Colonel Henry Steele Olcott in 1886 founded Ananda College, in a private house in Colombo with just 37 students. The school has come a long way since then and now has around 7000 students on roll. Named after Arahant Ananda, a devoted disciple of the Buddha, Ananda College has a rich history, proudly celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.
"Ananda Abiman" an exhibition of education and culture is to take place from March 26 to 30 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the college premises as part of the celebrations.
The most interesting aspect of the exhibition is that several foreign embassies will take part and have their own cultural stalls. Around 15 countries will participate, among them Malaysia, Romania, Cuba, Indonesia, Japan, Korea and Pakistan.
"The main objective of this exhibition is to make a link between other countries and give our students the opportunity to interact and get to know about other cultures," L.M.D. Dharmasena, Principal of Ananda College said. "We live in a global village; we have to know about the outside world. This is why we invited foreign embassies to be part of this exhibition. This way we can educate our children. We can call this exhibition a global village within Ananda College."
The exhibition is being held to showcase the talents and new inventions of the students. "We have many talented young people in our school and some of their inventions will be on display. "Some might hold the view that this sort of event will distract the children from their studies but this is an education itself. This is a way of teaching our students with practical knowledge related to their subject matter," he added.
Apart from the stalls with mainly inventions of the students, there will be more than 10 cars also turned out by students. In the arts section there are drawings and sculptures. There are other stalls dedicated to medicine, zoology, the Central Bank and the three armed forces.
The students have also arranged to have a fm radio station where they will announce Ananda Abiman 2012 on its exhibiting days.
There are 22 acres of land in Ananda College and this entire space is being used for the exhibition including more than 100 class rooms.
Ravi Masaqrala, an old boy of Ananda and member of the exhibition organising committee said that the initial plan was to have an internal exhibition mainly with students exhibits but we thought as a Buddhist school we have to take a message to the diplomats that children are the main concern of a country when it comes to the its future. This exhibition will give the school and the students the opportunity to to interact and exchange ideas. The world will recognize the potential these students have."
"It's a great opportunity to the students to bring out their inventions and show them to the world," said Tharkana Kulatunge, Head Prefect of Ananda College.
There will also be musical shows by the Rhythm of the Maroons, the school band and past students who are now professional singers such as Bathiya, Kasun Kalhara, Isuru Jayarathne, Mithra Kapuge, Sahan Ranwala and many more will perform. On the 31st bands and singers of the armed forces will perform after 6 p.m.
Other cultural events such as puppet shows, Kolam and Sokari will be exhibited in the mornings and afternoons. Dramas such as Charandas, Nari Bana, Sinhabahu, Kelani Palama and Thala Mala Pipila will be staged from 10.30 to 12.30 and evenings 2.30 to 4.30 p.m. Tickets for children priced at Rs.150 and adults Rs. 300 and Rs.500 are available.
A cultural dance group from Indonesia will perform at an open stage on March 29 and 30.
The entrance fee for the exhibition is Rs.20 for children and Rs.50 for adults.