Toastmasters Ovation concludes on a high note
The much looked forward to Toastmasters District 82 Annual Conference Ovation 2012 came to a close on a high note on 27 May. The three day conference was inaugurated on 25 May at the Musaeus College Auditorium by the Toastmasters International President Distinguished Toastmaster Michael Notaro in the presence of over 700 Toastmasters from India and Sri Lanka. The event was also graced by High Commissioner for Bangladesh in Sri Lanka Mahboob uz Zaman.
The world leader in communication and leadership development, Toastmasters International is a non-profit organisation which has over 270,000 members worldwide. Toastmasters has achieved a remarkable growth in both India and Sri Lanka during the recent years reflected in unprecedented growth in the membership.
District 82 Governor, Distinguished Toastmaster, Zameen M Saleem addressing the ceremony said that every Toastmaster has commenced their journey looking for their lost voices and self-confidence; and has written their own success story which could inspire, motivate and persuade others to find their voices.
Ovation 2012 Chairman Sudash Liyanage addressing the ceremony said that the true essence of Toastmasters is inculcated through its values and the Toastmasters promise which each and every member make as they join the movement. He urged the audience to live by the principles of Toastmasters and set an example for others to emulate.
Delivering the keynote address, the Toastmasters International President, Distinguished Toastmaster Michael Notaro said that Toastmasters is an organisation that has reached out to people of different ethnicities, professional standings and age groups around the globe; bring them closer to each other. He said that the world we live has lost peace because of the inability of people to communicate effectively. “What is the better way to solve an issue, bullets or words?” he asked the audience reiterating the importance of effective communication for wellbeing of the society at large.
The presentation of Toastmasters Communication and Leadership Award – the most prestigious award presented by District 82 to a non-Toastmaster – was another significant moment of the ceremony. Bank of Ceylon Chairman Dr. Gamini Wickramasinghe was singled out for this rare honour which was conferred on him in recognition of the outstanding communication and leadership skills demonstrated. Awarded annually at Ovation, it is once in three years that a Sri Lankan gets this opportunity.
The conference held on 26 and 27 May had an interesting line up of educational sessions and speech contests that featured some of the best orators of District 82. Indian Toastmasters bagged the most number of awards at both Impromptu and International Speech Contests, yet Sri Lanka was able to secure the championship of the International Speech Contest. Dananjaya Hettiarachchi made history being the only Sri Lanka to have won the International Speech Contest for two consecutive years. Having won the district level contest, Dananjaya will be contesting at the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking which will be held in August 2012, in Orlando, USA.
The Conference also featured the two times finalist at the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking and world renowned self-discipline strategist, Rory Vaden who made two interesting presentations titled ‘Take the stairs’ and ‘The audience is not in their underwear’ where he explained how to overcome some of the common hindrances of personal development such as fear, lack of focus and procrastination.
The event was also a platform that promoted camaraderie amongst Toastmasters from around District 82. The fun night held on 26 May at Light House Galley turned to be an exciting experience for all Toastmasters and their families.