AIESEC Sri Lanka, Event, Leadership, Membership

I was at CATALYST 3.0 – An Experience of a Lifetime

“If you can’t run, then walk; if you can’t walk, then crawl, but no matter what, don’t give up. Keep going forward.”

 

I’ll start by defining the term “catalyst.” It is a material that speeds up a chemical process without changing chemically in the long run. Simply, it refers to a circumstance, occurrence, or somebody that brings about a material alteration. AIESEC in SLIIT organized its Leadership Development Seminar, Catalyst 3.0, to improve and cultivate its members’ leadership abilities. We’ll see how it stimulated the membership and our organization.

 

Catalyst 3.0 was a two-day conference, and Disnaka Ranasinghe, a.k.a. “Diske,” served as our Chair. I believe he was a friendly individual who gave every session the “vivace” needed. How are you feeling? The Chair would inquire. From the start, the membership was motivated to respond to him, and this enthusiasm persisted through the last day’s final session. This energy alone demonstrates how well the executive board of AIESEC in SLIIT, the organizing committee of CATALYST 3.0,  and the Chair organized and led the sessions.

 

Consequently, our Chair welcomed us in the initial session and made a stunning appearance before talking about how he started his AIESEC journey. We did our outbound training later that day, following lunch. There were about 15 team games to play, and each one had its twists, simultaneously making them both challenging and enjoyable. Each team member needed to get along with the others to execute the strategies and win the games. One thing I’ve always noticed about AIESEC is that while everything the organization does on the surface may seem like entertainment, the motto, lead, innovate and evolve, is deeply ingrained into it. Catalyst 3.0 is an excellent example of it.

 

 

Catalyst 3.0 had a theme party and a variety of informative seminars. Still, my favorite was the final one, “Dreaming,” which was one of the most moving and pivotal moments for AIESEC in SLIIT. At the time of Catalyst 3.0, AIESEC in SLIIT was still an official expansion. Our Chair phrased, “If you can’t run, then walk; if you can’t walk, then crawl, but no matter what, don’t give up. Keep going forward,” and that is precisely what we did. All the members held on to each other, and we started walking towards an imaginary line step by step without stopping; everyone was determined to make our Official Expansion becoming a Local Committee dream a reality. Eventually, we crossed the line in a simulation.

Moreover, we did become the 6th Local Committee of AIESEC Sri Lanka only a few weeks following  CATALYST 3.0.

 

And there is no doubt that CATALYST 3.0 catalyzed the dream that the Local Committee has long had!

 

Penned by Easara Weerasinghe

Content Writer, AIESEC in SLIIT

 

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AIESEC Sri Lanka, Event, Partnerships, Travel

Exploring Sri Lankan Culture through Teaching – Global Classroom 2.0

The project begins!

The beginning of September was marked with a promise of new experience for the AIESECers in the university of Kelaniya. Global Classroom, the AIESEC contribution towards the betterment of education in Sri Lanka reopened for the second time. With the title Global Classroom 2.0, the project started with new Exchange participants and a new organizing committee. Teaching in Sri Lanka was not just about teaching for the project. It was a journey planned for teaching, sharing culture, and to find themselves facing challenges in a new terrain. This was, in the experience of exchange participants and the organizing committee, a landmark which helped their personalities take shape.

The approval set the course for the journey of three exchange participants; Brian Muraya from Kenya, Eleni Papaefthymiou from Greece and Gulcan Ebru from Turkey. They arrived in the first week of September, a few days before the commencement of the project.

Expectations

At the ceremonial end of their Global Classroom journey, we asked how they felt about their whole experience. 

“I was relying a lot on the media, before I came here. When I did, I learned that Sri Lanka was different to what I saw in them,” said Brian. “People here are happy and ever smiling” He says. “I wanted to teach my students and I wanted to learn about the culture and the people.” 

“My best moments apart from traveling were interacting with kids. I learned the way they think, which was a rewarding experience.” Brian remarked recalling his students at LEEDS International in Negombo.

Elen, who worked at the WISE international, Kandana, told us that what she expected first from here was to be safe. And in the comfort of working with the students she told us how much she enjoyed teaching. “Today, my students learned that we were leaving soon. Most of the children told me ‘don’t go, Elen teacher, live here’ and I felt so touched by that.” Elen expects to continue in her path to become a teacher in Greece. We witnessed ourselves how much she had bonded with her students at the final day event.

Gulcan worked with Elen at WISE international with Elen teaching students of the primary section. She also aspires to become a math teacher, which she claims has become a more clear ambition after this project. “The best part of the project for me too was working with the students. In teacher’s day, I saw the pure love they had and I just love them for that.”

Incoming Preparation Seminar and Work Experience

The Incoming Preparation Seminar of the project happened soon after the arrival of the exchange participants. There we explained them further their role as a volunteer working in the Global Classroom project. More importantly, they got to experience some of the cultural food items, and some rituals of Sri Lanka.

Searching for beauty

In addition to the teaching in their allocated schools, traveling and experiencing Sri Lankan culture was what occupied them. They travelled to Galle and the Colombo city, seeking for more memories. Some of the religious icons they found, evoked their curiosity, and told us later how much similar they found this religiousness with their countries. The sun bathed city of Galle was another mesmerizing landscape that captured the minds of the EPs.

One of the ER partners for the project, Ape Panthiya, was one such experience that granted the EPs one such experience to engage with students of Advanced Levels. With them, Brian shared his culture, and his knowledge of his country and leaving with them the curiosity to inspire them to understand his culture.

 

The Final Day Event

The end crawled near for the project with the second week of October. And the OC of the project had to announce its officiality. To make the effect of the project even more impactful the OC decided to donate the many and the best books to the WISE International they found hunting especially for the event. The book donation took place on the 14th, with the participation of all the exchange participants.

Farewell

The OC arranged the farewell on the same day as the final day event. The OC had found a lovely beachside restaurant: Light House Galley facing the ocean met at the Galle face. Officially gathering for the last day, all the EPs and the OC got their chance to talk about the experience, the best and the funniest, the scary and the challenging moments of their journey. We shared all the stories over a final Sri Lankan style meal that we would take together, which we all took time to savor.

Brian, Ellen and Gulcan at the farewell

Also, we made it an opportunity to celebrate Elen’s 23rd birthday that arrived two weeks earlier on the day of Galle tour. A cake was brought on her behalf and everyone joined to sing for a marvelous 23rd. Another ER partner, Gamage Stores, offered us some of their art and crafts, miniature versions of ancient Sri Lankan cultural artifacts as souvenirs for the EPs, which we presented to them near the end of the event. Throughout this concluding event that carved in every one of them unforgettable memories, a spectrum of emotions was committed to pixels, so that everyone in the project could reminisce time and again.

End of a journey…

Only a week remained for the EPs to bid farewell to their students, and the new bonds they made working in a country foreign to them. Elen and Gulcan decided to work with the students at WISE to the last day they could. The bond they made with kids made it difficult, even at the end of the project to leave.

Brian, who found the people and the culture of Sri Lanka fascinating, traveled to Matara and Pinnawala to add more vibrance to the experience he wanted to remember. And in the third week of October, the time came for the EPs to say their goodbyes to the students. And so the project Global Classroom 2.0 ended, with many points of history in their memories as a series of experiences in which they rediscovered themselves.

the OC and the EPs

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Event, Leadership

Tribute’22

“Success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life; it’s about what you inspire others to do.”

Tribute ‘22 was definitely one of the most glamorous nights I’ve ever experienced since my outset as a member of AIESEC in University of Sri Jayewardenepura. Joining AIESEC as a novice to the culture and ways of the organization, my only intent in joining was to network with a wider University crowd. Going forward with new skills and developing into a molded leader was the last thing in my mind and it is fair to say that Tribute ’22, as prestigious as it was, has changed my direction with AIESEC for the better. 

As a part of the membership I have always signed myself up for events, not because the events had any relevance to me but because as an AIESECer the culture within our organization has always intrigued me. It was the same scenario when I registered as a delegate for Tribute ‘22. Initially, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to attend given that it was going to be a very formal event and I remember asking my friend whether there will be Jives (Which is my favorite of all the cultural aspects) and these were her exact words, “Let’s get ourselves registered, I mean where else are we going to find a time to dress up in saree and of course, there will be jives”. So I got myself registered and was very excited in the process of doing so, and never would I have ever thought that this night was going to be a turning point for me. 

The evening of the 27th of May, I and my friend arrived at the venue at BMICH only to find the most lively-looking and splendorful sight. The reservation was indeed the definition of glamour and was flooded with the smartly and charmingly dressed membership and their parents. The venue reflected all the hard work and dedication the Organizing Committee of Tribute ‘22 had steered even into the smallest of details in preparing this very ornate awarding ceremony. Whilst entering the venue we could not resist taking a few pictures with the perfectly assembled decor. Following the capture of elegance in photographs, we confirmed our attendance at the registration table where the in-charges were very polite and helpful and afterward we were accommodated to our seating where we united with fellow peer AIESECers. 

The evening officially commenced around 4:30 p.m. and was initiated with lighting the traditional oil lamp and playing the University anthem. Following the accustomed ways in accord with the agenda, the organizing committee had prepared a very thoughtful and endearing session to appreciate all the encouraging parents of the AIESECers who were present that evening where they were all tributed with a flowering plant as a token of reflecting the amazing job they had done raising and nurturing the future leadership of the country.

The presenting of awards was next in line of the ceremony which is what I would describe as a gesture of mere encouragement to all us novice AIESEcers. While Tribute was all about appreciating talent and dedication that has been persevering throughout the preceding term this I believe sparked a fire within the newbie AIESECer in me to do better, to give my best of ability to perform within and outside of the entity. Every award given out added new fuel to the lighting spark within me which had me yearning to do more of what I did, to dedicate myself more within the organization, most importantly to take upon challenges and push through my comfort zone, and aspire to be the leader that AIESEC equips us to be. 

The evening formally came to an end with the floor being opened for jives and was started off with the jive of the organizing committee of Tribute ‘22. Dancing the evening away as a delegate of Tribute ‘22, I had gained much more than I had ever anticipated. As a member who had registered for the jives and the excitement of dressing up, I left that night with a dream to one day stand on the stage for the change I can make and to inspire yet another AIESECer like myself to be a part of something bigger than us while aspiring to take challenges and triumph our way forward.

By Oshadi De Silva

Jayewardenepura Showcasing Team

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AIESEC Sri Lanka, Event, Leadership

Revive

“Alone we can do so little; but together we can do so much more.”

“Revive”, a novel initiative organized by AIESEC in University of Sri Jayewardenepura was successfully held on the 13th of July. The initiative was conducted in order to address the current economic crisis that Sri Lanka is going through as a nation.

Revive was organized with the aim of engaging youth in seeking solutions for the present economic problems while creating awareness among the general public.

The forum was held at the DHPL Auditorium in Colombo with the participation of students, undergraduates and members of Youth Organizations at the DHPL Conference Center, Colombo. It was kicked off by the Keynote speaker, Mr. Peter D’Almeida who emphasized the importance of youth in this battle against the economic crisis and their significance as future leaders of this country. It was followed by a panel discussion which was graced by the participation of a very prominent panel of speakers who are well known among Sri Lankans. So the panel discussion was conducted by Dr. Dinesh Hamangoda, Mr. Dhananath Fernando, Mr. Heminda Jayaweera and Mr.Tharindu Ameresekere, and it was moderated by Ms. Ashinsanie Weerasinghe who made sure that their views and perspectives on combating this crisis was well delivered.

At a time where petrol queues, daily power cuts, shortage of essential food was a common sight, Revive brought into the spotlight the methods that could be used to lift our heads from the crisis. And it was able to reach 330+ registrations surpassing the targeted delegate count of 100 – 150 delegates. Furthermore, Revive was able to join with the delegates live via the AIESEC Sri Lanka Facebook Page as well as on our multiple Network Partners surpassing a reach of 1900 views. 

Launching the Revive Magazine was the highlight of the event. The official magazine for Revive included articles and other creative content from our delegates together with messages from our partners, which showcased the influence brought by Revive to wider society. The magazine was compiled with 20+ delegate articles in which they expressed how much of an influence the crisis has brought on their lives along with their own innovative solutions. Revive magazine was distributed among the panelists and other distinguished guests at the event day. 

This forum would have not turned out to be a success if not for the benevolent partners of Revive, including our Strategic Partner – Hemas Consumer Brands, the Professional Education Partner – CIMA Sri Lanka, Wisdom Business Academy and PrintXcel Group as Deluxe Partners, Empowerment Partner, Curve Up followed by the Media Partners, Ada Derana Business and Good PR, Print Media Partner Ceylon Today, Digital Media Partner Arteculate Asia. This event was accompanied by Ada Derana 24 as the Official Electronic Media Partner while Japura Flames contributed as the University Media Partner along with Eclipse Motion as the Live streaming Partner. Revive is also grateful for the Magazine partner – Aitken Spence, Printing and Packaging, Stationery Partner – Sadeepa Bookshop and Printing Partner – WeAds followed by the banner, food and gift partners that supported effectively to the success of Revive for the massive impact it has created. Requoting one of the delegates from the event,

“I just wanted tell that you all made a huge impact on the people who participated and contributed. That creates a cascade of other positive things and creates a change. Today was wonderful and you all made that happen.“

As the first ever forum solely focused on finding solutions for the current economic crisis in Sri Lanka organized by AIESEC in University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Revive was able to create a huge impact on youth empowerment to build a better society and a better country for the present and future generations. 

By Anudi Samarakoon

Jayewardenepura Showcasing Team

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Event, Lifestyle, Programs

Helping Hearts

I have always aspired to donate blood because I believe it will make a world of difference.

To donate blood is to be presented with a golden chance to help someone who is in need and contribute to their existence in some way or form. It is said that one pint of blood has the capacity to save up to three lives. This means it is an act of kindness which makes every blood donor a life saver.

This thought has always fascinated me and was a driving factor for my enthusiasm when AIESEC in USJ announced that they will be organizing a blood donation campaign called “Helping Hearts” in collaboration with our Buddhist Society on the 27th of July at the Sumangala Hall in University of Sri Jayawardenapura. 

It was my great pleasure to help organize this event alongside AIESEC and as it was a collaborative initiative with the Buddhist society, the anticipation for the event was even more exciting. The event was done in a grand scale due to this group effort and many posts and flyers regarding the Blood Donation project circulated around university and within AIESEC USJ as well. In the flyers, adequate information about the campaign was given and the requirements for blood donation were informed to the potential donors prior to the event to ensure they met the criteria.  

On the day of the donation campaign, I came early to prepare and arrange the venue for the event. Ten medical officers soon arrived with the equipment necessary for donating blood. Members of the organizing committee were carefully allocated to handle each section of the process from registering donors to providing food and refreshments after blood was donated. Many students from both AIESEC and the Buddhist Society also gave tremendous support by taking on tasks head on and doing so very diligently. Due to this teamwork, there was a harmonious flow to the process which I thoroughly enjoyed looking at.  

I too wished to contribute to the cause by donating blood so I consulted the medical officers there to see if I am suitable as a donor. For this, I was first asked to provide basic information regarding myself and my health history since it’s my first time. Following this, I was instructed to check my weight, blood pressure, pulse, temperature as well as testing my blood. There was a waiting line because there were many people ready to donate blood but soon I was taken in by one of the medical officers and told to rest so the donation can begin.

 

The medical officers were extremely kind and helpful throughout the process of donating blood and AIESECers were also present to provide any support needed to me and the other donors at all times. After the blood donation was complete, I was guided to a chair to rest. All donors were provided with a slice of cake, a fish bun, a milk packet and a King Coconut drink for refreshments. What I found thoughtful and sweet was that donors were gifted a ‘thank you’ key tag after donating. I remember as I sat down, a sense of contentment washed over me because I felt genuine happiness for contributing to the blood donation campaign.

It was indeed a memorable experience.

By  Dunali Wanasinghe

Jayewardenepura Showcasing Team

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