Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sri Lanka UNITES Prepares for FLC Season 5

SLU’s Future Leaders Conference (FLC) kicks off tomorrow, 26 June 2013, at Sangamitta Balika College, Galle. This year, over 500 students from all over Sri Lanka have been invited, with an additional 250 international delegates also expected to be in attendance. What many might not know, however, is that SLU staff and volunteers have worked hard over the past few weeks to plan what is expected to be a hugely successful conference. The following is just a sliver of the activities undertaken by SLU staff and volunteers in preparation of the conference.

On 13 June 2013 a press conference was held at Olympic House, Independence Avenue. Those in attendance included reporters from the Daily Mirror, Sunday Leader, Daily News, Ceylon Today, Rupavahini. Arranged by Ramzi and Sachi, and hosted by Chrisjit, the panel of speakers was comprised of SLU Founder Prashan De Visser and National Director Kirubakaran Christin Rajah, as well as musician Randhir Witana, Sangamitta Balika Vidyalaya Principal D.M. Dhanayake, and Javed Yusuf, the former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. 

Panellists spoke about their connection to SLU and showed tremendous support and enthusiasm for FLC Season 5. Members of the press then had an opportunity to ask questions of the panellists. Refreshments were served to all upon conclusion of the press conference.

SLU also wanted to prepare all FLC volunteers adequately for the conference. To this end, two training workshops took place to train all conference volunteers. The first took place on 15 June 2013 at Lyceum International School in Nugegoda; the second on 22 June 2015 at Elizabeth Moir International School. Both workshops followed a similar format. After registration of all volunteers, founder Prashan gave an overview of the SLU movement, and introduced some of the key people within the team. The executive committee ran through some of the rules and regulations to be enforced at the conference. Following a screening of the FLC Season 5 trailer, an opportunity for volunteers to ask questions from past volunteers was presented. Advice was given on how to encourage diversity, deal with language barriers and homesickness, and promote a healthy and safety environment for attendees. 

A variety of team-building games and activities were played, including those that are to be played with students at the conference. After lunch during the second training workshop, volunteers were split into teams, with each team assigned one trilingual volunteer. All teams were then informed of the students under their care. The afternoon concluded with a photo session and teaching of the SLU cheer to new volunteers.

The SLU executive and volunteers are incredibly excited for FLC Season 5. Sangeeran and Manoj have thoughtfully created lists and arranged purchased goods and supplies at SLU HQ. Tariq has been instrumental in designing all graphics and video for the conference. Joel has worked tirelessly to maintain an excellent relationship with all schools, and has carefully selected student attendees across Sri Lanka. These are just a few of the many hard-working individuals present on the SLU team. From the few weeks I’ve been a part of SLU, I have witnessed the immense dedication the team has demonstrated towards the cause of youth-led reconciliation. This year's highly anticipated FLC - Season 5 is sure to be one for the history books.

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