Archives

On the urgent request of the University Teaching Hospital Peradeniya Shanthi & Nandi Jasentuliytana Raised Funds at their 40th Wedding Anniversary

On the urgent request of the University Teaching Hospital Peradeniya (UTH), medical supplies were dispatched by Meditech Data International CEO Mr. Dilip Niranjan Jayasekara with the assistance of Dr. Deepthi Jayasekara to UTH from the funds raised at Shanthi & Nandi Jasentuliytana’s 40th anniversary gathering. UTH took delivery of 860 PENCAN SPINAL NEEDLES from B Braun Inc (Germany). In the picture (from L to R), Dr. Saman Nanayakkara, MD (Consultant Anaesthesiologist/Head of Department), Ms Geethani RN (Nurse-in-Charge OR) and Voluntary Consultant Anthologist Prof. Nanda Lal De Silve who coordinated the project.

EXTRACT FROM THE APPEAL OF THE HEAD OF DEPARTMENT UTH:

The University Teaching Hospital (UTH) Peradeniya, National Hospital Kandy is the second largest healthcare system complex in the country. This is true for patient care and postgraduate medical training. Urgent Need-Our biggest challenge is to sustain the Obstetric Anaesthesia Service. We have approximately 6000 deliveries at UTH @ year. Of this number, approximately 3000 are by Caesarean Section (C/Section). This amounts to about 250 operative deliveries @ month, of which 40-50% are high-risk mothers. Spinal Anaesthesia is the standard of care globally for this operation. Hence, Spinal Anaesthesia needles and Local Aesthetic Drugs are a prerequisite for the provision of safe obstetric anaesthesia. Our URGENT NEED is to establish a buffer stock of Spinal Needles, as we are duty bound to provide safe and seamless care, no matter what the macro-economic situation in the country is.

Dr. Saman Nanayakkara, MBBS, MD.
Senior Lecturer, Department of Anaesthesia & Critical Care,
University of Peradeniya.
Consultant Anaesthetist and Intensivist, UTH Peradeniya.
DEPARTMENT OF ANAESTHESIOLOGY AND CRITICAL CARE

1st Ceylon International Film Festival 2022 in Santa Barbara!!!

The Ceylon International Film Festival (CEYIFF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and educational organization formed by Aruni Boteju, headquartered in Santa Barbara, California. The focus of Ceylon International Film Festival is to promote Sri Lankan Cinema while opening up opportunities for Sri Lankan filmmakers to enter into the global standards of filmmaking by having an exposure to Hollywood. This also provides them with ample opportunities to exchange the global culture and immerse themselves in the creative landscape of filmmaking.

Ceylon International Film Festival (CEYIFF) is the first-ever Sri Lankan Film Festival Organized outside of Sri Lanka. CEYIFF is dedicated to presenting International and Sri Lankan Cinema to film lovers.

We are committed to promoting new filmmakers’ projects and showcasing their films to international audiences. Our mission is to screen independent films of all genres from all around the world.

The educational arm of the organization focuses on providing scholarships and other benefits to the filmmakers with the objective of encouraging them to strive in the filmmaking industry. Further, the educational arm also offers courses and training programs to help them sharpen the saw, using modern tools and innovations.

Master Class program for young filmmakers can be identified as another milestone of the organization where the two cents of experts are being given to the new bees, using virtual workshops and in-person workshops. This takes place in both countries, ensuring the exchange of customs and cultural knowledge that are indigenous.

The story of the International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival established by a single individual, Igor Blazevic, just over a decade ago, is a classic case study on how one can transform to reality and run a film festival even in a place with no facilities and infrastructure, but only an idea. First supported by a small NGO, People in Need, The One World Festival, presents over 100 documentary films during nine days in Spring from around the world. It was the catalyst for the Human Rights Film Network, which brings together 33 festivals from around the world. That example boards well for Aruni’s planned Ceylon International Film Festival, which has a head start with the support of the Santa Barbara Institutions and leading personalities, including the mayor, a big supporter of the effort.

𝐁𝐮𝐲 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐤𝐞𝐭𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐰! Come experience these incredible stories! Click on the link to book your tickets!

https://www.lobero.org/events/ceylon-international-film-festival-2022/

Lobero Theatre Visit Santa Barbara KCSB-FM 91.9 in Santa Barbara #srilanka #srilankancinema #movie #dailynews #international #internationalmovie #filmfestival2022 #ceyiff #ceyloninternationalfilmfestival #travelsantabarbara #communitywestbank Sent from my iPhone

For more information go to:
http://www.ceyiff.com

Contact:
info@ceyiff.com
ruwani@ceyiff.com
aruni@ceyloninternationalfilmfestival.com

Call:(805)350-3848

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration organized by the Sri Lanka America Association of Las Vegas:

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration organized by the Sri Lanka America Association of Las Vegas:

Sri Lanka America Association proudly presents the multi nation cultural presentation to celebrate the AAPI heritage month on May 29th @ 12 PM at Las Vegas DownTown Container Park. Free admission and gift packs for the first 200 attendees.

See Details on the flyer

Dedication of the Los Angeles Buddhist Vihara and inauguration of the Mindful Meditation Center in Covina and 50th Golden Wedding Anniversary of Dr. Walter and Mrs. Aeshea Jayasinghe

In the afternoon of Saturday, May 14th, a day before the sacred Buddhist Day of Vesak, a large gathering of several hundred persons of Sri Lankan origin, as well as American and other nationals, convened at the Mindfulness Meditation Center of the Los Angeles Buddhist Vihara in Covina to witness a solemn event of historical significance. In preparing the venue for the momentous occasion, dozens of Buddhist Monks, temple devotees, and volunteers worked long hours to decorate the building and the entire premises with Buddhist Flags, custom-made sculptures, and colorful floral arrangements.

The two-part event of the day commenced with the customary Perahera (Pageant) from the outskirts of the temple premises with the attendance of many Venerable Buddhist Monks from the numerous Sri Lankan and other Asian Buddhist Temples situated in the greater Los Angeles area. The Venerable Buddhist Monks were accompanied by a troupe of traditional Sri Lankan drummers, consisting of students from the Academy of Performing Arts of the Sri Lanka Foundation. Next, the devotees of the Mindfulness Meditation Center and other guests joined the procession carrying the casket of sacred relics to the inner chamber of the Budu Medura on the temple premises.

The President of the Board of Trustees and the chief benefactor of the project, Dr. Walter Jayasinghe and Mrs. Aeshea Jayasinghe entered the Mindfulness Meditation Center with the Perahera and, amidst the chanting of the Venerable Buddhist Monks, led the ribbon-cutting and unveiling the memorial plaques to formally open the venue to the public, after engaging in the ceremony to hoist Sri Lankan, American and Buddhist Flags, 

In the program that ensued, blessings were invoked on the large gathering by more than 30 Buddhist Monks from temples in the greater Los Angeles area as well as from other parts of the US and other countries including the Most Venerable Thirikunamale Ananda Mahanayaka Thero from Sri Lanka, the Most Venerable Digamadulle Vimalananda Nayaka Thero from Melbourne, Australia, the Most Venerable Sitinamaluwe Sugathasara Nayaka Thero from Brisbane, Australia, the Venerable Kapugama Seelawansa Maha Thero from Sri Lanka and the Most Venerable Maharagama Dhammasiri Nayaka Thero from Washington DC. After several messages of the Dhamma followed by traditional drumming, the stage was set for the important handing over of the premises to the Maha Sanga (Venerable Monks). Dr. Walter Jayasinghe proceeded to dedicate the Mindfulness Meditation Center to the Chief Prelate of the center, Venerable Makandure Dhammapeetihi Thero, by way of handing over the Sannasa or the Scroll of Memorandum in keeping with the time-honored Sri Lankan Buddhist tradition. 

Addressing the distinguished gathering, Venerable Dhammapeethi Thero traced the history of the landmark project, which was initiated by a small group of Sri Lankans more than five decades earlier. They were committed to continuing their traditional religious practices and providing their children with an environment close to their religious and cultural heritage. The establishment thus fulfilled this needDhamma Society. Later, the property for the first temple, popularly known as the “Beachwood or Hollywood temple,” was acquired, and the temple was formally established. This was due to much hard work by several residents of Sri Lankan origin in the Los Angeles area. These original trustees, some of whom are still highly active, were instrumental in setting up the temple with resident monks. However, in their infancy, they had to go through many growing pains. As a result, there was a transition period when few determined and dedicated committee members met almost weekly for a whole year to keep the temple open even when there was no priest in the temple. At that point, the committee decided to seek advice from one of the most prominent monks in Sri Lanka, the late Most Venerable Madihe Pannaseeha Mahanayaka Thera. With the late Most Venerable guidance, the Los Angeles Buddhist Vihara became an affiliated Centre to Siri Vajiranana Bhikku Training Centre in Maharagama, Sri Lanka. Later in 1978, at their invitation, Most Venerable Ahangama Dhammarama Nayaka Thera arrived from Sri Lanka and became the Viharadhipathi of the temple. The Sri Lankan community welcomed the opportunity as the temple provided them to engage in traditional religious activities.

Over the years, the temple has grown significantly in the number of devotees served. Therefore, the resident monks, trustees, and the temple development committee decided to move the temple premises to a more suitable location with appropriate zoning to function as a religious institution. As a result, after much dedication, hard work, and philanthropy, the current location in Covina was realized in 2020 to serve the community. Since then, the Los Angeles Buddhist Vihara has extended its service as Mindfulness Meditation Center – Covina to benefit many people from different faiths. 

  Since its inception, the success of this endeavor has been shared among all the Buddhist monks at the temple, the Board of Trustees, Office-Bearers of the Los Angeles Buddhist Vihara, and devotees. All of them dedicated their valuable time, energy, and material and spiritual resources to the progress of the temple’s religious and social activities. for the Sri Lankan community in the Los Angeles Area in 1973 of, the Sri Lanka-America Buddha Dhamma Society. Later, the property for the first temple, popularly known as the “Beachwood or Hollywood temple,” was acquired, and the temple was formally established. This was due to much hard work by several residents of Sri Lankan origin in the Los Angeles area. These original trustees, some of whom are still highly active, were instrumental in setting up the temple with resident monks. However, in their infancy, they had to go through many growing pains. As a result, there was a transition period when few determined and dedicated committee members met almost weekly for a whole year to keep the temple open even when there was no priest in the temple. At that point, the committee decided to seek advice from one of the most prominent monks in Sri Lanka, the late Most Venerable Madihe Pannaseeha Mahanayaka Thera. With the late Most Venerable guidance, the Los Angeles Buddhist Vihara became an affiliated Centre to Siri Vajiranana Bhikku Training Centre in Maharagama, Sri Lanka. Later in 1978, at their invitation, Most Venerable Ahangama Dhammarama Nayaka Thera arrived from Sri Lanka and became the Viharadhipathi of the temple. The Sri Lankan community welcomed the opportunity as the temple provided them to engage in traditional religious activities.

Over the years, the temple has grown significantly in the number of devotees served. Therefore, the resident monks, trustees, and the temple development committee decided to move the temple premises to a more suitable location with appropriate zoning to function as a religious institution. As a result, after much dedication, hard work, and philanthropy, the current location in Covina was realized in 2020 to serve the community. Since then, the Los Angeles Buddhist Vihara has extended its service as Mindfulness Meditation Center – Covina to benefit many people from different faiths. 

  Since its inception, the success of this endeavor has been shared among all the Buddhist monks at the temple, the Board of Trustees, Office-Bearers of the Los Angeles Buddhist Vihara, and devotees. All of them dedicated their valuable time, energy, and material and spiritual resources to the progress of the temple’s religious and social activities.

In his brief address to the gathering, Dr. Walter Jayasinghe, while illustrating the humble beginnings of the temple, paid homage to several persons, including the pioneers of this noble project, the deceased Messrs. Harry Hatharasinghe Cyril Karunasena and Chandra Haththotuwegama. He expressed his appreciation of their colossal efforts from its inception in the 1960s to make this day a reality. Dr. Jayasinghe and his family are more than pleased to dedicate much-needed resources to enable the community to benefit from the Mindfulness Meditation Center under the proficient guidance and leadership of the Venerable Dhammapeethi Thero.

Once the program to dedicate the Mindfulness Meditation Center to the Maha Sangha was concluded, the gathering proceeded to partake of dinner by way of a traditional Sri Lankan style ‘Dansela,’ courtesy of Dr. Walter and Mrs. Aeshea Jayasinghe, honoring their 50th Golden Wedding Anniversary.

Once guests were seated in specially constructed marquees in the parking area of the premises, a short program to honor Dr. And Mrs. Jayasinghe commenced with a colorful dance performance by students of the Sri Lanka Foundation Academy of Performing Arts.

A message of felicitations was conveyed by Mr. Nandi Jasuntiliyana, formerly the Deputy Director-General of the United Nations and Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, and President Emeritus of the International Institute of Space Law & Policy. In his address, Mr. Jasentuliyana humorously elucidated how his close friend Walter met Aeshea more than 50 years ago! He gave a first-hand account of how Walter drove from the East Coast to Chicago in the midst of a winter storm upon receiving a message from Aeshea’s father. Hereafter, they, along with Aeshea’s mother, moved to California in search of warmer climes. Together with their hard work, their marital harmony resulted in fostering a great family and a steely resolve to help the community in a multitude of ways.

The day’s activities concluded with a serene Bhakti Gee recital in keeping with the traditional Sri Lankan Vesak period festivities.

Sri Lankan Poet Releases Her Full-Length Poetry Collection”

Aruni Wijesinghe is a Sri Lankan-American writer. A project manager, ESL teacher, occasional sous chef and erstwhile belly dance instructor. She holds a BA in English an AA in dance and a certification in TESOL. Aruni is a native New Yorker, born in the Bronx and raised in Rockland County, New York and Orange County, California.

Her work has been published in journals and anthologies both nationally and internationally. She has a solo poetry collection forthcoming with Moon Tide Press and (2022) and a duet collection with Picture Show Press (2022). Most notably, her first full-length poetry collection is due for release in April of 2022. Titled 2 Revere Place, this collection of memoir in verse is a love song to her family; the subject matter is the first ten years of her family’s life in the U.S. and tackles subjects ranging from cultural identity to assimilation to the challenges of being an immigrant family in the United States during the 1970s. Though these poems are not her first publication, this volume is her first solo collection.

Aruni is the daughter of Drs. Nandi and Neelakshi Wijesinghe, and sister to Ashini Wijesinghe Harris and Dr. Manik Wijesinghe. Her parents were both raised in Galle, attended medical school in Sri Lanka, and immigrated to the United States in 1969. They made their first home in New York state, where their three children were born, then made the move across country to Southern California in 1979. Dr. Nandi Wijesinghe established his private practice in Obstetrics and Gynecology with specialty in Perinatology in Orange County while Dr. Neelakshi Wijesinghe worked as a Pediatrician and top administrator for the Orange County Health Department. Dr. Nandi Wijesinghe is the recipient of the Sri Lanka Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award for 2012.

She lives and writes in Orange County, California with her husband Jeff and their cats Jack and Josie.

Book description for Moon Tide website:
Books

In 2 Revere Place, Aruni Wijesinghe unfolds her family’s first ten years in the United States through a gently curated collection of poems. The lush narrative moves from Sri Lankan beaches through apartment living in the Bronx to a quiet Rockland County suburb, leaving a trail of exquisite details charting the journey. Ms. Wijesinghe chronicles her family’s evolution into Americans through the eyes of a child learning what it means to hold two countries inside herself. Her reflections on the past glimmer with firefly light while calling the immigrant experience of 1970’s America into laser focus. Part memoir and part coming-of-age story, 2 Revere Place invites readers to live inside tender skin that tiptoes the line between cultures.

Copies of the book can be ordered directly from the publisher, Moon Tide Press, via this link:
https://www.moontidepress.com/books

SLAASC in Southern California Celebrates Sinhala & Tamil New Year

Sri Lanka America Association of Southern California celebrated Sinhala and Tamil New Year at Woodley Park on April 23rd, 2022. 

The festival started with electing officers for the 49-year-old association. A tray with kiribath, banana, betel leaves and other sweets were served after the lighting of the oil lamp. The tents offered many traditional sweet and food items. Among the games ‘pillow fight’ attracted many different age groups while coconut scraping game aroused more enthusiasm. The event had subdued music due to the prevailing situation in Sri Lanka. The following were unanimously elected to serve the year 2022.

Michael Samantha Kurera was elected to serve as the President for the second term due to his dedication and commitment to the Sri Lankan community in Southern California.

The following Office Bearers were unanimously elected to serve the year 2022.
Vice President: Trevine Berty Fernando 
      Secretary: Ishan Hettiarchchi
Asst Secretary: Vidushi Madawala
Treasure: Lorna Goonetilleke
Committee Members: Jude Abeygunerathne, Nedra Abeygunerathne, Faisal Buhari, Mano Cabral, Nadhini Silva, Syilvia De Silva, Jagath Perera, Jude Fernando, R Gobishankar, Mangala Jayakody, Aruna Krishntha, Kaushika Geethani, Ardie Palpola, Nelupa Perera, Shamuganathan Vaithillingam,

Radisson deepens footprint in Sri Lanka

By TTG Asia – Radisson Hotel Group has signed a landmark agreement for three hotels and resorts in Sri Lanka with La Vie Hotels & Resorts, which will result in the launch of an upper-upscale Radisson Blu resort near Galle, and two upscale Radisson hotels in Colombo and Kandy.

The three new properties will start to welcome guests in 2Q2022.

Radisson Blu Resort, Galle is nestled on a long stretch of sand, offering 172 rooms and suites, a large lagoon pool, kids’ club, fitness centre, spa and a collection of dining options. There are also three meeting rooms, a grand ballroom and elegant alfresco spaces.

Radisson Hotel Colombo is a stylish city hotel just steps from the sea near Marine Drive, Colombo’s main coastal road. With 158 upscale rooms and suites, many of which overlook the ocean, guests can enjoy facilities like the rooftop infinity pool and bar, and gym. Wellawatte Beach is only 700m away, while Bandaranaike International Airport is a 50-minute drive away.

The 122-key Radisson Hotel Kandy puts guests close to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Sri Dalada Maligawa, which is just a 30 minutes’ drive away. Facilities include a gym, rooftop pool, restaurant and bar.

Katerina Giannouka, president, Asia Pacific, Radisson Hotel Group, commented: “We are delighted to sign these landmark agreements with La Vie Hotels & Resorts and owner, Sino Lanka Group, as we continue to increase our footprint in Sri Lanka, one of Asia’s most desirable destinations. With a trio of world-class hotels…Radisson Hotel Group will be established at the forefront of Sri Lanka’s tourism and hospitality industries.”

These three new hotels will be joined by Park Inn by Radisson in Colombo and a Radisson Collection resort in Galle, both of which are scheduled to open soon.

Speech & Video Attached of the Keynote Speaker, Nandi Jasentuliyana at the INTERNATIONAL DAY OF HAPPINESS HOSTED BY CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY, PASADENA WAS A GREAT SUCCESS!!

On Saturday, April 2nd, 2022 many gathered to celebrate Way to Happiness International Day at the Church of Scientology in Pasadena.

The Way to Happiness is helping to reverse this decline and restore integrity and trust to mankind.L. Ron Hubbard authored the 21 precepts of the Way to Happiness to provide a road map for any individual to follow in making choices toward a happier, more decent and fulfilling life.

They addressed the issue of a deepening moral crisis in the world and right here in Pasadena. But we don’t just focus on the issue. We also address “What can be done about it? At the root of this crisis is a lack of basic morals and values.

The keynote speaker was Mr Nanadi Jasuntiliyana, he was formerly the Deputy Director-General of the United Nations and Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. He is President Emeritus of the International Institute of Space Law & Policy.

He received the NASA Award for Service to the International Community. He was selected by the United States National Space Society to its unique world-wide list of “100 space people who have had the greatest impact on our lives”. He was the Recipient of the 1982 Testimonial Award of International Astronautical Federation (IAF) awarded annually in the recognition of important contributions to space law and policy and the 1989 Leadership Award of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). He is also the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Sri Lanka Foundation International, awarded at the Foundation’s inaugural awards ceremony.

He is the author or editor of six space related books including the four volume Manual on Space Law and several other non-academic books listed on Amazon. He has been a visiting lecturer at Princeton, Stanford, Columbia, and McGill Universities and had been a guest lecturer at several universities in Europe and Asia. He is a member of the Board of Directors of International Space University (ISU).

He is an old boy of Richmond College, Galle where he captained the cricket, soccer and athletic teams and won the All-Round Student of the Year Award in 1958.

HIS SPEECH:

Good Afternoon everyone,
I wish to thank The Way to Happiness Foundation and Karla for inviting me to speak today at this commemoration of the International Day of Happiness.

When I was asked to deliver this lecture, the prompt I was given was to address the issue of safeguarding our environment. At first, with missiles flying across the China Sea and the Baltic Sea even as we meet here today, I thought the topic assigned to me was about the fate of our Earth, and I should be focussing on the threat of nuclear annihilation. Then I realized my task is more vital than what is happening in Ukraine. Instead of looking at the fate of Earth from our anxious human perspective, I’d like to try to look at it from the viewpoint of the millions and millions of non-human species, with which we share the planet. This represents a different kind of imaginative exercise.

It requires us not to imagine events that might happen, but to look at events that have happened, through different eyes—or even without eyes, since so many of our fellow creatures lack them. We will always fall short in these exercises, but I think it’s important to try, so I hope I will have your indulgence.

The Way to Happiness Foundation aims to promote a way towards a much safer and happier life for you and others. Among its doctrine is the belief that “If others do not help safeguard and improve the environment, the way to happiness could have no roadbed to travel on at all.” That being the case, I believe I have been asked to address precept number 12 of the 21 precepts enunciated in the Way to Happiness Foundation booklet, which says, “safeguard and improve your environment.”

It is a fitting topic considering that World Earth Day, established by United Nations General Assembly in 1972, is being celebrated next week to further its mission to educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide.

Whether it is hurricanes or droughts or flooding or wildfires, like the sort raging often throughout California now, we’re already seeing the destabilizing effects of global warming that many consider is “The End of Nature.” Yet, this planet is our only home, and Humanity must safeguard its finite resources. And that calls for transformative changes to policies, as well as, our own choices and individual behaviors to enable cleaner, greener, and sustainable living in harmony with nature.

The environment is the basis of our survival and the Earth’s existence. It sustains life on the planet and provides an abundance of resources. And therefore, It is essential for our environment to stay clean and life-sustaining as we as individuals have to be, as pointed out in the Way to Happiness Guide for better Living. Unfortunately, this is not the case the way we treat our environment.

In simple words, the environment refers to everything that surrounds us – air, soil, water, forests, plants, hills, oceans, rivers. They collectively are the natural environment. Unfortunately, this natural environment is under threat due to human activities. Damaged daily by our own deeds, it is crying out to be protected and saved from the dire impact of human and human-made activities. Humanity’s responsibility is on a collision course with reality, and that is a global challenge. We have less time than we imagine to make real change, so we need to scale up our actions for the planet.

Biodiversity may be disappearing at a rate that we may see something akin to a biological meltdown. In the name of development, we have consumed our natural resources ruthlessly and polluted our atmosphere posing a significant threat to the environment. The demand for natural resources is increasing day by day as the population increases, putting pressure on our natural resources. The Ice Ages mercifully spared the tropical forests, but humanity’s chain saws do not. Inverting a famous Churchill dictum, the falling of a tree may be a statistic but the falling of a forest is a tragedy.

Oceans cover approximately seventy-five percent of Earth’s surface and are vital to this planet and all forms of life that inhabit it. Oceans have been receiving a mass of pollutants, including oil spills, toxic waste dumping, and industrial dumping. These pollutants will have negative impacts on the wildlife in the ocean. Soon enough, it will begin to affect our lives as well. We must explore the considerable challenges we face in maintaining their capacity to regulate the global climate.

Two examples of events within the last week are suffice to illustrate the gravity of the situation. I refer to the news this week of the danger of the bleaching of the corals due to rising ocean temperatures in the Great Barrier Reef, considered one of the world’s seven wonders,. And the second, is the dismay over the World’s largest iceberg break off the Greenland’s ice cap. A huge chunk, an area of 160 sq. miles, twice the size of Los Angeles, with a melt massive enough to cover entire California in more than 4 feet of water. What is thought-provoking as scientists have noted is that “if we had seen such events 30 years ago, we would have called it extreme and sprung to action but in recent years, we have become accustomed to such disasters.”

Climate change is the big environmental problem humanity will face over the next decade, but it isn’t the only one. World hunger, global warming, increasing natural disasters, polluted air, water, and soil, pesticide use in the fields, species extinction, crop failures, loss of biodiversity, the list goes on.

At this time of tragedy with a raging war that threatens to be the harbinger of a global war, we must recognize that the environmental damage caused by war amplifies the human toll. Conflicts with a strong resource and environmental dimension tend to affect a broader population. For instance, the damage caused by wiping out the wheat harvest in Ukraine, considered the breadbasket of Europe affects several countries in the region indicating how climate change, and natural resource management in violent conflict impacts all countries. As the only living beings on a sick planet, we must not believe that we remain healthy. In nature, everything is finite. Indiscriminate exploitation of the environment causes an enormous problem for generations to come.

There are, of course, reasons for optimism, reasons to believe that we can reverse this disastrous situation. That is because, we have the solutions, knowledge, and, more importantly, the technology to limit the adverse effects of our misuse and avoid ecological collapse.

Spectacular developments in space technology applications, such as, remote sensing from space has made a difference. That is because of its unique capability in providing timely, repatative, and synoptic coverage over large areas across various spatial scales, making it a very powerful tool for continuous monitoring of the environment, both in space and on Earth. Space technology inputs have already become vital for tackling urgent environmental problems related to deforestation, desertification, land degradation, coastal erosion, floods, drought, and manmade pollution at local, regional, and global scales. Spaceborne observations combined with theoretical modeling efforts provide a clear understanding of the variability in climatic and weather parameters due to both natural and manmade activities. These technological advances need to be adopted for sustainable strategies that promote developmental activities consistent with preserving the natural environment.

Since the launching of Sputnik in 1957, space science and technology have developed exceedingly rapidly. Equally true, however, is the fact that the number of launchings increased, and man had begun to pollute his last frontier. There are 5,500 operational satellites functioning in space and over 130 million pieces of debris smaller than 1 cm, which are harmless. And about 34.000 larger pieces of debris big enough to be potentially troublesome and possibly have caused the malfunction of satellites.

There are several legal provisions in international treaties that I had the honor of lending a hand in drafting, which relate to the environmental impact of space activities. The first category of such legal norms are meant to prevent adverse ecological impact from space activities, while the second category covers any damage caused from space activities to the environment. The body of international space law also includes both national and international rules and regulations similar to those governing motor traffic, shipping, and aviation. Our interaction with the environment is shifting with the improvement of technology such as space technology. Therefore, the ability of Humanity to stop the problem is in its power. First of all, a change in our attitudes will be required, with a better awareness that implies not only having knowledge about the environment, but also, our moral values and necessary education to solve environment-related problems. Having Environmental awareness is the responsibility of every citizen.

I firmly believe that individual citizens cannot sit back and say it is someone else’s responsibility to protect the environment. We must all play our part– governments, big businesses, and above all, we as individual citizens. We can save our environment from the small steps taken by every person on Earth to reduce the amount of garbage, to stop the use of poly bags, recycling of old items in a new way, reduce waste of water, save energy, and reduce electricity usage.

I would like to urge all of us present here today to consider contributing in some small measure to the protection of the environment. And also make other people aware of this as well. If we do so, “the way to happiness could indeed have a roadbed to travel on.”

Thank you, and I would like to conclude with a brief video message I received from an astronaut friend who I had the privilege of lecturing to many years back when he joined the astronaut training program in Germany. This message is especially recorded and sent to be screened at this meeting by some of my colleagues who learnt that I was going to speak to you on the environment. The message is from Astronaut Mahtias Maurer, a member of the space law Institute that I headed. I He is sending it from space from the International Space Station, where he has been orbiting during the last six months and due to return to Earth later this month.

Thank you, and I would like to conclude with a brief video message I received from an astronaut friend who I had the privilege of lecturing to many years back when he joined the astronaut training program in Germany. This message is especially recorded and sent to be screened at this meeting by some of my colleagues who learnt that I was going to speak to you on the environment. The message is from Astronaut Mahtias Maurer, a member of the space law Institute that I headed. I He is sending it from space from the International Space Station, where he has been orbiting during the last six months and due to return to Earth later this month.

Click on the link to watch the video:

https://nam12.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dropbox.com%2Fs%2F2qg9lxam3u1uytm%2FIISL%2520%252B%2520ECSL.mp4%3Fdl%3D0&data=04%7C01%7C%7Cf3f4f998cd6841508d3208da0b0d9f34%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637834450397784880%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000&sdata=Ew1zAFHB3Yy4vRREgSxyM3LoRxdtMjAdyZzYBkYS5ms%3D&reserved=0

Sri Lankan actor Hiran Abeysekera has won the award for Best Actor at the Olivier Awards

The Laurence Olivier Awards, or simply the Olivier Awards, are presented annually by the Society of London Theatre to recognise excellence in professional theatre in London.

Abeysekera picked up the award for his performances as the leading man on the Wes-End play ‘Life of Pi’, which also scooped a host of top prizes.

The production, based on Yann Martel’s Booker Prize-winning novel of the same name, scooped the best play prize as part of its haul.

The story follows a teenager stranded on a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean with a tiger on board.

In a touching speech, the show’s star Abeysekera said he was “overwhelmed” to win best actor.

He paid tribute to his home country of Sri Lanka, which he said was going through a “tough time now… I think of you and wish I was there with you”.

Sri Lanka is facing a serious financial crisis and there have been protests in recent days calling for the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his government.

Life of Pi, a philosophical novel by Yann Martel, was also adapted into an film in 2012 which starred Suraj Sharma and won four Oscars.

Click on the link below to watch the speech:
https://www.facebook.com/137008316321028/posts/5217693291585813/?d=n