Jayam Rutnam

Born in Sri Lanka, Jayam Rutnam attended St. Joseph’s College, Pembroke Academy, the Polytechnic in Colombo and the Institute of Charted Shipbrokers in London.

In 1963, he migrated to the United States of America and worked extensively with the first immigrants from Sri Lanka to establish an association for Ceylonese migrants. In 1970, with the advice of the Ambssador of Sri Lanka to USA, Mr. Neville Kanekeratne; Jayam Rutnam worked with eight person committee to draft a constitution and to organize an election for an organization to serve the needs of the Sri Lankan expatriates. In 1971, the Ceylon America Association was launched and later incorporated in 1973.

Jayam Rutnam served as President of the Ceylon America Association from 1971 to 1973. He also formed the Ceylonese Chamber of Commerce and promoted trade between Ceylon and U.S.A. Jayam Rutnam hosted a large number of events to promote tourism and investment in Sri Lanka. Mattel Toys and Star Kist Tuna were two large corporations that were on the verge of opening manufacturing plants and canneries in Sri Lanka when civil unrest broke out and forced the cancellation of these two large projects.

Jayam Rutnam assisted his brother, Rajah, to hold cultural exhibitions and trade shows and invited Sri Lankan ambassadors to speak at trade organizations in Los Angeles.

In 1974, Jayam was instrumental in hosting a Sri Lankan cultural show at the Lotus Festival at Echo Park in Los Angeles. Jayam Rutnam explained the event live on NBC with Paul Moyer and Kelly Lange to millions of viewers. The Sri Lankan cultural show at this festival included a dance depicting Rama and Sita, Kavadi dancers, Kandyan dancers, Nilames and a real elephant carried the “relics” to replicate the Esala Perahera in Kandy, Sri Lanka.

Jayam Rutnam and the Sri Lanka America Association of Southern California (SLAASC) hosted Sri Lankan President J.R. Jayawardena and President R. Premada in their visits to Los Angeles before the Sri Lankan government had established a consulate in Los Angeles. Jayam Rutnam has served as the President of the Sri Lanka America Association of Southern California (SLAASC) in 2002 and in 2008.

Jayam Rutnam lives in Los Angeles with his wife Gina. Although retired, he founded and publishes the “Good News from Jayam” focusing on positive projects and events in Sri Lanka and activities of Sri Lankans worldwide. He is also a Senior Staff Reporter at the San Gabriel Valley Examiner newspaper.