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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2903

U.S. recognizes Sri Lanka-born Sanje Sedara’s outreach to community

By Daya Gamage – An Asian Tribune Profile
Las Vegas, Nevada. 20 February (Asiantribune.com):

In an audience of approximately thousand attendees on Saturday, 15 February in the Southern Nevada Community College auditorium to celebrate Sri Lanka’s 72nd Independence organized by the Sri Lanka America Association of Las Vegas, a name of a Sri Lanka-born American echoed on several occasions from a top US lawmaker who attended the event as the chief guest from the podium.

U.S. Congresswoman Prof. Dina Titus, a Member of the U.S. House of Representative’s Sub-Committee on South Asia of the Foreign Relations Committee and the Co-Chair of US-Sri Lanka Congressional Caucus, made several references to Sanje Sedara not by accident: She and a host of US lawmakers, both House Members and Senators were well aware of Mr. Sedara’ out-reach - using his diplomatic prowess and astute public affairs abilities – to officials who are controlling the affairs of the State of Nevada and adjacent Western States as well as US lawmakers in Washington.

Congresswoman Dina Titus in her keynote address at the Independence Day event reminded Sanje Sedara’s contribution to public affairs and his willingness to work for the welfare of others.

Fitting well into his profile, Sanaje Sedara was recently appointed to State of Nevada’s populous and largest County, Clark County, as a member of its Social Service Citizens’ Advisory Committee.

The purpose of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee is to identify and communicate to the Board of County Commissioners crucial social service issues in the community and service requirements regarding improvements to client services; Assist in accessing needs of the community; Initiate proposals which may be forwarded to the Board of County Commissioners as recommendations for action. The CAC is made up of a cross-section of citizens throughout Clark County and who demonstrate an interest in social service issues in the community.

The authorities of the State of Nevada’s Clark County Commission, the supreme authority of governance of the State of Nevada’s most populous and largest county management correctly identified Mr. Sedara aware of his Profile of Courage which was loudly stated by US Congresswoman Dina Titus at the auditorium for the thousand attendees to hear.

Mr. Sedara is already on the Board of Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority.

Sanje Sedera has the knack of reaching to policymakers not only in his native state Nevada, but also in Washington. This hardworking and pleasant political activist of the US Democratic Party rose in the ranks of the Nevada Democratic Party apparatus within few years, raising the eyebrows of many Sri Lankans domiciled in this state.

Later at an informal discussion with Sri Lanka’s ambassador to the United States Rodney Perera, who was also a distinguish attendee at the 72nd Independence Day anniversary in Las Vegas on February 15, in the presence of this writer confessed if he had persons of the caliber of Mr. Sedara in his Washington embassy, his diplomatic responsibilities would have made much effective and easier.

To make a significant presence in a national political party in the United States as an immigrant is not a very easy achievement. To make an impact and create an imprint in the national political party in a state, to cultivate personal contacts with United States congressmen and officials in Washington, and get fully involved many aspects of the Southern Nevada citizenry for an immigrant is the most difficult task. Sri Lanka-born Sanje Sedera has achieved just that.

The Asian Tribune believes that Sri Lankan political activists, both ruling and opposition, and those who aspire to enter positions of political power, should focus attention to US political activists such as Mr. Sedera to enhance US-Sri Lanka relations in the areas of foreign affairs, public diplomacy and development assistance.

His rise in the State of Nevada’s social activities and the Democratic Party apparatus has exposed Sanje Sedera to lawmakers and policymakers who connect the relations between the United States and Sri Lanka. It is this aspect that Sri Lankan lawmakers and policymakers need to pay more attention to fill the void that Sri Lanka currently has in the areas of foreign affairs and public diplomacy.

When the devastating floods with an equally disastrous cyclone hit the Iraawedi Valley in Burma, officially known as Myanmar, in early 2008 destroying the lives of thousands of poor Burmese stripping whatever meager belongings they had, making them homeless and taking the lives of their loved ones, Nevada resident Sanje Sedera was seen immediately spinning into action with the Burmese local residence to find out what efforts could be undertaken to alleviate the suffering of those helpless masses. He not only coordinated the collection of non-perishable material and fund raiser at the Las Vegas level but went beyond to reach the Burmese national organizations in the United States to formulate and implement an effective aid program which subsequently was seen one of the best overseas assistance program in recent times.

Almost four years earlier in December 2004 when the obnoxious Tsunami hit Sri Lanka bringing misery to a million and a half coastal-belt poverty-stricken masses Sanje Sedera was one of the first responders to work with local Sri Lankan community organizations which included the Sri Lankan-born Catholic priest and the Buddhist prelate to collect items that were subsequently shipped in many containers for the use of the displaced.

In 2010 he organized the collection of books, used and new, several thousands in all to ship to Sri Lanka for the use of underprivileged students.

In all these occasions Sedera’s management skills, his vast ability to coordinate efforts, intuition he possesses to identify targets for higher achievements and the keen sense for details of logistics needed to fulfill a project were clearly visible to those who worked with him.

Appointments to vital boards/committees of the State of Nevada management were in recognition of his skills, his vast ability to coordinate efforts, intuition he possesses to identify targets for higher achievements and the keen sense for details of logistics needed to fulfill projects.

His academic record was excellent. Being a recipient of the coveted American Field Service scholarship to Australia in 1986, speaks volumes of his achievements.

His education was disrupted in 88/89 period due to the Marxist/rebel uprising in Sri Lanka that prevented him earning his high school diploma. The United States was the springboard of Sedera's higher education. In 1992 he obtained associate degree in Computer Information Systems from Institute of Technological Studies and bachelor’s degree from Idaho State University in 1994 while featuring in Dean’s list.

- Asian Tribune –

Sanje Sedara of the Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority addressing
a session in Las Vegas
Sanje Sedara – right to US Congresswoman Dina Titus – has always been
Instrumental in getting the Sri Lankan expatriates involved in fruitful
Discourses with U.S. lawmakers to strengthen US-Sri Lanka relations
diconary view
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