The Oxford Society
The Oxford Society of Ceylon which has been in existence for well
over half a century, has risen again, phoenix-like, from the ashes of
its former self. It can count among its members many distinguished Sri
Lankan personalities past and present, Lalith Athulathmudali, Lakshman
Kadirgamar, G. L. Peiris, and Bishop Duleep de Chickera, to name but a
few. The most famous of these perhaps is Mr. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, who
is still remembered in his former college, Christ Church, as the man
with the silver tongue.
In its previous incarnation, under the brilliant stewardship of Mr.
Tyronne Fernando, a whole series of star-studded events were organised.
Among these was a reception to fete the Chancellor of Oxford University,
the Rt. Hon. Lord Chris Patten, during his visit to Sri Lanka, and a
glittering Boat Race Dinner held at the grounds of the Rowing Club,
jointly with the Cambridge Society, which was actually filmed by BBC and
shown on British television.
The British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka is the Vice-Patron of the
Society - surprisingly or not, almost all have been Oxonians! - and in
the past there have been some rather splendid receptions at Westminster
House, the official residence. Also, some fun-filled evenings at the
Galle Face Hotel, thanks to the kind patronage of Mr. Lalith Rodrigo.
More importantly, an attempt was made to revive the Rhodes
Scholarship for young Sri Lankans, though this has been less successful,
and negotiations are currently on hold. On the intellectual front there
was a debate held at the British Council (Fifty Years After Independence
And We're Still Not Free!) featuring former Oxford Union President Dr.
Hilali Noordeen and Mr. Desmond Fernando PC, among others.
The current office-bearers are: President, Mrs. Manel Abeysekera,
Fellow of Somerville College, Vice President Mr. Lalith Rodrigo (Christ
Church), Co-Secretaries, Ms. Jill Macdonald (Balliol) and Mr. Suresh
Mudalnayake (Christ Church) and Treasurer, Mr. Ravana Wijeyratne (Lady
Margaret Hall). An inauguration dinner was held on May 26 at the Galle
Here, we feature some of he distinguished guests who were present.