The palmyrah tree, karawadu, fresh seafood, and the divine mango – these were the things that beckoned you to Jaffna. In addition to these temptations, they also said that the Jaffna man was untroubled, smiling, industrious and thrifty.
Along came fire and the barrel for 30 years and the woven garment of the country’s unity was rent in twain. The bridges of relationship that stood the test of time for a thousand years were blown apart.
Last year saw an end to the conflagration but not before destruction overtook all. Man and beast, house and farm, school and tome had perished in between, so much so that when the Government called on the people “to build the nation,” there was instant unanimous, spontaneous, response, not only from private individuals, but from the business community, the banks, professional organisations and from the medical and health sector.
The Alumni Association of the Colombo University MBA has been soul searching for some time debating as to how best it could respond in the hour of need and to the call of the Government. It is a voluntary organisation of MBAs with no financial base. However, the members are the owners of a reservoir of knowledge in deposit with the Management Faculty of the University. Their contribution to the building of Jaffna must therefore be in the knowledge domain.
A gift of knowledge is lasting, useful in good citizenry, and in building of character. Further, as Bacon states: “Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est” – knowledge itself is power. The MBAs could not think of a greater gift.
On 27 October a group from the Alumni Association with professors from the Faculty are visiting the Jaffna University. They hope to achieve several purposes. They hope that in some way their visit will restore to its former state the lost affinity and closeness that previously existed between Colombo and Jaffna.
They wish to build personal relationships with the Jaffna academia as a vehicle for the interchange of information, work opportunities, and the appreciation and the esteem of differing cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious values.
But most importantly they wish to share the knowledge they gained in the MBA class and seek out from them their scholarship and learning.
A comprehensive programme of discussions and Q&A and lectures have been planned. The Dean, Dr. Gunaratne has a menu of both general and core subjects in his programme. Professors from Jaffna will add to the programme.
The University has planned a send-off for the group on 27 October. The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Hiriburegama will be present with a special attendance by Minister of Higher Education S.B. Dissanayake.
The university has also invited the Chairman of the Bank of Ceylon Dr. Gamini Wickremasinghe. The bank has given a generous contribution without which it would have been impossible to undertake the event. An alumnus, Lalith Weeratunga, has also agreed to take time off from the Presidential Secretariat to see the bus off.