speech on humanity wins coveted prize
'Humanity…is there any hope?'
was the topic that brought Sri Lankan Dhananjaya Hettiarachchi
success at the International Taped Speech Contest conducted
by Toastmasters' International where he won the coveted
prize, competing against 10,000 other participants across
|Dananjaya Hettiarachchi with Dr.Dillip
He certainly made his country proud
when he received the award at the Hall of Fame in Washington
DC, proving that a Sri Lankan can excel in the international
arena too. His message that was analyzed by an All-American
panel of judges was simple: "Hope of humanity lies
with every individual rather than with political leaders,"
he said, revealing a strong personal opinion on conflicts
occurring locally, in the Middle East and between US
and Iraq where priorities of both parties seem to lie
in grabbing natural resources.
The ceremony that saw contributors
to the movement from around the world was unbelievable,
he says. President of Toastmasters International, Dr.
Dilip Abayasekera was delighted that a fellow countryman
had won the title. Not only did the occasion help boost
his confidence, Dhananjaya now feels he is geared to
equip young people with similar skills. "I would
like to contribute to an attitudinal change," he
His speech delivered extempore was
analyzed for vocal variety, vocabulary, structure and
content. To be able to qualify for the contest, Dhananjaya
who happens to be the Vice President - Education of
the Smedley and Ralph Clubs in the country was a finalist
at the South Asian Best Speakers' Conference, apart
from winning several awards locally.
Preparing speeches is apparently a
gift he is blessed with, normally preparing the structure
in his mind before practising it at least 50 times.
"All I keep before me are key phrases that help
trigger sentences and emotions," says he. His constant
source of encouragement has been his mentor Arunasalam
Balraj and his parents.
A CIMA student, Dhananjaya has conducted
speech craft programmes for software companies and is
an active member of Toastmasters. Notably, he is also
an outstanding ballroom dancer. The multi-talented youth
speaks of the strange interconnection between the two
disciplines of speaking and dancing. "While the
former is a verbal expression of emotions, the latter
is a bodily expression of the feelings inside."
A former student of St. Thomas' who
excelled in various sports such as swimming and rugby,
Dhananjaya took pride in being a member of the Sri Lanka
Cadet Corps. Inspired by army leaders, he has wanted
to join the army ever since. However, respecting his
parents' wishes he is yet to choose his career path,
although he is very keen on contributing to the betterment
of society and the country at large.