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Project May 13, 2024

Sri Lanka: Beyond the Headlines

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In 2022, sustained, peaceful, mass public protests triggered by an economic crisis forced a regime change in Sri Lanka, one of the world’s oldest living civilizations. Situated at the cusp of South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean, it also has one of the oldest uninterrupted democratic traditions in the world, since receiving universal adult franchise—the principle that every adult citizen has the right to vote—in 1931.

A nearly $3 billion IMF loan eased the crisis, but the country still owes $17 billion to China, India, and other nations.

And for the 22 million people of Sri Lanka, nearly a quarter of them youth, the story is far from over. They face food insecurity, power cuts, unemployment, and galloping inflation.

How are those tasked with feeding the people coping? Beena Sarwar will talk to members of the farming community in remote, rural Sri Lanka and explore how policies made in the capital impact their lives, and those of their children.

Meanwhile, world powers like China, the U.S., and India are investing in mega projects in Sri Lanka for their own interests. What will the long-term effect of these projects mean for the country and its future?

As a journalist with a longstanding interest in peace and development, Sarwar will contextualize what’s happening in Sri Lanka, focusing on the economy, the environment, politics, and young people, looking at urban and the rural, the micro and the macro. Her focus is on individuals while also looking at the bigger picture, highlighting patterns and universal issues that are relevant beyond Sri Lanka.

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