Check out our Spring Festival of South Asia flyer.
Spring Festival of South Asia
Saturday, May 11, 2013 6:00-9:00 pm
Sir Allan MacNab Secondary School Auditorium
154 Magnolia Drive, Hamilton ON, L9C 5P4
For information, contact:
Indu Singh: 905-807-4638
Jesmin Haq: 905-304-3350
Zafar Pasha Siddiqui: 289-700-3006
Karunarathna Paranawithana was appointed as the Consul General of Sri Lanka in Toronto by the Government of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka in October 2010. He is a journalist by profession, having studied in Colombo and Bradford, UK.
He has held several senior journalistic positions including in Sri Lanka as well as Secretary, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Ethnic Affairs & National Integration.
In an interview with the South Asian Generation Next (a newspaper based in Toronto) in September 2011 Mr. Karunarathna Paranawithana elaborated on the challenges facing the Sri Lankan community in Canada. Mr. Paranawithana’s impression of the Sri Lankan community in the Greater Toronto Area is that “it’s a very dynamic community here. They have been landing here since 1950s for various reasons. Some are professionals, some are landed immigrants, of course there are many refugees who came here,”
There are about 300,000 Canadians of Sri Lankan background here in Canada. Over 100,000 of them live in the GTA.
Sri Lanka, he says is a multicultural and multiethnic country. There are people practicing faiths such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam in Sri Lanka. Its economy grew by 5 – 6 per cent even during the recession and the civil war. The unemployment rate stands at about 12 per cent. The government’s target is to bring it down to seven per cent. With over 90 per cent literacy rate in the country, Mr. Paranawithana says that the war mentality that has affected Sri Lanka is reflected over here in the Sri Lankan community. “We can’t hide the truth that Sri Lanka has been in civil war for 30 years, now the war situation is completely over.
That war mentality is reflected over here. When the motherland is hostile, there are negative feelings in the community,” he says.
As the war is over, and Sri Lanka moves toward rehabilitation, the Sri Lankan Consul General is given a challenging but not a daunting task of “making the reconciliation among the community. I am happy to say that we are working with all community leaders. We are very successful. They are communicating, collaborating and celebrating.”
“There were political issues between the Tamils and the Sinhalese.. there is politicized nationalism that is reflected here in the mindset of people. It’s a constructed political problem. There’re issues.. some people don’t celebrate together. They do not feel that they belong to the same country, to the same community. I have to be a peace builder between these communities.”
In order to do so “I rearranged my office, my service, my appearance and my participation in order to reach that goal. So we created this office as a service oriented office. They can just walk in. we are answerable to any questions they are asking about the governmental apparatus,” says Paranawithana.
But he understands that the 30 years of hard feelings between Sinhalese and Tamil community cannot turn into brotherly love overnight.
“It will take time. War took 30 years. So you can’t do reconciliation overnight. But we can see that there is some rapid development in Sri Lanka. If you compare other civil war countries with Sri Lanka, those countries are struggling to get back to normalcy. Sri Lanka is a success story. Rehabilitation is almost done. The question of displaced people, it is totally resolved. We’re very comfortable to bring that message to communities here,” he says.
In Mr. Paranawithana’s opinion, the biggest issue of the Sri Lankan community is lack of a cultural centre.
“We don’t have a cultural centre for Sri Lankan communities to come and have there get together. It has been long overdue. We are getting the whole community united to build the community centre,” he says.
To strive to bring in a higher level of competence from the previous year, we have decided to conduct a round of audition for all the proposed items by all teams. We request each team to provide a short write-up of their respective items to be performed, on audition day.
Our sincere request goes out to all teams to please keep in mind the religious and cultural sentiments across the world to bring out an unbiased and fulfilling composition of their own. This would help us in upholding a stage of mutual respect and peace at our function.
Audition date is March 22, 2013 6:00 pm
St Jean de Brebeuf Secondary School
200 Acadia Drive
School phone no is 905 388 7020
On Saturday May 11, 2013, the South Asian Heritage Association of Hamilton and Region would like to invite you to celebrate our 9th annual cultural event. More details will be released on our website as they become available.
Saturday May 11, 2013 at 6 pm
Sir Allan Mac Nab Secondary
145 Magnolia Drive
Hamilton ON, L9C 5P4
Please visit our website for future updates.
Ambassador Karamatullah Ghori
Ambassador Karamatullah Ghori is career diplomat, a prolific writer, columnist and a poet. Born at Delhi, in undivided India, Mr. Ghori’s family migrated to Karachi soon after the partition of India and Pakistan when he was only 5 years old. He completed his Master’s degree in International Relations & International Law from Karachi University and went to study at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon to study studying social and agricultural sciences.
He returned to Karachi University to teach in the Department of International Relations before joining the Pakistan Foreign Service as a career diplomat in 1966. He served in various diplomatic capacities in New York, Buenos Aires, Manila, Kuwait, Tokyo and Beijing, as his career progressed, becoming Director-General (East Asia and Pacific; National Assembly & Senate Affairs) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad.
He served as Ambassador of Pakistani in Algeria, Mali, Mauritania, Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey and Macedonia before retiring to settle in Canada.
Mr. Ghori has published four collections of Urdu poetry: Harf-e-Karamat; Safar-e-Natamam; Dar-e-Khana-e-Athar; Khak-e-Dar-e-Bu Turab. The latest book, under print, is a collection of political essays and sketches on Pakistan’s leading political lights, titled: Bar-e-Shanasai (The Burden of Acquaintance). He has also published two collections of short- stories in Urdu: Ek Lamha Sachai Ka; Samandar Ajnabi Hai and a collection of short-stories in English, China Doll.
In 2008, Ambassador Ghori produced a full-length (50 min) documentary on the future of Urdu language in Canada, titled: Urdu, a Beleaguered Language? for Roger Cable’s Omni Television.
He is now a free-lance columnist and commentator on international affairs to various newspapers and journals, including Pakistan’s largest English newspaper, the DAWN; The New Indian Express, The Milli Gazette of Delhi, India, and The Urdu Times, the leading Urdu weekly of North America. He also writes, off and on, for
The Toronto Star; The Turkish Daily News, Ankara, Turkey; and The Asian News, of Hong Kong, in addition to several other papers, journals and web-sites.
Mr. Ghori is married to Abida Ghori; has 4 grown children and lives in Toronto.
The South Asian Heritage Association of Hamilton and Region
invites you to a talk and discussion:
Chances and Challenges of a South Asian 'Spring'
Prospects of enduring peace between India and Pakistan
Saturday, May 12, 2012, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
McMaster Innovation Park, Room 1C
175 Longwood Road South
Hamilton, ON, L8P 0A1 (Free Parking)
Please download our flyer below for more information.