Viyathmaga Launched in the United Kingdom
By Dr Ranjith Dissanayake, MBBS
The Launch of the Viyathmaga UK Chapter was ushered on a pleasant Sunday spring afternoon on the 5th of May 2019 at the Thistle Hotel, Heathrow amidst a large gathering of mostly Sri Lankan professionals in the UK. The Viyathmaga initiative, a concept envisioned by Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, which mooted the theme ‘fresh direction and new vision’, provides an impetus for civil society to contribute to the progress of the country.
The opening address by Mr. Upeksha Kaluarachchi MMc introduced the concept of Viyathmaga and its objectives. This was followed by a welcome address by Capt. Mahen Abayasekera, BA(Hons), a dynamic and resourceful lead of Viyathmaga UK . This was followed by a series of talks. Mr Upul Liyanage Msc, Bsc (Hons), spoke on the brain drain and the potential benefits to Sri Lanka by professionals living abroad. Mr. Jeyaraj Palihawardena LLB spoke on the need for empowering and revising existing legislation on counter terrorism in order to negate the undue interference by biased sections of the international community lobbying the UN Security Council. Mr Udena De Silva MA spoke on the mismatch of the current educational curriculum and the employment prospects of young graduates and qualified professionals.
The speeches were followed by the keynote address by Mr. Ajith Nivard Cabraal, former Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, who spoke on the current political morass and economic downturn in Sri Lanka, and stressed the need for strong leadership with emphasis on strengthening Sri Lanka’s security and intelligence. The audience was then invited to a question and answer session with the speaker. The ensuing discussion highlighted the need for the eradication of bribery and corruption and the promotion of Good Governance. The speaker reassured the audience that these principles/policies will be the pledges of a future leader.
Next, the much awaited telecast address from Sri Lanka by the Chairman of Viyathmaga Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, was well received to pin drop silence. Mr. Rajapaksa invited professionals to engage in and contribute their expertise for the development of Sri Lanka.
The knowledge, passion and clarity of delivery of the speakers, contributed to the success of this intellectually stimulating event. The programme came to close with the singing of the Sri Lankan and British national anthems.