Category: LEAF

Archive for the ‘LEAF’ Category

Jan 22 2011


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Hey all!

As Shelly said, we are back in Colombo now from what feels like a whirlwind tour of Sri Lanka. After a crazy day yesterday – meetings and site visits and waiting and LOTS of folder stuffing, the day for the Leaders in Environmental Advocacy Forum (LEAF) finally arrived.

We arrived at the University of Colombo around 7:15am, most of us running on little to no sleep. We put up artwork from the Graham and Panangala schools, as well as some of Chaminda’s photos, set up the registration table, and made sure that all was ready for the opening ceremony at 9am. At 9, the class and speakers processed in behind a dance troupe, lit candles on a special ceremonial oil lamp, and heard speeches from the vice chancellor of the University, the US ambassador to Sri Lanka, Crista, and Dr. Tom Arcaro. This is island time however, and two of our soakers were unable to make it at the last minute. We finished opening ceremonies about an hour early, which left plenty of time for socializing! A large group of high school-age students, as well as several people that Chas, Shelly, Julia and I met at the Weeramantry Institute were in attendance.

After that, we held our first breakout session. Nalaka Gunawardene’s talk on the media and the environment seems to have been the most well-received of that batch, though I personally also enjoyed Sarath Abeysinghe’s discussion of sustainable practices in tea cultivation.

A quick break for lunch and we returned to hear Sarath Kotagama’s keynote speech. Soon after, we socialized with some of the attendees – an elderly gentleman named Elmo who carries a Kenyan Masai walking stick and talks a lot about his grandchildren is a favorite. We attended our final breakout session – Neshan Gunasekara’s talk on Training for Trusteeship was popular, and then, as tired as this iPad which is about to run out of battery, we returned home to eat, relax, and SLEEP.

Night y’all,
Boniki (Chaminda’s name for me; it means “doll”)