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"Empowering award for emerging young leaders"
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"Empowering award for emerging young leaders"

Madusha ErandiA national award identifies and promotes leadership qualities, writes Madusha Erandi, 21, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Sri Lanka, who describes the program as an effective way to identify and empower upcoming youth leaders.

Sri Lankan youth have a refreshing opportunity designed to encourage them to take a more dynamic step in shaping of the country’s future.

The “Emerging Young Leader Award” was intended to develop the youth mentally as well as physically, and to enhance leadership abilities. It was organized by Sri Lanka’s National Youth Services Council together with Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development to celebrate the International Year of Youth.

The competition attracted over 1800 applicants from different parts of the Island and was a great platform for the youth to share their opinions and discover a leader who can influence the world.

In 2011 Ajanthan Sivathas from the faculty of engineering at University of Moratuwa became the winner and Jayathma Wikaramanayake from the Faculty of Science of University of Colombo was the first runner up. Taamara De Silva, a graduate of NIBM, placed second runner up. As the history flows, the Emerging Young Leader Award managed to produce national youth leaders who had excelled in various fields for the country’s better future.

The competition brought out the best of talent the young minds of our nation possessed and witnessed the participation of youth from all parts of the island’s diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds. Emerging young leaders are the next generation’s leaders who would lay foundations, plan events, manage organizations, build the governments and enrich the culture and society of Sri Lanka. The award provides them the timely boost by giving them the encouragement and judicious recognition in early stages of their youth life.

The semi-finals brought together the best 100 leaders among the youth who had made it through the IQ tests and interviews. These contestants had to go through rigorous physical and mental training at a residential camp for three days, working on team work, perseverance and leadership qualities.

The bond that was created among these 100 youngsters was unprecedented. They connected beyond the underlying competition with trust and affection towards each other like brothers and sisters. These 100 individuals were determined to carry forward their brotherhood in creating a positive force towards the betterment of our country. Since the day of the residential camp to date, these semi-finalists have stuck together and they have declared themselves as EYLA Generation, aspiring to take forward this prestigious award.

The Awards Grand Finale of 2014 involved five stages where six youth leaders qualified for the final rounds. Out of the six finalists the winner will be awarded Rs, 10,000,000, with significant cash prizes to all finalists.

The special guest of the evening was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Mohan Peiris. Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development Dullas Alahapperuma also participated, along with many of the ministers of the Sri Lankan Parliament, Ministerial Secretary T.B.Wijerathne, and the Director General of the National Youth Services Council Attorney at Law, Lalith Piyum Perera.

Harsha Perera, who won the prestigious award, is an undergraduate at the University of Colombo School of Computing and a senator at the Sri Lankan Youth Parliament. He is a youth rights activists and he expressed his gratitude to everyone who aided him in achieving the goal. First runner up was Madu. S. Jayawardana, an MBA student of University of Sri Jayawardanapura and a youth Rights activist, and the second runner up was Shehan Kannangara, who was a youth Rights activist in the Sri Lankan youth Parliament.

The Emerging Young Leader Award is one of the best mechanisms invented by the Sri Lankan Youth Council to identify and empower the country’s next leaders to create a better future.

Photo Credits : Hemal Patabandige

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About me: I am determined and ambitious; ready to take up any challenge. A former journalist, I’m studying law at University of Colombo and doing freelance writing. I believe the youth is the fruitful future of any country and the positive anticipation of the developing world.

I love observing people, their nature and writing about them. I am a wannabe photographer. I swim, do athletics, and sing. I consider myself as a genuine social worker. Writing is simply my passion.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit:
http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/
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