Dinuki Meegoda, the conference chair commenced the proceedings of the conference by explaining the objectives of the conference which were to present the Best Speaker contest and the finalists therein of year 2016 to the public and to unveil the Best Speaker 2016 trophy.
The media, Dr. Chaminda Abeysinghe (Director of Student Affairs), Dr. Narada Fernando (Director of the Career Guidance Unit), Dr. M. P. Deeyamulla (Senior Treasurer of the Gavel Club), were welcomed. Mr. Nuwan C. Perera (President of the Gavel Club), Mr. Vihanga Jayasinghe (Project Chairperson of Best Speaker 2016) and the six finalists of Best Speaker 2016 were present.
Mr. Nuwan C Perera was called upon to present the Best Speaker contest. He said that the University of Kelaniya Gavel Club is the first in South Asia and was inaugurated in 2004. He went on to elaborate that through it, the public speaking and leadership skills of undergraduates are improved and they are better empowered. He mentioned that they were an affiliate of Toastmasters International, USA and that they frequently organize events, workshops, public speaking camps, coaching camps for both university students and school students and also in orphanages.
He spoke also about Inter School Best Speaker 2016 conducted in Colombo, Kelaniya and Gampaha Educational Zones.
He mentioned that there had been more than 500 students at the first Gavel meeting of this year and that since then the meetings continue to be held every Thursday from 4-6pm.
He highlighted that Best Speaker 2016 is the main event for this year.
Dr. M. P. Deeyamulla, the Senior Treasurer of University of Kelaniya Gavel Club was then called upon to address the media. It was his idea that speech sessions at educational meetings are an opportunity to develop one’s soft skills by speaking to an audience. He added that the University of Kelaniya Gavel Club had done much for other universities and schools.
Subsequently Mr. Vihanga Jayasinghe, the Project Chairperson of Best Speaker 2016 is invited to address the media. He went back to when Gavel first started, twelve years ago, in 2004. He highlighted as something extraordinary that the University of Kelaniya Gavel Club had organized a Best Speaker contest the very year that it started, first as an inter university contest and then in 2005 the intra university contest was added. He mentioned that there were 150 contestants the previous year and 220 from the 16 state universities this year.
He said that the preliminary round of this contest was held on 16th November and the semi finals on the 27th , and that the finals will be on the 8th of December at the Dharmaloka Convocation Hall of the University of Kelaniya from 3.30pm onwards.
The main sponsors, Fonterra, MAS intimates and e-marketting eye (PVT) LTD. and Avery Dennnison Lanka (PVT) LTD. were acknowledged.
The next to address the media was Dr. Chaminda Abeysinghe, Director of Student affairs of the university. He explained how important it is for an undergraduate to acquire knowledge, soft skills and activeness, and that Gavel provides this opportunity as best as possible.
Then Dr. Narada Fernando, Director of the Career Guidance Unit spoke of how the University of Kelaniya Gavel Club functions more as a family than a club. He explained how they work with dedication and togetherness.
The Best Speaker 2016 trophy was then unveiled by Chrishari de Alwis Gunesekara, the Deputy Project Chairperson of Best Speaker 2016.
In reply to the queries of the media, the significance of the term “Gavel” was explained by Mr. Nuwan C. Perera. He explained that it signified the power and authority of words, speech and leadership.
The University of Kelaniya Gavel Club invites the public to witness the Grand Finale of Best Speaker 2016.