Accepted paper:

Positive thinking for postwar youth: the politics of leadership training in Sri Lanka

Authors:

Jonathan Spencer (University of Edinburgh)
Harini Amarasuriya (Open University of Sri Lanka)

Paper short abstract:

Our paper examines the controversial Leadership Training for University Entrants introduced by the Ministry of Higher Education in Sri Lanka in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence. This is explored in the context of the history of youth politics in Sri Lanka and post-war developments.

Paper long abstract:

The controversial Leadership Training for University Entrants (also called the Leadership Attitude and Positive Thinking Development Training) was introduced by the Ministry of Higher Education in Sri Lanka in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence. It provides university entrants with 3 weeks of "leadership training" at military camps across the country. It aims to address what are seen as failings of "discipline" on University campuses, and presumably, steer young people away from the radical politics of their processors. Our paper examines the content of this curious experiment, and contextualises it within the history of youth politics in Sri Lanka and the emerging authoritarian politics of post-war.

panel P53
Educated youth in search of enlightenment in South Asia (and beyond)