The day when Sri Lanka's future was made - the Finals of EYLA 2011 took place on 10th of August 2011, at Bishop's College Auditorium, Colombo 02. The Emerging Young Leader Award (EYLA) was organized by the National Institute of Business Management (NIBM) with the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Skills Development to celebrate the International Year of Youth proclaimed by United Nations from August 2010 to August 2011. Esteemed with the presence of the Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development Hon. Dalas Alahapperuma, this glamorous event turned out to be a day that never fades in the memory of all who attended.
Filtered through a tough screening process of several months, the finals encompassed a collection of outstanding talents. From numbing stage play, breathtaking dancing, motivational speeches to astounding display of social & educational achievement, the 10 finalists -Taamara De Silva, Jayathma Wickramasinghe, Dulan Rathnayake, Buddhika Withanage, Damith Ranasinghe, Minoli Wijetunga, Himeshi De Silva, Ananthakumar Anadaraja, Mohammed Rushdi and Ajanthan Sivathas- entranced, enthralled and inspired the audience in turn.
Adding variety to these emerging talents of the youth was Iraj Weraman, making the crowd stand for our "Lion Nation" and Damien Fernando- the Winner of Ranaviru Real Star with their special performances on stage.
While the auditorium was carried away to a different dimension, the prestigious panel of judges - comprising of Hon. Duminda Dissanayake (Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs & Skills Development Ministry of Youth Affairs & Skills Development), Dr. Sunil Jayantha Nawaratna (Secretary- Ministry of Higher Education), Dr. Sampath Amaratunga (Dean of the Faculty of Management & Studies & Commerce University of Sri Jayawardenapura), Ms. Nilanthi Sugathadasa (Addl. Secretary
Ministry of Youth Affairs & Skills Development), Major General Daya Rathnayake (Chief of Staff, Sri Lanka Army), Ms. Anarkali Akarsha (Sri Lankan Actress and Southern Provincial councilor) and Ms. Dulani Anuradha (Sri Lankan Actress) - were puzzling over ways and means to mark one outstanding leader, who excelled in all fields.
The climax of the evening came when the final contestant, an internationally acclaimed Public speaker, Ajanthan Sivathaas delivered a new dimension of patriotism via his speech - and the walls of Bishop's reverberated with 1500 voices screaming "We Love Sri Lanka".
For making all hearts beat "Sri Lanka" - and his extraordinary performances in both academic and non-academic leagues, Ajanthan Sivathas(25) was crowned the "Emerging Young Leader-2011". Jayathma Wickramanayke(21) came in second, while Taamara De Silva(23) was the 2nd runner-up.
This eve of glory ended on a high note with all the participants vowing to make a difference to this land of ours. EYLA Generation 1 has ended; but their journey has just begun.