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August 14, 2018
HM The Queen recognises Prashan De Visser
alternate textPrashan De Visser receives
the award from James Dauris, UK
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has today recognised Prashan De Visser, as the 2nd Commonwealth Point of Light from Sri Lanka, in honour of his exceptional voluntary service engaging young people and promoting peace across Sri Lanka. He is the 65th global Commonwealth Point of Light.

Prashan De Visser, is the president and founder of 'Sri Lanka Unites', a youth movement bringing young people together in the aftermath of the war. Prashan launched the movement in 2009 and, since then, Sri Lanka unites has grown to a 20,000 community of 12-30 year olds from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, active in 25 districts. They have created five reconciliation centres for young people to come together to discuss collaboration and promote peace. Under Prashan's leadership the charity employs 15 full-time members of staff including a team which visits local schools to share the charity's vital work.

As part of the legacy of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London 2018, Her Majesty The Queen - as Head of the Commonwealth - is thanking inspirational volunteers across the 53 Commonwealth nations for the difference they are making in their communities and beyond, by recognising one volunteer from each Commonwealth country each week in the two years following the summit.

By sharing these stories of service, the Commonwealth Points of Light awards celebrate inspirational acts of volunteering across the Commonwealth and help inspire others to make their own contribution to tackling some of the greatest social challenges of our time.

Each Commonwealth Point of Light will receive a personalised certificate signed by Her Majesty The Queen as Head of the Commonwealth. The award for Prashan De Visser was presented to him on Monday 13th August by High Commissioner to Sri Lanka James Dauris.

Prashan De Visser said:
"I am humbled and honoured to receive this award. Serving youth in Sri Lanka and other countries in the midst of or recovering from violent conflict is my passion and calling. I serve with a profound desire to see positive and remarkable transformation within our lifetime. We strive to see nations that have been written off as failed, corrupt, violent or volatile to be transformed on the shoulder of their youth. A new generation who serve with character and integrity towards unity, justice, excellence and strategic purpose to transform the destiny and direction of their nations.

This award is not a recognition of an individual, but rather the movement of a new generation of youth daring to heal, repair and transform their nations. Hence on behalf of the Sri Lanka Unites and the eight other movements it has inspired through Global Unites, I say thank you for bestowing this honour and recognizing our humble efforts to see tangible and sustainable change that will inspire our nations, the world we live in and the generations to come.

I thank Her Majesty the Queen for this recognition which echoes the truth that regardless of who you are, where you are from or which circumstances you are born to, you have the capacity to be a light and your commitment to do so, despite the overwhelming odds are valid, encouraged and celebrated."

James Dauris, UK High Commissioner in Sri Lanka said:
"Prashan is a most deserving recipient of a Commonwealth Points of Light Award. He has dedicated a huge amount of time to working for reconciliation in Sri Lanka, championing change in communities' attitudes towards and perceptions of each other, and inspiring young people to be ambitious for a better world.

"Sri Lanka Unites operates across the country and has brought thousands of young leaders together from every community at an all-important time of peace-building in the country. Drawing on its success here, Prashan is now taking the model to other countries affected by conflict, to help bring change and build the foundations needed for safer, more prosperous futures."

The first Sri Lankan to be named the Commonwealth Point of Light was Kushil Gunasekera in honour of his exceptional voluntary service through the Foundation of Goodness.

The Commonwealth is a diverse community of 53 nations that work together to promote prosperity, democracy and peace. The Heads of Government meeting brought together leaders from all the 53 Member countries to reaffirm common values, address shared global challenges and agree how to work to create a better future for all citizens, especially young people. Voluntary service is a vital part of this agenda, which is why Her Majesty The Queen has chosen to recognise outstanding volunteers across the Commonwealth in this special way.
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