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Rotary holds Grand Banquet to honour first Sri Lankan Head of Rotary

The Hilton Hotel was the venue on Sunday of a special gathering of the elite of Sri Lankan society as Rotary Sri Lanka honoured K R Ravindran as he visited the country as the Rotary International President - the first Sri Lankan to hold this prestigious office.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as Chief Guest at the event led a special gathering inclusive of Cabinet Ministers, Parliamentarians, the diplomatic community, captains of Industry, other Business leaders and Rotarians and their families in a special Presidential Banquet to felicitate Ravindran on his achievement which has brought great honour to Sri Lanka and has raised its public image throughout the world.

Speaking at the ceremony Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said Ravindran had brought great honour to Sri Lanka through his achievement and that he hoped he could use his services as an International Ambassador after he completes his tenure as Rotary President.

Wickremasinghe who is an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Colombo West was formally presented with a Rotary lapel pin to confirm his induction.

The banquet was also an occasion for raising funds for Rotary’s work and Rotary Sri Lanka presented Ravindran a cheque for US Dollars 100,000/- for the Rotary Foundation which was raised for the event.

The Rotary Foundation is a non-profit organisation which collects funds through volunteer donations and distributes them back to the countries at more than three-fold increase.

The 100,000 dollars donated on Sunday evening will come back to Sri Lanka in three years time as US Dollars 400,000/- for use in community service projects.

The flag of Sri Lanka flies proudly from the Rotary Headquarters in Evanston, Chicago, USA and whenever Ravindran attends a Rotary event anywhere in the world the Sri Lankan flag is hoisted and the Sri Lankan national anthem is played.

Ravindran is CEO and co-founder of Printcare PLC, Sri Lanka’s largest printing and packing company.

It is publicly listed and has won many national and international awards for excellence.

A member of the Rotary Club of Colombo since 1974, Ravindran has served Rotary International as treasurer, director, and Foundation trustee, as well as in many other offices.

When he was his country’s PolioPlus committee chair, he headed a task force that negotiated a ceasefire with northern militants during National Immunization Days.

Ravindran also chaired the internationally acclaimed Schools Reawakening project, which rebuilt 25 tsunami-devastated schools, benefiting 15,000 children.

He also serves on the boards of several other companies and charitable trusts.

Rotary was introduced to Sri Lanka in 1929 with the founding of the Rotary Club of Colombo.

Since then Rotary has grown from strength to strength and today there are 70 Rotary Clubs with a membership of over 2000 spread across the entire country.

Throughout its history, Rotary Sri Lanka has worked very closely with the local community and has been associated in a number of pioneering efforts for the betterment of society.

It was Rotary that pioneered the formation of the Cancer Society, The CNAPT – the Ceylon National Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis, SLANA – Sri Lanka Anti Narcotic Agency, Diabetes Centre, the Cancer Early detection Centre, Polio immunization and the Schools Re-awaken Project to rebuild 25 schools totally destroyed by the tsunami of December 2004.

All these efforts were realized as a result of close dialogue with the local authorities and the Rotary ideal of serving the community through meaningful and lasting solutions.

Perhaps the best known Rotary project has been its pledge to eradicate Polio from the world.

In 1985, Rotary launched Polio Plus, one of the most ambitious humanitarian programs ever undertaken by a private entity and today has achieved 99% success with just a few countries still to be cleared.

Thanks to Rotary, Sri Lanka has not had any reports of polio cases for the last 20 years.

Rotary has spent almost $ 2 million on Polio immunization efforts in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s Schools Rebuilding project received international acclaim for its work and high levels of transparency and accountability.

This 15M US Dollar project is the largest ever undertaken by one single Rotary district globally.

Today, there are over 1.2 million Rotarians in 35,000 Rotary clubs spread across 220 countries and geographical areas worldwide and at the helm of the organisation is our very own K R Ravindran – a Rotarian from Sri Lanka who has brought great honour to all Sri Lankans by his selection to this high office.

Photo caption

1.) Rotary International President Ravindran greets PM Wickremesinghe as Chairman Presidential Banquet N R Gajendran looks on

2.) Prime Minister Hon Ranil Wickremesinghe addresses the gathering

3.) Rotary International President Ravindran (centre) receives the cheque for the Rotary Foundation from District Governor George Jesuthasan (L) and Chairman Rotary Banquet N.R. Gajendran (R)

Last modified on Tuesday, 15 December 2015 16:06