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UWU Graduation – Another generation set to soar above storms!



Dr Kumudu Jayawardhana

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Management, Uva Wellassa University of Sri Lanka.

(General Convocation of the Uva Wellassa University will be held on 25th of March, 2022 at Magam Ruhunupura International Convention Centre (MRICC), Hambantota)

Uva Wellassa University (UWU) brings the evidence that depth of impact matters in lieu of the length of history. Being a very young national university established in 2005, and located in Badulla, its foremost focus is to offer degree programmes tailored to upsurge the depth of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and competencies of the students in handling the steady trend of ever-evolving socio-economic complexities in the local and global economy.

Currently, UWU has evolved itself to be well-established with four academic Faculties – Faculty of Management, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Animal Science & Export Agriculture, and Faculty of Technological Studies which is the newest addition to UWU family. Envisioning the university mission, these academic establishments currently offer 15 Undergraduate Degree Programmes, Research Higher Degree Programmes, Master Degree Programmes, Professional Courses, and Short Courses.

UWU is about to mark another historical milestone with its 11th General Convocation which is set out to be on 25th March, 2022 at Magam Ruhunupura International Convention Centre, Hambantota.

Our Education Model – A Conceptual Innovation in Higher Education

UWU has been nothing short of a new defining feat of the modern higher education landscape from its very inception under the leadership of the first Vice Chancellor, Dr. Chandra Embuldeniya. Spearheading towards the right direction, the university has been a roaring success story under the leadership of current Vice Chancellor, Professor Jayantha Lal Ratnasekera with his style of leading by example.

What factors make UWU educational model unique? Why is it counted as a conceptual innovation model in higher education?

Grasping the lacuna on the notable separation between the university education and real market needs, our courses are designed to be market-driven which in return creates well-rounded graduates with the right knowledge, skills, attitudes, and professional ethics who can ably handle the complexities in the real-world scenario. Thus, the core of our educational model is to reach real-world needs without compromising academic excellence. Following pillars in our education model undeniably brings UWU the competitive edge in the higher education landscape.

Living the University

Vision – Just Another Cliché?

Our degree programmes offered by all the respective Faculties are driven by one vision, “adding value to national resource base”. Thus, our vision isn’t just another cliché, rather the guiding light. It is solidly embedded and linked with the core of our all the degree programmes which has led the particular Faculties to offer degree programmes on specific areas that could add immense value for the extant national resource base. The proceeding section provides further evidence on the facet of offering market-centric degree programmes. Thus, it’s aspirational and realistic!

Placing Entrepreneurship at the Core

Creating entrepreneurial graduates is at the core of all of our degree programmes. Thus, all the degree programmes are designed to educate our students on the discipline through courses such as entrepreneurship, New Product Development, New Venture Creation, IPR, and Commercialization while we maintain a culture favorable for new experimentations among students. The results so far have been remarkable.

Extending our promise to the university student as well as the community at large, UWU offers a conducive floor for well-established enterprises and budding entrepreneurs to find sustainable solutions for their problems. It has adopted multiple approaches to promote entrepreneurship among undergraduates and community at large. Among all these initiatives in promoting entrepreneurship, the role of our University Business Linkage and Social Enterprise Incubation Cell is critical since these knowledge extension arms are proactively contributing in breeding generations of entrepreneurs with creative mindset who can competently transform challenges into business opportunities.

Silo-free Education

UWU is a living icon in the country which proves how far the “silo-free” education could function. Promoting insularity within graduates, silo mentality forces universities to be highly mindful of their study territories which is a bane when it comes to creating a generation of graduates who can competently handle real-world issues. Well-spotting this scenario, UWU has tweaked its culture for cultivating effective cross collaborations and intermingling between diverse academic faculties and departments which has unquestionably blasted and breached the academic silos. Subsequently, rather than crafting university curriculums on selected and narrow fiefdoms, cross-faculty learning is strongly embedded in all of our undergraduate and postgraduate curricular. Additionally, connection and collaboration are a strong part of our strategy. We believe that our development hinges on the quality eco-system we can breed through our connections and collaborations since they bring together talent and resources to transform real-world challenges into entrepreneurial opportunities. And, UWU holistically follows this practice when meeting its end – Creating well-rounded leaders in the respective fields.

Focus on Essential Skills and Broad General Education

21st century has set a different set of challenges which means breeding a different set of skills has been very important in breeding generations of university communities to battle with real-world challenges. These skills refer to the knowledge, life skills, career skills, habits, and traits those help students to navigate their student life to the work force.

The core purpose of essential skills and broad general education pillar of UWU provides an effective basis for promoting these skills. Thus, enhancing the essential skills of undergraduates isn’t again another cliché at UWU. Rather than being an add-on cliché, this constituent is strongly entrenched in the core of our degree programmes. Irrespective of the study discipline, all undergraduates of UWU have to get mandatory course units from our specific two study pillars – Essential Skills and Broad General Education. While the Essential Skills pillar focuses on developing undergraduates’ analytical skills, quantitative reasoning skills, mathematical skills, communication skills, and English language skills, the “Broad General Education” pillar focuses on creating responsible citizens with its specific course units such as ethics, law basics, history, and geography.

Conducive Environment

University engenders a conducive environment for our graduates to prosper as young academics and professionals. This is accomplished via several fronts. Enhancing a positive research culture, creating blended models with industries where students can get hands-on experience with the practical issues, facilitating numerous student clubs allowing students to have a quality life are some of those initiatives.

The Group about to be Crowned

The General Convocation of UWU will be held on 25th of March, 2022, whene both bachelor and postgraduate degrees will be awarded. Followings are the bachelor degrees that will be awarded at the 11th Convocation by the respective academic establishments at UWU.

Greetings from UWU family!

The swelling graduating rate and the employability rate further posit that UWU is an efficacious game-changer in the higher education landscape. From its humble start with only five undergraduate degree programmes in 2005, it has grown into an establishment offering 15 undergraduate degree programmes in diverse disciplines, several postgraduate programmes, professional courses, and short courses. UWU has developed a bold pledge to participate in adding value to the national resource base which insists the university to change the directions and evolve.

So, it’s time to celebrate the triumph of empowering another skilled generation who can proficiently row over real-world problems and challenges. The UWU family wishes them all the best in their future endeavors!

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BRICS emerging as strong rival to G7



It was in the fitness of things for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hold a special telephonic conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin recently for the purpose of enlightening the latter on the need for a peaceful, diplomatic end to the Russian-initiated blood-letting in Ukraine. Hopefully, wise counsel and humanity would prevail and the world would soon witness the initial steps at least to a complete withdrawal of invading Russian troops from Ukraine.

The urgency for an early end to the Russian invasion of Ukraine which revoltingly testifies afresh to the barbaric cruelty man could inflict on his fellows, is underscored, among other things, by the declaration which came at the end of the 14th BRICS Summit, which was held virtually in Beijing recently. Among other things, the declaration said: ‘BRICS reaffirms commitment to ensuring the promotion and protection of democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all with the aim to build a brighter shared future for the international community based on mutually beneficial cooperation.’

It is anybody’s guess as to what meanings President Putin read into pledges of the above kind, but it does not require exceptional brilliance to perceive that the barbaric actions being carried out by his regime against Ukrainian civilians make a shocking mockery of these enlightened pronouncements. It is plain to see that the Russian President is being brazenly cynical by affixing his signature to the declaration. The credibility of BRICS is at risk on account of such perplexing contradictory conduct on the part of its members. BRICS is obliged to rectify these glaring irregularities sooner rather than later.

At this juncture the important clarification must be made that it is the conduct of the Putin regime, and the Putin regime only, that is being subjected to censure here. Such strictures are in no way intended to project in a negative light, the Russian people, who are heirs to a rich, humanistic civilization that produced the likes of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, among a host of other eminent spirits, who have done humanity proud and over the decades guided humans in the direction of purposeful living. May their priceless heritage live long, is this columnist’s wish.

However, the invaluable civilization which the Russian people have inherited makes it obligatory on their part to bring constant pressure on the Putin regime to end its barbarism against the Ukrainian civilians who are not at all party to the big power politics of Eastern Europe. They need to point out to their rulers that in this day and age there are civilized, diplomatic and cost-effective means of resolving a state’s perceived differences with its neighbours. The spilling of civilian blood, on the scale witnessed in Ukraine, is a phenomenon of the hoary past.

The BRICS grouping, which encompasses some of the world’s predominant economic and political powers, if not for the irregular conduct of the Putin regime, could be said to have struck on a policy framework that is farsighted and proactive on the issue of global equity.

There is the following extract from a report on its recent summit declaration that needs to be focused on. It reads: BRICS notes the need to ensure “Meaningful participation of developing and least developed countries, especially in Africa, in global decision-making processes and structures and make it better attuned to contemporary realities.”

The above are worthy goals that need to be pursued vigorously by global actors that have taken upon themselves the challenge of easing the lot of the world’s powerless countries. The urgency of resuming the North-South Dialogue, among other questions of importance to the South, has time and again been mentioned in this column. This is on account of the fact that the most underdeveloped regions of the South have been today orphaned in the world system.

Given that the Non-aligned Movement and like organizations, that have espoused the resolution of Southern problems over the decades, are today seemingly ineffective and lacking in political and economic clout, indications that the BRICS grouping is in an effort to fill this breach is heartening news for the powerless of the world. Indeed, the crying need is for the poor and powerless to be brought into international decision-making processes that affect their wellbeing and it is hoped that BRICS’s efforts in this regard would bear fruit.

What could help in increasing the confidence of the underdeveloped countries in BRICS, is the latter’s rising economic and political power. While in terms of economic strength, the US remains foremost in the world with a GDP of $ 20.89 trillion, China is not very far behind with a GDP of $ 14.72 trillion. The relevant readings for some other key BRICS countries are as follows: India – $ 2.66 trillion, Russia – $ 1.48 trillion and Brazil $ 1.44 trillion. Of note is also the fact that except for South Africa, the rest of the BRICS are among the first 15 predominant economies, assessed in GDP terms. In a global situation where economics drives politics, these figures speak volumes for the growing power of the BRICS countries.

In other words, the BRICS are very much abreast of the G7 countries in terms of a number of power indices. The fact that many of the BRICS possess a nuclear capability indicates that in military terms too they are almost on par with the G7.

However, what is crucial is that the BRICS, besides helping in modifying the world economic order to serve the best interests of the powerless as well, contribute towards changing the power balances within the vital organs of the UN system, such as the UN Security Council, to render them more widely representative of changing global power realities.

Thus, India and Brazil, for example, need to be in the UNSC because they are major economic powers in their own right. Since they are of a democratic orientation, besides pushing for a further democratization of the UN’s vital organs, they would be in a position to consistently work towards the wellbeing of the underprivileged in their respective regions, which have tremendous development potential.

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Queen of Hearts



She has certainly won the hearts of many with the charity work she is engaged in, on a regular basis, helping the poor, and the needy.

Pushpika de Silva was crowned Mrs. Sri Lanka for Mrs. World 2021 and she immediately went into action, with her very own charity project – ‘Lend a Helping Hand.’

When launching this project, she said: “Lend a Helping Hand is dear to me. With the very meaning of the title, I am extending my helping hand to my fellow brothers and sisters in need; in a time where our very existence has become a huge question and people battling for daily survival.”

Since ‘Lend a Helping Hand’ became a reality, last year, Pushpika has embarked on many major charity projects, including building a home for a family, and renovating homes of the poor, as well.

The month of June (2022) saw Pushpika very much in action with ‘Lend a Helping Hand.’

She made International Father’s Day a very special occasion by distributing food items to 100 poor families.

“Many are going without a proper meal, so I was very keen, in my own way, to see that these people had something to keep the hunger pangs away.”

A few days later, the Queen of Hearts made sure that 50 more people enjoyed a delicious and nutritious meal.

“In these trying times, we need to help those who are in dire straits and, I believe, if each one of us could satisfy the hunger, and thirst, of at least one person, per day, that would be a blessing from above.”

Pushpika is also concerned about the mothers, with kids, she sees on the roads, begging.

“How helpless is a mother, carrying a small child, to come to the street and ask for something.

“I see this often and I made a special effort to help some of them out, with food and other necessities.”

What makes Pushpika extra special is her love for animals, as well, and she never forgets the street dogs that are having a tough time, these days, scavenging for food.

“These animals, too, need food, and are voiceless, so we need to think of them, as well. Let’s have mercy on them, too. Let’s love them, as well.”

The former beauty queen served a delicious meal for the poor animals, just recently, and will continue with all her charity projects, on a regular basis, she said.

Through her charity project, ‘Lend a Helping Hand,” she believes she can make a change, though small.

And, she says, she plans to be even more active, with her charity work, during these troubled times.

We wish Pushpika de Silva all the very best, and look forward to seeing more of her great deeds, through her ‘Lend a Helping Hand’ campaign.

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Hope and political change:No more Appachis to the rescue



KUPPI on the current economic and political crisis: intervention 1

by Harshana Rambukwella

In Buddhist literature, there is the Parable of the Burning House where the children of a wealthy man, trapped inside a burning house, refuse to leave it, fearful of leaving its comfort – because the flames are yet to reach them. Ultimately, they do leave because the father promises them wonderful gifts and are saved from the fire. Sri Lankans have long awaited such father figures – in fact, our political culture is built on the belief that such ‘fathers’ will rescue us. But this time around no fathers are coming. As Sri Lankans stare into an uncertain future, and a multitude of daily sufferings, and indignities continue to pile upon us, there is possibly one political and emotional currency that we all need – hope. Hope is a slippery term. One can hope ‘in-vain’ or place one’s faith in some unachievable goal and be lulled into a sense of complacency. But, at the same time, hope can be critically empowering – when insurmountable obstacles threaten to engulf you, it is the one thing that can carry you forward. We have innumerable examples of such ‘hope’ from history – both religious and secular. When Moses led the Israelites to the promised land, ‘hope’ of a new beginning sustained them, as did faith in God. When Queen Viharamahadevi set off on a perilous voyage, she carried hope, within her, along with the hope of an entire people. When Martin Luther King Jr made his iconic ‘I have a dream’ speech, hope of an America where Black people could live in dignity, struck a resonant chord and this historical sense of hope also provided inspiration for the anti-Apartheid struggle in South Africa.

This particular moment, in Sri Lanka, feels a moment of ‘hopelessness’. In March and April, this year, before the cowardly attack on the Gota Go Gama site, in Galle Face, there was a palpable sense of hope in the aragalaya movement as it spread across the country. While people were struggling with many privations, the aragalaya channeled this collective frustration into a form of political and social action, we have rarely seen in this country. There were moments when the aragalaya managed to transcend many divisions – ethnic, religious and class – that had long defined Sri Lanka. It was also largely a youth led movement which probably added to the ‘hope’ that characterized the aragalaya. However, following the May 09th attack something of this ‘hope’ was lost. People began to resign themselves to the fact that the literally and metaphorically ‘old’ politics, and the corrupt culture it represents had returned. A Prime Minister with no electoral base, and a President in hiding, cobbled together a shaky and illegitimate alliance to stay in power. The fuel lines became longer, the gas queues grew, food prices soared and Sri Lanka began to run out of medicines. But, despite sporadic protests and the untiring commitment of a few committed activists, it appeared that the aragalaya was fizzling out and hope was stagnant and dying, like vehicles virtually abandoned on kilometers-long fuel queues.

However, we now have a moment where ‘hope’ is being rekindled. A national movement is gathering pace. As the prospect of the next shipment of fuel appears to recede into the ever-distant future, people’s anger and frustration are once again being channeled towards political change. This is a do-or-die moment for all Sri Lankans. Regardless of our political beliefs, our ideological orientation, our religion or class, the need for political change has never been clearer. Whether you believe that an IMF bailout will save us, or whether you believe that we need a fundamental change in our economic system, and a socially and economically more just society, neither of these scenarios will come to pass without an immediate political change. The political class that now clings to power, in this country, is like a cancer – poisoning and corrupting the entire body politic, even as it destroys itself. The Prime Minister who was supposed to be the messiah channeling international goodwill and finances to the country has failed miserably and we have a President who seems to be in love with the idea of ‘playing president’. The Sri Lankan people have a single existential choice to make in this moment – to rise as one to expel this rotten political order. In Sri Lanka, we are now in that burning house that the Buddha spoke of and we all seem to be waiting for that father to appear and save us. But now we need to change the plot of this parable. No father will come for us. Our fathers (or appachis) have led us to this sorry state. They have lied, deceived and abandoned us. It is now up to us to rediscover the ‘hope’ that will deliver us from the misery of this economic and political crisis. If we do not act now the house will burn down and we will be consumed in its flames.

Initiated by the Kuppi Collective, a group of academics and activists attached to the university system and other educational institutes and actions.

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