Sri Lankan woman bags Gold Medal at South Asian University



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by S VENKAT NARAYAN


Our Special Correspondent


NEW DELHI, June 9: Niroshika Sajeewani Liyana Muhandiram from Sri Lanka topped the Master of Laws programme in South Asian University (SAU) and was awarded a gold medal for her outstanding academic performance at the third convocation here on Friday.


Niroshika, aged 30,is the only Sri Lankanwho graduated this year from the SAU.She is from Colombo and works for the Law Faculty of Open University of Sri Lanka in Nawala.  SAU Vice-President Sasanka Perera, a Sri Lankan, said the university has trained two more of their faculty members before as well.


Niroshika is a meritorious student who spent two years at SAU on full scholarships that paid for her tution, food, and hostel accommodation. In addition, she was also paid INR 5,000 per month during her first year, and INR 7,000 in the second year.


She told Sunday Island: "SAU is a good university. Members of its faculty are well-read and really knowledgeable. They motivate you, guide you and encourage you. I learnt a lot from them. My Master’s degree from SAU will help my career.


"I am going back to Sri Lanka this week a happy person. I am hoping to get confirmed and receive promotions at the Open University," she added.


"At first, I found it difficult to get adjusted. It was the first time I left my parents and my country. Getting used to Indian food took me a little time. I shared my hostel room with an Indian and a Nepali. We got along well and became good friends."


Niroshika said most young people in Sri Lanka are not aware of SAU. "If efforts are made to spread awareness about it in my country, more students will seek admission here. I have written about the excellent law faculty at SAU to all the six law faculties in the universities in Colombo, Jaffna, Peradeniya and Kotelawala and two private institutes."


Almost all of SAU’s500 students come from the eight member countries that comprise the SouthAsian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC): Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.


Sri Lanka’s quota at SAU is 12 students per annum. Only nine Sri Lankans are currently studying here, while there are no students from Maldives.


A total of 176 students were conferred Masters, MPhil and PhD Degrees in various programmesthat include Applied Mathematics, Biotechnology, Computer Science, Development Economics,International Relations, Legal Studies and Sociology.


Seven programme toppers were honoured withthe SAU Gold Medal – one each from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and five from India. Students fromthe entire South Asia region were present at the convocation.


Out of the total number of graduates, 21 were from Afghanistan, 17 from Bangladesh, five from Bhutan, 11 from Nepal, five from Pakistan and one each from Sri Lanka and France, while 99 are from India. Ten students got their MPhil Degrees – two from Nepal, one from Bangladesh and seven from India.


For the first time since its inception in 2010, the South Asian University handed out its PhD degrees to six of its scholars—-one each from Afghanistan and Bangladesh and four from India—-representing various Departments and Faculties.


The 55-member-strong faculty at SAU comprises highly qualified professors from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh.


The convocation was presided over by Nepal’s Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Giriraj Mani Pokhrel. Those who graced the event included Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, President, ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) and Member of Rajya Sabha as the Chief Guest, Amjad Hussain B Sial, the Secretary General of SAARC, and other members of SAU’s statutory bodies from around the South Asia region.


In his address, Pokhrel said South Asia has a common enemy called poverty, and the young minds of the region should find ways and means to unleash the true potential of collective strength to transform the regionthrough rapid economic growth and defeat this common enemy.


He further said as the current chair of the SAARC, Nepal will give full support and cooperationto the SAARC process, and particularly to the South Asian University, which he said was a dreamof the visionaries of the region.


The construction of the permanent campus of the South Asian University is going on in Maidan Garhi in New Delhi.


 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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