01st September 2017, Colombo: One of Sri Lanka’s respected International Service Organizations that command a seat in the United Nations General Assembly has appointed Ven. Dr. Bandagiriye Somawansa Thero as the New Govenor of Rotary District 3220 that overlooks Sri Lanka and Maldives.
Ven.Dr Somawansa Thero was instrumental in setting up the Rotary Club of Kolonnawa in 1995 and was the Charter President in 1995/1996 and President in 1997/1998. He had the distinguished achieve of being a Multiple Paul Harris Fellow which happens to be the top accolades one can receive on the donations one makes to the Rotary foundation.
Educated at Bandagiriya Maha Vidyalaya and the Sri Lanka Maha Privena Dr. Somawansa Thero possess a degree in Bachelor of Arts and a PHD in Child Educational Philosophy. A multi skilled person he is the Director General of National Children’s Educational Foundation (NCEF), Founder and Managing Director of the NECF Buddhist College and NECF Model Kindergarten. He also serves as the Director of NCEF Teacher Training Institute, National Child information Centre & NECF Vocational Training Institute.
Being an All Island Justice of Peace, Dr. Somawansa Thero has performed as the Presidential Advisor to His Excellency the President on the Early Child and Primary Educational Sector.
Dr. Somawansa Thero love for Rotary is deep rooted being the Chairman of Rotary Volunteer Committee 2002/03, Vocational Service Committee 2003/05, Community Service Committees 2008/09, Assistant Governor 2009/10 and also as Chairman, Children at Risk Committee 2010/11 & Maternity & Child Health Committee 2013/14 .
He was also instrumental in extending the Rotary Club of Sri Jayawardenapura and established Sister-Club link with the Rotary Club of Yokohama North in District 2590 – Japan. One of the noteworthy achievements by his was initiating a mutual friendship and cultural exchange programmes between children of Eastern, Northern and Western Provinces during the period 2007 – 2011 and 3500 children participating in these friendship and cultural programmes even during the height of the war.
District Rotary Awareness workshops and leadership programms in Sinhala Language was also conducted by him. The scholarship project for the Tsunami affected children was initiated under his leadership in collaboration with a Rotary Club in Japan and key Rotary clubs in the District. A housing project & Electricity Supply project in Hambantota and distribution of 600 wheel chairs to Disabled persons are also some of the projects successfully completed by him.
Apart from the above work portfolio a key theme of his is his early child and primary education policy where Dr Somavansa Thero conducted education programs and workshops for parents, pre-school teachers and pregnant mothers. Established 32 Model Kindergartens and provided advisory services to 9 Provincial Councils. Being a member of the National Committee for Development and protection for Early Child and Primary Education under the Ministry of Child Development & Women Affairs, nearly 400 pre-schools have been established in remote areas in order to develop preschool education.
Indigenous Guidance for National Education; Philosophy of child education and yearly work plan of Model Kindergarten, Food for the Developing Mind, Child Education etc., are some of the books authored and published by him on Child Education and Primary Education .
Even with his responsibilities in Sri Lanka Ven. Dr. Somawansa Thero has taken time off to attend Rotary International Conventions in Birmingham – England, Sau Paulo, Seoul – Korea & Atlanta – USA and Zonal Institutes and seminars in India. “I will use my skill set and network to enhance the purpose of Rotary in Sri Lanka and Maldives” said Ven Dr. Somavansa Thero.
The Chairman of the District PR committee Dr Rohantha Athukorala voiced ‘ with Venerable Somavansa at the helm of Rotary it will give a new image and meaning to the Rotary organization and there by attract a new segment of new members. This will also influence a new working style in the engagement of public he said.