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SLF Int, Bringing Outstanding Medical Professionals Around the Globe to Present, “Scientific Session on COVID-19, What We Know Now! Webinar Coming UP

STAY TUNED!! Webinar Coming Up Hosted By Sri Lanka Foundation International in Collaboration with Highly Qualified Medical Professionals Across the Globe!

“Scientific Session on COVID-19, What We Know Now”

Date and Time

April 24th: 7.00pm US (PST)
April 25th: 7.30am Sri Lanka
April 25th: 1.00pm Australia
April 25th: 10.00am Hong Kong
April 25th: 3.00am UK


Speakers and Moderator



Dr Paul Holtom, MD from US
Professor of Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine, USC
USC Keck School of Medicine

Moderator:

Dr Deepthi Jayasekara, MD, FACP, M-IDSA, 
Infectious Disease Specialist from US
Clinical Professor, Western University, 
Chief of Infectious Disease, Emanate Health & San Dimas Hospital


Dr Malik Sriyal Joseph Peiris from Hong Kong
Professor, in Medical Science
Professor: Chair of Virology
Division of Public Health Laboratory Sciences
MBBS, FRCPath, D Phil (Oxon), FHKAM (Path), FRCP, FRS

Dr. Ananda Wijewickrama, M.B.B.S, MD, MRCP (UK), FCCP
Consultant Physician of National Institute of Infectious Disease ( IDH), Sri Lanka
External lecture/examiner in faculties of Medicines and a member of the National Medicines, Regulatory Authority of Sri Lanka.
President of the Ceylon College of Physicians for the year 2020. 


Professor Suranjith Seneviratne from UK
DPhil(Oxon), MBBS, MD, DPath, MRCPath, MRCP, FRCP, FRCPath, FCCP
Professor and Consultant in Clinical Immunology and Allergy
Institute of Immunity and Transplantation and Health Services Laboratories, London, UK
Nawaloka Hospital Research and Education Foundation, Sri Lanka


Dr. Dushyantha Jayaweera, M.D, FACP, MRCOG from US
Professor Infectious Disease Specialist, University of Miami School of Medicine and University of Miami Hospital.

Please click in the link below to register:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_adMdaF55QQ-wB7zqD4GZOg

For more information contact:
Keshini Wijegoonaratna, Director of Project Management & Public Relations
213-400-7705 or keshini@srilankafoundation.org

Video Attached! Sri Lanka Foundation Academy of Performing Arts reaches the uttermost success in the celebration of the virtual ‘Avurudu’ event…

With the dawn of April month, we all are in the festive mood to celebrate one of the significant festivals in Sri Lanka; the Sinhala and Tamil New year. Annually, at SLF Academy of Performing Arts we; educate our students with rich traditions, customs, and rituals intertwined with our Sri Lankan culture and thereby promote togetherness. However, students of our academy, could not take part in the ‘Avurudu’ program and celebration in their usual countenance due to the prevailing pandemic situation.

  Yet, we premiered our virtual ‘Avurudu’ event on 14th April fabulously. This even bridged the Sri Lankan community in LA as well as the Sri Lankans in our home country miles away. The event reached its uttermost success due to the great efforts taken by the instructors and the brilliant participation of the students, and the enthusiasm grown in the hearts of the students of our academy for the celebration of the new year.

  We initiated our program with the new year greetings from the founder of the Sri Lanka Foundation, Dr. Walter Jayasinha, the ambassador of SL for the USA,H.E Ravinatha Ariyasinha, the Consul General for LA Dr. Lalith Chandrasa and the president of SLF; Dr. Dishan Jayasinha, the Director of Operations of the academy: Achala Weerasinghe. The program was ended with a thank you note from the Vice President of the SLF; Aeshea Jayasinghe.

The program epitomized the beauty of the new year under different items showcased by the students as well as the instructors, Nirosha Wijegunasekare, Akila Palipana, Nalinda Dilupama, Lal Thilakarathna, Umendra Kahandawaarachchi and Kanishka Gomas.  

Students of PreK dance class – SLF Academy of performing Arts brilliantly performed for the song ‘Erabadu Mal pipila’ to show how nature beautifully gets dressed to celebrate the new year, the cry of the cuckoos and the ‘Erabadu’ trees draped in the crimson flowers. 

  Another vibrant item was showcased by our students mingling the sounds we hear during the ‘Avurudu’ season by compiling the folk singing and playing ‘Raban padha’. The items such as ‘Eluwan kaama’ and the dances showcased with the collaboration of the students of our academy from, the child, and intermediate classes, beginner and senior class, and the senior classes interpret the unity, togetherness and the strong bond shared between the students of our academy as much as the talent resided in them. The playing of the ‘Getabera’ and ‘Daula’ and the ‘Avurudu’ dance showcased by the instructors was heart-throbbing. 

The program was organized amidst so many difficulties such as in the preparation of the costumes, rehearsals conducted virtually, and many more. Thus, special gratitude should be paid to all our students who took part in the items, the instructors who guided them, and to all others who played different roles in making the event successful. 

Please click on the link below to watch the video:

https://youtu.be/w3jqkRfM1ys

Sinhala and Tamil New Year in Santa Barbara, California

Horanage family in Santa Barbara celebrated the Bakh Maha Sinhala and Tamil New year last week Honoring the Sri Lankan traditions that we usually carry out back home.

Aruni Boteju oldest of the Horanage family hosted and prepared the beautiful Avurudhu table with a variety of Sri Lankan food for the family and used all traditional Sri Lankan table decor with Go Green concept, followed by Aurudhu rituals and customs.

“We are immigrants and our children are the first generation who were born in the United States. It is our responsibility to teach and pass our culture and traditions to the next generation, so they can pass it on to theirs”. Said Aruni Boteju. She also said “we all have our preferences and the way we live our lives, but we must always remember who we are and where we came from”.

When we celebrate and honor our customs with pride, others join and enjoy and learn about our culture. This is the beauty of diversity.

“We must be proud of who we are”.

Embassy of Sri Lanka celebrates Sinhala & Tamil New Year Sunday 18 April 2021 from 1100 EST onwards

The Embassy of Sri Lanka, in collaboration with its ‘Overseas Sri Lankans (OSL) Network’ in the USA, will celebrate Sinhala and Tamil New Year on Sunday, April 18, 2021, from 11.00 am onwards. Modeled on the “Ratawata Aurudu” programmes done connecting main cities in Sri Lanka during the New Year, the celebrations conducted via zoom/facebook to allow connecting small gatherings consistent with COVID guidelines, will be joined by members of the Sri Lanka community and Friends of Sri Lanka from cities across the USA.

Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic and Christian religious blessings will precede the observance of New Year customs and rituals that will re-create the sense of festivity and provide an understanding of Sri Lankan traditions and culture, especially to children who have grown up in the US, as well as to the Americans who will be joining.

The Message for the New Year from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and greetings from Ambassador to the USA Ravinatha Arysinha, Permanent Representative to the UN in New York Ambassador Dr. Mohan Peiris and Consul General in Los Angeles Dr. Lalith Chandradasa will also be featured during the webcast.

The cultural programme that will follow will showcase 25 colorful dance/musical items from children, youth groups and adults from Washington D.C and over 15 States across the US – Maryland, California, Missouri, Texas, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Illinois, South Carolina, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Washington, Florida, and Hawaii.

The Embassy invites Sri Lankans and Friends of Sri Lanka living across the US to join in these festivities organized as part of the Embassy’s outreach programme through the recently established ‘OSL Network’, which now spans all 50 States and contributes to advancing Sri Lanka’s interests through political advocacy, economic empowerment, socio-cultural engagement and several other cross cutting areas.

See Program Details:

Embassy of Sri Lanka – Washington DC
Sinhala & Tamil New Year Celebration on Sunday 18th April 2021 at 11.00 EST
onwards.

Programme:

Hoisting of the National Flag followed by the National Anthem

Lighting of the Oil Lamp

1)The most Venerable KatagasthotaUparatana NayakaThero 2)Swami Ragubathi Kurukkal 3)Mr. Seyed Rizwan Mowlana 4)Reverend Father Dilantha Arachchilage 5)H.E. the Ambassador 6)Deputy Head of Mission

Welcome Speech by H.E. the Ambassador

Religious Observances
Buddhist – by most Venerable Katagasthota Uparatana Nayaka, chief Islamic – by Seyed Rizwan Mowlana
Christian – by Rev. Father Dilantha Arachchilage
Reading the New Year Message of H.E. the President
Remarks by PRUN/ NY 

Remarks by Consul General , Los Angeles
Sinhala & Tamil New Year – Customs & Rituals
Lighting the hearth & Boiling milk
Commencement of work/ Ganu Denu
Partaking of traditional Sri Lankan sweet meats
Offering betel leaves to parents/ elders
Anointing oil

Cultural Performances

Traditional Drums performance – Maryland
Traditional Dance ‘Mangalam’ – California
Tamil Classical Dance ‘Bharathanatyam’ – Texas
Recital in English (Solo) – Maryland
New Year Celebration- Missouri
Avurudu Dance ‘Ama wilata basa’– Texas
‘Sinhala Awurudda Awilla’ – Ohio
Dancing Performance ‘Game Suwanda’ – Texas
Sri Lankan Folk Song – Georgia
Dancing Item ‘Thuranga Wannama’-Maryland
Bharatha Dance – Maryland
‘Erabadu mal pipila dakkama hari asayi’– New Jersey
Greetings – Washington DC
Dancing item ‘Sirilaka piri Awurudu Sihine’ –California
Kandyan Dance -Maryland
Sinhala Song – Massachusetts
Dancing Item ‘Sirilaka Piri Awurudu Sihine’- Illinois
Dancing item ‘Lande ukula uda’ – South Carolina
Children Item – Hawaii
Dancing Item ‘deega nogiya punchi nano’& Tamil dance – New Mexico
Avurudu Dance item – Washington
‘Kiri Ithirewa Nawa Wasare’– Maryland
Drum Performance –Maryland
Kotta Pora – Florida
Kana mutti bindeema – New York

Traditional Avurudu Games

Playing the Rabana
Pancha Keliya
Tug-of-war
Scraping Coconut
Dice Game

Conclusion.

ZOOM ID- 872 0135 2083
PASSCODE- 742949

Improving Sri Lanka’s Market Access to the US – Growing beyond the traditional products

The National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) is partnering with the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington D.C. (SLEMB/DC) to better inform Sri Lankan exporters regards the evolving trends in the US market and strategies that could help navigate challenges and overcoming bottlenecks.

At a webinar held recently, over 40 Sri Lankan registered exporters, engaged with 10 selected business entrepreneurs identified by SLEMB/DC, following its State level interactions of the recently constituted Overseas Sri Lankans (OSL) Network. The event was also live streamed through social media of the Chamber, making the discussion accessible to a broader base of those interested in exporting to the USA. Moving forward, it was agreed to conduct sector specific dialogues, where the Sri Lankan exporters will be provided with the opportunity to engage in discussion with the business community of the particular sector, in order to foster mutually beneficial trading relationships. Further a separate event is proposed as a dialogue to enhancing long term trade related relationships such as partnerships, Franchise and Investment opportunities between the two countries.

Inaugurating the session, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the USA Ravinatha Aryasinha said, while increasing the value of apparel exports to the US, a concerted effort is presently being made to diversify the export product basket to US. He noted that while the USA has remained the largest single buyer of Sri Lanka’s exports since 1979 and in 2019 had a share of 26.3% of all exports, the products basket to the US had seen very little diversification. Apparel has been the dominant export item accounting for 74.5% of the total value, and did not benefit from GSP facility. The rest which enjoyed GSP, were mainly rubber based products which accounted for 7%, and the other products included tea, iron and steel articles, activated carbon, precious and semi-precious stones and sea food. The Embassy was reaching out to the OSL community in the US and to Americans who are interested in doing business with Sri Lanka and helping them in identifying the products which they could import from Sri Lanka to the US. The increased production of some of these products, could also encourage greater US investment in to Sri Lanka.

In the discussion that followed led by Chairman of the NEC Shiham Marikkar, focused on obstacles faced by importers when importing from Sri Lanka including quality assurance, pricing, promotion and communication and shipping and logistics. The need for adaptation to the largely e-commerce marketing strategies to increase exports. SLEMB/DC Minister (Commercial) Sumedha Ponnamperuma shared insights on the introduction of the US market, import system and current trends.

Management Committee:
President: Mr. Ravi Jayawardena, Vice President: Mr. Jayantha Karunaratne, Vice President: Mr. Indra Kaushal Rajapaksa, Immediate Past President: Mrs. Ramya Weerakoon, Past President: Mr. Ramal Jasinghe, Hony. Secretary: Mr. Dilshan Rajapaksa, Hony. Treasurer: Mr. Rajeev De Silva, Hony. Assistant Secretary: Mrs. Thushari Weerakoon, Hony. Assistant Treasurer: Mr. Lakshan Algama, 1 Representatives from the Council: Mrs. Nilrukshi De Silva & Mr. Farhath Amith

The participating Sri Lankan professionals residing and doing business in USA shared insights regarding the current market conditions and the opportunities available. Mr. Aruna Abeykoon from Las Vegas discussed obstacles faced by importers when importing from Sri Lanka, Mr. Jeevaka Fernando from Laos Angeles shared his experience on aspects related to Quality assurance, pricing, promotion and communication. Mr. Anjana Aluthwatte provided insights on sales and marketing strategies in the USA, Mr. Rick Miller from Virginia explained about the shipping and logistics including the including the potential to increase warehouse facilities to help mainly the SMEs exporting to the US in smaller quantities, Mrs. Udeni Abeykoon from New York focused on the selling of Apparel Products in the US market online and marketing strategies to increase exports, while Mr. Jeevaka Fernando from Los Angeles elaborated on important aspects regarding quality assurance, pricing, promotion and communication. Former Director General/Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka Nimal Karunathilake also shared his experience regarding the regulatory aspects of the USA market.

Some of the key highlights of the discussion were; • US is a highly competitive market due to the size of the market as well as the prominence in the world economy, therefore the businesses often dominate the trading terms. It is important for the exporters to understand this background when negotiating their business, as well as be well prepared to face challenges. The customs system and the import structure is unique and complex. Importers operate separately from the vendors.

• The importers face challenges when importing from Sri Lanka due to issues arising in quality, commitment and seriousness of exporters. Further lack of knowledge on the regulations in US market was also highlighted. Therefore, it is important to keep the commitment to source products as and when required, quality of the product as agreed.

• Discussing regarding GSP scheme, it was informed that the US GSP for Sri Lanka has expired on 31st December 2020 and currently the US Congress is in the process of deciding the next phase of GSP Scheme for all countries. Further discussing the beneficiary products range, it was mentioned that the Sri Lankan Exporters are requested to submit their suggestions to be included in the GSP eligible product list, when it comes for review of the scheme later in 2021.

• Another key feature that was highlighted was the quality. Quality is important, from process to storing stages, therefore the exporters need to be aware of different quality standards they have to comply with as well as the overall offering of the product.

• Pricing plays a key role and it is expected to be consistent. When exporters determine prices, it is important to analyze pricing elements in a broader perspective, including raw material, processing, transportation costs, storage costs, custom tariffs and insurance costs.

• It is important to support the SMEs and help them expand in the market as they could bring in quality products.

• US market due to its complexity and different regulations, finding partners is one of the key strategies to overcome barriers in exporting to US. The partners are often well conversant to cater to the market needs as well as assist the exporters to comply with the regulatory requirements. Further it is seen as an advantage regarding communication with multiple stakeholders given that partners are present in the US Market. Further another aspect to be mindful is the time differences between Sri Lanka and different zones.

• With the current situation there is a surge in usage of online platforms for selling and for marketing. However, it is important to focus on brand building rather than solely focusing on selling.

•Discussing regarding the apparel sector exports to USA, it was highlighted that the shopping patterns of people have drastically changed. More people prefer online shopping to physical stores and USA is a price sensitive market with high competition from competitors such as China and Bangladesh. However, the consumers are concerned regarding purchases from China, and this could be a positive opportunity for the Sri Lankan exporters in the sector. Another noteworthy change that has occurred in this sector is the reduction of stock turn-around time, as the consumers change their preference rapidly, as opposed in the past, further season specific colors and styles are preferred, and therefore the Sri Lankan Exporters should be ready to cater to the demand.

• Focusing on logistics, strategically locating businesses activities are important to ensure delivery on right time in right quantities, hence focusing on the timing and direction. East coast is one the convenient areas to reach the market, given the times and the convenience in reaching from Sri Lanka. The USA cities are connected with a rail road; therefore, it takes 3 to 10 days generally. For exporters who are hoping to expand in e-commerce, 19 to 20 days’ transit time is to be specially considered and for the exporters with smaller shipments, especially LCLs, it is important to select transit locations wisely in order to reap the best benefits of market opportunity.

The National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) is the only private sector Chamber which exclusively provides services to Sri Lankan Exporters, who make a vital contribution to the economy of Sri Lanka earning valuable foreign exchange. The Chamber has a membership of over 500 export companies, including some of the biggest Export houses in Sri Lanka, as well as a number of SME exporters. They are responsible for over half of the foreign exchange earnings of the country.

With a view to engage in successful market access promotional activities, the NCE is coordinating with all Sri Lankan Mission and their trade officers to jointly create awareness on the new market needs. Currently plans have been made to conduct a series of webinars, to provide valuable informative insights to the Exporters as well as connect them to relevant stakeholders.

The Chamber would like to invite Sri Lankan exporters to hold hands with the chamber’s initiative to enable expanded market access, whereby the destinations where proud Sri Lankan brands reach are expanded. Interested Sri Lankan exporters are encouraged to contact the chamber via nce@nce.lk to indicate your interest in participating in future event, where the Chamber will register you accordingly.


HE Ravinatha Aryasinha

NCE, SL Embassy in Washington host webinar

The National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) is partnering with the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington D.C. (SLEMB/DC) to better inform Sri Lankan exporters regards the evolving trends in the US market and strategies that could help navigate challenges and overcoming bottlenecks.

Inaugurating the session, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the USA Ravinatha Aryasinhasaid, while increasing the value of apparel exports to the US, a concerted effort is presently being made to diversify the export product basket to US. He noted that while the USA has remained the largest single buyer of Sri Lanka’s exports since 1979 and in 2019 had a share of 26.3% of all exports, the products basket to the US had seen very little diversification. Apparel has been the dominant export item accounting for 74.5% of the total value, and did not benefit from GSP facility.

The rest which enjoyed GSP, were mainly rubber based products which accounted for 7%, and the other products included tea, iron and steel articles, activated carbon, precious and semi-precious stones and sea food. The Embassy was reaching out to the OSL community in the US and to Americans who are interested in doing business with Sri Lanka and helping them in identifying the products which they could import from Sri Lanka to the US. The increased production of some of these products could also encourage greater US investment in to Sri Lanka. In the discussion that followed led by Chairman of the NEC Shiham Marikkar, focused on obstacles faced by importers when importing from Sri Lanka including quality assurance, pricing, promotion and communication and shipping and logistics. The need for adaptation to the largely e-commerce marketing strategies to increase exports.

SLEMB/DC Minister (Commercial) Sumedha Ponnamperuma shared insights on the introduction of the US market, import system and current trends.

The participating Sri Lankan professionals residing and doing business in USA shared insights regarding the current market conditions and the opportunities available.

Aruna Abeykoon from Las Vegas discussed obstacles faced by importers when importing from Sri Lanka, Jeevaka Fernando from Los Angeles shared his experience on aspects related to quality assurance, pricing, promotion and communication.

Anjana Aluthwatte provided insights on sales and marketing strategies in the USA, Rick Miller from Virginiaexplained about the shipping and logistics including the including the potential to increase warehouse facilities to help mainly the SMEs exporting to the US in smaller quantities, Udeni Abeykoon from New York focused on the selling of Apparel Products in the US market online and marketing strategies to increase exports. Former Director General/Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka Nimal Karunathilake also shared his experience regarding the regulatory aspects of the USA market. The discussion also focused on the prospects for collaboration between the NCE and the re-activated US-Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce. Dilan Ariyawansa of the US-Sri Lanka Chamber, elaborated on the role they proposed to play in the future in the furtherance of two way trade and investment between the US and Sri Lanka.

The National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) is the only private sector Chamber which exclusively provides services to Sri Lankan Exporters, who make a vital contribution to the economy of Sri Lanka earning valuable foreign exchange.

The Chamber would like to invite Sri Lankan exporters to hold hands with the chamber’s initiative to enable expanded market access, whereby the destinations where proud Sri Lankan brands reach are expanded.

Interested Sri Lankan exporters are encouraged to contact the chamber via nce@nce.lk to indicate your interest in participating in future event, where the Chamber will register you accordingly.

For more information go to:dailynewsonline@lakehouse.lk

Honoring the Contribution of Honorable Bhante Aluthnuwara Sumanatissa in Spreading Buddhism Across the Globe

Unveiling of the Sumanatissa Memorial Library

On Sunday, May 2nd, 2021 at 10.30am, PST
By
Bhante Thanlangama Devananda, Chief Abbot of Lankaramaya Temple, LA and Indiana Buddhist Vihara.

Join us Via Facebook Live:
Lankaramaya temple Facebook page
Indiana Buddhist Vihara Facebook page
Rajamaha Viharaya Kotte Facebook page


SUCCESS STORY!! Nirosh Mataraarachchi, First-Generation Sri Lankan-American, accepted to over 5 Top-Ranked U.S. Medical Schools, including full-ride Scholarships to the Nation’s Top Schools.

Nirosh Mataraarachchi was born and raised in Los Angeles, California to immigrant parents, Piyal and Janitha Mataraarachchi. Starting from his early childhood and beyond, Nirosh cultivated a passion for teaching, a desire to connect with others, and an understanding of social determinants of health.

As a future physician, Nirosh intends to connect with each patient to first understand who they are as people and what other factors in their life are contributing to their diagnoses. He hopes that by meeting the diverse needs of his patients, he can then empower them to make informed decisions.

Today, Nirosh has accomplished great feats and achievements. Nirosh graduated John Burroughs high school at the top of his class in 2016 and was granted several acceptances to universities throughout the U.S. Nirosh attended the University of California, (UC) San Diego, due to its highly ranked Biology program (#1 in Neurosciences at the time), the vast amount of research in both Basic Science and Translational work, the vast array of clinical opportunities available, a generous scholarship, and its proximity to family/home.

Nirosh was highly involved during his four years at UC San Diego. He was President of a Pre-Health organization on campus where he founded several initiatives to help educate underserved youth on health-risk behaviors as he led a committee of undergraduate students to collaborate and develop seminars. Furthermore, Nirosh was the Founding President of the inaugural Sri Lankan Students Association (SLSA) on his campus, and he helped co-found several SLSAs at sister UC campuses, in an effort to bolster community and belonging for other Sri Lankan students pursuing higher education. Following his passion for education and teaching, Nirosh was also a Teaching Assistant for three years, where he helped teach several upper-division Biology and Psychology courses at UC San Diego, like Metabolic Biochemistry, Human Physiology, Cell Biology, and Behavioral Neuroscience. Nirosh also continued playing American Football, as he did for all four years of high school, and cutting his roommates’ hair throughout college as a Barber. Outside of his extensive extracurricular involvements, Nirosh thoroughly enjoyed his time volunteering in several hospitals and working as both a Medical Scribe and Clinic Coordinator.

Remarkably, Nirosh demonstrated incredible academic excellence as he completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Physiology and Neuroscience with a Minor in Psychology within an extraordinary three years in 2019, graduating Summa Cum Laude, the highest academic distinction placing him in the top 1% of his class. Nirosh received several honors and awards during his undergraduate, including the highly competitive Gabriele Wienhausen Biological Sciences Award, entrance into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, and the Top Honor’s Research Presentation Award at the 2019 Biology Research Showcase. Within one year after graduating, Nirosh completed a Master of Science degree in Biology with emphases in Molecular and Biomedical Science at UC San Diego in 2020, where he continued his Senior Honors Thesis into his Master’s Thesis on Genetic Cardiac Disease. Upon entrance to his Master’s program, Nirosh was awarded the 2019 Diversity Fellowship due to the barriers he overcame in pursuit of his education and his efforts to improve educational access and quality of life for diverse groups at UC San Diego.

Nirosh’s most recent and commendable achievements have been his acceptances to the most prestigious and highly ranked medical schools in the US. To this date, entrance into U.S. medical schools remains the most difficult and competitive admissions process in the U.S. as many elite institutions have acceptance rates of less than 4%, accepting only the top applicants who demonstrate academic excellence, dedication to service, and a passion for medicine and other interests. Nirosh was accepted to 6 medical schools, 3 of which are of the U.S. News & World Report 2022 Top 10 Medical Schools. Within his acceptances, Nirosh was selected for the most prestigious merit-based Geffen Scholarship at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) David Geffen School of Medicine and the highest scholarship awarded at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine, both of which fully cover the cost of attendance, which includes tuition, fees, and cost of living. For reference, UCLA received 11,778 applications, 175 students were selected to matriculate, and only 25% of the incoming class were selected for the prestigious Geffen Scholarship. Both UCLA and UCSF Schools of Medicine have acceptance rates close to 2%.

Nirosh is beyond honored, grateful, and ecstatic to have the opportunity to attend medical school and to treat his future patients holistically. Despite his own apparent aptitude and extraordinary work ethic, Nirosh attributes his successes to his overwhelmingly supportive family and mentors, as he states “I am nothing without the support and love of my parents, peers, and mentors. My parents, specifically, emphasized the importance of education, what it means to work hard, and how to show compassion and care to all. Their incredible sacrifices and teachings have helped shape who I am today.”

After much thought, Nirosh will be attending the UCSF School of Medicine, one of the most, if not the most highly ranked medical school in the nation. UCSF was ranked #2 in primary care, #4 in research, and was the only medical school ranked in the top 5 of all 8 specialty areas surveyed. Nirosh plans to practice in Internal Medicine first, before possibly specializing in Cardiology, Gastroenterology, or Oncology. Of significance, UCSF was ranked #1 for its Internal Medicine residency program, in front of Harvard University. To this date, UCSF has remained the #1 public university medical school in the US for over ten consecutive years due to its excellent clinical education, extraordinary faculty, and world-renowned research.

We share this news, today, in an effort to not only showcase and congratulate our fellow Lankan, Nirosh Mataraarachchi, on his incredible achievements but to also inspire and motivate other Sri Lankan students aspiring to attend medical school and practice medicine in the U.S. Please welcome us in congratulating Nirosh!

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

SUCCESS STORY?
IF ANYONE IN OUR COMMUNITY HAS A SUCCESS STORY TO SHARE, PLEASE CONTACT US, WE WOULD LIKE TO PUBLISH.

MIDWEEK REVIEW Convincing storytelling with engaging dialogue and three-dimensional characters

Reviewed by Nandasiri (Nandi) Jasentuliyana
Former Deputy Director-General, United Nations.


10:34′ is a dramatic love story of a poetic and tender quality written with a deep respect for both the beauty and the danger to our blue planet seen from space as a vulnerable blob in the vast universe.

It is a contemporary romance that follows a woman, a committed environmentalist, as she navigates her life among men with differing feelings of the imperative of conservation stewardship.

This book is Gratiaen Award winner Aditha Dissanayake’s fourth novel, by far the best. This book is enjoyable to read due to the simplicity of the prose style and vividness of imagination. Though simple but thoughtful, the story is fun enough, and the unexpected twists and turns keep the reader engaged.

It is the story of two people finding love in unusual circumstances, albeit differently than either of them intended.

Aditha narrates a 24-year-old schoolteacher’s unexpected detour of accompanying her banker fiancé and migrating to New Zealand. The deviation begins when Kumi alights the morning Udarata Menike to visit her hometown in the fictional village of Maliyadda on the banks of the Kothmale Oya. She goes there directed by her Uncle in London to make the final arrangements to sell her grandfather’s ancestral property. Kumi finds the dilapidated property a piece of heaven on earth. Lush greenery with a creek flowing through the property has become the perfect home for all that nature creates. An ideal home for her as well she realises. She could hardly tear herself off from the allure of the place to return to Colombo, which she must, to see her fiancé off. He was going ahead to settle affairs in the new country they were moving to before Kumi arrives.

During her vacation to her ancestral village, abandoning her plans to stay at the bed and breakfast place where she had an eventful night with an unexpected visitor, she moves into the abandoned house that had once belonged to her grandparents. Kumi also struck a friendship with Vino Coomaraswamy, an editor of a publishing house in Lancaster, on holiday in Maliyadda, searching for his roots.

On return to Colombo, she finds her favourite mango tree, that shaded her room and to its rustling sounds which she fell asleep in the night, had been a victim of the insensitive confidant who failed to understand that perhaps her first love is nature. Incensed by the developments that followed and tugged by the spell cast over her by the sanctuary in Maliyadda, she makes an unintended quick return to the place she had felt at peace.



There, she finds comfort in her friends Vino and a Professor turned recluse whom she had met on her previous visit. The Professor was intruding on the property to record the often-ignored weeds and lesser-known plants in the mid-country for his next book.

Abandoning her plans to move to New Zealand with her urbanized banker boyfriend, she decides to make home the abandoned house that had once belonged to her grandparents. But in addition to preventing her Uncle from selling the land, Kumi must also prove to the Professor that she has no wish to harm the plants that he so loves.

Easily the best part of the book is how, as the story unravels, it becomes clear that Kumi and the Professor progress towards saving not only nature but themselves from their toxic relationships and past mistakes.

An essential aspect of the book is the author’s tender, discerning look at nature that is ever-present and is the thread that runs through the novel.

Aditha makes her characters very vibrant and three-dimensional and true to life. The main characters are compelling and enigmatic. Kumi is beautifully drawn – warm, bold, outspoken, intelligent, and kind to all living beings, whether human or part of nature, the type of character that carries an endearing story. Vividly portrayed, the men around her – Nadush, bright and bold as an up-and-coming banker, Kavan, intelligent and warm as a professor, and Vinoo, intelligent and outspoken as an editor would be.

The characters in this book are remarkable. The author shows a deep understanding of their roles and places them cleverly to keep the story moving. There are also secondary characters introduced for a few cameos. Even some of those who barely appear have a chance to shine, which tell us a lot about the storytelling.

The book is sprinkled with enjoyable dialogue, which is hard to write – and extremely hard to write well. Two people merely talking are not always engaging on the page, no matter how scintillating the dialogue. Novel writers are not screenwriters whose story is brought to life by an entourage of directors, actors, sound engineers, cinematographers. A novelist must describe the setting and provide all five senses for the reader. Readers will not know what things look like unless you show them.

Aditha’s text reads like a screenplay. The conversation between Kumi and the Tuk Tuk driver is such that a reader can hear it as if spoken aloud; the words do not lie inert on the page. When discourse flows, it’s easy to read and understand; it’s funny, revealing, poignant, and devastating all in one single sentence. The story is interspersed with engaging dialogue, and that’s part of what makes it effective. The dialogue is so catchy, so snappy, so utterly say-able, that the story could easily be made into a movie…

This is a wonderfully written novel with a captivating story that touches your heart, an engaging plot with so many twists, and endearing characters who were believable. The book affirms the depth of humanity’s relationship with nature and adds particular urgency to the cause of protecting the environment that nourishes all living beings. It is a delightful book.