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

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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

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