Rotary International District 3220 Intercity Meeting

The 17th of February 2020 will definitely be remembered with utmost joy, humble pride, a sense of gratitude and feeling of triumph of course. (If you read on till the end, you shall find out why.)

It was on this day that the Rotary International President Rtn. Mark Maloney and Rotary First Lady Gay Maloney graced the Rotary International District 3220 Intercity Meeting at the Hilton Hotel Colombo, where they spent a few memorable hours with the members of Rotary, Rotaract and Interact Districts 3220. As Rotaractors, it surely was a privilege and a great honour to be in their presence that special evening.

Following the conventional formalities, the meeting was called to order by Past District Governor Rtn. Krish Rajendran. The distinguished gathering was then warmly welcomed by District Interact Representative of District 3220 Int. Wiranya Divitotawela who started off by saying that generations have witnessed milestones of progress of Rotary in Sri Lanka. She went on to highlight how Interact being the student body of the Rotary movement, has made commendable accomplishments in all avenues of service so far.

Wishing everyone a pleasant evening she concluded her welcome address which was then followed by a vibrant fusion dance performance brought to life by a few talented Rotaractors full of zest.

The distinguished gathering was then addressed by the District Governor Rtn. Sebastian Karunakaran who expressed his gratitude towards the Rotary International President for visiting Sri Lanka and towards Rotary for the opportunities that it has gifted him.

Appreciating the efforts, talents and enthusiasm shown by young Interactors and Rotaractors, he mentioned that his involvement with them was indeed an energizing learning process for him and Rotary as well. Highlighting the project embarked on, by Rotary International in collaboration with Toastmasters International, here’s what he had to say.

His conclusion was straightforward - Rotary Connects the World.

Up next was the address to the gathering by a personality who was introduced as a leader, who inspired, encouraged and motivated many to become successful, be happy and make their own success story – Rtn. Balraj Arunasalam, Toastmasters International President 2017/18.

Referring to the project carried out by Rotary and Toastmasters as “Leadership through Purpose”, he emphasized on how it could help us keep up, with the pace of a greatly advancing world especially in terms of service platforms. “Toastmasters International is a 96 year old organization present in 145 countries with a combined strength of 375,000 members”, he added.

Here are Rtn. Balraj’s answers to 3 frequently asked questions related to the programme.

Final Balraj 1
Final Balraj 2
Final Balraj 3
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Next, 4 participants were given the opportunity to share their thoughts and insights gained from this pilot project, which apparently is the first of its kind in the world according to Rtn. Balraj.

Here’s what we learnt about how effective evaluation teaches us the importance of appreciation and constructive criticism, despite being two very different things and yet being equally important.

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Conclusion: We all have a leader within ourselves but we become leaders only if others trust us, follow our vision and believe in us. So, take everything objectively, cut off the prejudice and appreciate every idea. No idea is trash.

As an architect by profession, this is what Rtn. Danya had to say about importance of project management with regard to Rotary.

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Rtn. Mayuka began his brief speech by asking 2 timely questions. How is it that certain people are so incredibly persuasive? Can’t we all harness that simple skill?

And here are a few learning points we gathered from Rtn. Mayuka.

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He concluded by saying that the ability to change the hearts and minds of people is perhaps the single greatest skill which will give you the competitive edge in this information era where ideas matter a lot.

Finally the most awaited moment dawned as the Rotary International President Rtn. Mark Maloney took the stage to address the audience.

Here’s a compilation of a few special mentions, learning points, fun facts and memories of his journey through Rotary, which he shared with us that evening.

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Rtn. Mark then moved on to touching upon the challenge posed by technology in terms of human connections. “We may know more about what other people are doing but we are actually connected less” he said. In conclusion, he advised us to always work together and learn from our setbacks and successes alike, while also gladly mentioning about how the connection with the United Nations has helped the movement to reach greater heights.

The vote of thanks was delivered by the eloquent District Rotaract Representative of District 3220 – PP. Rtr. Krishan Balaji. Speaking of how delighted he was to be the DRR of a District that received Rotary International recognition for the past 3 consecutive years, he promised that the momentum shall continue with all dedication and more sleepless nights to come.

Here’s what he had to say in conclusion about the youthfully energetic Rotaractors and Interactors.

The memorable evening filled with little gems of wisdom came to a mesmerising end with Rtr. Sarah Hettiarachchi’s performance.

Remember we said this day shall be remembered with a feeling of triumph?

Saved the best for the last and let us tell you why.

Everyone was naturally excited about clicking a picture with him given the limited time left for him. But we had a second wish - to interview him for a few minutes! Yes, it felt impossible. However, neither did we want to give up till the very last minute. After nearly a couple of restless hours of waiting and trying, we were proven that “Patience is a Virtue”.

Our dream came true as we finally caught a glimpse of Rtn. Mark in the lobby area and he humbly agreed to sit down and spend some time with us for an exclusive episode of our series – Center Stage!

Written By:

Rtr. Shehani Leo
( President – 2019/20 )

Rtr. Piyumi Abeywardhana
( Secretary – 2019/20 )

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