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The Oxford Society

Some of the distinguished guests

The Oxford Society of Ceylon which has been in existence for well over half a century, has risen again, phoenix-like, from the ashes of its former self. It can count among its members many distinguished Sri Lankan personalities past and present, Lalith Athulathmudali, Lakshman Kadirgamar, G. L. Peiris, and Bishop Duleep de Chickera, to name but a few. The most famous of these perhaps is Mr. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, who is still remembered in his former college, Christ Church, as the man with the silver tongue.

In its previous incarnation, under the brilliant stewardship of Mr. Tyronne Fernando, a whole series of star-studded events were organised. Among these was a reception to fete the Chancellor of Oxford University, the Rt. Hon. Lord Chris Patten, during his visit to Sri Lanka, and a glittering Boat Race Dinner held at the grounds of the Rowing Club, jointly with the Cambridge Society, which was actually filmed by BBC and shown on British television.

The British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka is the Vice-Patron of the Society - surprisingly or not, almost all have been Oxonians! - and in the past there have been some rather splendid receptions at Westminster House, the official residence. Also, some fun-filled evenings at the Galle Face Hotel, thanks to the kind patronage of Mr. Lalith Rodrigo.

More importantly, an attempt was made to revive the Rhodes Scholarship for young Sri Lankans, though this has been less successful, and negotiations are currently on hold. On the intellectual front there was a debate held at the British Council (Fifty Years After Independence And We're Still Not Free!) featuring former Oxford Union President Dr. Hilali Noordeen and Mr. Desmond Fernando PC, among others.

The current office-bearers are: President, Mrs. Manel Abeysekera, Fellow of Somerville College, Vice President Mr. Lalith Rodrigo (Christ Church), Co-Secretaries, Ms. Jill Macdonald (Balliol) and Mr. Suresh Mudalnayake (Christ Church) and Treasurer, Mr. Ravana Wijeyratne (Lady Margaret Hall). An inauguration dinner was held on May 26 at the Galle Face Hotel.

Here, we feature some of he distinguished guests who were present.


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