Toastmasters District 82 celebrates 10 years of shaping lives

Saturday, 16 May 2015 00:41 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Ovation 2015 will be held to mark the anniversary on 22, 23, 24 May



From left: Ajantha Jaywardena, Ovation Chair 2015; Sudash Liyanage, Lieutenant Governor Marketing; Yusuf Jeevunjee, District Governor; and Sameen M. Saleem, Past District Governor


Toastmasters District 82 marks a significant milestone on its 10th anniversary on 23 and 24 May 2015. In honour of the occasion, Ovation 2015 will be held in the presence of distinguished international and local delegates. 

Toastmasters Club provides a supportive base and a positive environment where members are offered an opportunity to overcome the phobia of public speaking and sharpen presentation skills, increasing self-confidence, building critical thinking skills and simultaneously become an effective listener.

Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organisation’s membership exceeds 313,000 in more than 14,650 clubs in 126 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds gain confidence to address an audience impeccably.

The Toastmasters movement has grown tremendously in the past decades from merely nine clubs in 2004 to 95 clubs today. The district 82 of Toastmasters comprises of clubs in Sri Lanka and clubs in Tamil Nadu, India. 

A decade ago there were about 145 total clubs in India and Sri Lanka. Then all clubs in India and Sri Lanka comprised of District 82. With the rapid and steady growth of members and clubs the District was first split in 2007 and then in 2011. There are approximately 6,500 active members in the district, benefiting from this proven communication and leadership program.

Many professionals, entrepreneurs and intellectuals of Sri Lanka have reaped benefits from this program during the past decade. Sri Lankans who do not speak English as their first language have found immense benefit from this mutually supportive education program, similarly recognising intensively the importance of a link language to communicate internationally and develop communication skills.  

Toastmasters International had its annual conference for the first time outside North America in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Aug. 20-23, Dananjaya Hettiarachchi, a human resource development (HRD) specialist and a member of Smedley Toastmasters Club of Colombo won the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking with a speech titled ‘I See Something’.

Hettiarachchi, along with eight other final contestants, reached the championship level after several eliminating rounds that began six months ago with 30,000 participants from 126 countries. A great achievement indeed.

Ovation is the annual conference of Toastmasters District 82. The first Ovation conference of District 82 was held in May 2006 in Colombo, with Toastmasters International President, Colombo born Dr. Dilip R Abayasekara as the Chief Guest. By mutual agreement with members of India and Sri Lanka, the conference was decided to be held in Sri Lanka every three years. 

The second Ovation conference in Sri Lanka was held in 2009 when Arunasalam Balraj, a Sri Lankan Entrepreneur was the District governor of the District. Balraj was the first elected Sri Lankan District Governor of the district. Currently he is the Second Vice President of Toastmasters International. 

In 2012 Ovation was held in Colombo when Zameen M. Saleem, a Sri Lankan professional engineer was the District Governor. Toastmasters International President Michael Notaro was the Chief Guest.

On 23 and 24 May, Ovation will be held once again in Colombo under the purview of District Governor, Yusuf Jeevunjee, a professional and entrepreneur. Past International President Dr. Dilip Abayasekara will grace the occasion as the Chief Guest. About 75 toastmasters from India and several international guests will be in attendance at the conference.

Ovation 2015 will ceremonially commence on 22 May at BMICH Colombo featuring a keynote speech by Dr. Dilip R Abeysekere, PIP, DTM. The educational sessions will be held on 23 and 24 May at Mount Lavinia Hotel. Prominent educational presenters from India and Sri Lanka will conduct sessions on various subjects related to communication and leadership.  

The highlight of the conference will be the speech contests. Two speech contests will be held at the conference. The Table Topics Contest (impromptu speeches delivered for two minutes on a topic given to contestants on the spot) will be contested by winners from 10 divisions of the district. The contestants compete at various elimination rounds held at the club, area and division. The winner will receive the title of Table Topics Winner of the District.

The second contest is the International Speech Contest where contestants will be the winners of 10 divisions of the district. They will deliver a five to seven minute prepared speech on a topic selected by them. 

The winner of the contest will qualify to compete at the semi-final round of the International Speech Contest held at the Toastmasters International Convention held in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on 12-15 August. The winners of nine semifinal rounds will compete at the finals of the International Speech Contest, to win the world’s largest speech contest and receive the title World Champion in Public Speaking. 

For information about Ovation 2015 please contact Ajantha Jayawardana, Conference Chair 

For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit Follow @Toastmasters on Twitter.