THE BRITISH SRI LANKAN ASSOCIATION (BRISLA) had much to celebrate at their annual Awards Ceremony held on 20th October 2023 at London’s Caledonian Club.
Established eight years ago by Chair, Dr Zimar Sivardeen, The BRISLA Awards were set up to recognise the achievements, hard work and the professionalism of individuals and organisations who are seen to embody BRISLA’s mission, and who bring inclusivity and a community-led spirit to their day to day lives.
The focus this year was on the ‘Leaders of the Future’ who will inspire and bring vision to their chosen fields. In their capacity as role models who have reached the pinnacle of their career and contribution to their particular industry, it is hoped they will mentor and create a forum for younger business people to realise their potential for leadership too.
2023 also marks an important year for Sri Lanka and the British Sri Lankan community, as it celebrates its Independence as a nation state, whilst participating in the wider realm of the Commwealth.
BRISLA, a not-for-profit organisation, brings together the diverse community of Sri Lankans from across the UK and provides a forum that facilitates co-operation between the two countries at an economic, educational, health and environmental level to acknowledge the rich history of both nations, and the creation of a framework that offers a cohesive, fair and prosperous society for all.
During the awards evening, Master of Ceremonies Mark Jones ensured everything ran smoothly, stating: “We received an extraordinarily high standard of nominations this year, and as such, the panel of judges had an extremely difficult task in shortlisting the winners. We would like to extend our congratulations to those who have received awards, and acknowledge the outstanding contributions that many others have made to their local communities across the UK.”
The glittering awards ceremony included Guests of Honour, The Rt. Hon.The Lord Naseby PC who gave a short speech on his experiences in Sri Lanka; Nirj Deva-Aditya DL, Senior Advisor to the Honourable President of Sri Lanka, who spoke about the importance of the East; Ben Mellor, Director of India and the Indian Ocean Directorate at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, spoke about the harmony and integration of both the British and Sri Lankan communities.
The Awards ceremony was graced by a sparkling dance performance given by the London based Kandyan Dancers Company, founded by Dilini Seneviratne.
Newly introduced awards for 2023 included ‘Local Champion of the Year’, which was won by Thushara Madurasinghe and the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ winner was Dr. Selva Pankaj.
The other award winners were Rajesh Pillai KC, for his ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Legal Profession’ Professor Maheshi Ramasamy for her ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Health Profession’ and Lukman Harees for his ‘Outstanding Contribution to Literature’. The Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Global Sustainability’ was made to Professor Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy and the ‘Excellence in Medicine’ award went to Dr. Reena Ravikumar.
Commenting on the evening, in his capacity as Chair of BRISLA, Dr Sivardeen, said: “We are delighted that our Guests of Honour were able to attend this celebration, which brings together the British Sri Lankan community and provides a voice to celebrate and recognise achievement.”
“The standard of entrants surpassed all previous years, so it was a challenge for the judges to decide on the final winners. We certainly hope that this forum will provide inspiration for any up-and-coming leaders in their field of expertise.”