Deepamala Abeysekera - Mark of gratitude from a SAF Madanjeet Singh group scholarship recipient

Testimony 26th May 2008

Dear Sir,

I trust this mail finds you in best of health and spirits. Hope you can remember me. I am Deepamala Abeysekera from Sri Lanka. I am writing this email from United Nations Head office where I am engaged in my internship Programme.
I am ever so grateful to you Sir and to the late Hon. Lakshman Kadirgamar for awarding me the SAF scholarship to read for the Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism at the Asian College of Journalism. Sir, it was the starting point from which many exciting opportunities came my way. As such, I thought you would like to know some experiences I encountered since then. It might show how a scholarship can give one, courage to walk to the edge of hope and take the leap of faith to pass through to an expanded world beyond. It is so, because other things start to fall into place with a snow ball effect henceforth.

So as you know, after ACJ, I was selected out of many applicants to participate in the Summer Academy at the International Institute of Journalism, (IIJ), Germany, on media freedom, journalistic ethics and skills for young journalists. I made amazing contacts there, which were very helpful later. Then I was also selected as one out of 50 participants, out of many applicants, to participate and represent Sri Lanka in the seminar on Globalization and Poverty at Brown University, Rhode Island, Providence, and seminar on Liberty and Current Affairs at Georgetown University, Washington D.C, USA. Here I got the opportunity to interact with top scholars, practitioners, experts ans selected students from accross the globe.

These experiences and my studies in the fields of Economics, Management, Journalism and International Relations, by then made me realize that a very good grasp of law is extremely essential to proceed further, as it mingles with every field and the world is full of events that have legal connotations. As a result I read for my Bachelor of Laws through the University of London, external programme. Then in the year 2006 I got admission in the University of Nottingham UK to read for my LLM in Public International Law. I submitted my thesis titled How "Physics Encounters with Consciousness", can contribute to make Allott's "Shifting of Consciousness" less Utopian - This is a way of exploring, the means by which the Eunomian Vision can be realized. Here I was selected from the applicants of our LLM batch to receive the bursary of the Human Rights Law Centre, to work at an international organization.

This bursary became invaluable when I was selected by the internship programme of the UNited Nations, Head Quarters, and New York. I first interned at DESA, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs at the focal point on Disability from 14th Jan - 30th March 2008. Currently I am interning at the CTED, The Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate of the Security Council. Working at the Headquarters, attending many General Assembly, Security Council, G77, etc sessions and bonding with people from all corners of the world has been truly a terrific experience.

Nevertheless I feel my best contribution will be in the field.  There is so much you can do being part of a large international organization and I strongly believe developing countries like Sri Lanka and South Asia needs us, more than the United Nations. So I have decided to return to my country upon completion of the internship. I am planning to set up an Educational Institute of Intellectual and Creative Studies spanning fields of journalism, law, economics, aesthetic studies, leadership studies, paramedical studies etc. It is a plan to which I have given serious thought already. This might be an institution which can also cater tot he deprived but talented youth and make a diffrence in Sri Lanka and the South Asian region.

Hope this little email will make you happy and give you satisfaction in seeing how far your generous gesture has helped a SAF Scholar to progress in life. This in turn would no doubt spread to other worthy student in the years to come!
Thanking you once again and wishing you the best of health and happiness.

Kindest regards,