Sri Lanka Foundation International was established in Los Angeles as a Non-Profit organization in June 2003. SLF awards ceremony which began as a US based stage has now turned into a world class international stage, set up for Sri Lankan expatriates with dignity and grace. Their mission is to educate the citizens of the world on Sri Lanka and the achievements of her people, to empower and inspire hope for improved lives and livelihoods of Sri Lankans and related communities around the world. With their mission and vision in mind, they set out to educate the public about the achievements of Sri Lankans both in the US and worldwide. Since its inception, the Sri Lanka Foundation International has paid tribute to well over 150 Sri Lankan expatriates across the globe for excellence in their achievements. Sunday November 18th 2018, came another day of festivities at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Downtown Los Angeles. For the tenth year, they gathered to honor seventeen of our countrymen and women, who have excelled in their own unique way, to reach great heights. The morning commenced with a very warm welcome to all eminent winners, distinguished guests, family members and well wishers approximately 450 of them, followed by an hours of cocktail with a meet and greet gathering.
At 12 noon the colossal carved wooden doors opened to the Crystal Ballroom, which was beautifully bedecked with hues of multi coloured décor all around, in keeping with the theme of the day. All guests were welcomed and introductions of the Awardees were presented by the Masters of Ceremony. As customary, the National Anthems sung, and the presentation of awards began with a blast. The most projected highlight of the day began with the winners being announced for their prestigious awards. With pride to our motherland Sri Lanka, all high achievers walked towards the stage clad in bow-tie and traditional flamboyant sarees to receive their Outstanding Performance by a Young Professional Awards, Srimerican Award, Exceptional Achievement Awards and for the first time this year Outstanding Performance by a Young Professional – Junior Category Award. The preliminary awards were completed, which was followed by a scrumptious lunch laid out in the Tiffany Room, for all those present to enjoy. Delicious it was! This was followed a performance by guest artist Rukshan Perera rendering his golden oldies of songs of the 70’s and 80’s.
While guests were enjoying the appetizing spread, Elegance by Anarkalli Aakarssha took to the runway with a choreographed up-market and stylish fashion show with her philosophy as in– ‘Just be yourself and be comfortable”. The catwalk opened to fifteen gorgeous young women all dressed up in silks and soft cotton collections. The models paraded in hues of colour with elite prints on kaftans, knee length, off-the-shoulder dresses and much more. An amazing job, well done by Anarkalli, as always! Immediately followed by the next sequence of awards for Lifetime Achievement Awards and Presidents Award. To top it all this year, there was a big surprise for the President’s Award. Dr. Walter Jayasinghe had decided to give out an additional Presidential Award, which was bestowed to Shirani Stanislaus, Chief Operations Officer of Sri Lanka Foundation and Company Secretary for Walter J. Group of Companies. This coveted award was given to Shirani for her hard work, integrity, loyal, reliable, and uprightness towards Dr. Walter and Aeshea Jayasinghe and their extended families for the past 37 years. It was definitely a fitting tribute to Shirani who has left no stone unturned to make Dr. Jayasinghe’s empire what it is today.
As the saying goes “Actions speak louder than words”, and her actions did prove to be real loud on November 18th, 2018. Hats off to Shirani!!! Last but not least, the dance floor opened to all dance lovers. The sounds of the oldies came from none other than Colorblind with Tony & Nicola in attendance, who serenaded for those who were on the floor with ballroom, twist, jive, and various forms of dance. The ambience was great within the Crystal Ballroom. For Founder Dr. Walter Jayasinghe, it was a day of pride, joy, passion,friendship, love and most importantly his mission and vision come true, in more ways than one. The celebratory and joyous moments came to a close when the colossal doors closed at 7:00 pm and everyone left with many glowing compliments to Dr. Jayasinghe, Aeshea Jayasinghe, Dr. Dishan Jayasinhe and staff of the Sri Lanka Foundation.