A.T. Ariyaratne speaking at The Economics of Peace Conference in Sonoma California October 2009. --
In 2004, 3 million people in Sri Lanka celebrated the International Day of Peace when spiritual leader Dr. Ari Ariyaratne invited his war-plagued nation to join together for a day of peaceful meditation. Dr. Ariyaratne, compared by many to Gandhi, is the founder of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement. Sarvodaya is a Sanskrit word for "everybody wakes up" and under his leadership this movement has worked hard for nearly 50 years to foster enlightenment and development for Sri Lankans, but especially the poorest and least powerful in society. They have helped thousands of villages to become self-reliant, building homes, hospitals and schools, digging wells and promoting alternative energy and food infrastructures as well as defending women's and children's rights and promoting religious tolerance and cooperation. Dr. Ariyaratne and the Sarvodaya Movement's accomplishments have created a model for sustainable community development and movement-building that continues to inspire many other national and global movements for a more peaceful, just and sustainable world.
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