Christmas Fair - London (sometime in November 2022)
Support Sri Lanka, Buy Sri Lankan !!! If you are interested in having a stall at our Christmas Fair to sell your Sri Lankan products please contact Miss Chamali Fernando - Chamali.FoSLA@gmail.com
From a Summer Soirée in the garden of the Sri Lankan High Commission in London sponsored by Rocklands Distillery serving cocktails with Ceylon Arrack and Colombo No. 7 Gin to talks about Sri Lankan architecture, history, culture, literature, music, wildlife, travel hotspots and more, you can be sure the Friends of Sri Lanka events team will have something to make you want to book your flights to the island of paradise. This year we enjoyed Rum produced by a Dutch Distillery and infused with botanicals from Sri Lanka.
July 2022 - Post AGM Drinks Reception in the Garden at the Sri Lankan High Commission in London and Curry Supper
A beautiful evening to be out in the garden enjoying drinks after our AGM and then we headed over to The Bombay Palace which we are renaming "Cinnamon Gardens" as they were most accommodating.
June 2022 - Rum Away With Me To Undiscovered Sri Lanka An evening of Rum Cocktails infused with botanicals from Sri Lanka and produced by a Dutch Distillery, after a talk on the road less travelled in Sri Lanka followed by a sumptuous Rice and Curry Supper.
May 2022 - Tea Country Hiking Trail, Spaniard, Miguel Cunat shared with us the creation of the new tea country hiking trails hoping to make Sri Lanka one of the best hiking trails in the world. Covering nearly 300km split into 22 different routes of varying distances, this trail is designed for people of all ages.
FEB 2022 - Pioneers of Sri Lankan Design Minette De Silva (1918-1998) was the first female Asian architect to register with the RIBA and the first to practise in post-independent Ceylon. Minette was internationally recognised and mixed with the greats: Le Corbusier and Pablo Picasso. Laki Senanayake (1936-2021) was a famous artist and designer who sadly passed last year. We learnt about Minette and Laki's lives and work.
SEPT 2021 - An Audience with Ashok Ferrey, featured in The Sunday Times (LK), a star studded line up joined us for an amusing afternoon in Piccadilly as Ashok launched his new book The Unmarriageable Man in London, read more here.
SEPT 2021 - The X-Press Pearl Shipwreck - What Really Happened? MEPA Chair Dr Dharshani Lahandapura provided a detailed update on the aftermath of the X-Press Pearl Disaster and the actions taken in response by Government and the Marine Environment Protection Agency to seek redress and to prevent disasters of this level in the future.
JUNE 2021 - Sri Lanka's Artisanal Tea Sector We escaped to the luscious green hills of Uva Province for a truly spectacular, fascinating and hugely entertaining tour of Amba Estate with their Master of Tea Ceremonies, Neethanjana Senadheera. His tea tour and tasting session is well worth doing in-person when you next visit Sri Lanka. Estate owner Simon Bell spoke to us about the new techniques of plucking and processing artisanal teas. Amba had posted out samples of tea to participants in advance so that we could taste their extremely well-balance spicy chai together. The Commercial Secretary at the Sri Lankan High Commission in London also provided an overview of the Ceylon Tea industry.
APRIL 2021 - Manjusri - Sri Lanka Artist and Scholar,Dr Shamil David Wanigaratne a former lecturer of the University of King's College London told us about his new book, a Monograph of the artist L.T.P. Manjusri whose work was recently exhibited at The Metropolitan Museum in New York.
MARCH 2021 - Books On The Rocks Martini cocktail in hand, we tuned into Gabriel Subaga Zimmerer online to learn more about Taoism and Buddhism, whilst enjoying a few drinks together. Gabriel is half Sri Lankan half Swiss and applied the teachings of these ancient philosophies to the modern pandemic era to provide the perfect tonic to a national lockdown.
FEBURARY 2021 - Sri Lanka's Underwater Gallery Artist and curator of the Galle Fort Gallery Janaka De Silva and his wife and partner in this ground-breaking project, Shalini Gamage amazed us with their phenomenal initiative which has coralled an ecosytem around them. Their objective to restore ocean habitats and create a new dimension to tourism in Sri Lanka. Deep-sea diving, snorkelling and glass-bottomed boat rides will allow you to marvel at art under the sea. Stable, resilient and marine enhancing materials are used to make sculptures which are beneficial to growing an artificial coral reef. Much of Sri Lanka's beautiful natural coral reefs were destroyed by the tsunami. This project is creating jobs and addresses key themes of sustainability, mobility and opportunity.
JANUARY 2021 - Donald Friend in Ceylon Professor David Robson talked to us about the works of the Austrialian Artist Donald Friend, showcasing Friend's paintings and images from his life and times in Sri Lanka. David shared 80 slides including sketches from Donald Friend's diary as well as other works of arts. Click on this link to view Donald Friend's restored mural at Brief Garden.
NOVEMBER 2020 - Return to Sri Lanka - Travels in a Paradoxical Island Professor Razeen Sally is a Sri Lankan-British writer and Visiting Associate Professor at National University of Singapore. He spoke to us about his new book, a travel memoir filled with spellbinding beauty and moving insight about reconnecting with Sri Lanka.
OCTOBER 2020 - Marine Life: Manta and Mobula Rays, Leading Marine Researcher and Conservationist, Daniel Fernando, enlightened us about the magnificent fish off the coast of Sri Lanka and the threats to their existence brought about by the use of their gills in Chinese Medicine. Daniel was a former Government Advisor to Sri Lanka's Wildlife and Ocean's Ministry.
The Highlight of our Social Calendar is the Annual Lunch. Above, Manisha Gunasekera, Sri Lankan High Commissioner to London with our Committee. A truly delicious Sri Lankan meal in the prestigious surroundings of the London Scottish Regiment Club. The lunch is organised by Chamali Fernando and Linda Duffield CMG.
We have taken several guided walking tours of parts of London with connections to Sri Lanka; most recently we enjoyed a walking tour of Wapping, where we saw the wharves where the tea “clippers” docked and the great warehouses where Ceylon tea was stored.
We have been delighted with talks from those who know Sri Lanka. Both Victoria Glendinning and Sir Christopher Ondaatje have spoken to us about their biographies of Leonard Woolf, we have learnt about research at the Natural History Museum by Professor Fred Naggs and Dr. Dinarzarde Raheem into the incidence of land snails in the Sinha Raja Forest and been shown behind the scenes at the Victoria and Albert Museum by Dr. Rosemary Crill, Senior Curator for South Asia. Most recently Daisy Perry spoke to us about the guidebooks to the country that she wrote with Juliet Coombe. Some 100 years since Leonard Woolf’s sister, Bella, wrote her How to see Ceylon, reckoned to be the first guidebook to the country, this was something of a celebration of British women’s delight in Sri Lanka.