Gavel Conference 2016, an event which brought together all the Gaveliers and non-Gaveliers of state universities, private higher educational institutes and schools islandwide, concluded successfully on June 5 at Hotel Taj Samudra, Colombo, with the participation of over 200 students, Toastmasters and professionals. It had been eight years since the first-ever Gavel Conference was held way back in 2008, with the participation of only three Gavel Clubs.

Gavel clubs are affiliates of Toastmasters International, established for the community comprising school students and university undergraduates. The main focus of Gavel clubs is to improve communication skills and critical aspects of leadership in accordance with standard Toastmasters guidelines.

Initiated by the Gavel Club of University of Moratuwa in collaboration with Toastmasters International, Gavel Conference 2016 saw enthusiastic Gaveliers from 15 Clubs from across the island, coming together to undertake the massive task of organizing the full day event which comprised leadership training sessions, the Grand Finale of All Island Best Gavel Speaker Contest, a model Gavel meeting and entertainment items.

‘The leader within’
Among the speakers who added colour to the event were: Vice President of Toastmasters International, DTM Arunasalam Balraj; World Champion of Public Speaking 2014; TM Dananjaya Hettiarachchi; Chairman of Jetwing Hotels, Hiran Cooray; YKG Associates (Pvt.) Ltd, TM YukthiGunasekera and Impactur (Pvt.) Ltd, CEO, DTM Trishma Pinto.

They addressed a variety of topics which were aimed at guiding budding professionals to serve this nation to their utmost potential.

All Island Best Gavel Speaker contest
Held with the motives of uncovering hidden talents of budding young speakers in Sri Lanka and providing them a platform to polish their skills, the contest attracted over 170 registrants. In the Grand Finale, which stole the limelight at the conference, Sahana Nandakumar from Colombo Toastmasters Gavel Club became the champion in the Prepared Speech Category and the first runner-up in the Impromptu Speech Category while Amalini Fernando from the University of Kelaniya bagged the trophy in the Impromptu Speech Category and became the first runner-up in the Prepared Speech Category. Piyumi Bandaranayake and Kasun Ranasinghe from the University of Moratuwa became second runner-up in Impromptu and Prepared Speech categories respectively.

Model Gavel meeting
Educational meetings in Gavel are the proven methodology of Toastmasters International that trains individuals to become better speakers and leaders. A demonstration of a Gavel meeting was conducted with emphasis on explaining the function of each role-player, with the motive of enhancing the quality of meetings.

Several months of untiring efforts led by the project chair of the event, Vibhanu Arachchige, culminated in an event of unprecedented grandeur. MillenniumIT, which is a leading innovative trading technology business, acted as the Platinum partner of the event.
(Pics by Sujan Jayasinghe)

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