Victoria OBA presented Ghana Mazhai 2016: Chief Guest Prof.E. Ambikairajah
Posted on: 07/10/2016 (Friday)
JHC OBA Victoria presented their Flagship event Ghana Mazhai 2016 on 01, October 2016 at the Kingston City Hall, Moorabbin. The main purpose of this annual event is in two fold. One is the fund raiser for their alma mater. The raised proceeds are better spent on the carefully selected projects. The second purpose is the get to gather of the past students of the college with their colleagues’, families and friends.
The event venue brimmed with its capacity of 700 guests.
The well organised events unfold with the welcoming arrival of the chief Guest and the very distinguished old boy of their own Prof. E.Ambikairajah and Mrs.Ambikairajah. President of the OBA Victoria Mr.K.Sathiyalingam and Dr. Mrs. S Sathiyalingam cordially welcomed the chief guests and escorted to the chair.
The venue was nearly full when the event was officially started with the lighting of the traditional oil lamp at 6.00 pm. This important event was followed by the college song sung by the past pupils of the JHC. President Mr.K.Sathiyalingam delivered his welcome speech followed by the welcome dance by Miss. Aiswarya Thangavel, student of Srimathy Meena Elankumaran’s ‘Nadanalaya’ dance school. After that Master of ceremonies Mr.K.Sivasuthan invited the Chief Guest to deliver his key note address to complete the formal events of Gana Mazhai 2016 Part 1. The crust of his speech was about leadership and he emphasized the parent’s role in moulding a good leader for the future.
Key note address by Chief Guest Prof.E. Ambikairajah
Good evening ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for inviting me to the JHC OBA Victoria “Ghana Mazhi 2016” musical event. It is a great pleasure and privilege for me to address all of you this evening. This event is yet another example of how the JHC community continues to thrive, long after our high school years have passed.
One of the greatest outcomes is how the JHC Old Boys and their families have continued to support Jaffna Hindu College and other outreach primary schools in northern and eastern parts of Jaffna, to ensure that the younger generations have access to good facilities in their education.
It is always a delight to see what old boys can achieve when they get together! JHC OBA Victoria is an example of that.
As I reflect on what JHC has given us, the greatest lesson that stands out, is the foundation of learning. The quality of our education has allowed us to continue on to university studies, to excel and build great careers, in Sri Lanka and all over the world. The access we had to quality education opportunities, has been the foundation for many leadership opportunities - I can see many among the audience who I know are in leadership positions in their own fields.
Over the course of my academic career, some 35 years, I have taught hundreds of thousands of students in Sri Lanka, UK, Ireland and Australia. During this time, I have spent close to 30 years in leadership positions.
For me, it started at a young age. My parents gave me responsibility, and they were very tolerant of me making mistakes. This allowed me to develop my confidence, free from criticism or blame. I was encouraged to participate in anything and everything, and to be a team leader where possible. My parents’ advice to me was that “success comes after a failure”. What I didn’t realise at the time is that these are the seeds of leadership.
In my current role, I am the Head of School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications at UNSW (Head of School for the past 8 years), responsible for the largest electrical engineering school in Australia, with 40 academic staff, 25 professional staff and 1400 students, ranked in the top 50 in the world.
In a school like this, it is critical to have a highly performing team. One of the key aspects of my role, as I see it, is to help the high performers to excel, and to help those who are struggling, to develop their abilities, grow their confidence and perform above their expectations. This is one of the key qualities of a leader.
In 2014 I was honoured to receive the UNSW Staff Excellence Award for Senior Leadership, which is the highest award given to leaders at UNSW. For me, leadership is about caring about my staff, mentoring early-career researchers, and always being a strategic thinker – constantly finding ways in which my school can differentiate itself.
All of these qualities did not happen today; they grew over time from when I was at JHC and subsequently at university and in the workplace. Many of the most important ideas were formed very early, and this is my message: as parents and grandparents, you are the ones forming their future leadership potential.
Be patient with children when they make mistakes, because it is really their confidence which is the most fragile, allow them to take reasonable risks, and support them through failure. It is all too easy to say “………”, but maybe hesitate first, because this might be a step backwards for children, on their path towards being future leaders. A key lesson that I learnt from JHC/university is that the greatest leaders spend a lot of time growing the leadership potential of others. As a leader, negotiating with people very patiently is essential – if your tolerance level is this big, it needs to be this big.
One of my greatest privileges has been to see the students and researchers that I have mentored to become leaders in their own right (I have graduated 30 research students and 15 of them hold PhDs and most of them are in leadership positions). For example, one of my former PhD students is now the head of department at the Faculty of Engineering at Jaffna University – passing on his knowledge and education to the generation younger than him. Leadership is about giving forward, and making sure that in your personal and professional life, you are always doing, paving a path for the next generation.
I congratulate the JHCOBA Victoria, the president and committee members, and their supporters, for their countless hours of commitment to providing a helping hand for JHC and other schools in Jaffna, and building a better society.
I wish JHCOBA Victoria many more years of success, and through their leadership, I have no doubt that future generations of JHC Old Boys will learn the lessons that have served us well in our lives so far.
Finally my message to parents and grandparents: Be patient with children, support your children through failure and build their confidence and these are some of the seeds of leadership.
Thank you ladies and gentlemen; have a wonderful evening.
At this time, the live music concert of “Puthiya Poopalam Issai Kuzhu” was readied to entertain the music loving guests. The Music Director, Mr.Niroshan Sathiamoorthy, is the success story behind the “Puthiya Poobalam” music band.
The star attraction of the music concert for this year is the induction of the Guest Singer / Playback singer and the Super singer famed Mr. Diwakar from India. Another colour full addition to this year music concert is super singer finalist Ms.Sonia. “Puthiya poobalam” music director Mr.Niroshan has thoughtfully selected the songs to hook in all the walks of life in the packed Kingston City Hall.
The first part of the musical concert was given a break to facilitate the award ceremony of token of appreciation. All the major sponsors as well as the performers had been felicitated by JHC OBA. President Mr.K.Sathiyalingam, Mrs. S. Sathiyaligam and Mrs. Ambihairajah presented the token of appreciation to all the major sponsors.
The Next Item in line was the Dinner break. The Mango Tree provided the dinner with the mouth-watering food. Soon after the dinner time ended, the life music concert resumed their performance lightning up the event hall. It went up to 10.30 PM where almost all of the guests are glued up to the musical concert.
As customary, OBA Victoria Secretary Mr.A. Noyel delivered his vote of thanks speech. With this vote of thanks the formal functions of the Ghana Mazhai 2016, ended in a grand style.
Mr. T.Athavan and Mr.S Vijekumaran then took over the centre stage to conduct the raffle draw. The venue was still full with the hopeful guests so enthusiastically checking their fortune in every raffle draw result announcements. The Raffle Daw ended at around 11.00 pm to mark the final leg of yet another successful staging of Ghana Mazhai.