Preprogram Preparations

The ten-student group for Fall 2011 comes from Bowdoin, Macalester, Holy Cross, Middlebury and Whittier Colleges. They have been getting ready over the summer by providing necessary information to the ISLE administration.  Their visas and flight tickets are secured, and they have been matched with host families.

Sree Padma Holt, executive director of the ISLE Program based in the ISLE Program office in Maine, recently traveled to Sri Lanka to make various arrangements for the fall 2011 program including matching the host families, contacting the faculty and scheduling program courses. Below are the glimpses of some of those meetings.

Course Preparations

Prof. Bandara presents book

Prof. Madduma Bandara will be part of the team that teaches Ethnobotany course this fall.  He has edited a book, Traversing No Man's Land, which he presents to the ISLE library.

Much of Ethnobotany course will be taught on the premises of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya  Dr. Holt went to seek permission from the curator and director general of the gardens, Dr. Siril Wijesundara and invited him to give a lecture to students.

Padma and Peradeniya director

Dr. Holt (left) speaking with Dr. Wijesundara.

Several professors also came to the ISLE Center to discuss about their courses.

Dr. Holt met the faculty couple Professors Carmen Wickramagamage and P. Wickramagamage over a lunch to discuss their respective offerings to the fall 2011 Program. While Carmen offers her popular course on gender studies, Dr. P. Wickramagamage is asked to be part of Ethnobotany course team.

Carmen, Padma, Mr. Wickramagage

Professors Carmen Wickramagage and P. Wickramagamage.

Padma and Prof. Seneviratne

Discussions with Professor Sudarshan Seneviratne about the course on archaeology.

Professor Premasiri and Padma

Buddhism Professor Premasiri explains the revisions he made to his course. He plans to hold two field trips: the meditation session at Nilambe which is always part of the course and the second one, a visit to a temple on Poya (full moon) day to watch the devotees observing sila (practicing five precepts of not to kill, steel, speak evil, drink intoxicants, or violate others rights).

Colonial History has been taught by Professor Kingsley de Silva for the last 25 years. In the last few years, Professor Rajeewa Jayasinghe has been assisting Professor de Silva in teaching this course. 

Padma and Prof. Rajeewa

Professor Rajeewa Jayasinghe discusses the history class with Dr. Holt.

Sree Padma Holt and Kingsley de Silva

Dr. Holt Holt also visited Professor Kingsley de Silva in his office at ICES, the International Center for Ethnic Studies.

Sinhala instructors and Punchi Meegaskumbura

Sinhala instructors Karunarathna and Liyanage discuss vocabulary requirements for the independent field study course with Sree Padma Holt and Independent Field Study coordinator Professor Punchi Meegaskumbura.

A number of Professors who are ISLE faculty but not offering full or half credit courses are asked to give lectures in Sri Lanka seminar course.

Prof. Gerry Pieris

Professor Gerry Pieris is one of those professors; he will give a lecture on development in Sri Lankan political economy.

Dr. Holt also visited Professor Asheley Halpe and his wife Bridget at their house to ask them to host a seminar in Sri Lankan art and music. Professor Halpe also agreed to hold a second seminar discussion with Sri Lankan writers.

Sree Padma Holt and Ashley Halpe

Dr. Holt and Ashley Halpe with their gorgeous garden on the hill slope in the background.

Bridget and Ashley Halpe, Sree Padma Holt

Bridget Halpe is also present in this picture. The Halpes' house, full of fascinating art treasures, is seen in the background.

Sinhala Language Buddy Program

A Sinhala language "buddy" program has recently been introduced, in which each ISLE student is paired with a senior Peradeniya student to practise Sinhala and to learn cultural etiquette.  Sinhala instructors, Ms. Sandamali Karunarathna and Prof. Amare Liyanage manage this program.

Padma and Sinhala instructors

Above, Dr. Holt discusses the chnages to be made to the buddy program with the Sinhala instructors. She has also inquired about the revisions made to the Sinhala text book this year. Sinhala text book is revised each year to keep up with the new vocabulary and new situations.

Extracurricular Offerings

Dance and drumming have been offered as extra curricular activities at the ISLE Center.  Many students enthusiastically take part in this program, and perform in a dance and drumming recital towards the end of the course.

Discussion of dance and drumming

Above are the Drumming instructor Sirisoma (left) and Surasena (right).

Visits with Host Families

Dr. Holt, along with the ISLE librarian Tilak Jayatilake and Sinhala professor Amare Liyanage, made visits to the homes of several host families.

the Kaluarachchi family

Mrs Jamuna Ekanayake's family in Anniewatte is visited. L to R: Host grandfather, grandson, mother, Mr. Jayatilake, host father and daughter, Professor Liyanage.

Host family

The next visit is to Mrs Kaluarachchi's family. The Kaluarachchis live in the same locality and are hosting for the second time.

Mrs. Navaratne and children

A visit to the home of Mrs. Navaratne, one of the host mothers in Kribathkumbura, 20 minutes drive from the ISLE Center. Here Mrs. Navaratne is pictured with two of her children.

Dr. Liyanage and Padma chez Navaratne

Prof. Liyanage and Sree Padma Holt enjoy the Navaratnes' hospitality.

Sumanasena chez Navaratne

ISLE transport manager Sumanasena enjoys a cup of tea at the Navaratnes' house.

chez Navaratne

Sree Padma Holt with the Navaratnes.

Wilhelm Fellowship Discussions

The Wilhelm Fellowship Program, named in honor of former Bowdoin Dean Robert Wilhelm, provides scholarships to junior faculty at the University of Peradeniya. As part of its contract with the University of Peradeniya, the ISLE gives away each year three fellowships to junior faculty for their graduate studies. 

discussion of Wilhelm fellows

l to r: Professor Pinnawela, Sree Padma Holt, Dean Anoma Ahayaratne, and Vice Chancellor of UP Professor K. Premaratne discuss Wilhelm fellowship interviews.