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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2673

President Mahinda Rajapaksa Took Oxford by Storm

By Philip Fernando in L A for Asian Tribune

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s address to the Oxford students last week took the students by storm. Letters sent to Asian Tribune after the President’s speech had one common theme:” he charmed the audience with his sincerity.” Mahinda Rajapakse at OxfordMahinda Rajapakse at Oxford

The question and answer session at Oxford was most scintillating according to the letters sent here. President may have been buoyed by the recent Eastern elections. He had established a good rapport with the students. Sri Lankan Society President Dilan Fernando and his members were joined by Pakistani, Chinese, Palestine, Indian and Thai Society members in felicitating the President. Sarah Iqbal of the Oxford Indian Society presented the President with a bouquet of flowers.

According to a detailed report from Walter Jayawardhana from London, the student audience was representative of all major Asian student bodies. Saiquat Nandi commended the president for his fight against terrorism.

Thahir Mansoor of the Oxford Pakistani Union praised the President for his strengthening relationships with his country and fighting to restore the membership of Pakistan in the Commonwealth. . The master of the University College, Oxford Lord Robert Butler of Brockwell hosted President Rajapaksa at tea before the lecture and took him round on a conducted tour of the 1249 established school.. The master of the University College, Oxford Lord Robert Butler of Brockwell hosted President Rajapaksa at tea before the lecture and took him round on a conducted tour of the 1249 established school.

Imran Zahid presented President Rajapaksa with a bouquet of flowers. Lihul Wang of the oxford Chinese Society presented the President with bouquet of flowers and praised the thousands of year old friendship between Sri Lanka and China.

At the end of the speech the audience gave President Rajapaksa a standing ovation. The master of the University College, Oxford Lord Robert Butler of Brockwell hosted President Rajapaksa at tea before the lecture and took him round on a conducted tour of the 1249 established school.

Why the University College was selected was due to the fact that Oxford University's Sri Lankan Society President Dilan Fernando studies at the school. Lord Brockwell asked the President whether it is true whether the LTTE terrorist were the innovators of the suicide jacket. President Rajapaksa said they were not only the innovators but also sold the invention to the rest of the world.

Professor G.L.Peiris, who studied at the New College Oxford, also sat down for tea with the President. President Rajapaksa told the master that the Sinhalese and Tamils were culturally very close and worships the same Hindu gods although many Sinhalese are Buddhists.Students applause after the President's speechStudents applause after the President's speech

Oxford has attracted a host of politicians over the years among them S W R D Bandaranaike, Indira Gandhi, Lalith Athulathmudali, Tyrone Fernando, Lakshman Kadirgamar, Harold Wilson, Tony Blair and Bill Clinton- these immediately come to mind,

President’s Oxford address became a good social event. Organizers had given it a good professional touch.

The letter sent by the President of the Oxford Indian Society to President Rajapaksa after his address his given below: President with the Oxford Students Union RepresentativesPresident with the Oxford Students Union Representatives

Sent: Wednesday, May 14, 2008 8:48 AM

Subject: For the kind attention of the His Excellency Dr Mahinda Rajapaksa: please forward

Dear Sir,

It was a rare honor to meet you in person at the Oxford Union. I admire the fact that you feel so passionately for your country and changing the lives of your fellow citizens. Sir, you inspire us, the young generation that our lives should not be squandered in personal merriment and self-promotion. Sir, may I thank you for answering my question in detail, it does not happen everyday that I get a chance to hear the first-hand views of the maker of a nation.

What I liked the most about your speech, was the fact that you talked about the sustainable development and paying attention to the strengthening the rural economy, as energy and food are two of the key questions. Policy makers should not forget that in the race of the making their nations industrialized or turning their countries into service industries. Another key point was that you mentioned the distribution of the wealth across all sections of the society, very important indeed, as discontent leads to social disharmony and problems. We need sustainable societies.

I am very happy that you have fond memories of India, especially Dehradoon. My brother Dr. Dev Ratna Shukla is currently posted in Dehradoon, as the National Head of the Information Ministry of Government of India in his role as Head for Rural & Land Records Reforms through Electronic Governance. I go to Dehradoon and Rishikesh for River-Rafting.President with Indian Student Union Representatives (All Pictures by Sudath Silva)President with Indian Student Union Representatives (All Pictures by Sudath Silva)

Sir, I pray that under your vision and leadership, the relationship between India and Sri Lanka will grow stronger. I wish the very best to the people of Sri Lanka. May your country prosper and be an example to the rest of the world as a nation.

I also hope that increasing pilgrimage to the Ramayana sites will allow people of our nations to have closer cultural ties. I look forward to visiting your beautiful land some day.

Thanks a lot for your attention.

Warm Regards,

Aadya Shukla
(President)
The Oxford Indian Society.

- Asian Tribune -

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