Marking another milestone, the Sri Lanka Foundation International (SLFI) in Los Angeles California, celebrated its Bi-annual International Awards Ceremony to felicitate recipients with varied accomplishments they have acquired throughout their careers, and in reaching the peak of their professions. Sri Lanka Foundation International was established in Los Angeles as a Non-Profit organization in June 2003. Their mission is to educate the citizens of the world on Sri Lanka, its heritage, arts, crafts and the achievements of her people. Their Vision is 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 here in the US and worldwide. Since its inception the Sri Lanka Foundation International has paid tribute to a significant number of Sri Lankan expatriates across the globe for excellence in their achievements. It was a cool winter morning in Downtown Los Angeles, California on Sunday November 13th 2022, when once again the red carpet was rolled out at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, at 506 South Grand Avenue, to honour twenty-five of our very own fellow brethren, who have excelled in their own way, to reach their aspirations. The morning commenced with a very warm welcome to all eminent winners, distinguished guests, family members and well wishers, followed by an hours cocktails with a meet and greet gathering. The vibes in the room were exceptional with the ladies all in their dazzling ornate sarees as always looking radiant, whilst the gentlemen were in their usual bow-tie attire.
At 12:40 pm the enormous carved wooden doors opened to a large ballroom ‘Billtmore Bowl’, which was beautifully lit up with Crystal candelabra taper candle holder all around the ballroom, in keeping with the theme of the day. All guests were welcomed and an introduction of the Awardees were presented by the Master of Ceremony. As customary, National Anthems sung and welcome speeches were delivered by Dr. Walter Jayasinghe, Chairman and Dr. Dishan Jayasinha, President of Sri Lanka Foundation International, who inculcated to the audience their commitment and dedication to the event as well as their pride to see so many of our professionals walk up the stage to receive their awards, and for all those who have been here in the past. It is definitely a rewarding and resounding success, and a great pride for SLFI, thus far.
A beautifully abstracted traditional welcome dance, with body movement synchronized with the traditional rhythmic beats, choreographed and performed by Umendra Kahadawarachchi, Nirosha Wijegunasekera, Akila Palipana, of the Sri Lanka Foundation-Performing Arts Center took stage. This was followed by the most anticipated highlight of the day, as a fragment of the winners were announced. The first round of awardees were for ‘Rising Star’, ‘Outstanding Performance by a Young Professional and ‘Exceptional Achievement’, was presented. Two new categories of honours were also introduced into the list of awards this year – ‘Rising Star’ and ‘Outstanding Community Service Award’.
With the end of segment I of the awards ceremony, a scrumptious buffet lunch catering to everyone’s palate was very skillfully laid out. During lunch, the stage opened to a beautiful fashion show produced and presented by Achala Weerasinghe, Director of Cultural Affairs – SLFI. Seventeen stunning models displayed the creative line of luxury clothing by well-known Sri Lankan designers Shanith Fernando and Hiran Wijesekara. This kept the audience enthralled. Subsequent to the catwalk, recognition of past winners who were in attendance that afternoon was held, and a pause for two minutes’ was observed to pay tribute to two of our deceased Lifetime Award Winners of 2022.
With pride to our motherland Sri Lanka and heads held high, all exemplary achievers walked towards the stage to receive their awards, for the Srimerican of the Year Award, Life-Time Achievement Awards and the most coveted President’s Award. For all those in attendance it was a day of pride and joy. Especially to Chairman of Sri Lanka Foundation Dr. Walter Jayasinghe, who always desires the recipients to know that their work will be remembered for many years to come, and the significance of their action has the potential to create change and, most importantly, to encourage future generations to find their purpose, because their achievements more than anything would be the true measure of Sri Lanka Foundation’s success.
Soprano Tharanga Goonetilleke with Nicolas Roehler on the piano put together their rendition of her song that was enjoyed by all those present in the ballroom.
At 7:00 pm the grand finale of Sri Lanka Foundation Awards Ceremony came to a close, with countless compliments from all present.