SRI LANKA, May 23, 2004: It's a small sign that life may eventually return to normal in this war-ravaged region. When Sri Lankan born Jey Surier left Sri Lanka in 1982, before the civil war started, to attend an electrical engineering school in North Dakota, he did not know that he would not return to his country until the year 2003. Peace talks between the Tamil rebels and the Sinhalese Buddhist majority led to a cease fire in 2002. Back in the U.S., Surier wanted to help rebuild his homeland. He had the expertise to start a school of technology, he just needed funding. After raising US$125,000 from Tamil expatriates around the globe, Surier started planning the school in January 2003. In the summer of 2003, after months of planning, building, finding teachers and overcoming obstacles unique to a war-torn country, the Vanni Institute of Technology opened its doors in the capital of Kilinochchi. Students at the school studied database programming, computer technology, web development and electronics. After nine months, the first class of 60 students graduated. Surier says, "Even if there is political upheaval, the institute can carry on as long as its fuel supply for the generators holds out and can get past blockades. The country's future will depend upon its ability to endure civil war. Lots of people have gone through this several times."