Sri Lankan American New Chief Of Staff Rohini Kosoglu appointed for Kamala Harris!

Sen. Kamala Harris is making a key staffing change ahead of a holiday season in which she’ll be mulling a decision on a presidential run. On Monday, Harris announced Rohini Kosoglu as her new chief of staff. Kosoglu, who is Sri Lankan-American, enters the position as the only Asian-American woman currently serving as a U.S. senator’s chief of staff — and she tells Bustle that she’s optimistic about Congress becoming more diverse in 2019.

Kosoglu’s promotion from deputy chief of staff reflects a diversity among Harris’ staffers that isn’t matched by all her Democratic colleagues. And the numbers bear that out. According to a 2017 report released by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, most senators from the party employ women staffers, but an overwhelming number of staffers are white. At the time that report was released, Harris’ office employed the second-highest number of people of color, behind only Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz’s office. The newly minted chief of staff tells Bustle that it’s important for lawmakers and senior congressional staff to reflect the demographics of the country.

“I think it’s important that when we advance diversity [in Congress], we also advance the ability to address many issues in front of us,” Kosoglu says. “Our staff reflects California — the makeup of California, as well as the country.”

Beverly High Alumnus Runs for Los Angeles Community College District

Chatura De Silva, a Beverly High Class of 2008 graduate, is running for the Los Angeles Community College District.

De Silva said that if he is elected, he wants to focus on several issues including outreach to the youth and helping promote the completion of college.

“There’s a stigma that people have towards community college and its not as exciting as when [students] think of university. I want to try to see how I could really Chatura De Silva make that atmosphere more appealing to the youth and make them see it as an option,” De Silva said. “If you have the proper resources, you could really follow your dream.”

De Silva said his mother was killed by a drunk driver in 2010. He had been determined to finish his undergraduate degree at CSUN at the time, but was placed on academic probation. He took classes at Pierce College to get back on track, he said.

“[Community college] gave me the opportunity to get myself back up, so I owe a lot of my success to [it],” he said. His vision for the LACCD includes estabulating events where there is more interaction between teachers and students and make classes without stressing.”He is a project manager for the Sri Lankan Youth Organization, a non profit group dedicated to supporting Sri Lankan youth. He is also the founder and CEO of Project Pursuit of Happiness, a non profit charitable organization.

De Silva is running for Seat 3 on the LACCD, which is currently occupied by David Vela. The election will take place on November 3.

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Sri Lankan Pioneers

Sri Lanka Foundation wants to celebrate families!

We have very exciting news, introducing a new way to connect with Sri Lankans across America and we need your help to launch this project.

All of the information we receive will be compiled into a directory to be used to locate an individual, a family, or even your ancestors across the U.S.

To get started, we would appreciate it if you could take the time to fill this form out with your families. Scroll down to get started:

For the first time in Sri Lankan-American history, more than 50 students from the Sri Lankan-American community will perform at Disneyland

On November 16th, students from the Sri Lanka Foundation Academy of Performing Arts will stagger the Disneyland California Adventure Park through to the Hollywood Backlot Stage.

This spectacular 30-minute performance will include traditional Sri Lankan folk music, dance items, and a live drum act. This ensemble is directed by Lal Thilakarathna and Choreographed by Umendra Kahadawaarachchi.

Disneyland’s performance will serve to further Dr. Walter Jayasinghe’s vision of promoting Sri Lankan culture in the United States and globally.

Join us to witness this magnificent performance on November 16th, at 11:30 am at the Hollywood Backlot Stage, Disney California Adventure Park.

Young Professionals Happy Hours in Washington

The SLAWDC Young Professionals Networks hosted three happy hours this Spring: the first was at Prequel in downtown Washington on March 27. The event saw over twenty Sri Lankan-American young professionals and friends in the DC metro area, many of whom were meeting for the first time. The second was held at Rock Bottom in Bethesda on May 15 and the third back in Washington at Bar Deco in Chinatown on June 12.

Courtesy of SLAWDC

Calling New Talent for Sri Lanka Day 2018

Sri Lanka Day returns to Pasadena in July and once again we are looking to showcase new talent on our Sri Lanka Day Stage & Parade. We want you to help us create the festival of festivals. We are looking for musicians, dancers, drummers, choreographers, dance troupes and acts that are interactive, that really draw people into the performance in some way. The Sri Lanka Foundation team is looking for new artists to be a part of the Cultural Show from 1pm to 6pm and performers for the night parade from 6:30 to 7:30 pm.

Sri Lanka Day will run throughout the day on Saturday, July 14. This year we will be bigger and better than ever before. We’re extending the event, adding 7,000 sq ft of additional space. On July 14, we’ll transform the City Hall in Pasadena to a hive of activity, with traditional dance performances, traditional drumming and percussion performances, musical performances on stage. The booths around the stage will host workshops, cooking demonstrations and give a chance for everyone to try an array of authentic Sri Lanka cuisine. In the evening the grand “Pageant of Lanka” will take over Colorado Boulevard, with magnificent theater elephants, colorful floats and talented performers.

Come show off your talents and join Sri Lanka Day. Contact us on (323) 905-4753 for more information.

Dilini Seneviratne takes Kandyan Dancing to BBC

On 14th January 2017, BBC Asian Network’s popular radio show hosted by Ashanti Omkar explored Kandyan dancing through British Sri Lankan Kandyan dancer, Dilini Seneviratne, for the first time in the shows’ history. The unique radio show itself is one of a kind, covering South India, Sri Lanka and the diaspora, in entertainment since it launched. Hosted by the lovely Ashanti Omkar – coincidentally born in Kandy, Sri Lanka had always wanted to discover the specialist dance style in her show. Dilini Seneviratne, a Cyber security consultant at Wipro Ltd. stopped by the BBC Broadcasting house to share her journey along with a traditional Kandyan drummer Aruna Shantha Kotawella. Dilini started off the interview introducing Kandyan dancing as what is considered to be Sri Lanka’s most classical dance style, deriving from the royal capital of the country, Kandy. She went onto describe how Kandyan dancing features an intricate system of rhythm and how dancers are traditionally accompanied by cymbals and drums during performances. Dilini then explains how she had always been passionate about this classical dance style and reveals her dance teachers over the years Miss Kumudu Perera, Professor Mudiyanse Dissanayake and her personal inspiration – the Channa Upuli dance troupe based in Sri Lanka as the foundations of her dance life. Since being at University of Southampton, undergoing her bachelor degree, she has started a classical dance society, Southampton Kandyan & Bharatanatyam Society (SKBD), and the first ever inter-university classical dance competition, THAALA. She teaches Kandyan dancing online through her YouTube channel and regularly blogs about the theory behind Kandyan Dance. She has performed Kandyan dancing at various high profile events and venues in UK including Sri Lankan High Commission, Lord’s Cricket Ground, ICC Champions Trophy, British Airways Sri Lanka launch, Sangakkara – Sir Ian Botham SL Walk Launch and Derana TV in Sri Lanka. Dilini finally ends her interview with a closing note of how Kandyan dancing is underrated around the globe apart from Sri Lanka and all her commitment towards dancing is because she wants it to be known by everyone. Check out her on social media and follow her blog Courtesy of

Rangabhisheka 2017

We are so proud of our Sri Lanka Foundation Performing Art Center graduates. Watch our graduates recieve their blessings. Congratulations! Video by Andy Samarasena Click the following link to watch: Rangabhisheka 2017

Sayuri Senadheera earns the title of “U.S. Figure Skating Gold Medalist”

Sayuri Senadheera of Castaic, California passed her U.S. Figure skating senior level test earning the title of “U.S. Figure Skating Gold Medalist “ in the category of moves. Passing a U.S. Figure skating senior level test is the highest accomplishment in U.S.Figure skating testing. She is coached by Erika Susman Shorr and Linda Stroh. Sayuri is multi-talented, she loves to figure skate and dance.

Sri Lankan Expatriate honored as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

Young Sri Lankan investor and entrepreneur, Mr. Arjuna Gihan Fernando (popularly known as Gi Fernando) was made a Member of the Order of British Empire (MBE) in the New Year Honors 2017. The Queen’s New Year’s Honors list awards people in the UK who have made significant contributions to society, including everything from charity, to journalism, and to technology. Member of the Order of the British Empire, is the first rank of the order and is the one which most are admitted to. It allows the holder to put the letters MBE after their name

Gi Fernando is a technology investor based in the UK who has backed businesses such as Citymapper, BookingBug, Car Throttle, and Plan. He graduated from Bristol University in Engineering and Computer science and briefly worked for the HSBC Bank, but his entrepreneurial abilities took him to set up his own social media business ‘Techlightenment’, later sold to Experian, the global leader in consumer business and credit reporting.

Gihan now runs Freeformers, a Company he founded in 2012, which recruits young people, turning them into trainers, to help businesses, by understanding social media and digital marketing. Freeformers aim to tap into the vast pool of talent, especially the latent technical abilities of the young (below 25), which formal qualifications do not necessarily capture.