Youth Speak Forum 2017

By Natasha Perera

Youth speak forum 2017 organized by AIESEC in Sri Lanka was held on the 11th of March 2017 at Trace Expert City Maradana. Success was a definite win for the event as the delegates rushed through the doors prior to the set time of the forum which was set to 9.00 a.m. Delegates walked in with excitement and enthusiasm. As the organizing committee was on their feet making sure the delegates find their seats, Youth Speak Forum commenced.

A sense of electrical wave was running through as the crowd responded with a cheerful greeting. Sandaru Karunasiri (Member Committee Vice President – Outgoing Global Volunteer) delightfully began the event with an enchanting greeting. Mr.Karunasiri warmly welcomed the delegation and educated briefly on what Youth Speak Forum is about with an overview of the forum. Without further due the first guest speaker for the day was introduced to take over. The crowd was energetic as Mr. Uchita De Zoysa (Senior Advisor – Ministry of sustainable development and wildlife ) took on the stage with a blaze. A charismatic speech was given by Mr.De Zoysa as he focused thoroughly on the Importance of the role of the youth in achieving sustainable development goals in Sri Lanka. Approaching towards the end of Mr.De Zoysa’s marvelous and inspiring speech, the delegation had a detailed understanding on what sustainable development goals are and most importantly they understood why we as the youth should be responsible for the future of in promoting sustainable living. With the end of the first key note speech scheduled for the day, the delegates prepared themselves for the second key note speech of the day. Mr.Karunasiri then welcomed Ms.Sonu Grover ( Country Manager for Coca-Cola ) to the stage and she made quite an entrance. Her sense of captivation fled right across the hall. Known to be a very knowledgeable lady she did not disappoint. Her focus was on gender equality and economic growth as the forum was mainly focused on the most voted sustainable development goals for the forum which was “Gender Equality” and “Good jobs and economic growth”. As she spoke descriptively on “Gender Equality” she gave the delegates a remarkable understanding of women being successful in the corporate world. As her key note speech came to a successful end the delegates were given refreshments to revitalize their energy and prepare for the final key note speech. Finally, the third key note speaker was introduced to stage with a great round of applause. A sense of enigma was buzzing as Miss. Chandi Dharmarathne (Senior Director Human Resources – Virtusa Corporation) took on the stage. She was taking on a fusion as she was describing the importance of developing one’s self in the corporate sector whilst fixating on how women should be daring when stepping into the gender driven corporate world. She empowered and encouraged the delegates to promote gender equality in the corporate world as she was explaining the current disappointing status of women in the corporate world with facts and figures. It is safe to say that Miss. Chandi Dharmarathne’s speech was a definite mind blower. As the final key note speech ended Mr.Dinesh Saparamadu (CEO of hSenid ) made a surprise website launch which made all delegates feel honorable to witness.

The delegates re-acquainted themselves as the next most educational occurrence was about to proceed. But, lack of energy was sensed as the delegates looked worn out. As AIESECers we did what we always do. Although, most of the delegates seemed lost and clearly seemed un-aware of “Roll-calls” rather “Jives” they did not hesitate to participate. The delegates were pumped with vitality by the end of a few known roll-calls rather Jives.

Mr.Karunasiri then proceeded with the introduction of the Panel Discussion. The moderator for the set panel discussion was a well-known fervent lady who goes by the name Amaya Wijesinghe. She took her seat on stage and without hesitation introduced the guest panelists invited for the panel discussion. The four guest panelists included Mr.Dinesh Saparamadu ( CEO of hSenid), Sandun Fernando (Senior Consultant of 3W Consulting (pvt) Ltd, Ramaaya Salgoda (Program analyst – UN women) and Mrs.Upulka Samarakoon ( Head of Human Resource – Hemas Holdings ). The panel discussion was mainly focused on the two sustainable development goals “Gender Equality” and “Good Jobs and economic growth”. The discussion was held based on pressing issues such as disputes women face in the work force, discrimination in the corporate world regarding gender, possible economic growth strategies, etc. These were just a glimpse of the topics that were discussed and the eagerness of the delegates was well shown off as they challenged the panel with doubts of their own. The panel sure shot back with enlightening and persuasive responses in order to empower the delegates. The panel discussion also ended with a great success as we believe it motivated the delegates on how they can make a change with regards to the discussed content.

With a quick start Mr.Karunasiri introduced the networking session (Work Shops) which was set for two hours. Many corporate and non-profit organizational influential leaders took up the challenge in increasing awareness for the present delegates which was related to the focused sustainable development goals which once again was “Gender Equality” and “Good Jobs and Economic Growth”. The networking session was commenced with Mr. Mr.Koshitha Peramunugame (Head of Singer Business School ) and Ms.Ramaaya Salgoda ( Program Analyst ). The two individuals were at ease as the delegates acquainted themselves in the allocated networking session. Mr.Koshitha Peramunugame’s main focal point of the networking session was “Corporate success”. He raised awareness on how a young individual should climb the corporate ladder whilst improving rather developing and acquiring the criteria that is being set by the corporate sector today. Whilst Mr.Koshitha Peramunugame was conducting an educational workshop, Ms.Ramaaya Salgoda was discussing about women empowerment in general. She addressed the current status of Sri Lanka in related to gender equality by highlighting the flaws that should be omitted in the years to come. Purpose was to inform and make the delegates aware in order to identify effective solutions. As the first networking session ended the second networking session began. Mr.Senel Wanniarachchi (Hashtag Generation) and Mr.Dhanika Perera (Entrepreneur ). The delegates were once again allocated accordingly as preferred. Mr. Senel Wanniarachchi was empowering the delegates on how we as the youth should take on the responsibility in promoting gender equality as we are the future leaders who has the power to unlock a better future. The delegates seemed motivated and enthusiastic in creating a gender equal society. Whilst magic was created in one corner of the hall we had young entrepreneurs being made at the other end of the hall as Mr.Dhanika Perera educated the delegates on how to be innovative and creative leaders who can outshine in the corporate world. His tips were certainly were golden and definitely to be considered. The networking session ended with a bang as we witnessed the delegates filled with energy, passion and motivation.

With the end of the lunch break we moved on to the highlight of the evening. The magical moment where a new change will be brought in by our motivated, passionate and energetic delegates who were consider to be the future leaders. Mr.Karunasiri introduced the essence of the event, the “Action Space”. The words definitely did speak for itself as the young delegates got an opportunity to team up and design new projects that would benefit the society and overlook the issues that arise in regards to ‘Gender Equality’ and ‘Decent work and economic growth’. “Action Space” was conducted by two important personalities, Sohan Wijegunawardana ( Member Committee Vice President – Marketing and Communication and Elect Member Committee President – 17/18 )and Tharinduni Desilva ( Member Committee Vice President – Public Relations ).It was mesmerizing as we witnessed young minds brainstorm and contribute to make and be the change the society needs desperately. Delegates got an opportunity to present their ideas in teams, and building up rather creating projects were done with innovative thinking, passion and motivation. The energy that was spread across the hall was definitely felt beneath our bones only because we witnessed the most monumental moment of the day. Event concluded with a pledge taken up by the youth which was chanted loudly with passion and motivation. The youth promised to work hard to take responsibility to make an impact. This definitely gave everyone an assurance and satisfaction because the result of the forum gave us a glimpse of the future leaders to come and that was priceless as we speak.

Youth Speak Forum ended successfully with tears in many eyes as we had confidence in the future to come. Youth Speak Forum definitely flew over the expectations set and that was heartwarming to experience. With that Youth Speak Forum 2017 ended. The ultimate goal of the forum was to empower and motivate the youth and just like that we did!!

AIESEC Winter Global Village 2017

AIESEC Global Village is held once every term and is the biggest celebration of cultures from around the world. People showcase their nations through singing, dancing, food, customs, costumes, music and traditions. Global Village encourages social sustainability, world awareness, and cultural understanding.

AIESEC in Sri Lanka Global Village for Winter 2017, was concluded successfully at Arcade Independence Square, Colombo on the 27th of January 2017.

AIESEC in Sri Lanka performs more than 1000 exchanges each year for various projects and the Global Village is a diverse cultural festival with these Exchange Participants celebrating their culture and sharing it with the world. At AIESEC, harmony in diversity is promoted. Global Village is one such example.

This year, Global Village saw a crowd of over 250 Exchange Participants from around the world and about 300 AIESECers from across Sri Lanka. International Volunteers from more than 20 countries showcased their unique cultures to an enthusiastic crowd. At the same time, an interesting lineup of events held the audience mesmerized throughout the evening.

Spectators were given a chance to vote and determine the best stall and best item of the event. Egypt was elected as the best stall and Project Droplet from SLIIT and Project GOC Waves from AIESEC in University of Sri Jayawardenapura  took home the prize for best items.

The Organizing Committee took a moment to thank the Member Committee of AIESEC in Sri Lanka for their guidance, the generous sponsors Royal Touch Events and NowYouSeeMe as well as the support of the Local Committees and Expansions of AIESEC in Sri Lanka which contributed greatly to the success of Global Village.

Wu Lan from Project Ketayam, Kandy about Global Village;

“Global Village was a wonderful activity, which brought our Spring Festival a special meaning, especially when we were abroad. With amazing music and dancing, we enjoyed ourselves and learnt about Sri Lanka culture. Together with our friends from China and other countries, we spent a happy evening and gave a great dance performance. Recalling the laughing around the Independence Square, a sense of happiness and achievement arises from the bottom of my heart.”

Global Village was indeed a refreshing and enjoyable experience for everyone present. It would be fair to say that we got closer to achieving our goal as AIESECers of becoming world citizens, after the night’s proceedings.

Internation volunteers performing at AIESEC Winter Global Village 2017

AIESEC in Sri Lanka was acclaimed with the Electrolux Cluster 3 Excellence Award

AIESEC_Sri-lanla-ic-award

The 68th AIESEC International Congress was held in Warsaw, Poland, from 14 th to 23 rd of August 2016. It is deemed a significant event in the AIESEC calendar, that brings together high-calibre youth from all over the world, and fosters in them the leadership potential to shape the future for a better world.

IC 2016 was undoubtedly a remarkable milestone in the long journey undertaken by AIESEC in Sri Lanka. Electrolux Award Ceremony which takes place at IC, receives a great deal of attention, as it brings to light the most effective national member committees every year. This year, AIESEC in Sri Lanka was acclaimed with the Electrolux Cluster 3 Excellence Award, as an accolade for the unique impact it has been creating over the years.

It is for the first time in twelve years the entity was held in high regard at an International Congress. Being a small entity in the Asia Pacific region, AIESEC in Sri Lanka has been striving for excellence throughout its history of 20 years, while persevering through difficult times too. So this award is worth the wait! At IC 2016, AIESEC in Sri Lanka manifested its excellence as an entity, in inspiring the youth to make brave actions happen.

Samith Siriwardena, Member Committee President of AIESEC in Sri Lanka 2015/2016 
“It is with great pride that I pen down these thoughts on our recent achievement. At the beginning of our term we faced so many challenges but those challenges couldn’t stop us because we as an entity were focused on continuous improvement. Finally the hard work of the membership of AIESEC in Sri Lanka, paid off and I am very proud to say that after 12 years AIESEC in Sri Lanka won the Global Excellence Award. But most importantly it is far bigger than an award because we believe AIESEC enables young people to explore their leadership potential and help them to become better versions of themselves. It is about the development of the youth in Sri Lanka, hundreds of exchange experiences for local and international students, numerous social projects on SDGs and the impact on thousands of people in Sri Lanka. It is the impact that we have created throughout the year to make a better Sri Lanka.”
Kaneru Godagama, Local Committee President of Colombo Central LC 2015/2016
“Congratulations to AIESEC in Sri Lanka for its recognition at the global arena. On behalf of AIESEC Colombo Central Executive Board 2015/16, it is my utmost pleasure, extending my sincere gratitude to everyone who worked towards a better version of themselves and to empower others. Good luck in delivering many more high quality experiences”
 
Sohan Wijegunawardhana, Local Committee President of Colombo North LC 2015/2016 
“Congratulations to AIESEC in Sri Lanka for this great achievement which is the dream of us for the last decade. This is the best example to prove the impact AIESEC is creating in Sri Lanka. As a Colombo North LC it is my honor to be a part of this great achievement. Wish you all the very best to deliver more and more life changing experiences in the future.”
 
Dehan Vithana, Local Committee President of Colombo South LC 2015/2016
“Congratulations to AIESEC in Sri Lanka for winning the Electrolux Cluster 3 Excellence Award at AIESEC International Congress 2016, Poland. This has proven the gravity of the impact that has been created by AIESEC in Sri Lanka by developing young leaders during the past years with utmost commitment and dedication. As AIESEC in Colombo South, it is a great pleasure and honour to be a part of this because together we could bring glory and grandeur to our motherland at the international plenary.”
Kalpa Nallahandi, Local Committee President of Jayawardenapura LC 2015/2016
“AIESEC In SRI LANKA did it again! So glad I could be a part of this great achievement. As the LCP of JLC in term 15/16 I would like to thank each and every member from all our local committees and expansions for dreaming this and sweating towards bring this honor to our entity!”