APSL launches Cancer Relief Fund to help patients in Sri Lanka

The Association of Professional Sri Lankans in the UK (APSL), launched its latest project, APSL Cancer Relief Fund at the 13th Annual Dinner Dance, held on Saturday the 23rd September 2017. The event was held at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel, London, with the participation of many APSL members and their families, friends and well-wishers.

The event began with the APSL President Mr Suraj Wijendra welcoming the guests. In his address Mr. Wijendra introduced the key theme of this year “APSL Cancer Relief Fund” and how APSL will work with communities in the UK to help patients in Sri Lanka directly when they need assistance. Furthermore, he described the past and present projects undertaken by APSL, and thanked all APSL project leaders, members and donors for their support. A highlight of his speech was how the proceeds of last year’s dinner dance was used as planned to successfully deliver a solar village for the rural village of Nochchiya in the Kurunegala District in Sri Lanka, in collaboration with Hela Sarana, another registered charity in the United Kingdom.

The welcome address was followed by a presentation by Dr Dilrini De Silva and Dr Leshan Uggalla, who formally launched the APSL Cancer Relief Fund. They explained the motivation behind the project, outlining why it is important to support cancer patients in Sri Lanka. They both highlighted the numerous direct and indirect difficulties encountered by patients in the country, particularly those from rural and socially disadvantaged areas. The audience was also informed of the various ways in which the Cancer Relief Fund can help such patients.

Dr Faiz Mumtaz, Consultant Urologist at Royal Free Hospital, London, delivered the keynote lecture, titled “Surgery’s past, present and robotic future”. Dr Mumtaz enlightened the audience on the key developments of surgery from the past to now, and explained how modern innovations in the use of Robotics is revolutionizing surgery, including surgery on cancer.

Following a delicious Sri Lankan buffet dinner, Mr Palan, a Sri Lankan stand-up comedian entertained the audience. This was followed by a Dutch auction to raise further funds for the Cancer Relief Fund. A cricket ball signed by cricket legend Mr. Muttiah Muralitharan to commemorate the occasion of taking his 800 test wickets, was auctioned. A substantial amount of money was raised from the auction.

A raffle draw was also held to raise funds for the same cause and the winners received valuable prizes.

Dr Mohan Siriwardena delivered the vote of thanks on behalf of APSL.

Mr Thushara Madurasinghe and Ms Paola Bethmage compered the event.

Attendees danced their way late into the night to the live music provided by Sky High band. The event ended well after midnight with the signing of the national anthems of UK and Sri Lanka.

APSL wishes to thank the Deputy High Commissioner for Sri Lanka to the United Kingdom Mr.Sugeeshwara Gunaratna & Mrs Gunaratna, Counsellor (Consular) Mr Manoj Warnapala & Mrs Warnapala for accepting our invitation and attending the event.

Furthermore, APSL wishes to thank the following for their contributions in making this event a great success.

Dr Faiz Muntaz for delivering a highly informative keynote lecture, Mr Kushil Guanasekara (Foundation of Goodness Sri Lanka), and the sponsors of the event – Sri Lankan Airlines, Mike Cooke Group, Rising Sun Hotel, Atlas Shipping, Blue Ocean Group of Companies, Unique Solicitors, Duke’s Court Travel, Mass Global Shipping, Perera & Co, Overseas Reality (Ceylon) PLC and Havelock City Apartments for providing advertisements and to many individuals who made donations to the cancer relief fund, Grange Tower Bridge Hotel for hosting the event, Mr Manjula Munasinghe -Sky High band for providing music and entertainment, Mr Palan for providing a unique Sri Lankan stand-up comedy, Mr Ranjan Perera for conducting the Dutch auction, Mrs Gayani Senaratne for organising the raffle, Dr Mahesh de Silva and Dr Dilrini De Silva for preparation of the newsletter, event photographer Mr Sisira Maddumage, media organisations Newslanka newspaper and Sesatha website for providing publicity, all members of the APSL Executive Committee, all APSL members, friends and well-wishers who attended and made a valuable contribution on the day.

APSL will provide further details about the implementation of the Cancer Relief Fund via its website and media. weblink

We welcome further donations to the APSL Cancer Relief Fund which can be made via APSL website – Cancer fund Donations 

Click here to view the complete set of 13th Dinner Dance Photos 

Dr Mohan Siriwardena

General Secretary

Association of Professional Sri Lankans in the UK (ASPL)

13th Annual General Meeting 2017

 

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THE ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL SRI LANKANS IN THE UK (“APSL”)

UK Registered Charity No: 1145786

APSL 13TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

The 13th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Association of Professional Sri Lankans in the UK (APSL), was held on Saturday 06th May 2017 at Citadines Holborn – Covent Garden, London, with the participation of the members of the Association.

Her Excellency Ms. Amari Wijewardena, High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom, who is also the Patron of the Association graced the occasion.

The meeting began by all attendees observing a two-minute silence to pay respects to two very active members of the Association, Dr Raj Chandran and Dr Chesmal Siriwardhana, who sadly passed away during the year 2016-2017.

Dr Raj Chandran was a frequent participant and donor for APSL activities, and offered vital support needed especially during the early years of the Association. He hosted the first seminar organised by APSL in Nottingham.

Dr Chesmal Siriwardhana was serving as one of the Vice Presidents of APSL and he provided leadership for the organisation of professional development events specially to encourage young Sri Lankan professionals to join and participate, and he was the Editor of the publication of the APSL bi-annual Newsletter “The Professional”.

The first session of the meeting began with the welcome address by the outgoing President of APSL, Mr. Leslie Dep. He briefly outlined the excellent progress made during the year. Mr Dep was stepping down as the President after the completion of his two- year term, and he thanked the executive committee, all members and well-wishers who supported him during his tenure. He extended his fullest support to the incoming committee and to the Association. Mr Dep reiterated the importance of attracting young Sri Lankan professionals into the Association.

He also stressed the importance of APSL working together with like-minded organisations on humanitarian projects. He cited the completion of the Solar Power Project at Nochchiya with UK registered Charity Hela Sarana, and the planned seminar in London in association with the UK based organisation, North and East Education Forum on Economic and Education Development in the Northern Province with the participation of the Governor of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka, as examples of such collaborative projects undertaken by APSL during the year.

Mr Leslie Dep’s address was followed by the reading of the minutes of the last AGM by the General Secretary, Dr Mohan Siriwardena.

After the adoption of the minutes of the last meeting, Dr. Mohan Siriwardena presented the Annual Report for the year 2016 – 2017.

Summary of Annual Report 2016 – 2017

Executive Committee Meetings

Three executive committee meetings were held during the year 2016 – 2017. Two of them were held in London while the other was held in Manchester. These meetings were well attended by the executive committee members. Various policy and planning matters related to proposed projects and events, were discussed and agreed at these meetings.

Projects and Events

At the AGM, it was noted that the year 2016-2017 was another highly successful year with serval projects achieving significant milestones.

  1. APSL Fundraising Dinner Dance

The fundraising Dinner Dance event to celebrate the 12th anniversary of the Association of Professional Sri Lankans in the UK (APSL UK) was held on 16th July at the Hilton Hotel, Watford, with the presence of a large gathering of members, their families and well-wishers of the Association. This year the event was dedicated to raise funds for the APSL Solar village projects in Sri Lanka.

     2. APSL Scholarship Scheme

The APSL Scholarship Scheme launched in 2014 on the initiative shown by Prof Terrance Fernando, University of Salford, UK, to provide financial assistance to gifted but underprivileged school children in Sri Lanka, continued to grow during the year 2016-2017 too, under the leadership of Mr Mervyn Silva. Total number of scholarships now stands at 34.   A fundraising dinner dance was held on the 26th of November 2016 in Manchester. This event was well attended by current sponsors as well as friends and well-wishers.

      3.  APSL Solar Village Project

2016-2017 was a land mark year for the APSL Solar Village Project. Using the funds raised through the Dinner Dance and through other donations, APSL managed to commission a APSL Solar Powered Village Development project in Nochchiya, in Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka. This project was delivered in collaboration with Hela Sarana, another UK registered charity, and the Association is grateful for the support extended by Hela Sarana to work together and complete the project. APSL Solar Village Project Team under the leadership of Prof. I M Dharmadasa is currently monitoring the technical performance and the wider socio-economic impact of this project. Feedback received from the village development council so far is extremely positive, and the publicity provided for this project has now attracted significant attention from policy makers in Sri Lanka.

      4. APSL Young Professional’s Event

The year 2016-2017 also saw the successful conduct of another APSL Young Professional’s event. The event held on 17th February 2017 at the Sri Lankan High Commission in London, was attended by a large number of young professionals in the UK. Four dynamic and talented speakers held the audience captive with their personal and professional experiences ranging from Law, Business, Population Health and Leadership. Following the event, an informal networking session was carried out over dinner and drinks took place at the nearby Victoria Pub. This event was organised under the leadership of late Dr Chesmal Siriwardhana.

      5. APSL in Sri Lanka

Over the years, it has become apparent that lack of ground level support in Sri Lanka is a significant impediment to delivering APSL projects. In this regard, during the year 2016-2017, APSL made another significant advancement in its efforts to enhance its presence in Sri Lanka. The Association’s Sri Lanka Branch was formally registered in Sri Lanka, under the title “The Association of Professional Sri Lankans in the UK in Sri Lanka”. A meeting was held on the 08th of August 2016, at Taj Samudra Hotel, Colombo, which was attended by serval members of the Association

      6. Disaster Relief to Kegalle

In the wake of floods and landslides in Sri Lanka in May 2016, APSL was swift to respond. In addition to the donation made to the Government of Sri Lanka via the Sri Lankan High Commission, APSL teamed up with a non-profit organisation in Sri Lanka, to provide school bags and other necessary stationary to 83 affected children in Napawela, in Kegalle district.

The Treasurer Miss Buddhini Liyanage presented the Annual Statement of Accounts for the year 2016-2017, which was adopted as correct.

The election of the new executive committee for the year 2017-2018 followed next, and Dr Andrew Nayagam presided as the returning officer.

In the absence of any other nominations, the proposed list of nominees notified to the members the following, were elected unanimously to the executive committee 2017-2018.

President Mr. Suraj Wijendra
Vice Presidents Mr. Thushara Madurasinghe & Dr. Mahesh de Silva
General Secretary Dr. Mohan Siriwardena
Membership Secretary Mrs. Gayani Senaratne
Treasurer Miss. Buddhini Liyanage
Executive Committee Members Mr. Leslie Dep (Immediate Past President)

Ms. Paola Bethmage

Ms. Gowri Dep

Dr. Dilrini de Silva

Prof. Terrance Fernando

Dr. Dulini Fernando

Mr. Gihantha Jayasinghe

Mr. Tariq Salih

Dr. Leshan Uggalla

APSL Representatives in Sri Lanka Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy

Dr. Roger Srivasan

Co-opted Senior Members Prof. Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran

Mr. Rohan de Alwis

Prof. I. M. Dharmadasa

Dr. Marc Dissanayake

Dr. Andrew Nayagam

Mr. Mervyn Silva

 

Mr Suraj Wijedra who was elected as the president of the Association, addressed the gathering and he thanked Her Excellency the Sri Lankan High Commissioner and the office of the Sri Lanka High Commission, all the members and well-wishers, for the support given to the Association from the inception of the Association. He also thanked the members for placing the confidence in him. He outlined his draft programme for APSL and requested everyone to continue to support APSL.

Before ending the second session, an opportunity was given to the members to express their views and suggestions on matters related to APSL activiities. It was a very fruitful discussion with many members coming up with very useful suggestions for the betterment of the Association in future.

The third and the final session of the day was the keynote address delivered by Dr Saman Perera, Consultant Radiologist at Southend University Hospital on the title “A window into the Brain”. He dedicated his address to late Dr Chesmal Siriwardhana.

He provided an excellent overview of the techniques used for brain imaging, and presented the advancements made in detection of brain related diseases. Following this highly informative presentation, a Q & A session was held, where several in the audience participated in a highly fruitful discussion.

The AGM concluded with the Vote of Thanks given by the General Secretary Dr. Mohan Siriwardena. He thanked Her Excellency Ms Amari Wijewardena for gracing the occasion.

He also thanked Dr. Saman Perera, APSL executive committee for helping to organise the event, APSL members and all those who attended the AGM to make it a success.

The dedication and hard work by the respective project and event leaders, and the support given by the executive committee and members, was vital for the success of all the above projects and events during the past year.

Our thanks are also extended to Newslanka and Sesatha media organisations for providing wide publicity for our activities. APSL is also grateful to the various organisations who provided sponsorships for its events throughout the year.

It was a very successful 13th Annual General Meeting and we look forward to your support and participation in the coming year at all our events and projects.

 

Please click here to view the 13th AGM Photo Album 

 

Dr Mohan Siriwardena

General Secretary

Association of Professional Sri Lankans in the UK (APSL UK)

UK Registered Charity No: 1145786

www.apsl.org.uk

 

 

 

APSL Young Professionals Event

The Association of Professional Sri Lankans in the UK (APSL) held its fifth Young Professionals Event (an initiative to promote knowledge transfer), at the Sri Lanka High Commission, London, on Friday 17 February 2017, with the participation of Her Excellency Ms Amari Wijewardene the High Commissioner.

Four dynamic and talented speakers held the audience captive with their personal and professional experiences ranging from Law, Business, Population Health and Leadership.

Mr. Suranga Jayalath, currently reading for a PhD in Law at Middlesex University, took the stage first to enlighten us on the fast-changing landscape of the broadcast industry in the age of the internet and how existing laws, established in the post-internet era, are ill-suited to reflect these changes.

Dr. Dulini Fernando, an Associate Professor at the Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, discussed some key challenges encountered by migrant professionals in the British workplace. In her brilliant presentation she compared and contrasted seemingly trivial yet important behaviours and attitudes such as critical thinking, the art of conversation in socialising and succinctness in professional interactions, that could determine remaining an outsider vs becoming an insider progressing to the top.

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Dr. Duleeka Knipe, an epidemiologist at the University of Bristol spoke about her work on analysing trends in suicide and self-harm in Sri Lanka and differences in socio-cultural contexts pertaining to such behaviour in the West and low and middle income countries. Her preliminary findings suggest that Sri Lanka has done well to reduce the rates of mortality due to ingesting pesticides (a common mode of self-harm) relative to other countries in the region and that policies restricting the availability of pesticides might have had a role to play.

 

Rakhitha Dias, the Founder, Lead Consultant and Senior Developer at Terias IT & Business Consultancy, shared his step-by-step approach to developing a leadership mindset both in professional and personal life. He emphasised the importance of doing one’s ‘homework’ to acquire skills to stay relevant by anticipating change in the current dynamic market. He sees the rigid hierarchical structure (reflecting socio-economic status) in the Sri Lankan workplace as a challenge to having a more engaged workforce in Sri Lanka relative to his interactions with his employees in London.

The event was attended by a large number of young professionals, APSL members, their friends and family and their questions gave rise to stimulating conversation during the panel discussion that followed the talks. The party then moved on to The Victoria pub nearby where an informal networking session was carried out over dinner and drinks.

Dr Chesmal Siriwardhana, Project Leader, APSL Professional Events and Editorial Team, facilitated the proceedings and he was ably supported by Dr Dilrini De Silva and Ms Paola Bethmage (the other members of the team) in organising this event.

We wish to thank the four speakers and all those who attended the event to make it a big success. We also wish to thank Her Excellency Ms Amari Wijewardene the High Commissioner and the staff for making the necessary arrangements at the venue.

Report prepared by  Dr. Dilrini De Silva, Executive Committee Member – APSL

Click here to view the event photos

APSL Scholarship Scheme – Second Anniversary Celebrations in Manchester

The Association of Professional Sri Lankans in the UK (APSL) celebrated the 2nd Anniversary of their Scholarship Scheme with a dinner dance at the Persian Suite, Royal Nawaab, Manchester, on Saturday 26 November 2016.

The event was well attended by the sponsors of the children, many members of the APSL and their friends and well-wishers.

The main purpose of the event was to thank the sponsors and express APSL’s gratitude for their support given to academically gifted children from poor families in Sri Lanka to continue their studies.

The APSL Scholarship Scheme was launched in November 2014 based on a proposal made by Professor Terrance Fernando, Director of THINKLAB, University of Salford, UK (an executive committee member of APSL) to support the education of a group of children in the Moratuwa area of Sri Lanka.

The scheme now provides scholarships to Thirty (30) children in several districts in Sri Lanka. Under the APSL Scholarship Scheme, the recipient children receive an initial bursary of Rs 5000 and thereafter Rs 3000 per month until they complete their G.C.E. (Advanced Level) examination. APSL regularly monitor the academic performance of the children.

Mr Leslie Dep, President of APSL welcomed the sponsors and the other attendees and provided a brief overview of APSL and its projects. He commended Professor Terrance Fernando, Mr Mervyn Silva and the APSL education committee for the progress the Scholarship Scheme has made during the past two years.

Professor Terrance Fernando in his speech, explained in detail the background and the reasons for initiating the APSL Scholarship Scheme. He said he felt the need to support the bright children from poor families in his hometown of Moratuwa by giving them a reasonable sum of money as a monthly grant, and with the support of the APSL as the facilitator he is very happy with the progress of the scheme.

Mr Mervyn Silva, Immediate Past President of APSL and the Project Leader of the APSL Scholarship Scheme, presented a detailed account of the progress made so far and the way forward for this project. During his presentation, several video clips of the recipient children were shown   highlighting the positive effect that the scholarship scheme is having on the lives of these children. Mr Silva thanked all the sponsors and donors, and the APSL executive committee for supporting the scholarship scheme.

During the Q & A session, the audience had the opportunity to raise questions and clarify any matters related to the scheme.

Mr Ranjan Perera, a former General Secretary of APSL, conducted the Dutch Auction which raised a sizable amount of funds for the scholarship scheme. A raffle draw was also held during the event giving away several attractive prizes which, further contributed to raising much needed funds for the scholarship scheme. Also, a photo calendar of Sri Lanka was launched to raise funds for the scheme. You could find out more about the calendar and order your copies from: www.apsl.org.uk/calendar-2017

The guests were treated to a very delicious buffet style dinner and the music was provided by the Sri Lankan Music Band Rhythm Brothers who kept the audience entertained with Sri Lankan Songs and Baila for everyone to enjoy a night of celebration and fundraising for a cause well worthy of supporting.

APSL Executive Committee member Dr Dilirini De Silva did an excellent job in compeering the proceedings of the event.

Finally, Dr Mohan Siriwardena the General Secretary of APSL proposing the vote of thanks, expressed APSL’s appreciation to everyone who supported for the success of the event.

He thanked the co-sponsors of the event who were as follows;

  1. Havelock City Apartments, Colombo, Sri Lanka
  2. Property Tectonics, Manchester
  3. Mirrorworld Technologies Limited, UK.

He extended his sincere appreciation to everyone who attended the event including sponsors of the scholarship scheme, the donors of the Raffle Prizes, Mr Ranjan Perera for conducting the Dutch Auction, Rhythm Brothers for providing the music, and Royal Nawaab, Manchester for the venue.

He also thanked Newslanka and Sesatha Web for providing publicity for this event, and to the APSL executive committee and members for their contributions to make the event a success.

Please visit www.apsl.org.uk for more details about APSL and its projects.

For further details on the APSL Scholarship Scheme, e mail scholarships@apsl.org.uk

If you wish to join APSL and support its projects, please e mail membershipsecretary@apsl.org.uk

Click here to view photos.

APSL 12th Anniversary Fundraising Dinner Dance

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The Sri Lankan professionals fundraising Dinner Dance event to celebrate the 12th anniversary of the Association of Professional Sri Lankans in the UK (APSL UK) was held on 16th July at the Hilton Hotel, Watford, with the presence of a large gathering of members, their families and well wishers of the Association.

This year the event was dedicated to raise funds for the APSL solar village projects in Sri Lanka.

The event began with the welcome address given by the President of the Association Mr Leslie Dep.

In his address, he outlined the work carried out by the Association during the last twelve years as a reputable and credible professional organisation, and also as a registered charity in the United Kingdom.

He refereed to the various “Ask the Expert Series” talks, research symposiums and other knowledge sharing events conducted by the Association for the benefit of the members and the general public.

He mentioned that since APSL became a charity several years ago, the Annual Dinner Dance Event was dedicated to raise funds for worthy humanitarian causes in Sri Lanka.

The funds raised from the event in 2014 were utilised to purchase much needed medical equipment to the renal unit at the Anuradhapura Hospital in Sri Lanka for the benefit of the patients, and from the proceedings of last year’s (2015) Dinner Dance, 10 children were enrolled into the APSL Scholarship Scheme from Chillaw and Puttalum Districts.

He appealed to the gathering to support generously towards the proposed Solar Village programme, which was the theme of the event this year.

Regarding supporting charitable causes in Sri Lanka, he mentioned that APSL has donated school packs (a school bag, a drinks bottle, exercise books, pens, pencils, pencil case and an instrument box) to 83 children affected by the devastating landslides in the Kegalle District recently.

He also mentioned that the Association now has more than 500 members, and proudly announced that Executive Committee member and APSL representative in Sri Lanka, Dr Indrajit Coomaraswamy was appointed recently as the Governor of the Central Bank, Sri Lanka. He wished him the very best and all the success in his new position to steer Sri Lanka into economic prosperity and stability.

He ended his address by inviting the many young Sri Lankan professionals in the UK to join the APSL to develop their own professionalism and also to help the needy in Sri Lanka by getting involved in our various charitable projects.

President’s welcome address was followed by a video showing the story of young Vajira Lakshan, studying at Jayapala Vidyalaya, Molagoda, one of the beneficiaries of the APSL Scholarship Scheme from Kegalle district. In this video, he explained the hardships he and his family had to undergo prior to receiving the grant from APSL each month. His teachers also praised him for his good work in his studies. The scheme now sponsors 30 children, and APSL is planning to expand it in the future with more sponsorships from donors who wish to support education of gifted and needy children. Under the APSL Scholarship Scheme every child is given Rs 5000 in the first month and thereafter Rs 3000 per month.

To raise awareness of the replication of Solar Villages, which was the theme of the event , Prof I M Dharmadasa (Past President APSL) a global expert in solar energy research studies, delivered an excellent presentation on the concept of Solar Villages by citing a pilot project completed in the Kurunegala District. He also explained in detail the benefits of such projects, where the people living in these villages are empowered to be self-sufficient   and be prosperous in the future.

He also pointed out the positive effect on the environment when using solar power by referring to the pilot project where the use of diesel pumps to pump water form a well to distribute water to the village were changed to pumps powered by solar power, Prof Dharmadasa also highlighted that in addition to the environmental benefits, the villagers are now saving a large sum of money spent on diesel, which they now use for their other requirements of the village.

It was a highly informative and thought provoking presentation, and was appreciated by everyone in the audience.

A Dutch auction conducted by Dr Andrew Nayagam (Past President APSL) raised much needed funds for the solar village projects in addition to the money raised by the raffle organised by Mrs Gayani Senaratne, APSL Membership Secretary.

We wish to thank the following organisations/members for providing the raffle prizes.

Air Travel voucher-Duke Court Travel

One night stay at Hilton Watford for 2- Hilton Watford

Cargo Voucher- from Trico

Designer Duvet Cover set-Gayani Senaratne

Moulton Brown Gift set-Thilak Abeyawardana

University  Of South Wales gift pack – Leshan Uggalla

John Lewis Voucher-Thushara Madurasinghe

Amazon Voucher- Paola Bethmage

John Lewis Voucher- Paola Bethmage

Music was provided by Exceed who were able to make everyone enjoy and dance until well past midnight.

The event was compered by Mr Thushara Madurasunghe (one of the Vice Presidents of APSL) and Miss Paula Bethmage an executive committee member of APSL. They did an excellent job on the night with the support from Dr Leshan Uggala (Ex Co member) in choreography.

The APSL bi-annual Newsletter “Professional” edited and published by Dr Chesmal Siriwardhana (the other Vice President of APSL) was distributed to the gathering. It provides a brief account of the work APSL is engaged in the United Kingdom and in Sri Lanka.

Mrs Gayani Senaratne delivered the vote of thanks. She thanked Newslanka, Sesatha, Serendib News and Ceylon UK, who always support our events by publishing the APSL event notices in their respective media. Finally she thanked all those who attended the event to support our work and to raise funds for the APSL Solar Village projects in Sri Lanka.

It was another very successful APSL event – thanks to all in the APSL Executive committee who worked so hard during the last three months to make this a very enjoyable and memorable event.

Click here to view the complete 12th AGM Dinner Dance Photo

Annual Report 2014-15

The Annual Report of the Association of Professional Sri Lankans in the UK (APSL)for the year 2014-15, presented by Dr. Mahesh de Silva, General Secretary, during its11th Annual General Meeting, held on Saturday 23rd May 2015,  at the Thistle Hotel, Bath Road, Longford, London, UB7 0EQ.

The Executive Committee 2015-16

Click here to view more AGM Photos

1. 10th Anniversary Celebrations
APSL celebrated its 10th Anniversary in grand style with a Symposium and Dinner Dance held at the Grange City Hotel, London on 21st June 2014. The proceeds from this event was allocated to supply medical equipment to Anuradhapura Hospital which is at the forefront in providing relief and treatment for those suffering from Chronic Kidney Disease in Sri Lanka. The event was well attended by the members, their families and well-wishers.

Symposium – Achievements – Sky is the Limit
The Symposium was addressed by the three eminent Sri Lankan professionals who have reached extraordinary heights in their careers. They were:
Prof. Terence Fernando, Prof. Shervanthi Hormer Vanniasinkam and Prof Chandra Wickramasinghe. In line with the theme of the Symposium the speakers gave highly inspirational accounts of how they were able to achieve such heights in their respective disciplines and the work they are currently engaged in their respective fields.

Dinner Dance
The Symposium was followed by a grand Dinner Dance to the music of the Sri Lankan band “Sky High”. The evening event began with the welcome address by APSL President Mr Mervyn Silva, keynote address by the then Foreign Secretary of Sri Lanka, Mrs Kshenuka Senewiratne and speech by the then High Commissioner Dr. Chris Nonis. Mr Leslie Dep (Immediate Past General Secretary) gave a presentation on the current status of this Chronic Kidney Disease,

A “Dutch Auction” conducted by Mr Ranjan Perera (a Vice President of APSL) and a raffle draw organised by Mrs Gayani Senaratne (Membership Secretary) helped raising significant amount of funds for the above cause. The members and their guests were treated to a sumptuous authentic Sri Lankan dinner followed by the dance to the music by ‘Sky High’.

2. APSL Scholarship Scheme
The APSL Scholarship Scheme was launched on Saturday the 25th October, at the Grange City Hotel, London attended by APSL members, their families and well-wishers. Professor Terrence Fernando, Director, ThinkLab, Salford University initiated the scholarship scheme through the Joseph Alfred Fund which provided financial support to 5 needy children from Moratuwa area at the launch. Prof. Fernando hopes the scholarship scheme will offer others like him in the UK and elsewhere the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged children to reach their full potential through education. Ten children currently receive monthly grants through the APSL Scholarship Scheme. The proceeds from this year’s Dinner dance is earmarked for the Scholarship Scheme.

3. Donation of Medical Equipment to Anuradhapura Hospital
During his last visit to Sri Lanka, APSL President, Mr. Mervyn Silva and Membership Secretary Mrs. Gayani Senaratne visited Anuradhapura Hospital on 25th August and 28th October 2014 respectively and met with Dr. Rajeewa Dassanayake, his medical colleagues and nursing staff. The purpose of these visits were to hand over essential medical equipment worth over Rs. 400,000 bought with the funds raised during the 10th Anniversary Celebrations event. The visits also provided an opportunity to learn more about the scale of the problem as well as action being taken to treat those affected, as well as prevent the spread of CKD and explore how APSL may be of help in the future. Thanks to the donations from the APSL and other charities the vital medical equipment needed is now in place. APSL would like to thank all the members and friends who attended the 10th anniversary dinner dance and supported this very worthy cause.

4. Tsunami Remembrance Event
APSL was a member of the organising team of the Tsunami Remembrance Event organised by the Sri Lanka High Commission on 26th January 2015 and took part in the photographic exhibition displaying the Tsunami re-building work carried out by APSL in Sri Lanka. APSL was also given the opportunity to deliver a speech on behalf the charities involved in the organisation of the event.
5. Young Professionals Event
As part of the APSL initiative for promoting knowledge transfer, the Young Professionals event was held at the Sri Lankan High Commission in London on 20th March 2015. This event was well attended by a mix of professional Sri Lankans, representing a range of expertise and experience. Three successful young Sri Lankan professionals based in the UK, Dr. Rajika Perera, Ms. Kanchana Ambagahawita, Dr. Dilrini De Silva , delivered speeches, on interesting and diverse topics, discussing their journey to success and aspects of their current work. A lively panel discussion and a Q&A session followed the three talks where the audience and speakers engaged in a dialogue about various emerging issues around developing professional careers, improving education in Sri Lanka and addressing social issues linked to education in Sri Lanka. The event concluded with an informal networking session over refreshments.

6. Eastern Values
Latest ‘Living in the UK’ series event was held on 17th May 2015 at Thames Buddhist Vihara, London. APSL Members Mr. Rohan De Alwis, Ms. Shiranee Joseph De Saram and Mr. Thushara Madurasinghe led an insightful discussion and talk to children and parents about preserving Sri Lankan values whilst living and integrating in the UK.

7. Pensions Seminar
A Pensions seminar organised by APSL was held on Saturday the 25th October 2014 at the Grange City Hotel, London. It was conducted by representatives from Holborn Assets and The Sovereign Group. The seminar covered the changes to UK pension regulations and the opportunities this offered. The event was well attended by APSL members and many non-members.

8. FOC
Continuing its tradition for many years, APSL had a stall at the “Festival of Cricket” event held on 20th July 2014 in London. The stall was visited by a significant number of potential members and many of them joined the association. APSL will continue to take part in this event which is a great platform for the APSL to showcase its activities to the general public and to sign up new members to the association.

Other Activities

1. Newsletter
Two Newsletters were published to coincide with 10th Anniversary celebrations event on June 2014 and 11th AGM and Dinner Dance on May 2015.

2. Website
New look APSL website was launched to coincide with the 10th Anniversary Celebrations event. The new web site is designed to be responsive, i.e. smartphone and tablet friendly and has many new features such as online membership application, PayPal payments and member only area.

APSL would like to thank all the project leaders, their teams and all those who made presentations at above mentioned events for the tremendous work they have done to make the above events a very big success and also for maintaining the high standards created by the Association all these years.

Dr. Mahesh de Silva

General Secretary, APSL

Click here to view AGM Photo Album

Dinner Dance 2015

AGM

The Association of Professional Sri Lankans in the UK (APSL) held its 11th Annual General Meeting on Saturday 23rdMay 2015 at the Thistle Hotel, Bath Road, Longford, London, UB7 0EQ. It was a well attended meeting by the members of the Association.

Click here to view the complete 11th AGM Dinner Dance Photo Album

Dr. Mahesh de Silva, the General Secretary, presented his annual report giving in detail the projects and activities carried out by the Association during the year 2014 to 2015.

The Treasurer Mr Thushara Madurasinghe presented the annual statement of Accounts for year 2014/2015emphasizingthe strong financial position of the association with a significant increase in donations to external charities and APSL charitable activities.

At the election of office bearers, the following members were elected for the year 2015/2016. After two years as President, Mr. Mervyn Silva stepped down in keeping with APSL tradition of rotating its office bearers to give new members the opportunity to play an active part within the Association. Mr. Leslie Dep was elected as the new President for the coming year.


Dinner Dance

President: Mr.Leslie Dep
Vice Presidents:Mr. Suraj Wijendra, Dr. Chesmal Siriwardhana
General Secretary:Dr. Mahesh de Silva
Membership Secretary:Mrs. Gayani Senaratne
Treasurer: Mr. Thushara Madurasinghe
Executive Committee Members:
Mr. Mohan Siriwardena
Dr. AthulaSumathipala
Mr. GihanthaJayasinghe
Mr. Derrick Brainerd
Mr. Leshan Uggalla
Ms. Buddhini Liyanage
Ms. Ruki Pinidiya
Dr. Asanga Fernando
Dr. Roger Srivasan
Co-opted Senior Members:
Mr. Mervyn Silva (Immediate Past President)
Mr. Rohan de Alwis
Prof. I. M. Dharmadasa
Dr. Andrew Nayagam
Dr. Marc Dissanayake
Prof. Sir SabaratnamArulkumaran
Dr. IndrajitCoomaraswamy (APSL Representative in Sri Lanka)

 

http://www.apsl.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/AGM_11_01.jpg


Dinner Dance
The AGM was followed by the grand Dinner Dance to the music of the most popular band in the UK – “Sky High”. The proceedings of the Dinner Dance are to be allocated for the APSL Scholarship Scheme.
The evening event began with the welcome address by the newly elected APSL President Mr Leslie Dep, who gave an account of the work carried out by APSL during the past year fulfilling the objectives of the association.
Maintaining the theme of the event, the master of ceremonies Mr. Thushara Madhurasinghe (Treasurer) interviewed Mr.Mervyn Silva (Immediate Past President) and Prof. Terrance Fernando (Who initiated the scholarship scheme with Joseph Alfred Fund) on the details of the APSL Scholarship Scheme.


Dinner Dance

The “Dutch Auction” conducted by Mr Ranjan Perera (a former Vice President of APSL) was highly entertaining with the participation of everyone for raising significant amount of funds for the above cause. In addition, the raffle draw organised by Mrs Gayani Senaratne (Membership Secretary) was also successful raising a record amount of funds.


Dinner Dance

The highlight of the evening event was the Bridal catwalk. Models wearing traditional Sri Lankan bridal attire and wedding cake displays entertained the guests and provided an extra dimension to the event.
The members and their guests were treated to a sumptuous authentic Sri Lankan dinner and special thanks go to “Sky High” for their beautiful lively music keeping everyone on toes until very late into the night.

APSL wishes to thank the following sponsors who supported our event by providing adverts for the souvenir or raffle draw prizes;
• Oman Air
• Pail Solicitors
• Pinidiya Solicitors
• Polpitiya Solicitors
• Mistoria Group
• Savina Leisure Ltd
• The Book People
• Mr. Patrick Ellis
• Mr. Fahmy Mohamed
• Dr. ThilakAbeywardhana
• Commercial Bank, Sri Lanka

We also wish to thank the following local media for publicising the event adverts and also for their continuous support given to APSL throughout the year 2014-2015.
• Newslanka
• Sesatha Web
• SL Events Web
• Serendib News
• Lanka Times Web
On behalf of APSL, it is with great pleasure we wish to offer our sincere thanks and gratitude to all those who attended both events
Finally many thanks to the event organising committee Ms. Ruki Pinidiya, Mr. Thushara Madhurasinghe, Mr. Rohan de Alwis, Dr. Andrew Nayagam, Dr. Mahesh de Silva and Mr. Leslie Dep for all the hard work carried out with the fullest corporation and support from all other members of the executive committee to make this event a very big success in achieving the main objective of the event.

Dr. Mahesh de Silva
General Secretary, APSL

Click here to view the complete 11th AGM Dinner Dance Photo Album

Young Professional event 2015

As part of the APSL initiative for promoting knowledge transfer, a young professional event was held at the Sri Lankan High Commission in London on Friday, 20th March 2015.

This evening event was well attended by a mix of professional Sri Lankans, representing a range of expertise and experience.

Three successful young Sri Lankan professionals based in the UK delivered key-note speeches, on interesting and diverse topics, discussing their journey to success and aspects of their current work.

Dr. Rajika Perera, a senior scientist at a fast-growing start-up company in Cambridge, UK is former student of Royal College, Sri Lanka and holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge. His talk titled ‘En route to Kilimanjaro‘ was both a personal reflection of his journey and inspiring discussion of his work in exploring cancer cure.

Kanchana Ambagahawita, a Senior Economist at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and a PhD student at the London School of Economics delivered a talk titled ‘Be the change you wish to see’. She discussed the ‘WorkInSriLanka’ initiative, a volunteer-led brain gain initiative for Sri Lanka, of which she is the founding Chairperson.

Dr. Dilrini De Silva, a Computational Bio scientist at the University of Oxford in genomic epidemiology with a PhD from Queen Mary University talked about ‘Genomic technologies in the clinical setting‘. She also discussed her ideas and involvement in promoting career prospects among Sri Lankan school children.

A lively panel discussion and a Q&A session followed the three talks where the audience and speakers engaged in a dialogue about various emerging issues around developing professional careers, improving education in Sri Lanka and addressing social issues linked to education in Sri Lanka. The event concluded with an informal networking session over refreshments.