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Sri Lanka Foundation Intl’ Recognizes Excellence Among the Sri Lankan Expatriates Around the World at its Prestigious Awards Show

The Sri Lanka Foundation (SLF) Awards Ceremony 2022 celebrated 25 exceptional Sri Lankans from over four continents. This one-of-a-kind event was streamed online live and hosted over 450 guests attending the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles on Sunday, November 13th, 2022.

For the Sri Lankan community worldwide, this event continues to be the most prestigious awards ceremony, which recognizes those in the Sri Lankan community whose work has had an essential impact on the lives of others.

In putting on the SLF Awards Ceremony, Sri Lanka Foundation hopes to show the community’s gratitude for the awardees’ creativity and outstanding achievements, increase awareness of their accomplishments, and, most importantly, inspire the younger generation to achieve excellence in their chosen fields. With this purpose at heart, it has been growing since its inception in 2003, boasting the most significant number of awardees celebrated, and with a tremendous demand for attendance that its live-streaming offer this year was essentially long overdue.

The opening remarks given by the SLF Chairman of the Board, Dr. Walter Jayasinghe, and the President/CEO, Dr. Dishan Jayasinha, instilled in the audience their deep commitment to the event’s purpose and set the stage for the outstanding awardees, which were to follow.

While the event centered on the awardees, the entertainment was as sensational as ever. The event began with a spectacular traditional welcome dance featuring Umendra Kahandawarachchi, Nirosha Wijegunasekare, and Akila Palipana from the SLF Academy of Performing Arts. Then, the elegant fashion show (produced and choreographed by Achala Weerasinghe, SLF Director of Cultural Affairs) featured stunning outfits created by the famous Sri Lankan designers Shanith Fernando and Hiran Wijesekara and beauty pageant title holders from the USA.

The entertainment continued with a stand-out performance from Talin Silva, an opera performance by the world-renowned soprano singer Tharanga Goonetilleke, and fabulous music by Tony Samara.

Most importantly, the event celebrated the following awardees in seven distinct categories:

For a lifetime of outstanding excellence and recognition at an international level Prof. Nimal Rajapakse, Prof. Ajit Yoganathan, Prof. Asgerally Fazleabas, Prof. Patrick Mendis, Prof. Osmund Bopearachchi, Prof. Tissa Illangasekare, Dr. Yasantha Rajakarunanayake, Venerable Henepola Gunaratna, late Desmond De Silva, and late Donald Karunaratna received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Hasini Jayatilaka and Prof Sharika Thiranagama received the Exceptional Achievement Award for their exemplary achievements in their field.

For their outstanding performances, Amith Boteju, Talin Silva, Rukshan De Silva, and Hiruni Wijerathna received the Outstanding Performance by a Young Professional Award.

For their ongoing exceptional growth and achievements in their profession Dr. Sumudu Herath Mudiyanselage, Dr. Zainab Ifthikar, and Mathew Abeysinghe received the Rising Star Award.

For his excellence in community service and role model Ashley Ashan Palipana was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Junior Award.

The Srimerican of the Year Award was presented to Keith Ranga for his contribution to the betterment of the Sri Lankan community.

The President’s Award was presented to Priyalal Kurera for his exceptional philanthropic services to the Sri Lankan American community and his motherland, Sri Lanka.

The Outstanding Community Service Award was presented to Prof. Deepthi Jayasekare and Prof. Dushyantha Jayaweera for their life-saving support extended to our communities worldwide, especially during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

As you know, the winners were nominated by individuals just like you. You can visit our website http://www.srilankafoundation.org for more information on how to nominate a well-deserved Sri Lankan expatriate who has made a difference to humanity.

SLF Int, USA 2022 Outstanding Achievement Junior Award Ashley Ashan Palipana For his Excellence in Community Service & Role Model

Ashley Palipana is a 11 year old scout at St John First Aid Cadet, born in Essex, UK to Sri Lankan parents. He is a kind, caring and helpful young man who loves to make new friends and talk to people within the community. He attends Belmont Castle Academy. He helps other children in school by being a peer mediator in Math & English. He is also a team captain and a peer mediator who helps people when they have problems. His dream is to be a Neurosurgeon at Great Ormond Street Hospital for children and would love to save lots of lives.

He won British Citizen youth Award along with twenty youngsters from around the country for having their unique and inspiring story. He is a great role model amongst his peers. He is a creative member of the community, involved with scouting endeavors with theme side scouts, attending the little Thorruch St Johns Ambulance youth program and local theater productions.

Ashley has raised funds for Great Ormond Children’s Hospital ( GOCH) charity. He continues his art exhibitions at the theme side theater art gallery to raise funds. He has been recognized by St Johns Ambulance for receiving the badger of the year award in 2015 for confronting a suicidal man in his home town. He convinced the man to get down from the bridge and took him to the local church where he was sent back to his home country. Today that man is safe and healthy with his parents and thank Ashley for his courage and bravery.

He is involved in many charity events with his singing, dancing and acting talent, also has a Facebook page for his Art Gallery the “Ashley Palipana Art Gallery”.

Ashley received the British Citizen Youth Award in 2016, honored by BCyA status given by Kimberly Wyatt, received the Badger of the Year (St John’s Ambulance) given by Princess Anne, nominated for the Diana Legacy Award by Se Scout, UK, winner of the Nine Art Awards given by the Purfleet UK, Opera House, also received First Prize from St Johns Art Competition.

He is currently involved in fundraising for the Cancer research and prevention of Dementia for the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, British Red Cross and Royal Opera House in UK.

SLYO OPERATION RISE ABOVE BACKPACK DISTRIBUTION TO LOW INCOME STUDENTS

The Sri Lankan Youth Organization (SLYO) is excited to solicit donations for our upcoming Operation Rise Above fundraisers.

Operation Rise Above (ORA) is an annual fundraiser conducted by SLYO that distributes school supplies and meals to underprivileged students around the US. SLYO’s first iteration of ORA occurred in October 2020, in the San Fernando Valley. In this first year of the program, SLYO was able to distribute 1,000+ backpacks (cumulatively worth ~$2,000), school supplies valued at $1,500, and over 30,000 pounds of food to impoverished school children and families in the area.


Read more:
https://www.gofundme.com/f/h6ejs-operation-rise-above

SLAASC in Southern California Celebrates Sinhala & Tamil New Year

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

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

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

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

Don’t Miss Out!!!Thath Jith Dance Academy students in collaboration with Maitthree Vihara Buddhist Meditation Center are organizing a fundraiser to help people in need in Sri Lanka!

ALL CDC SAFETY GUIDELINES ENFORCED!!
Dine in (minimum capacity at a time)
Drive through & Take Away is available between 5.00pm to 10.00pm,
call and order early!!323-982-5996
Payments accepted in Cash, Write Checks to Maithree Vihara
Venmo-Prasanna Yamasinghe
Zella- On 323-982-5996


The entire world was paralyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sri Lanka is taking measures to combat and defeat the disease. Due to economic struggles rural and poor in Sri Lanka is struggling to put food on the table.

Thath Jith Dance Academy students in collaboration with Maitthree Vihara Buddhist Meditation Center are organizing a fundraiser to help and feed the day-to-day workers and their families in selected poor and vulnerable rural villages. Our goal is to provide groceries to feed 1000 families . The distribution of groceries will be done through collaboration with TV Derana , most popular TV channel in Sri Lanka.

Please join us, Thath Jith kids, by donating and sharing to feed the vulnerable families in Sri Lanka.
Thank you for your contribution, generosity and kindness.

Gofund Link:
https://www.gofundme.com/f/rt8mb-help-sri-lanka?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1

Sri Lanka Scouts Association Presents Global Cultural Jamboree

The Scout movement, also known as Scouting or the Scouts, is a voluntary non-political educational movement for young people open to all without distinction of gender, origin, race or creed, in accordance with the purpose, principles and method conceived by the founder, Lord Baden-Powell….

Vision

To be the Foremost in transforming youth in Sri Lanka to become agentsof change in communities based on shared values, guided by the Scout Promise and Law.


Mission

Through a value system based on the Scout Promise and Law, to help build a better world where people are self-fulfilled as individuals and play a constructive role in society.


Sri Lanka Scouts Association of Sri Lanka presents first ever virtual Global Cultural Jamboree bringing fifteen thousand scouts together from all over the world.

For more information to watch the launch ceremony click on the link below:
https://youtu.be/KPRl9RUaxus
Click on the link below to register to watch the Cultural Jamboree:
gcj.scout.lk/registration

SLYO USA | Operation Rise Above II 2021

On June 5th, the Sri Lankan Youth Organization and Project POH teamed up to hand out school backpacks filled with essential school supplies, toys, and duffle bags to the youth of the San Fernando Valley. The operation took place at Magaly’s Tamales and Mexican Grill and was a success yet again.

There were many generous donors involved that helped make this event a success. Kinecta Credit Union provided volunteers to help pack and hand out backpacks. They also distributed goodie bags and free ice cream to the community. Yasiel Puig’s Wild Horse Foundation gave out baby formula to underprivileged families, the Boys and Girls Club provided volunteers, and Team Rugby LA donated funds toward the event! A huge thank you to all the volunteers of SLYO, we couldn’t have done it without you all! Thank you!

This event, apart from providing resources, was about creating personal connections with community members. The age groups ranged from babies to 17-year-olds, and all were incredibly eager to receive toys and school supplies no matter the age! The happiness from the kids radiated onto the volunteers, making it a fun time all around.

Quotes:

“There’s nothing like seeing children and families having a fun time surrounded by people who truly believe in community partnership. We were honored to be invited by SLYO to participate in Operation Rise Above II and we look forward to bringing the event to our own community in Oxnard and Ventura County, and to partner with local businesses and organizations.” -Luis Guereca CDR

“It was truly an honor and privilege to attend SYLO’s invitation to participate in Operation Rise Above II. I was so impressed with all of the volunteers, community partners, and friends for taking time to come together for the benefit of children and families. The positive synergy at the event was amazing and I look forward to continuing our partnership with SYLO to bring this event to Ventura County and Oxnard on August 14, 2021!

Congratulations on a successful event which brought so much happiness to children and families!” – Jack Hinojosa CDR See Less June 7 at 2:24 PM

Sri Lankan gymnast Milka Gehani earns wings to Tokyo Olympics…

18-year-old Milka Gehani de Silva can be named as the second Sri Lankan to be eligible for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. 

After qualifying through the continental quota, the cancellation of the 9th Senior Asian Gymnastic Championship which was supposed to be held from May 29 to June 01, Milka got increased chances to compete in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. According to the results of the World Championship, Milka Gehani has secured first place in Asia while the Indian gymnast Pranathi Nayak holds second place. 

If we explore Gehani’s talents, she has represented Sri Lanka several times trained under the coach the former National champion Ranjana Tharanga. Accordingly, the artistic gymnast was the Junior Champion from 2011 to 2014. As well she is the National champion in the years of 2017 and 2018, setting an area record. Her magnificent talents were showcased in Indonesia in 2018 and she was pushed into to top 8 at the Asian Championship. Also, she appeared at the Youth Olympic Games 2018, setting a new area record. 

It was Mathilda Karlsson who became the first Sri Lankan to qualify for Tokyo Olympics representing the equestrian event. 

More information on
http://adaderana.lk
http://www.imago-images.com

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.

SL born physiotherapy expert to escort the medical team of the renowned tennis player to Aussieland…

Kusal Goonawardane, 45-year-old APA titled has been appointed to steer the medical team of the famous tennis player Laura Siegemund, ranked 51 globally.

Goonawardane who had to globetrot since his childhood had also been a Nalandian, completed his higher education at the University of Melbourne and earned his Masters from the University of La Trobe in Australia. He has further mentioned how he received this opportunity. It is that one of his athletes who played tennis has highly applauded him for his work to Laura’s coach, Antonio Zuccus, which eventually he received the opportunity.

Before this opportunity, Kusal Goonawardane has worked with many talented sportsmen and sportswomen as Phoebe Stanley- an Australian rowing champion, top cyclists as Freddy Ovett and Lachy Norris, Katya Crema- a dual winter Olympian, Jo Weston- a netballer so many others.

And this great man who is an expertise in his subject has got few opportunities to serve his motherland, Sri Lanka. He has worked as a consultant in physiotherapy and conducted several training programs for the physios in Sri Lanka. His recent attachment in terms of his service to Sri Lanka, is the conduct of a project just before the COVID-19 outbreak, to dole out the Australian know-how with the physios in SL. And also, back in 2014, he has been contacted by the commander of the Sri Lankan army back then; Daya Rathnayake to train the physios in the army, which ultimately resulted in entry into some of the events in Paralympics and Asian games as a result of the successful completion of his task.

Also, he all this time, who has been watchful of the ups and the downs of the Sri Lankan sports has reasoned them to fulfill with few requirements as accountability among the athletes, expert coaches, and expertise in sports medicine and administration.

With his immense contribution to World sports, he is too instrumental in making proud SL.

More information on http://www.sundaytimes.lk