APSL 10th Anniversary Celebrations Report

APSL celebrated its 10th Anniversary in grand style with a Symposium followed by a Dinner Dance held at the Grange City Hotel, Tower Hill, London on 21st June 2014.

Celebrating the tenth anniversary in the United Kingdom for a Sri Lankan Association is a very significant event and therefore this year the APSL executive committee decided to allocate all the proceedings from this event to a selected project for alleviating the Chronic Kidney Disease in Sri Lanka.

Both events were well attended by the members, their families and well wishers.

The occasion was graced by the presence of Her Excellency Mrs Kshenuka Senewiratne, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs in Sri Lanka (a former Sri Lanka High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom and a past Patron of APSL) and His Excellency Dr Chris Nonis, the current High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom and the current Patron of the association.

Symposium – Achievements Sky is the Limit

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Mr Mervyn Silva (President, APSL) welcomed the attendees and moderated the Symposium with Dr Mahesh de Silva (General Secretary, APSL).

The Symposium  was addressed by the following three eminent Sri Lankan professionals who have reached extraordinary heights in their careers.

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Professor Terrance Fernando – Director of THINK lab at the University of Salford
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Professor Mrs. Shervanthi Homer-Vanniasinkam – Consultant Vascular Surgeon, The General Infirmary, Leeds, Honorary Professor, Division of Surgery and International Services, University of London

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Professor Chnadra Wickramasinghe – An internationally renowned Astronomer and Honorary Professor and Director of the Buckingham centre of Astrology at the University of Buckingham.

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.

The interactive Q&A session at the end of the presentations gave the audience an opportunity to ask several questions in relation to their speeches.

During the Symposium the following APSL project Leaders also gave presentations on their respective projects outlining the work done so far and what is planned in the future.

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Mr. Rohan de Alwis (Immediate Past President) – “We Sri Lanka” . This project focuses on the reconciliation between the Sri Lankan communities living in the UK and Mr. De Alwis gave an account of the many events carried out under this project since the commencement of the project in 2010.

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Professor I M Dharmadasa (Past President) – “APSL Awards Scheme”. Professor Dharmadasa explained the two APSL Awards Scheme projects carried out in Sri Lanka by APSL to date; The essay competition on ‘How to develop Sri Lanka’ for school children and the competition for  proposals on the theme ‘converting green energy ideas into green products’.

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Mr Thushara Madurasinghe (Treasurer APSL) – “Eastern Values – Living in the UK”. Mr. Madurasinghe outlined the objectives of this project, where speeches targeted to second or third generation Sri Lankan children on how to lead a successful life in the UK while preserving the Sri Lankan culture and its values. He also gave a brief account of the events held to date mainly at the Birmingham Jethawana Buddhist Vihara.

Dinner Dance

The Symposium was followed by the highlight of the 10th Anniversary Celebrations, the grand Dinner Dance to the music of the most popular band in the UK – “Sky High”.

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The evening event began with the welcome address by APSL President Mr Mervyn Silva, who gave an account of the work carried out by APSL during the past ten years fulfilling the objectives of the association.

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Mr. Mervyn Silva’s speech was followed by the keynote address by Mrs Kshenuka Senewiratne. During her speech she thanked the APSL for inviting her for this important occasion and praised the work done by APSL over the past ten years for the benefit of the Sri Lankan community in the UK and also in Sri Lanka. She also mentioned APSL is unique in comparison to other organisations due to the diversity of the membership and the demonstration and maintenance of very high standard of professionalism in all its activities. She also gave an account of the development work undertaken by the current Sri Lankan government under the leadership of His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakse, President of Sri Lanka and requested APSL to join hands with the government’s development programmes in whatever way taking the country forward to the next decade as a developed country.

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His Excellency Dr Chris Nonis also addressed the gathering with his inimitable style and he also praised the good work done by the APSL for the benefit of the Sri Lankans here in the United Kingdom and Sri Lanka. Furthermore he expressed his continuous support to the association.

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Maintaining the theme of the event on supporting a project to alleviate the Chronic Disease in Sri Lanka, Mr Leslie Dep (Immediate Past General Secretary) gave a presentation on the current status of this disease, the projects which can help prevent this disease spreading further by providing purified water in the affected regions and how to support the people suffering from CKD and their families. CKD is a killer disease rapidly spreading among the farming communities in the districts of Anuradhapura, Medawachchiya and Vavuniya and requires immediate and effective assistance from everyone to completely eradicate this problem.

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A novel idea of a “Dutch Auction” conducted by Mr Ranjan Perera (a 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.

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 prices; Trico Freight, UK
  • Glen carriers, UK
  • Nandy and Co Solicitors, UK
  • Magna Arts, UK
  • Lewke Printers, UK
  • The Royal Calibre Group of Companies of Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom
  • John Keels Residential Projects (Private Ltd), Sri Lanka
  • Commercial Bank, Sri Lanka
  • Inforgrid Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, Sri Lanka

We also wish to thank the following local media for publicising the event adverts.

  • Newslanka
  • Sesatha Web
  • SL Events Web
  • Serendib News
  • Lanka Times Web

With great pleasure we wish to offer our sincere thanks and gratitude to all those who attended both events and especially to Her Excellency Mrs Kshenuka Senewiratne who came all the way from Sri Lanka accepting our invitation to attend this event showing her admiration and  appreciation to APSL.  We also wish to offer our thanks to His Excellency Dr Chris Nonis for attending both events and for supporting APSL events over the years.

Finally many thanks to the 10th Anniversary organising committee lead by Dr Andrew Nayagam (Past President) ,Dr Mahesh de Silva (General Secretary) and Mr. Thushara Madurasinghe (Treasurer) for all the hard work carried out with the fullest corporation and support form all other members of the executive committee to make this event a very big success in achieving the main objective of the event.

Article prepared by Leslie Dep (Immediate Past General Secretary)

View Sysposium photos

View Dinner Dance photos