, Delhi, India) and Dr. Christina Murray (University of Cape Town, South Africa). Forum staffers Irina Shmakova and Jean-Philippe Linteau co-ordinated the organization of the workshop.

Local experts included Mr. Raja Collure (Chairman of the Official Languages Commission), Mr. Rohan Edrisinha (Director and Head of the Legal Unit at the CPA), Mr. N. Selvakkumaran (Dean of Law Faculty, University of Colombo), Dr. Jayadeva Uyangoda (University of Colombo) and Dr. J. Wickremaratne (Ministry of Constitutional Affairs).

The CPA is a non-governmental organization, the Forum’s liaison partner in Sri Lanka.

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