Mirror Magazine


Twelve countries on one stage
By Ivana Poliacikova
It is Sunday, May 25. The time is 6:25 p.m. We are 25 minutes late with the start, waiting for the guests to come and solving last minute organizing bugs. I can feel the big cultural difference here - waiting for so long would kill most European audiences. But not here. This is Sri Lanka - a land like no other!

The Japanese fan dance

Finally the doors open and we step inside into the darkened auditorium with oil lamps in our hands to the strains of "Shanta Me Ra Yame". There are Japanese, Slovak, Lithuanian, Czech, Slovenian, Romanian, Dutch, Russian, Polish, Norwegian, Canadian and Sri Lankan students - almost 30 people from 12 countries. Suddenly, here we are - standing on-stage and singing to an audience at the Colombo University School of Computing auditorium. Our concert "Diversity", with songs and dances from around the world, has begun.

Where do all these people come from and what are they doing on the stage? These are all AIESEC members and trainees.

AIESEC provides companies and university students with experiences involving international student exchange. The international organization is run by students in 800+ universities in 87 countries worldwide.

By providing university students with the opportunity of travelling abroad for internship in another country, and participating companies and universities the opportunity of experiencing world culture from hosting foreign students, AIESEC seeks to spread the word of maximising humankind's potential. In Sri Lanka, AIESEC operates in the Moratuwa, Kelaniya, Sri Jayawardanapura and Colombo universities and has around 100 members.

To show how this basic idea of AIESEC works in reality, AIESEC members and trainees organized "Diversity" - a concert as the interaction of all the cultures that came together in Sri Lanka through AIESEC.

And so the audience was able to see the foreigners in Kandyan sarees and sarongs, together with their Sri Lankan hosts singing songs like 'Mage Oru Kandath Dhiralla', 'Mango Kalu Nande', 'Mame Ape Kalu Mame', 'Surangani' and 'Tharuna Jeewethe Ape Venodeyen' and dancing the Sri Lankan Kalagedi Dance, Stick Dance, Japanese Fan Dance.

They could also see Sri Lankan students singing Lithuanian, Russian, Slovak and Japanese songs, doing a Czech duet and even excelling in a challenging Slovak dance.

It took these AIESEC'ers several months to practise and organize the whole event, but it was definitely worth all the effort.

Different people, different cultures, different colours, different languages and countries on one stage, in one world.

Sunil Peiris, Director of Arpico Exports, which is one of the companies that hosted AIESEC interns wrote back to "compliment and congratulate the participants for a very high level of aesthetic skills displayed at the concert.

The level of competence far surpassed my imagination," he said, "Congratulations on getting up a show of such a high standard."

Thanks for this effort must go to Chanura - the "father of the idea", Suchinta - the wonderful dance teacher, Jude - the amazing music teacher and the Organizing Committee and all those sponsors who made it possible to have such an event.

The proceeds from the concert were given to the Lamagramaya children's orphanage in Hanwella.

(The writer is an AIESEC Trainee in Sri Lanka)

Kandy gets in focus
By Thiruni Kelegama
"Young kids with a passion…" That's what you would call these enthusiastic youngsters.

So what are these people passionate about? Well, photography. And it is this love for photography that led them to form a Photographic Federation.

"The federation was the brainchild of the students of St. Anthony's College, Kandy.

The original idea came from Mr. Susantha Kandaddarage, from the Senkadagala Photographers Circle," says the present President of the Federation, Kanishka Munasinghe. "They certainly started it with a bang last year!"

The main reason to form such a federation, which has encouraged 15 schools from the Kandy district to join in, was to make sure that the talent would not be wasted.

"There are so many young people out there within Kandy and its suburbs who do not get the recognition they deserve. Becoming a member of the Federation provides them with enough opportunities to improve themselves and gain the recognition they deserve," adds Kanishka.

So what does this federation do? It promotes young talent, and makes sure that all young photographers in and around Kandy meet and share ideas.

They also organize workshops to improve their skills.

"These workshops are held three times a year. The first workshop, which was an outdoor photography workshop, was held in 2001 at St. Anthony's College Kandy, as they were the founder members. The Former President of the Institute of Sri Lankan Photographers conducted this workshop."

The next workshop was held at Trinity College Kandy.

This was an Indoor Flash Workshop, where all aspiring photographers were taught how to photograph professional models and to do portraits and most importantly, how to be a professional.

"Then there was also the outdoor photography workshop held in the wilderness of Udawattekele last year," says Kanishka. "The photographs taken at the workshop are generally exhibited at the next workshop. The instructors take a look at them and offer advice on how we can improve our technique and better ourselves."

The instructors for these workshops were mainly Mr. Vijitha Wickramaratne, the President of the Institute of Sri Lankan Photographers, Mr. Susantha Kandaddarage, and Mr. Palitha Handunge, the Treasurer of the Senkadagala Photographers Circle.

This year the Federation organized three workshops.

The first one was held at Mahamaya College Kandy, where Hemantha Arunasiri from the University of Peradeniya conducted the workshop.

The focus was on an indoor slide show, on photographs and the proper manner to take them, and how to recognize a winning shot.

The second workshop emphasized archaeological sites such as Gadaladeniya and Lankathilake.

The emphasis was on showing the architectural beauty of the surroundings.

The final workshop for this year was conducted at Peradeniya Gardens, by Berty Gunasekara and Udeni Alwis.

However, the main event for the Kandy District Students Photographic Federation is the Islandwide Photographic Competition amongst school children.

This was the first of its kind ever to be organized in Sri Lanka, and 19 schools took part.

The finalists' entries were exhibited last year, alongside the winning entries of Nature Photographer 2002.

This year too, the Federation is organizing the islandwide photographic exhibition to be sponsored once again by Hayleys Fuji Film.

The exhibition will be held on July 11, 12, 13, and 14, and once again the exhibits will be displayed alongside the winning entries of Nature Photographer 2003.

Awards will be given to the best three black and white and colour photographs.

The closing date for the competition is July 1.

Any number of entries can be sent in, and anyone who wishes to obtain an entry form can call 08- 232795, or write to:

Kanishka Munasinghe
Kandy District
Photographic Federation,
Lane off Damunupola Mawatha,
So what are you waiting for? Get clicking away.

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