SLF Int, USA Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Professor Ajit Yoganathan for his excellence in his contributions to Cardiac Surgery and Bio Medical Engineering

Professor Ajit Prithiviraj Yoganathan was born on December 6, 1951, in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Son of Ponniah and Mangay (Navaratnam) Yoganathan, he received a Bachelor of Science in 1973 from University College, University of London. In 1974 as a graduate student, he became interested in the functioning of natural and replacements of heart valves, and then went on to receive Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering in 1978 from the California Institute of Technology. He then joined the engineering faculty at Georgia Tech in 1979.

Over the subsequent 40+ years, “Ajit,” as he is called by his colleagues and friends, has pioneered the field of applied cardiovascular engineering and through collaborations with clinicians and basic scientists has demonstrated the value of applying basic engineering science to develop and evaluate novel technology and devices that have benefited millions of patients.

His work has used experimental and computational biomechanics methods to study native and artificial heart valves, the structure and function of the heart, and has applied these techniques to not only help us understand the hemodynamics of complex congenital heart disease but also develop new surgical procedures to optimize the cardiovascular dynamics of these children’s hearts. The mission of his laboratory is “to provide answers to life-saving clinical questions using engineering approaches.”

The famous icon of Rock & Roll, Mick Jagger is alive today as he received in the spring of 2019 in a New York City hospital, and Prof Yoganathan had led the testing of every prosthetic heart valve design on the U.S market for safety and effectiveness. His Cardiovascular Fluid Mechanics Laboratory (CFM Lab) has served as a valve approval site for the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for four decades. Prof Yoganathan invented the sciences of prosthetic heart valve engineering in that lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1979. It is his signature achievement and the primary reasons for his 2015 induction into National Academy of Engineering. He and his fellow lab members have had a profound influence on valve design including the advanced model in Jagger’s chest.

As the inaugural recipient of the Honorary Fellowship Award, the AATS has chosen Ajit P. Yoganathan, PhD, the Wallace H. Coulter Distinguished Faculty Chair in Biomedical Engineering, and Regents’ Professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University.

As a teacher, Dr Yoganathan has mentored more than 50 doctoral students, 35 master’s students, and 30 postdoctoral trainees, many of whom have now gone on to become important leaders in their own right. He played a pivotal role in the creation of Georgia Tech’s master’s and PhD degree programs in bioengineering as well as the joint PhD in Biomedical Engineering with the Emory University School of Medicine. In 2005, he was awarded the Theo Pilkington Award for his contributions to Biomedical Engineering education by the American Society of Engineering Education. In 2010 he was appointed the Founding Editor in Chief of Cardiovascular Engineering and Technology, the newest journal of the Biomedical Engineering Society, which in 2015 was accepted to PubMed. He currently has 16 issued US patents, with another 5 patent applications under review, and to date has published more than 400 peer-reviewed journal articles and 40 book chapters.

Prof. Rangita De Silva De Alwis elected as SL representative for CEDAW

Professor Rangita De Silva De Alwis was elected to the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) for the term 2023-2026 representing Sri Lanka.

Prof. De Silva-De Alwis was elected during the 22nd Meeting of the State Parties to the CEDAW Convention at the United Nations in New York on 23rd June.

At this election, State Parties to the Convention elected 12 members out of 23 candidates, to the Committee of the Convention. Sri Lanka obtained 124 votes obtaining the 5th highest number of votes. Other countries elected are Cuba, Uganda, Nigeria, Egypt, Israel, Spain, Estonia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Trinidad and Tobago and Japan.

Sri Lanka became a State Party to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in 1981.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention, which consists of 23 experts on women’s rights from around the globe.

Professor Rangita De Silva De Alwis is currently serving as the Associate Dean of International Affairs and the Academic Director of the Global Institute for Human Rights at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, in the USA. She earned her Bachelor of Law Degree from the University of Colombo and her LL.M and Ph.D from Harvard Law School.

She is an expert on matters coming under the purview of the CEDAW, with over 25 years of experience globally, advocating for equal representation of women.

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SL’s Melanie first-ever Asian woman elected as CIMA President

Sri Lanka’s Melanie Janine Kanaka, FCMA, CGMA yesterday became the first-ever Asian woman elected as the President of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), the world’s largest professional body of management accountants and Co-Chair of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the Association), which represents the combined membership of CIMA and the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

She was elected as the 89th President of CIMA at an event held in London.

During her year in office, Melanie will focus on reinforcing the accounting and finance profession’s commitment to being a trusted adviser for their organisations and serving the public interest. In addition, she will champion the profession’s need to continuously upskill and reskill to meet ever-evolving market demands.

Melanie will also put a strong emphasis on inspiring younger generations to join the dynamic profession, advancing the profession’s digital skills and capabilities, and the importance of fostering diversity, equity and inclusion.

Melanie will work closely with Anoop Natwar Mehta, CPA, CGMA, who will serve as AICPA Chair and Chair of the Association, to represent the world’s largest public and management accounting bodies (AICPA and CIMA) to meet the demands of a constantly changing, disruptive world.

On her appointment, Melanie said: “It is a true privilege to have been chosen by my peers to serve our members and students around the world, and represent our profession on the global stage.

“Over the past few years, the profession provided vital support and guidance to organisations to help them, not only survive, but also adapt and thrive in a world that has irremediably changed. As the world continues to undergo radical, disruptive changes at an accelerating speed, we must as professionals offer bold leadership.”

Melanie also said: “Now is the time for the profession to lean in and take the next step forward. We must make sure that we continue to deliver innovative solutions to create value, build trust, seize new opportunities and help deliver prosperity for individuals, organisations, economies and society as whole.”

Melanie became a CIMA member in 1992 and obtained her fellowship in 2000. She has been an active member of CIMA for over three decades and has held several volunteer positions both in Sri Lanka, her home country, and internationally. Melanie also currently serves on the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants’ Board of Directors.

Melanie has extensive experience in corporate finance and development banking across the USA, Germany and South Asia. She currently leads the finance and administration function for the World Bank in Sri Lanka and Maldives where she is responsible for finance, resource management and performance review and is part of the World Bank’s South Asia regional unit.

Melanie is a Fulbright Scholar and an accredited SAP consultant who holds an MBA specialising in international finance and corporate strategy from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. She also holds a 1st Class B. Com (Hons) Degree from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka, and is a distinguished alumna of Bishop’s College, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Other appointments ratified at the CIMA annual general meeting were Sarah Ghosh, FCMA, CGMA, as Deputy President and Simon Bittlestone, FCMA, CGMA as Vice President.

Aruni Boteju, Founder/Chairwoman of CEYIFF Received Congressional Recognition Award from Congressman Salud Carbajal.

The First Ceylon International Film Festival (CEYIFF) kicked off at the Lobero theater on June 10th, 2022, and it happened in Santa Barbara. CEYIFF is the brainchild of Aruni Boteju who wanted to “create a cultural bridge from one paradise in the Pacific Ocean to another paradise in the Indian Ocean”.

The evening began with formal opening ceremonies during which Aruni thanked the local leaders for attending and making this truly an exchange between countries: First District Santa Barbara County Supervisor Das Williams, Mayor Randy Rowseand, Santa Barbara City Councilor Oscar Gutierrez (who is also a member of the CEYIFF jury given his film background). Erica Reyes, District Director with Congressman SaludCarbajal, represented him during the evening’s festivities issuing a Congressional Certificate commemorating CEYIFF’s launch in Santa Barbara and presenting it to Aruni during the opening ceremony.

Dr. Lalith Chandradasa, the Sri Lankan Consul General (a representative of Sri Lanka in the United States) addressed the Santa Barbara crowd, thanking them for attending and speaking to the ability of cinema to unite people.

CEYIFF had a very successful three day event with 10 movie screenings and closing ceremony with awards.

SLF Int, USA Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Professor Asgerally (Asgi) Fazleabas for his excellence in the Research of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology

Professor Asgerally Fazleabas is a student of St Thomas College, Gurutalawa and Mt Lavinia, Sri Lanka. He received his initial diploma in Agriculture at the Aquinas University College in Colombo, Sri Lanka and earned his Bachelor of Science at the California State University in Fresno, California, then after received his Master of Science, Dairy Science and Reproductive Physiology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. 

He became interested when he was in 8th grade in boarding school. One of the things that he did was work in a farm at the school and one of his responsibilities was to monitor the incubator where chicken eggs were being hatched. He had to candle the eggs by holding them up to the light to see if they were developing properly. He was fascinated by how quickly the blood vessels developed and that in a matter of a few days he could see a beating heart. Seeing these amazing developmental process really got Prof Fazleabas interested in Science & Developmental Biology.

Dr Asgerally Fazleabas received his Ph.D degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and completed postdoctoral training at the University of Florida. Following his training, he joined the Department Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he held the rank of Professor and Director of Women’s Health and Reproduction. In 2009, he became a Professor and Associate Chair of Research in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology, Director of the Center for Women’s Health Research and Co-Director of the Reproductive and Developmental Sciences Program at the Michigan State University.

Dr Fazleabas is an expert in female reproduction and his research focuses on critical cellular events during pregnancy. In his distinguish career he has published over 200 manuscripts, several of which appeared in Biology and Reproduction. He received the 2010 & 2016 Society for the Study of Reproduction Distinguish Awards. He has also served on numerous NIH Study sections and as 2009-2010 President for the Society of the Reproduction.

Some of his originality in research consist of pioneered in the development of novel and significant areas of knowledge, including the development of creative and innovative hypotheses, which he developed new knowledge in a creative manner and with independent insight. Created new knowledge to expand the understanding of reproductive biology and/or extended the application of knowledge to technology.

SLF Int, USA Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Professor Nimal Rajapakse For his excellence as a Renowned International Researcher & Rank among the top in Civil & Mechanical Engineering

Prof Nimalsiri ( Nimal) Dharmakeerthi Rajapakse hails from Bopetta, Attanagalla and spent his formative years in Colombo with his maternal grandparents. He received primary and secondary education from Ananda College following the footsteps of his grandfather mentor, Don Elias Rajapakse, and his father. He was an excellent student of Ananda College and received several academic prizes. Ananda College honored him as the orator of Col. Henry Steele Olcott Oration in 2005, and he delivered a talk under the title, “New Frontiers of Engineering”

Prof Nimal is an internationally renowned researcher in Applied Mechanics and a recipient of several prestigious award/honors. He has received over $15 million in research grants as a principal investigator. He served four Canadian research universities for 35 years. He has over 5500 research citations in Google Scholar with a h-index of 44. Prof Nimal has mentored twenty-three Ph-D students and sixteen M.Sc. Students, as well as many post-doctoral fellows. He has co-authored a textbook published by Springer. He has collaborated and received support from IBM Research, Manitoba Hydro, Manitoba Highways, AECL, Ballard, Kinectrics and Westport Innovation. In addition, he is a highly accomplished academic leader with nearly twenty years of leadership experience in Canada. He is recognized as a transformative leader who inspires people through his work ethics, collaborative leadership style, merit based decision making, commitment to inclusively and transparency, and ability to engage people.

He joined the University of Manitoba UM as an Assistant Professor in 1985 and started his academic administrative career when he was appointed as Head of the Department of Civil Engineering at UM. During his term as Head of Civil Engineering of UM (1997-2000), he took initiatives to raise the profile of the department within and outside the university and implemented an effective strategy to increase the undergraduate enrollment through industry collaborations and outreach.

Prof Nimal was recruited to the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2000 as head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. UBC is ranked amongst the top 50 universities of the world. The Mech 2 Program which received highest national and International awards for curriculum innovation was introduced in 2004 during his headship. Annual research income and graduate enrollment in the Department of Mechanical Engineering nearly doubled during his headship. UBC Mechanical Engineering was ranked first amongst the Canadian Mechanical Engineering departments in research performance during the final year of his headship. He led the discussion with PACE Program ( General Motors-led) consortium for Advanced Collaborative Engineering), which granted in 2004 an over $200 million in-kind donation of software and computer hardware. The department received the Outstanding PACE Partner Award in 2008. Four research chairs were established during his headship. Prof Nimal was appointed Director of the Institute for Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems (ICICS) at UBC in July 2007. ICICS is the largest multi-disciplinary research institute at UBC. A research team led by him obtained a $12.9m grant in 2009 to upgrade the ICICS research infrastructure.

Sri Lankan scholar on America’s fondness for commerce, freemasonry and astrology

Like the famous French author Alex de Tocqueville, who wrote Democracy in America, Sri Lankan-born scholar and diplomat, Dr. Patrick Mendis has traced America’s penchant for commerce freemasonry and commerce in an insightful account of American roots. His book is titled “TRADE for PEACE: How the DNA of America, Freemasonry, and Providence Created a New World Order with Nobody in charge.”

Dr. Patrick Mendis presents a copy of his book, TRADE for PEACE, to his Professor Joseph Nye Jr., the former dean of the Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, at the Henry Kissinger Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C.

He provides irrefutable proof of American founders, especially George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, delving into astrology and freemasonry and principles of commerce in designing the Capital-Washington D.C. and the nascent commercial republic of America. Dr. Mendis sees cultural connections those born in the U.S. often ignored.

Dr. Mendis found encoded in America’s DNA the ability to trade with an uncanny zeal. Trade for peace dominated that doctrine for most of the two and quarter centuries of American existence. He provides an interesting approach for analyzing the nation’s commercial roots.

Dr. Mendis demonstrates in his book that the beginning of Constitution Avenue is the Andrew Melon “Zodiac” Fountain adjacent to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and it ends with the celestial statue of Albert Einstein near the State Department. He believes that the new U.S. Institute of Peace at the end of Constitution Avenue would be the major landmark of America’s founding vision: TRADE for PEACE.

While growing up in Sri Lanka with Buddhist monks and Catholic priests, Dr. Mendis has evidently mastered the basics of astrological science and early Christian esoteric knowledge which prompted deeper probe of the American psyche. Most recently, he studied the ‘secret’ knowledge of Freemasonry that had clearly influenced America’s founders. After receiving the Benjamin Franklin Award from the State Department, he learned more about Franklin, America’s famous astrologer and the first diplomat.

Founding Mission of America

The 624-page tome that combined history, politics, economics, architecture, esoteric knowledge, foreign policy strategies and global trade relations proves a rare foray into American discourse on a variety of matters. The thesis that America’s founding mission has always been to promote trade to integrate the global community for peaceful living and unity as it was the case for the original 13 colonies in the Union comes out as a challenge ever present even after 230 years of the Republic.

A combination of interstate commerce (not the religion) and freedom as depicted in the Constitution has paradoxically bound and expanded the United States together as one nation. Dr. Mendis argues that the World Trade Organization (WTO) is the final frontier of the American Experiment in order to bind the community of nations together.

Dr. Mendis grew up in Ja-ela and the suburbs of Polonnaruwa and had a full immersion into the ethos of Sri Lankan cultural heritage. He brings that insight into the making of America in his book. With a lineage to the stratifying details of American foreign policy acquired by being associated with the prestigious Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Mendis took wings working as a student UN ambassador, seasoned diplomat and research scholar. He was one of the three recipients of the first Humphrey Leadership Award in 1986 along with Ambassador Max Kampelman and former Vice President Walter Mondale.

In 1985, Dr. Mendis worked as Sri Lanka’s “Youth Ambassador” at the United Nations in New York. Later, he was often consulted on international matters by the State Department and Senate Foreign Relations Committee during the tenure of Secretaries Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell.

Rethinking global role

In the foreword to his book, Professor Brian Atwood, former USAID administrator under President Bill Clinton, writes, “This highly readable synthesis, whose main theme derives from the Constitution’s preface, pleads for a rethinking of the American role in global leadership.” Both Professor Atwood (current dean of the Humphrey Institute) and Dr. Mendis are former AFS exchange students.

Dr. Mendis would perhaps compete for the title of the most sought after scholar on America’s national profile. His interest would lead him towards greater research studies. Professor Mendis currently serves as the vice president of the Osgood Center for International Studies and a visiting scholar in foreign policy at the Johns Hopkins University’s Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C. An adjunct professor of international diplomacy at Norwich University, Dr. Mendis is a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science and a life member of the Society for International Development.

Linking the China-US rivalry to Ukraine and Taiwan

WARSAW (May 16, 2022) — Earlier this year, former U.S. diplomat Patrick Mendis, Ph.D., arrived at the University of Warsaw to teach a summer course. When the Russian invasion of Ukraine began to unfold, he quickly adapted the practice of diplomacy and war into his seminar on Sino-American relations and international organizations.

Having worked at the United Nations and taught courses in China, Taiwan, and the former Soviet Union, the transition was a natural one for Mendis.

“Sad, but I learned a great deal of agonizing human conditions of war from my Ukrainian colleagues and students,” Mendis said.

Poland has more than three million Ukrainian refugees.

Speaking at a special faculty seminar on the topic of democracy and autocracy, Mendis actively engaged with his colleagues from India, New Zealand, Ukraine, and the European Union. He shared a wide range of observations that the Russian war in Ukraine has differences, but similarities do exist with a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

Mendis then decoded the meaning of the “no limit” Sino-Russian friendship pact signed by Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin at the Beijing Winter Olympics in February.

The Minnesota and Harvard educated scholar, who served as a U.S. military professor in the European and the Indo-Pacific Commands, explained that President Joe Biden’s galvanizing speech at the Royal Castle in Warsaw was “a turning point” of global geopolitics and the “rebirth of the Truman Doctrine.”

After World War II, President Harry Truman addressed Congress by arguing that the United States must save Greece and Turkey from falling into the family of communist states. Truman said that “every nation must choose” between “freedom” and “oppression.” He then established the CIA and NATO. Altogether, the Truman Doctrine underpinned the American containment policy throughout the Cold War.

In Warsaw, Biden said that Ukraine is part of a global struggle “between democracy and autocracy.” This “great battle for freedom” will define the future of the world, he added. Identifying China as the “strategic competitor,” the Biden White House now focuses on Beijing’s military activities around the Taiwan Strait crisis.

After his engaged dialogue with faculty colleagues and diplomats, Mendis concluded that there emerged a new Truman Doctrine of Biden to contain the rise of China.

U.S. Ambassador Mark Brzezinski gave his public lecture on the “global leadership and the lessons from the Ukraine crisis” at the University after the seminar organized by the dean of the Faculty of International Studies and Political Science.

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Sri Lanka Awarelogue Lecture Forum

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.


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.

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!

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

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