The first-ever ‘Ada Derana Sri Lankan of the Year’ awards ceremony was recently held at the Hilton, Colombo to honour and celebrate individuals and groups whose efforts and achievements have positively influenced the country while impacting the local community and uplifting the profile of Sri Lanka amongst international communities.
Winners were nominated across multiple categories such as Sports, Global Entertainer, Unsung Hero, Entertainer, Global Scientist, Icon, Entrepreneur and Global Businessman. Sri Lankan cricket legend Kumar Sangakkara was presented the ‘Icon of the Year’ award while he also took home the ‘Most Popular Award’.
The following were also recognised in their respective category; Sports – Mathew Abeysinghe, Global Entertainer – Jacqueline Fernandez, Entrepreneur – W.K.H. Wegapitiya, Classical Entertainer – Dr. Arunthathy Sri Ranganathan, Popular Entertainer – Bathiya and Santhush (BnS), Global Businessman – Merrill J. Fernando, Global Scientist – Professor Malik Peiris, Special Award – Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala, Public Service – Mahinda Deshapriya, Gallant Soldier – Personnel Representing the Tri-Forces as well as Unsung Hero – Dr. Ajith C.S. Perera, Princy Mangalika and Wilbert Ranasinghe.
The Ada Derana ‘Sri Lankan of the Year’ was designed as an exhaustive, rigorous and credible platform to nominate and select Sri Lankans whose dedication and commitment in their chosen fields have inspired pride and patriotism. In recognition of such achievements, it is hoped that fellow Sri Lankans, especially the younger generations, will be inspired to emulate the hard work, passion and vision of their idols. The two-tiered selection process, is a robust and transparent one with nominees being shortlisted through an editorially driven process, under the supervision of the Ada Derana editorial leadership in collaboration with industry/category specialists.
The awardees were chosen by a jury of eminent personalities of distinguished stature and achievement namely; Deshamanya Radhika Coomaraswamy – Former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict until 13 July 2012 as well as the current civil representative to Sri Lanka’s Constitutional Council; Nalaka Gunawardene – Science writer, Development Communicator and journalist par excellence; business icon Dian Gomes – Chairman of Hela Clothing and current Vice President of the National Olympic Committee, who is also one of the foremost figures in the development of sports in the country; respected intellectual, Professor Carlo Fonseka – Chairman of the Sri Lanka Medical Council; emeritus Professor of Sinhala – Desamanya J. B. Disanayaka, one of the leading Sinhala language scholars in Sri Lanka; Vijitha Yapa – Founder Chairman and Managing Director of Vijitha Yapa Associates and a founding editor of three national newspapers of Sri Lanka, The Island, The Sunday Island and The Sunday Times; the 20th Commander of the Sri Lanka Army – General R.M. Daya Ratnayake, WWV, RWP, RSP, USP, NDU, PSC; leading educator and women’s right advocate – Jezima Ismail, the founder of the Muslim Women’s Research and Action Forum (MWRAF), and the President of the Sri Lanka Muslim Women’s Conference (SLMWC) and film maker Chandran Rutnam who has been pivotal in reaching out to the international cinema fraternity.