The Association of Professional Sri Lankans in the UK (APSL) held its fifth Young Professionals Event (an initiative to promote knowledge transfer), at the Sri Lanka High Commission, London, on Friday 17 February 2017, with the participation of Her Excellency Ms Amari Wijewardene the High Commissioner.
Four dynamic and talented speakers held the audience captive with their personal and professional experiences ranging from Law, Business, Population Health and Leadership.
Mr. Suranga Jayalath, currently reading for a PhD in Law at Middlesex University took the stage first to enlighten us on the fast-changing landscape of the broadcast industry in the age of the internet and how existing laws, established in the post-internet era, are ill-suited to reflect these changes.
Dr. Dulini Fernando, an Associate Professor at the Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, discussed some key challenges encountered by migrant professionals in the British workplace. In her brilliant presentation she compared and contrasted seemingly trivial yet important behaviours and attitudes such as critical thinking, the art of conversation in socialising and succinctness in professional interactions, that could determine remaining an outsider vs becoming an insider progressing to the top.
Dr. Duleeka Knipe, an epidemiologist at the University of Bristol spoke about her work on analysing trends in suicide and self-harm in Sri Lanka and differences in socio-cultural contexts pertaining to such behaviour in the West and low and middle income countries. Her preliminary findings suggest that Sri Lanka has done well to reduce the rates of mortality due to ingesting pesticides (a common mode of self-harm) relative to other countries in the region and that policies restricting the availability of pesticides might have had a role to play.
Rakhitha Dias, the Founder, Lead Consultant and Senior Developer at Terias IT & Business Consultancy, shared his step-by-step approach to developing a leadership mindset both in professional and personal life. He emphasised the importance of doing one’s ‘homework’ to acquire skills to stay relevant by anticipating change in the current dynamic market. He sees the rigid hierarchical structure (reflecting socio-economic status) in the Sri Lankan workplace as a challenge to having a more engaged workforce in Sri Lanka relative to his interactions with his employees in London.
The event was attended by a large number of young professionals, APSL members, their friends and family and their questions gave rise to stimulating conversation during the panel discussion that followed the talks. The party then moved on to The Victoria pub nearby where an informal networking session was carried out over dinner and drinks.
Dr Chesmal Siriwardhana, Project Leader, APSL Professional Events and Editorial Team, facilitated the proceedings and he was ably supported by Dr Dilrini De Silva and Ms Paola Bethmage (the other members of the team) in organising this event. We wish to thank the four speakers and all those who attended the event to make it a big success. We also wish to thank Her Excellency Ms Amari Wijewardene the High Commissioner and the staff for making the necessary arrangements at the venue.
Report prepared by Dr. Dilrini De Silva, Executive Committee Member - APSL