Sri Lanka - Studies

For the past few months I have been pouring over books and articles as part of one of my classes “A Natural Evolution of Religion.” Concurrently we've also been tracing the history of religion itself over the past several thousand years, and how the religion and cultures of various civilizations have been affected by politics, climate change, and natural disaster. The class is a small seminar, just 11 of us total, and has been a wonderful experience so far. In addition to the cornerstone reading for the class, each student gets to embark on their own individual journey. The topics chosen by my colleagues vary from the Tower of Babel to the First Council of Nicea and beyond. I'm focusing on the history of religion in Sri Lanka, and as I'm zeroing on my topic I'm leaning towards a topic less historical and of more relevance to the current struggle.

I've struggled a little bit in narrowing this down as I find most of what I am reading extraordinarily interesting, and it seems as though rabbit trails are quite easy to go on when doing this type of research. I'm leaning toward one of the following topics:

  • The role of religious freedom in Sri Lanka's ethnic struggle.
  • The problem of evangelism in modern Sri Lanka.
  • Dispelling myths of Sri Lankan culture (as a means of properly understanding the current religious tension).
  • The preservation of religious freedom in Sri Lanka.
  • The role of the Christian Church in conflict resolutionin Sri Lanka.
  • The result of colonialism: present day diverse Sri Lanka.
  • “Give me your poor” - the role of religion in modern day poverty and tragedy in Sri Lanka.
  • The role of U.S. citizens in Sri Lankan religious struggles.
  • “Heaven on Earth” - the ulterior motives behind philanthropic endeavors in 'third world' countries.

I'll post some summaries of recent articles I've read soon. In the meantime... if anybody has any insights or thoughts, let me know. (Cousins, I'm especially talking to YOU!)

My research and writing

I spent a good deal of time last fall writing two rather extensive papers that, while well researched academically, are also quite practical in both business and academic settings. My original intent was to submit these papers for publication. Instead, I'm posting them here and sending them out and about.

I'm doing this for several reasons.

1) I believe knowledge should be shared. Seriously! I believe this sharing of information falls in line with my own personal goals. Don't get me wrong, I do hope to write something for publication in an academic journal at some point. (In fact, hopefully I will have many of those opportunities in the future!) However, the process for submission, review and publication is quite lengthy, and much of this information might be of use sooner rather than later. This also isn't to say that "I know everything" about these topics by any means - only that I've done quite a bit of research along these lines and I'm putting these out there freely on the off chance I am able to help some non profits get some insight.

2) I want to introduce folks to "Creative Commons" licensing. "Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. (They) provide free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof." In other words - their mission is to foster and promote learning, sharing, and creativity. Anybody that knows me well knows why I'm all over this.

3) I hope to get feedback. That means from you, from anybody you share this with - I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback. Innovation in global philanthropy, especially in terms of new media communications, is an area where I'll be working and researching for a long time now. This field is a unique junction of academia, business, and media. There are no hard boundaries and anything you have to contribute to this dialogue is much welcome and much appreciated.

4) I could not have written this without the research and work of others for me. At this point in my career, I believe this is the best way for me to continue and contribute to this ongoing academic dialogue.

This may not wind up being a good idea - only time will tell. In the meantime...

My writings and research page - a list of academic articles and case studies.

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