Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Countdown to the Conference: 1 day - The Final Moments

With the advance SLU team and several international delegations assembled in Kandy, work began in earnest. Due to an unforeseeable alteration, the main events of the conference are now to be held at Asgiriya cricket stadium, a spacious venue located a 10 minute walk away Trinity. While accommodations will remain at the college, students and volunteers will be transported to the grounds every day for the duration of the conference.

The day promised to be busy. At 9:00 am, the assembly divided the many pending errands between the organizers. A round of introductions acquainted everyone present with the individuals from Sri Lanka Unites Australia and students from Kandy who would be assisting us that day. Teams were assigned the tasks of creating informational signs, mapping out the restrooms and showers of the stadium, reviewing the current state of SLU finances, obtaining private security for the new location, finalizing housing for the technical staff, and organizing lighting for the sizable marquee to be erected at the site. Despite the enormity of the necessary preparation, the team dutifully set about their work to accommodate the new location. The air was abuzz with chime of ringtones as teachers and students called to confirm their place at the conference, and the final details were confirmed.

For the next 12 hours, the other international volunteers and I worked on our laptops from a conference room on the second floor of the stadium. Throughout the whole day, we could observe a team hard at work setting up the marquee that would be used to shelter students from the harsh sun. At 5000 square feet, the marquee will house the stage and contain seating room for all 750 participants. Other members of the team walked to and fro across the grounds, double-checking facilities and deciding the best way to direct students from one location to the next. As night fell and the team reconvened on the first floor, the news team from npiptv was hard at work setting up their studio and equipment to support the ongoing feed of the conference that was to go live the following day. Prashan held a meeting for the initial volunteers that had arrived from Kandy and congratulated everyone on making this conference possible. After a week that had contained a lot of close calls, Sri Lanka Unites is finally ready to host the largest Future Leaders Conference to date! Tomorrow begins the detailed account of the groundbreaking conference and its impact on the students.

The conference will be LIVE-STREAMED for the first time! Beginning on Wednesday the 10th, you can follow it at www.

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