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Alliance Francaise de Kotte welcomes new director



The Alliance Francaise de Kotte in Colombo held a press conference to welome its new director Bruno Duparc who is also the General delegate of the Alliance Francaise in Sri Lanka and Maldives.

With a prolific academic and professional background he is looking forward to develop the Alliance Francaise de Kotte in Colombo during his tenure .When asked how he is going to improve the Alliance Francaise in Colombo he said.

I have many plans to improve the young Alliance in Colombo. Already we are doing good in improving the the French language classes and other cultural activities. In Sri Lanka we have Alliance Francaise Kandy, Jaffna, Matara, Galle. We follow international standards set by the Foundation Alliance Francaise in Paris. We specialise in teaching French as a foreign language using highly educated teachers in promoting French culture and finally by offering certificates and diplomas recognised worldwide. The connection of the Alliance Francaise network with the Embassy of France in Sri Lanka is of great importance as they collaborate all times under the patronage of the French envoy Eric Lovertu in promoting and encouraging a multitude of cultural activities throughout the year.

Sri Lanka alone is home to the Alliance Francaise, with Colombo being the first to establish a branch in 1954.

Later followed by Kandy, Matara and Jaffna in 2004. An annexe of Alliance de Francaise Matara was created in Galle back in 2007. All these centres run smoothly, we conduct classes and courses, organise exams and promote the French Language. We even have a course in French for the University students in Kelaniya.said the new director.

The Co-ordinate of Alliance Francaise de Kotte and Alliance Francaise in Sri Lanka and Maldives explained how he was inducted into the Alliance Francaise. “I was offered to do overseas service as a young teacher and I was appointed at AF. Colombo in 1987 and I fell in love with Sri Lanka. He added t hat he knew that his life was going to revolve around Alliance, teaching and managing the centres.

He said AF is a friendly organisation, non political and non religious organisation believe all about creating links and bridges between countries, promoting the French language and culture. We always work closely in unison with local communities.

Duparc said they reacted fast to the pandemic by moving all classes and programmes on line without disrupting the programmes.

Deriving its strength from a name which is now recognised all over the world. It has been able to maintain its presence in Sri Lanka among other different countries.

Importance of higher education 

 Duparcstated that in order to keep up the number of candidates, they need to explain to the general public why it is important to obtain a diploma or a degree in a language. Even with the pandemic, they still maintained participation of over 75% of their students. He added that once their candidates reach a certain level of framework, B2, to be specific, they may go and study at a French university at a very moderate cost. “We have fantastic universities in France, but as they are all taught in French, we require students to have a minimum of a B2 qualification to attend them.” Duparc stated that they strongly advise students to sit for at least 200 hours of class before they go to France, as they will find it easier to read addresses, take the bus, and perform day-to-day activities safely.

Gesturing around the library at the AF branch in Kotte, Duparc pointed out the shelf dedicated to university pamphlets and any information that students may need to settle on which university they would like to attend, with all of its requirements listed. Both AF Kotte and AF Kandy host a “campus France office”, which is the only official French agency in Sri Lanka for the promotion of higher education, international student services, and international mobility, all free of charge. 

-Zanita Pix by Dharmasena Walipitiya


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Foreign News

Rupert Murdoch set to marry for fifth time at 92




Rupert Murdoch and Ann Lesley Smith (pic BBC)

BBC reported that media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has announced his engagement to his partner Ann Lesley Smith, a former police chaplain.

Murdoch, 92, and  Smith, 66, met in September at an event at his vineyard in California.

The Businessman told the New York Post,one of his own publications: “I dreaded falling in love – but I knew this would be my last. It better be. I’m happy.”

He split with fourth wife Jerry Hall last year.

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Life style

Children’s happiness with gardening



By Arjuna Hulugalle

On October 7th 2022, Homagama Subarathi Maha Vidyalaya in Godagama Homagama commenced their Home Garden Program, with the support of Nest, a Community based Mental Health organisation. The objective was to reduce the short fall of food in the diet of the children and to deal with malnutrition in the school population. Both the teachers dealing with Agriculture and Domestic Science have been involved in the initiative.

The outcome of the programme has many positive developments. Both the teaching staff and the children have shown great enthusiasm. Children’s happiness with gardening became evident. The students began to understand the importance of eating organic vegetables and the role of vitamins and minerals in their diet. Open air exercise which gardening brings with it has added to better health. The students have also realized that our country does not have to worry about hunger and malnourishment, if one uses available resources.

The first stage of the Subarathi Maha Vidyalaya program is to create a model garden in the school premises. Even classrooms are encouraged to be used for accommodating “grow bags” with various types of yams.The second stage of the programme is to make model gardens in the homes of 100 senior students with special interest in agriculture. The parents of the students are also drawn into this program.The third stage is for the 100 seniors to concentrate on the balance 2500 students and motivate them to set up model gardens in their homes.


The Model Home Garden in School

The School garden has a representative selection of vegetables but is concentrating on Dambala, Cabbage, Long beans of two varieties, Turnips, Occra and KankunA spice garden is being developed with three varieties of chillies, two varieties of kochchi, mint, celery and pepper.

Yams are being grown in “grow bags” inside cClass rooms. The varieties propagated are Kiri Ala and Bathala.Trees grown in the school premises are Delum, two varieties of Nelli and Murunga.

Model Home gardens of the selected 100 students

These are being trained for their tasks of developing their own model home gardens and also to motivate the other 2500 students of the school and set up Home Gardens in their own homes.Intensive training sessions have been conducted starting with Dr Lionel Weerkoon, a world renowned authority on home gardens and Dr Anuruddha Padeniya who spoke on the value of organic agriculture.

The students were given packets of seeds of bitter gourd, pumpkin, kankun, Occra, long beans, dambala, green chillies and beans. Those students who have space in their homes, were also given trees and plants to be planted in their own home gardens. The saplings included Murunga, Jack, Nelli, Del, Delum, Avocado, Orange and Divul.

The Role of the Parents and the past students

The Home Garden program is supported by the Parents and past students and soon will interact more with the community at large. Already, they have contributed towards a sprinkler system for the School Garden.In the long term the Home Garden program can grow into market gardening in the community.

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Life style

Dance Epicure first Dinner Dance Theatre



Dance Epicure Shangri-La Colombo & Shangri-La Hambantota Director of Communications Ramesha Samarasinghe, John Keells Holdings Vice President, Head of Sales and Marketing (Property Group) Nadeem Shums, With My Feet Co-Founder Trevor Rajaratnam, Standard Chartered Bank Head of Consumer, Private & Business Banking Aroshana Fernando & Maliban Biscuit Group Head of Corporate Affairs & Strategy Asoka Bandara

A captivating evening of dinner and dance – Dance Epicure by ‘With My Feet’ brings UK champion dancers and the best of Sri Lankan talent to the same stage Dance Epicure, Sri Lanka’s very first Dinner Dance Theatre concept produced by With My Feet is all set to entertain and delight on the 2nd of April at the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo. The vision and brainchild of the legendary Naomi Rajaratnam, the uniquely curated evening of dance and gastronomy produced by the Colombo Dance Theatre will feature a roster of extraordinary international and local dancers paired with a night of culinary delight.

The latest initiative by Naomi, the Colombo Dance Theatre comprises of a company of elite international and local dancers woven firmly together by masterful choreography and a great love for dance. Dance Epicure will not only be the Theatre’s inaugural performance, but also the first of its kind in Sri Lanka; where artfully choreographed dance segments will be performed between a four-course sit-down menu. The highly anticipated event will feature the likes of world-renowned dancers – namely five-time undefeated UK National Latin American Champions Gunnar Gunnarsson and Marika Doshoris, as well as the formidable Nauris Kalva and Manuja Hughes, Blackpool Open Smooth Champions – sharing the stage with the best Sri Lankan dancers from Naomi’s own dance company With My Feet.

Naomi’s desire to uplift dancers from far-flung rural areas in Sri Lanka by providing them with the opportunities and spotlight they deserve has always been encapsulated in her dance showcases. It is with this vision in mind that Dance Epicure will also feature a heart-warming performance by the children of the Warehouse Project; an urban community solution in partnership with the Sri Narada Foundation. Additionally, as with all of Naomi’s shows, part of the proceeds from the event’s ticket sales will go towards the Dev Siri Sevana Elders Home in Welisara.

Commenting on the upcoming event, Naomi Rajaratnam said, “I am so honoured that some of the UK’s leading dancers have chosen to collaborate with us, and I am equally thrilled to be able to showcase the best of our Sri Lankan talent on the same platform.”

“The concept of a Dinner Dance Theatre has been on my mind for the longest time and I couldn’t think of a better moment to finally turn this dream into a reality,” she added. “The calibre of these world-renowned dancers paired with the best of With My Feet dancers is the perfect opportunity to offer a something truly unique to our Sri Lankan audience.”

The principal partners of Dance Epicure are Standard Chartered Bank Priority, Maliban Biscuit Manufactories, John Keells Properties, Sri Lankan Airlines, Shangri-La Colombo, Wijeya Newspapers and Capital Maharaja Group.

Tickets for Dance Epicure go on sale on Saturday the 11 th of March 2023 and can be purchased online at With My Feet social media pages will soon be updated with where tickets can be purchased offline.

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