XIII World Congress 2003
Education for Peace:
The Best Investment for Future Generations


Althea Gray - USA








Althea Gray, Honorary Consul for Sri Lanka in New Mexico, USA

7610 Old Santa Fe Trail

Santa Fe,  New Mexico 87505 USA

Email:  AltheaGray3@aol.com and SriLankaConsul@aol.com


My earliest influences in ancient Philosophies and Healing began with my Nicaraguan grandmother who was a traditional doctor (Curandera) and healer in her country.  These influences lead me to India at the age of 18 where I met the “Mother” at Sri Aurobindo’s Ashram in South India.  She asked me to work with the children in the Ashram.  This lead to an undergraduate study in Special Education where I worked with children who were academically challenged and with children who were gifted.

After different careers and many hats, today, I serve as an Honorary Consul for Sri Lanka in New Mexico and I follow my grandmother’s foot steps as a Healer.

I believe one of the greatest paths to inner and outer peace is through Knowledge.

Through the sharing of differences and the discovery of similarities,  one can bring together a gathering of hearts.


Brief Synopsis of Speech


(Although I am the Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka in New Mexico, I give this presentation as a private citizen who admires deeply the heroic efforts of the Sri Lankan Government to provide quality education for all of it’s people).

Education is a gift. Education is freedom.  Education is opportunity.

Education is vision.  Education is a pathway to Peace.

I believe that the Government of Sri Lanka, despite 20 years of civil strife, has never lost sight of the importance of education and the long term implications for a lasting peace in their country.  Under what must be extraordinary economic strains, Sri Lanka can boast a free quality education for children from elementary school to PhD..  Sri Lanka can boast a literacy rate of 94% according to studies done by the Library of Congress in the 1990’s.

The long term impact of this on the country’s future growth is enormous.

Where is Sri Lanka?  Sri Lanka is a tiny island located south of India.

It is 432 Km long and 224 Km wide. Its total population is a little over 19 million.

The majority of the people of Sri Lanka are Buddhists, 69%. 

15% are Hindus, 8% are Christians, and 7% are Muslims.

Sri Lanka is an ancient island that boasts having the world’s second-oldest continuous written history.

Its history is long and complex.    It harkened the arrival of the Indo-Aryan Sinhalese  (“People of the Lion”)who arrived from northern India in 500BC and the arrival of the Tamil Dravidians a few centuries later from South India (The Tamil’s ancient symbol being the Tiger).

In the 16th century, the island was colonized by the Portuguese, later by the Dutch and , finally and significantly by the British in the 18th Century.

Each country left behind it’s own specific influences in Education.

After Independence in 1948,  the government of Sri Lanka made education one of its highest priorities.  According to the Library of Congress study, within 40 years  the number of schools increased by over 50%, the number of students by 300%, and the number of teachers by 400%. 

By the mid 1980’s, over 90% of the people were literate.  This placed Sri Lanka as one of the leaders in education among developing nations.

What makes Education extraordinary in Sri Lanka?  In Sri Lanka, government education is not only compulsory, it is free.  The Government provides free education and books from elementary school through PhD..

Despite what must be an incredible economic burden, the Sri Lankan government has never faltered in its mission to keep an educated Sri Lanka.

For the last nine months, Sri Lanka has worked diligently in building a foundation for an enduring peace.

I believe that peace and economic recovery has a chance because the government has never lost sight of the importance of education in the country’s future.