Service above self | Sunday Observer

Service above self

From right: Rtn. PP G.S Sylvester, Rtn. PP Saif Ramzi, Past District Governor Rtn. Tariq Thulba, Rtn. PP. Pubudu De Zoysa and Rtn. Andrew Samuel
From right: Rtn. PP G.S Sylvester, Rtn. PP Saif Ramzi, Past District Governor Rtn. Tariq Thulba, Rtn. PP. Pubudu De Zoysa and Rtn. Andrew Samuel

Since its inception in 1992, Interact District 3220 for Sri Lanka and Maldives has revolutionised the youth movement, “Interact” in Sri Lanka.

Interact strives to develop leadership skills by bringing together young individuals aged 12 – 18 years under the slogan, “Service Above Self” and is instrumental in shaping Sri Lanka’s youth to become leaders, serving society and making a difference, one “interactive” step at a time.

A pivotal part of Interact is the annual Presidents’ Training Seminar (PTS) and Secretaries’ Training Seminar (STS) which are most vital club services and professional development projects in the Interact District calendar.

The PTS and STS offers significant training annually, stimulates rebirth and innovation whilst nurturing and guiding interactors into becoming the following year’s leaders. The PTS and STS for the Interact year 2018/2019 was conducted on Saturday, July 28, 2018 at St. Peters’ College Colombo 04 and was followed by the appointment of newpresidents, secretaries and members of their respective boards, with an all-time record high of 320 interactors from Colombo, Kurunegala and Kandy participating.

The Rotary Year 2018/2019 is structured on the theme, “Be the Inspiration,” and is under the guidance of Rtn. PHF Dushan Soza, Governor, Rotary District 3220. Interact District Council 3220, the local counterpart of the youth movement affiliated to Rotary International, is led by Int. PP Asela Karannagoda for the year 2018/2019 with almost 3,000 young individuals belonging to over 100 Interact Clubs in schools and community based clubs across Sri Lanka. Karannagoda was the 2016/2017 President of the Interact Club of Ananda College when it won the prestigious Governor’s Shield along with 16 other awards. The 2018/2019 PTS and STS was addressed by several keynote speakers who imparted their insights and understanding on life as a whole with their many years of experience in the field of business. One such speaker was Mr. Sajitha De Mel; a Certified Professional Marketer distinguished by the Asia Marketing Federation, who expressed the view that, “When we feel the stress of the storm, we learn the strength of an anchor,” and encouraged participants to “ the leader in you.”

Tharindu Amarasekara, placed first in 2015 by the Toastmasters’ Club of Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu, addressed the topic “Inspiring Oneself to Achieve One’s Goal,” by citing examples and lessons from the lives of famous personalities like Steve Jobs and Sylvester Stallone.

Rtn. Andrew Samuel, Interact District Committee Chairperson addressed participants on leadership and Rtn. PP G.S. Sylvester, Youth Services Committee Chairperson, emphasised the importance of maintaining a balance between schoolwork and extra-curricular activities for the betterment of the individual and society, adding that interactors “...should be the change for a better world, working for a cause and not for applause.”

Experienced Rotarians conducteda series of “breakout sessions” aimed at Interact board members to ensure they received the best training possible in terms of professionalism within their respective clubs. Rtn. Thariq Thulba, Past District Governor together with Rtn. PP Saif Ramzi, Co-District Rotaract Committee Chairperson, spoke to the elected Interact presidents and vice-presidents on the importance of their role in developing leadership qualities not only within themselves but also towards the betterment of their respective clubs. Interact secretaries, editors, sergeants-at-Arms and club service directors were mentored by Rtn.PPGS Sylvester together with the District Interact Secretary Int Sashini De Silva, on the importance and responsibility of proper documentation of club activities, codes of conduct and duties in terms of improving the functioning of their clubs.

Rtn. Andrew Samuel together with Rtn. Thariq Thulba conducted the seminar for the treasurers and finance directors, and Rtn. PP. Pubudu De Zoysa, District Service Projects Chairperson elaborated on the importance of community service, international understanding and green life, and shared her views on how best to map out and implement projects adhering to the theme“Service Above Self.”

The event was a resounding success with many participants stating that they gained invaluable knowledge and insights into several aspects of their lives. One of the participants, Hasith Liyanawaduge, President of the Interact Club of Wesley College said, “I think it was a very crucial moment for us Interactors. One thing I loved most about today’s programme was the amount of inspiration I personally got as did my fellow Interactors, I think Interact is mostly about service and inspiration. So this programme will benefit us in the long run on a larger scale.”

Januka Perera, Secretary of the Interact Club of St. Thomas’s College said,

“Today’s sessions were very productive. We learnt a lot about the history of interact and what each and every role of the club plays.”