countries on one stage
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!
Japanese fan dance
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.
companies and university students with experiences involving international
student exchange. The international organization is run by students
in 800+ universities in 87 countries worldwide.
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
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.
also see Sri Lankan students singing Lithuanian, Russian, Slovak
and Japanese songs, doing a Czech duet and even excelling in a challenging
It took these
AIESEC'ers several months to practise and organize the whole event,
but it was definitely worth all the effort.
different cultures, different colours, different languages and countries
on one stage, in one world.
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."
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.
from the concert were given to the Lamagramaya children's orphanage
is an AIESEC Trainee in Sri Lanka)
gets in focus
"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.
was the brainchild of the students of St. Anthony's College, Kandy.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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
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.
workshop emphasized archaeological sites such as Gadaladeniya and
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.
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
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.
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
be given to the best three black and white and colour photographs.
date for the competition is July 1.
of entries can be sent in, and anyone who wishes to obtain an entry
form can call 08- 232795, or write to:
Lane off Damunupola Mawatha,
So what are you waiting for? Get clicking away.