Sri Lanka Foundation International Awards 2022 | Sunday Observer
Best of the Best

Sri Lanka Foundation International Awards 2022

6 November, 2022
Past awardees:  Dr. Ananda Guruge receives the Lifetime Achievement Award
Past awardees:  Dr. Ananda Guruge receives the Lifetime Achievement Award

The Sri Lanka Foundation International Awards, honouring excellence among the Sri Lankan expatriates will take place on November 13 in Los Angeles in the United States.

The ceremony recognising those in the Sri Lankan expatriate community whose work has had an essential impact on the lives of their contemporaries dates back to 2003 and continues to be the most prestigious event among Sri Lankan expatriates from around the world.

The aim of the ceremony is to make the awardees feel that their work is valued. It also shows approval and gratitude for their creativity and outstanding achievements and makes the broader community of Sri Lankans aware of their accomplishments. It serves to inspire the younger generation to achieve excellence in their chosen fields.

The Sri Lanka Foundation International awards ceremony is an event that takes place annually thanks to the vision and generous support of the founder and Chairman of the Board of the Foundation, Dr. Walter Jayasinghe, supported by its Vice President, Ms. Aeshea Jayasinghe.

Six categories

The awards are given in six categories to recognise the awardees at different stages of their work and careers, including Junior Awards for outstanding young achievers who have proved themselves to be on their way to achieving greatness as encouragement for them to continue to excel.

Among the recipients of the lifetime achievement award at the inaugural award ceremony in 2003 was Dr. Sarath Gunapala, who has had a distinguished career at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratories, being an outstanding scientist responsible for several instruments flown into space, including the Mars Rover.

The following year, among the lifetime achievement winners was Dr. Ananda Guruge, an outstanding scholar, author, diplomat, historian and professor.

Since then, winners have been world-renowned inventors, scientists, physicians, lawyers, engineers, academics, entrepreneurs, musicians, and artistes such as Rohan De. Saram, perhaps the best-known Sri Lankan Musician abroad, Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, Professor Emeritus of Global Health Institute, Imperial College London who was the President of the British Medical Association and the President of the Royal College of Gynaecologists in the U.K. Professor Malik Peiris, Professor of Public Health Laboratory Sciences, University of Hong Kong, Life Science Prize Laureate for his discoveries of SARS- CoV-1, with impact on combatting Covid-19 and emerging infectious diseases.

Prof. B. Mario Pinto, President, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Dr. Edmond Kulatilake who has attained eminence for his pioneering work in transplantation of a human kidney and the preservation of kidneys and setting up of transplant units in the UK, India, and Saudi Arabia.

The world-renowned astrophysicist Prof. Asoka Mendis; Senior Cardiologist, Inventor, and Educationist, Dr. Don Michael who has received the award American Inventor of the year for 20 inventions as a cardiologist. M. Chandramohan, founder of the American Reprographics Company (ARC), the largest reprographics company in the United States with 44 operating divisions and over 150 locations in the US and Canada, with 4,000 employees.

Valentine Gunasekara, who was a Professor of Architecture at Boston University, and pioneered a new form of architecture combining modern architecture with concepts of ancient Buddhist architecture, earning the title of “pioneer modernist.” Senior Cardiologist, Inventor, Educationist Dr. Don Michael who has received the award American Inventor of the year for20 inventions as a cardiologist.

Asoka Weerasinghe, a geologist, who is an award-winning poet, who has published 19 books, of which three have won major prizes in the UK and Canada. Several of his poems have been published in poetry anthologies and literary magazines in England, Wales, Sweden, Canada, Germany, and United States.

This year’s winners

Among this year’s winners are Bhante Dr. Henepola Gunaratna, international Buddhist missionary and author of over a dozen books, and Dr. Yasantha Rajakarunanayake, a path-breaking inventor in the IT and AI field holding 95 U.S. patents, including the Android and iPhone operating chips.

The winners are selected by an anonymous board of distinguished members. Grounded on a range of all-around evaluation criteria, they carry out the arduous task of going over the submissions of the nominees that are voluminous and make the difficult selection between “the best of the best.”

The Sri Lanka Foundation annual awards ceremony has been held for nearly two decades at the Wilshire Grand Hotel in Los Angeles, California, organised by the staff of the Foundation; Ms Shirani Stanislaus, COO; Ms Keshini Wijegoonerathna, Director, Project Management.; Ms Achala Weerasinghe, Director, Cultural Affairs; and Chamodh Amarasinghe, Media Director; headed by its President, Dr. Dishan Jayasinha.

The awards are widely recognised and warmly saluted by the outstanding winners who have not only achieved recognition among their peers but also made a significant contribution to society at large through their work. Among the winners, many have already won recognition at the national and international levels.

Regardless of their achievements, the awardees have something essential in common – they serve truly as role models for the younger generation of Sri Lankans, and that is the essence of the awards ceremony.

The writer is former Deputy Director-General, United Nations, and Director, U.N. Office for Outer Space Affairs.