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Ceylon Coffee- Will the New Hype Usurp the Good Old Ceylon Tea?

Sri Lankan plantations are planning to brand Ceylon coffee as a globally sought-after brand of coffee. The growing preference for coffee over tea renders an excellent opportunity for this venture. In the last decade, Sri Lankan coffee has shown remarkable growth in production volumes. Due to the industry’s expansion, exports of coffee brought in USD 0.32 million in 2019.

According to the Lanka Coffee Association (LCA), the Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) entering this market segment are using this opportunity to be the key movers in this sector. The already established brand value of Ceylon Tea and the excellent terrain in Sri Lanka will surely benefit this endeavor.

More smallholder farmers are now progressing into coffee farming. In areas like Nuwara Eliya and Welimada, smallholders commonly cultivate coffee as a secondary tea crop. Plantation firms are highly considering growing coffee as an alternate crop as the output of tea declines. After being harvested, the coffee berries are transported to the factories for processing. However, this network also has certain drawbacks because the farmers care less about the quality and would pick the berry before the proper harvesting stage. However, RPCs can set stringent standards to mitigate this issue.

Currently, the two processing factories at Kotmale and Welimada are supported by the Market Development Facility (MDF), funded by the Australian Government. In favor of this venture, MDF recently pitched at an international coffee event in Australia and held the inaugural Sri Lankan coffee festival this year. They are now focusing on specialty coffee for export because of its growing popularity.

Several businesses are now growing coffee on at least 25 to 30 hectares. Growing coffee is an excellent option for using marginal lands unsuitable for tea. It is also less labor intensive than tea; coffee only requires less than 50 labor days, with picking carried out twice annually.

Ceylon Coffee will initially be launched on a smaller scale to test the waters. Ten companies have already diversified into coffee, dedicating about five percent (5%) of their total land cultivation. However, according to LCA, it is less likely that the popularity of Sri Lankan Tea will be replaced by Ceylon coffee.

SLF Int, USA Outstanding Performance By a Young Professional Award Winner Rukshan Henry De Silva for his excellence as a Principal Planner, Building Communities and the Environment.

Rukshan De Silva, The Waterloo alumnus, was named Australian Young Planner of the Year, recognising emerging leaders for outstanding contributions to their field. Among Rukshan’s many achievements, Planning Institute Australia lauded his commitment to innovation in the workplace, his collaboration with communities and government planners, and his volunteer contributions, including strategic land use planning in Peru and involvement with PIA’s National Settlement Strategy Team. 

Rukshan currently works as a principal planner at the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment, where he’s leading the design of Australia’s most extensive ski town.

Rukshan has always been a community man — volunteering his time to give back to his community in any way he can — something that’s continued since his elementary school days. Growing up, he was also very creative and interested in design. Put design and community together, and that’s the sweet spot, so designing communities for a living was the perfect fit for him.

The University of Waterloo’s co-op program was a standout and a strong influencer on his decision to choose Waterloo. Of course, it helped that his elder brother was also studying at Waterloo at the time, but co-op was why he decided on Waterloo too.

He had four co-op terms and cherished each of them very much – a mix of public sector and private sector, and one that he went on to work at full-time as soon as he finished his degree at Waterloo. That said, my first co-op was particularly special – he interned at a design firm called Hassell in Sydney, Australia, which was an exciting overseas experience for a second-year planning student. He wrote all my final exams early, allowing him to spend a month travelling across the country and four months of exciting urban design work. He loved Sydney so much that I decided to move back in 2017. It’s been two years (and counting…), and he loves each day even more than the last.

Rukshan was fortunate to have had the exciting opportunity of volunteering as an urban planner in rural Peru on two missions over the past two years with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities through their Sustainable and Inclusive Communities in Latin America program. The program aimed to empower and strengthen the capacity of four rural regions of Peru and Colombia that were influenced by mining activity. While mining had resulted in much foreign investment in these areas over time, economic benefits were unevenly distributed, and communities near the mines experienced a range of social, environmental and political consequences. His role was to provide peer-to-peer technical assistance to municipal politicians and planners in these communities to assist with capacity building, knowledge sharing and experiential learning. The experience was nothing short of rewarding for him and something he will always cherish. 

He doesn’t think there’s a single answer to this question, and that’s because every community is different — they have different values, needs, and aspirations for how they want to grow in the future. So, as planners, we need to understand what makes each community unique instead of applying a cookie-cutter approach — the local character of a community and the story of its past are absolutely part of its future.

That said, planning provides people with choices — choices for where they live, work, play and shop; options for what types of homes they live in; choices for how they move. And by providing these choices as urban planners, we’re really in a position to impact people’s lives positively. We want the communities we plan to be livable, accessible and socially inclusive places for everyone, regardless of age or ability. We also want our communities to be healthy, environmentally sustainable and resilient to climate change and economic downturns. And we want our communities to be adaptable to a future that we’re not always able to predict. 

But with that growth comes a demand for planners. It’s our job to manage that growth — not only how much we grow, but how we grow. We must consider how growth is sustainably distributed across our communities and how that growth is supported by investment in infrastructure, public transport, affordable housing, parklands, social infrastructure, and the like. We must ensure that our communities remain livable as they grow. I know I’m biased, but it’s an exciting future ahead of us, and planners are leading the way into a new frontier.

SLF Int, USA Exceptional Achievement Award Winner Prof. Sharika Thiranagama For her Excellence in Anthropology

Prof. Sharika Thiranagama is the Assistant Professor of anthropology at the New School for Social Research and Visiting Assistant Professor of anthropology at Stanford University. Her research has focused on various aspects of the Sri Lankan civil war. Primarily, she has researched two ethnic groups: Sri Lankan Tamils and Sri Lankan Muslims. Her research explores changing forms of ethnicization, the effects of protracted civil war on ideas of home amid profound displacement and the transformations in and relationships between the political and the familial amid political repression and militarization.

Since 2014, Sharika Thiranagama has also carried out new work in Kerala, South India centering on Dalit agricultural communities in Kerala, South India. She examines how communist-led political mobilization transformed everyday and political mobilization and reconfigured older caste identities, re-entrenching caste inequities into new kinds of private neighborhood life.

Prof. Sharika Thiranagama, In My Mother’s House: Civil War in Sri Lanka, deals, in detail, with the contrasting meanings of ‘home’ among the Northern Sri Lankan Tamils and Muslims. Thiranagama portrays the images of the Northern Tamils, who determine a person’s character by learning about their home.

They consider their relationship with the soil the most important of all. This aspect is well researched in the book, which contributes significantly to political anthropology and the ethnography of violence, particularly concerning the concepts of home and displacement. The author investigates a number of issues, prominently the effects of the protracted war on the meanings amidst profound displacement, transformations of familial and generational experiences and the impact of the political violence on civilians executed by both the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan state.

In a wider context, the book focuses on the controversial and dramatic ending of the long civil war fought since 1983 between the Sri Lankan state and the LTTE and concluded in 2009 with the military defeat of the LTE. This conflict produced massive internal and external displacement of Tamils and Muslims from the north and the east. It also led to a significant number of academic studies on political violence, conflict, forced relocation, trauma, nationalism and ethnoreligious identity formation.

Prof. Thiranagamas book is a significant complement to these works as she deals with a completely new approach to the concept of home in Sri Lanka. Her main aim is to examine the position of the victims of the war and their historical and political trajectories’, which shape their ideas of home. She studies home as an everyday language of love, affection, sentiment and memory. To this reviewer, the most significant contribution of this book lies in elucidating the various ways in which the numerous internally displaced persons (IDPs) explore the meanings of home in times of crisis.

Prof.Thiranagama applies an innovative perspective on generations and generational divergences, focusing on the difference between young and old generations on experiences of war. The focus of this review is mainly on the two issues mentioned above.

Prof.Thiranagama also co-edited with Tobias Kelly the book, Traitors: Suspicion, Intimacy, and the Ethics of State-Building, first published on January 1st, 2009, by the University of Pennsylvania Press. The figure of the traitor plays an intriguing role in modern politics. Traitors are a source of transgression from within, creating their own kinds of aversion and suspicion. They destabilize the rigid moral binaries of victim and persecutor, friend and enemy. Recent history is stained by collaborators, informers, traitors, bloody purges and other acts of retribution against them. In the emergent nation-state of Bhutan, the spectre of the “antinational” traitor helped to transform the traditional view of loyalty based on social relations. In Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tigers’ fear of traitors is tangled with the Tamil civilians’ fear of being betrayed by the Tigers as traitors.

Here are some of her recent publications.
*In 2019, “Rural Civilities: Caste, Gender and Public Life in Kerala. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies and “Respect Your Neighbor as Yourself: Neighborliness, Caste, and Community in South India” Comparative Studies for Society and History.

*In 2018, “Introduction: Whose Civility?” in Special Issue Civility: Global Perspectives, Anthropological Theory and “The Civility of Strangers? Caste, Ethnicity and Living Together in Postwar Jaffna, Sri Lanka” in Special Issue Civility: Global Perspectives, Anthropological Theory Volume.

*In 2014 “Making Tigers from Tamils: Sri Lankan Tamils and Long Distance Nationalism in Toronto, Canada” American Anthropologist and “Female Militancy: Reflections from Sri Lanka” in Routledge Handbook of Gender in South Asia, Leela Fernandes, London: Routledge.

Prof. Thiranagama received the following Honors & Awards:

*Grant for the project, The Local Level Social Life of Global Ideologies (Kerala), The National Science Foundation. Cultural Anthropology Program (2015-2017).

*Post PhD Research Grant, Wenner Gren Foundation (2015-2016). Received President American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies (2017 – Present).

*Elected Director, Board of Directors, American Institute of Sri Lankan Studies (2013 – Present). Elected Director, Board of Directors, American Institute of Sri Lankan Studies (2010 – 2013). https://youtu.be/az5Q6BDmeoI

US Ambassador to UN Food & agriculture agencies in Rome to visit SL

United States Permanent Representative to the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome Ambassador Cindy McCain will visit Sri Lanka from September 25-28 to highlight U.S. food assistance programs in Sri Lanka and reinforce the U.S. commitment and lasting partnership with the island nation.

The US embassy in Colombo said that in addition to meeting with senior government officials and aid organizations in Colombo, Ambassador McCain will join U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung to travel to Central Province to visit schools, agricultural research facilities, and community organizations and meet with recipients and implementers of relief provided through U.S. government-funded humanitarian assistance programs.

The United States is the single largest country donor to the three United Nations food and agriculture agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Food Program (WFP).

U.S.-funded UN projects showcase how the U.S. government, the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies, and the government of Sri Lanka collaborate to reduce food insecurity and advance humanitarian relief, livelihood protection, and agriculture-led economic growth, especially at this critical time of increased global hunger.

The United States has provided partnership and assistance to the people and government of Sri Lanka for more than 70 years.

Since June, Ambassador Chung has overseen the announcement of nearly $240 million in new U.S. government assistance to Sri Lanka, including U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power’s September 2022 announcements of an additional $40 million to provide Sri Lankan farmers with fertilizer and $20 million to meet immediate humanitarian needs in the country.

SLF INT, USA DONATED TO V2U COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION FOR A PROJECT IN MORAWAKA, MATARA TO EMPOWER SELF EMPLOYMENT AND FIGHT AGAINST HUNGER!!

The V2U Community nonprofit organization was established in November 2021 in Toronto, Canada, by Thiwi Gama and Sanjeewa Pushpa Kumara in the USA. The organization’s vision is to rebuild Sri Lanka with “no boundaries or bias” while empowering Sri Lankans in the fight against hunger by promoting the cultivation of privately owned land for food production. The main objective of the V2U Community Organization is to educate Sri Lankans on food cultivation to create self-generating employment opportunities in agriculture and other related fields. 

Sri Lanka Foundation International, USA, donated to the V2U Organization to support a project in Morawaka, Matara district, to prepare land for raising crops to cultivate a field which Puwakbadaowita Saranda Thero spearheaded. 

The Chairman of the Sri Lanka Foundation International, USA, Dr Walter Jayasinghe’s vision for this Project is a multi-faceted initiative to rebuild villages struggling educationally and economically. The ambition is a replicable model to create sustainable and holistic transformation through land cultivation. He believes a thriving economy is a system of production, distribution and consumption that efficiently uses all available resources to benefit all stakeholders of that economy. 

The V2U Community Organization has put in place monitoring efforts to ensure progress in a few months and better understand the occurrence, distribution and status of plant populations and there growth. Also, providing education to motivate farmers to become active players in agricultural production, processing and marketing will lead them to adopt environment-friendly farming practices. 

SLF has partnered with the V2U Community Organization to identify other locations to promote similar projects throughout Sri Lanka. 

This initiative is unique as, in addition to helping the farmers obtain a fair price for their products and creating employment for youth in the village (through processed food product manufacture and sales), we focus on: Helping the farmers improve through crop diversification through the introduction of better agricultural practices as well as,
*educating the children and youth, 
*mobilizing the community results in community development,
*creating a holistic transformation model. 

Click on the link below to know more details about the project:

https://youtu.be/Oq3mX6-gcXk

SLF Int USA, WE ARE EXCITED TO SHARE THIS INVITATION FOR A VIRTUAL TOWN HALL WITH AMBASSADOR JULIE CHUNG AND ANJALI KAUR, DEPUTY ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR, USAID

Please join United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung in her second town hall with the Sri Lankan-American Community. Ambassador Chung will provide updates on the status of U.S.-Sri Lankan relations, U.S.-led relief efforts, and her perspectives on the ongoing crisis and ways forward. Ambassador Chung will be joined by Deputy Assistant Administrator for the USAID Asia Bureau Anjali Kaur, who will share USAID’s humanitarian assistance plans with the community. The town hall will also feature a question and answer session; participants are encouraged to submit questions and areas of concern they would like addressed in advance and during the event via chat.



Date: Thursday, September 22, 2022
Time: 7.30am PST, 10.30am EST


Pre-Register, Submit Questions, and View the Virtual Event
Here:https://interactive.state.gov/sri-lanka/



Ambassador Julie Chung arrived in Colombo as the U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka in February 2022. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor, Ms. Chung has served in senior positions throughout the Indo-Pacific and Western Hemisphere. Ms.Chung served as the Acting Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. She also has extensive experience in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, including as the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Japan, Deputy Chief of Mission in Cambodia, and Economic Counselor in Thailand. In addition, she has served at the U.S. embassies in Iraq, Colombia, Vietnam, and Japan and the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China. She also served as an advisor on nonproliferation discussions of the Agreed Framework with North Korea while working in the Office of Korean Affairs in Washington.



Anjali Kaur is an international development professional with comprehensive experience at the field, country, and global levels with evidence-based, integrated global health programs. Before joining USAID, Ms. Kaur was the Senior Program Officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, leading the worldwide policy and advocacy strategies for the HIV and TB programs. Before that, she was the Senior Director of Asia Pacific for Malaria No More. She established the India Office and expanded the organization’s work across the region, engaging with governments, the private sector, civil society, and the media. Ms. Kaur was also with UNICEF Polio Programme, where she worked at the country and HQ levels and the World Bank and UNFPA. She is a Fulbright Scholar and received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University.

Key areas of the virtual town hall
*Status of U.S.-Sri Lankan relations
*U.S.-led relief efforts
*Perspectives on the ongoing crisis and ways forward
*USAID’s humanitarian assistance plans with the community


This event is open to the public and all are welcome. Please feel free to share the above link and the attached flyer with your networks.

For more information contact:
Keshini Wijegoonaratna- 213-400-7705 or
keshini@srilankafoundation.org

SLF Int, USA Donated Most Urgently Needed Rabies Vaccine Vials to NHSL and the Hospitals in the Kandy District


On August 23rd, 2022 Sri Lanka Foundation International, USA donated most urgently needed Purified Vero Cell Rabies Vaccine Vials that was ordered from Kerala, India to the National Health Hospital in Colombo.



Professor Ishan De Zoysa, Consultant Surgeon of NHSL accepted the Rabies Vaccine Vials with much appreciation to distribute to the surrounding hospitals in Colombo.

On August 26th, 2022 the Kandy National Health Hospital and Teaching Hospital in Peradeniya received the Rabies Vaccine Vals to be distributed to the surrounding hospitals in the Kandy District.


SLF extends a special thank you to Venerable Udawatta Wimalabudhi thero at the International Buddhist Center for handling the distribution to the different hospitals in Kandy.


SLF also would like to convey a special thank you to the ITN TV Network Creative Director, Sandaruwan Jayawickrama for his support to do a special coverage of the project that was broadcasted in the Sunday Headline News . Click the link below to watch the program.


https://youtu.be/yUM42JEj1tE


Our deepest gratitude to the ongoing loyal donors that continues to support the cause.


For more information contact:


Shirani Stanislaus:213-304-7500 or shirani@srilankafoundation.org


Keshini Wijegoonaratna: 213-400-7705 or keshini@srilankafoundation.org

SLF Int, 2005 Award Winner, TEDx Gateway: Fell in love with operatic voice at 12, reveals Lyric Soprano Tharanga Goonetilleke

There are many moments that encapsulates all that is charming about Tharanga Goonetilleke, Juilliard trained opera singer. Her performances have been praised by The Washington Times as ‘magical’ and her voice by The NewYork Times as ‘appealingly rich’. Apparently, the music that made her fall in love with opera was a New Zealander Maori soprano named Kiri Te Kanawa.

She was 13 years old and never imagined a path to stardom, let alone a career in operatic singing. Her talent was discovered by a music professor, who brought her to America. She graduated with the artist diploma for Opera Studies and is the first and only woman from Sri Lanka to have been accepted to for Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School so far.

How did a young lady from Sri Lanka decided to conquer the formidable Western art form of opera?

Being a native of Sri Lanka, I never imagined that this would be a career option for me. I was hoping to become someone in the medical field. Music and singing were just hobbies and probably what I was most passionate about. I received a scholarship to study music in the USA, which was the first time I realized that this can actually be a career option for me.

How did you get interested in music?

My mother taught me how to read music. I fell in love with the operatic voice when I first heard a casette tape of Kiri te Kanawa. I was about 12 years old. I use to pretend to sing like her. Our school choir director, Christine Perera encouraged me to train my voice. I have sung leading roles in Opera under the baton of famous conductors such as Lorin Maazel, George Manahan, Anne Manson and Gary Wedow, to name a few. She has worked with renowned directors Stephen Wadsworth, Robin Guarino, Fabrizio Melano and Jay Lesenger.

What are the challenges faced by you?

Being ‘different’ in a field that is mostly made up of those from the West. Having to learn to sing in at least four to five languages that is not my first language.

What are the learning outcomes in the whole process?

Nothing good comes easy. Also, I get to teach other like myself no matter which part of the world they are from. It has been a rewarding journey of performing and teaching.

What are your plans for the future?
Be the best performer, teacher and mother I can possibly be.

What message do you want to give the audience?
How to follow your own unique path no matter what the challenges are.

Achievements
President’s scholarship of Sri Lanka.
Associate of the Trinity College of Music, London.
Full scholarship to Converse College, Spartanburg, SC, USA.
Full Scholarship to The Juilliard School, New York, USA.
Makiko Narumi Prize at The Juilliard School.
Singing at New York City Opera.

Click on the link below to watch her performance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNhHT7rZpHc

First converted electric Trishaw launched

The launching event of the electric three-wheelers converted by David Peris Motor Company was held this morning, and the MoU was signed with USAID in the presence of the US Envoy to Sri Lanka. Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera was present at the event and said, it was great to see much needed energy sector transformations taking place and hold the key for the future.

Two Sri Lankan origin Canadians among Top 25 Canadian Immigrants of 2022

Two Sri Lankan origin Canadians, Professor Janaka Ruwanpura, 2016 SLF Award Winner and Dr. Sivakumar Gulasingam were among the Top 25 Canadian Immigrants of 2022, the High Commission of Sri Lanka to Canada said.

Professor Ruwanpura is a scholar in construction engineering and an award-winning academic.

He is the Vice-provost and Associate Vice-President (Research/international) and Professor of Engineering at the University of Calgary.

Professor Ruwanpura has won international, national, provincial, and municipal awards for his academic accomplishments, research and innovation.

A few recent awards received by him include the Distinguished Alumni Award (Arizona State University), Life Time Achievement Award from Sri Lanka Foundation (Los Angeles) and City of Calgary’s International Achievement.

Dr. Sivakumar Gulasingam is an award-winning physical medicine and rehabilitation physician attached to University Health Network’s Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and an Assistant Professor of the University of Toronto.

He is a medical graduate from the University of Colombo.

Before migrating to Canada, Dr. Gulasingam had worked as the lead physician at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Sri Lanka.

He is a national trainer and para-athletics classifier with Athletics Canada, International Paralympic Committee classifier, international trainer for World Para-Athletics and World Para-Dance Sports.

Dr. Gulasingam is a recipient of many prestigious awards including Michael Gordon Award for Humanism in Medicine from University of Toronto and The Most Outstanding Young Persons of the Year – Humanitarian and Voluntary Services, Junior Chambers International (JCI), Sri Lanka (2004).

The High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Canada Harsha Kumara Navaratne graced the Annual Award Ceremony of the Canadian Immigrant Magazine in Toronto where the two Sri Lankans were rewarded.

The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada, Sean Fraser, High Commissioner Navaratne and a cross section of academics, professionals and members of the business community in Canada, attended the event.

For more information go to:
http://www.dailymirror.lk