The 12th consecutive Best Speaker contest organized by the University of Kelaniya Gavel Club climaxed on Thursday, the 8th of December. With 6 finalists left- from among the 220 applicants and 20 semi-finalists from 15 state universities – to compete for the Grand Finale of the contest, the stage set glamorously on the theme of nebulae, could not but inspire awe.
The Chief Guest of the contest was Professor Nilanthi de Silva, Acting Vice Chancellor of the University of Kelaniya. The guests of honour for the evening were Ms. Dinusha Jayamanne, Director Human Resources at Fonterra Brands Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd. and Mr. Lakshitha Dharmawansa, General Manager at Avery Dennison Lanka.
That the event was a success, is patent. All 6 finalists being equally capable, the contest was a treat to behold, the competition being tough and the impromptu speeches being surprisingly as organized and as effective as those that were prepared.
By a very interesting and heart-touching coincidence, most of the finalists-who were all girls- spoke of their fathers in the impromptu session under the topic ‘After the storm, comes a calm’.
The Best Speaker 2016 title, in the end, went to Himansa Herath, of the University of Kelaniya, who also bagged the awards for Best Prepared Speaker and Best Impromptu Speaker of the contest. A tearfully happy Himansa Herath accepted her award, thanking her father, family, friends and the Gavel Club.
The First Runner Up was Buddhima Sandaruwani and the Second Runner Up, Liomie Kurera, both also from the University of Kelaniya.
Apart from the excitement of the Best Speaker titles being awarded, was the iconic launch of the first ever Best Speaker magazine. With much ado about everything, it was introduced to the public at Best Speaker 2016. The magazine includes articles from leading Toastmasters and charismatic speakers among those of Gaveliers, notes from Past Presidents, the 6 finalists and scores of photographs that tell the inside stories.
So with this colourful flourish of winners and more, Best Speaker 2016 ended on the night of 8th December. However Best Speaker will go on for all the time, of the universes and the nebulae, to come. May more stars show hidden light again…and again…and again!