Graduation opening speech 2017 for Colombo Institute of Research and Psychology and Coventry University Graduates

IMG_1920“(Sinhalese and Tamil greeting for welcome) Good morning distinquished guests, guests of honor, ladies and gentleman “I would like to extend a warm welcome to honored members, invited guests, parents, and students and my peers here today”


“As the head of school I want to say how proud I am of the students who are graduating today as it takes spirit, passion and determination to get this far. The spirit to overcome difficulties in the learning processes”


Determination to get to grips with key concepts, turning what looks like confused matter, nothing makes sense like statistics for example, into an area that is understood. Now when you read stats the language it is no longer foreign to you but a familiar language”


“And finally passion, when the times get difficult, juggling parenthood with studies, meandering through the many policies of the teaching institute, managing a lovelife, children, and others thing in competition for your time,…….. When trying to satisfy a deadline! Oh and then theres TURNITIN! Aarh the bane of every students life as you count down the seconds and wonder why its not UPLOADING!”


“But amidst all that…….. you have done it! (give yourselves a round of applause)”


“When I introduce myself to batches, the most common thing I say is that the most important word to leave this institute as indeed all institutes of education is why. It’s the WHY factor. If you leave here saying I know it all then we as a team of academics have not done our job well at all.”

IMG_1924“Has my staff inspired in you a thirst for more knowledge?”

“Have they introduced you to unanswered questions, that proves a drive to do a phD and fill the gap in that knowledge ?”

“But if you having enjoyed learning new ideas and you have been inspired to know more then we have done our job well. It is the person who asks the why that discovers new ideas, adds knowledge, innovates, creates and moves on to bigger and better things”

“It is not the job of the educator to spoonfeed information so that you pass an exam but instead to ignite a flame which then can be carried forward to the next person, group and society as a whole.”

“Having an education will give you an helping hand away from poverty. Worldwide women in old age end up in poorer situations than there male counterparts. This we found out in my work with Professors on the book on old age and discrimination. The gap between men and women is far apart in the younger to older old categories of ageing. “

“And what are the reasons for this ?”

“Woman typically are the care givers and so therefore don’t have the time to study. Men on the other hand are more likely to receive an education and therefore survive better in older age. Now this does not make sense when women on a worldwide average live 5 years longer than men”.


“So I put it to all the men and women here today “go and inspire, innovate and create! challenge the misconceptions of work and the wage discrepancies we have to challenge inequalities when they arise and with Sri Lanka now a middle income country and with that comes a deeper responsiblitiy to protect those marginalized in society. The people with mental illness, the ageing, the people with learning disabilities, transgendered men and women, the homeless people, and the Vedda communities – who are currently the invisible citizens of Sri Lanka”


“So what comes now with your deserved qualification?”


“With your education, comes a responsibility to improve self, to improve others and improve society and help those the invisible citizens to become visible citizens. They have a contribution for this great nation.”


“So now lets me take another opportunity to congratulate all on the undergraduate programs and those on the postgraduate programs. You have worked hard and shown spirit, determination and passion. Thank you and enjoy your day!”