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Dr Palitha T.B. Kohona - Guest Speaker in DAANA Webinar at Dharmaraja Oct 15, 2013

Dr. Palitha Kohona is the current Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations (UN). Prior to that appointment, he served as Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as Special Adviser to the President on the Peace Process and Secretary-General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process, commencing in 2007 and 2006, respectively. In 2005, Dr. Kohona led the United Nations legal delegation to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at the invitation of that country’s Government, having served as Chief of the Organization’s Treaty Section in New York since 1995.
He also worked in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia from 1983, heading its Trade and Investment Section under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization, and attached to the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations institutional mechanisms and dispute settlement unit in 1992. He also led Australia’s delegation to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Trade and Development Board in 1988, and was posted to the Permanent Mission of Australia to the United Nations in Geneva the following year.   
On October 1, 2013, Dr. Kohona was unanimously appointed as the Chair of the Sixth Committee (Legal) of the United Nations. He is the first Sri Lankan to be elected to chair the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly. Ambassador. Sir Claude Corea chaired the Fifth Committee (UN Budget) in 1958 and the First Committee (Disarmament) in 1960. After a hiatus of 33 years, Ambassador Stanley Kalpage chaired the Fourth Committee (Decolanisation) in 1993. 

Dr. Kohona hails from Matale, received his secondary education in Sri Lanka at St. Thomas College, Mount Lavinia. He obtained a LLB (Hons) at the University of Sri Lanka, LLM from the Australian National University on International Trade Law and a Doctorate from Cambridge University, UK, for the thesis ‘The Regulation of International Trade through Law,’. He is also an Attorney-at-Law, Supreme Court of Sri Lanka.
For us, rajans, Dr. Kohona is Buwaneka Bandara Kohona sir's cousin.
Kudos to member/director Buddhika Bandaranayake for inviting this most distinguished diplomat for DAANA webinar entitled "United Nations and Sri Lanka" at DRCK and creating an opportunity for Dharmaraja students to engage in a lively discussion with Dr. Kohona.
Our heartfelt thanks and appreciation go to Dr. Palitha T.B. Kohona for taking the precious time out of his busy schedule to talk to Dharmaraja students (from 11:30PM to 1:00AM midnight New York time on Oct 14-15, 2013, for that matter).

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Webinar on Astronomy by Dr. Tilak Hewagama on Nov 10, 2010

Dr. Tilak Hewagama, a senior scientist, who is involved in planetary science research at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the University of Maryland addressed the young Rajans through the third Webinar.

It was an enthralling talk focused on Exploring the Atmospheres of Planets. Dr. Hewagma who has participated in studies of the atmospheres of the major planets, Saturn's satellite Titan, extrasolar planets, sunspots, our galaxy, and the cosmic background radiation was pleasantly surprised by the questions asked by the students and their knowledge in astronomy.
In addition to the subject matters, Dr. Tilak shared wisdom from his 30 plus years of career:"Acknowledge the support from everybody around you.... you are still your own master for better or worse"

Webinar on Genomics and Proteomics by Dr. Ashoka Polpitiya on Sep 22, 2010

Dr. Polpitiya, an old Rajan and a founding director of DAANA, offered to share his experiences for the second webinar. He currently leads the bioinformatics core for Center for Proteomics at Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.

Ashoka described his transformation from studying mathematics at Dharmaraja, and graduating from University of Peradeniya in Electrical and Electronic Engineering to studying biological systems. In his work, he tries to understand biological systems using the measurements he makes on its DNA, genes, and proteins, as a control system with multiple inputs and outputs. He imagines that every living creature can be studied like a feedback control system just like an electronic circuit. The goal of his research is to find the faults in such living systems that affect their stability, hoping that one day these findings would lead to early diagnostic methods and therapeutic methods for various diseases.

There was an interesting Q&A session following the webinar where students asked questions on current treatments for diseases like cancer, genetically modified foods, and the ethical issues surrounding the studying and sharing of ones genetic information.

Webinar on Oil and Gas Industry by Dr. Paul Jukes on July 23, 2010

The speaker, Dr Paul Jukes, is a renowned scholar, engineer and an administrator in oil and gas industry. He is the president of MCS Kenny, Houston, a subsea engineering service provider in O&G industry. He is also a fellow of three leading professional bodies, and has authored over eighty publications in O&G conferences.

Dr. Paul Jukes started the presentation by stating how he became an engineer and then a president in O&G industry from being a high school student like those in the audience. He pointed out how necessary it is to study hard and become a professional.

“I found that the harder that you work on a subject the more you enjoy it”.

He said explaining his role as a president of a company and the roles of engineers in O&G industry. Then he went on to describe the hydrocarbon value chain, how oil and gas production and consumption are related. He also showed illustrations on the process of oil extraction.

Dr. Jukes outlined the challenges faced in offshore O&G industry using very interesting analogies, which were highly admired by the students:

“If you were to stack ten Eiffel tours on top of each other, then that is how deep we actually operate our designs. So we actually do designs for ten thousand feet of water…. The loads that the pipe sees due to pressure and temperature at water depths is equivalent to sitting two hundred and fifty motor cars on top of the pipeline. ” The presentation consisted of many colorful illustrations of components and activities involved in O&G industry. One section of the webinar addressed the engineering analysis and studies performed in engineering designs supported by many simulation illustrations.

As the conclusion Dr. Jukes encouraged students to become engineers and showed the prospects in O&G industry. Wrapping up the presentation he re-iterated the importance of studying hard and going to university to continue education in order to get into exciting careers.

DAANA's very first web based forum for DRCK

DAANA's very first web-based conference was held on Monday, April 5th 9am-11am at DRCK (Sri Lankan time).

Vice principle Mr. Weerakoon, Mr. Thilakarathna Bandara, and Computer Center master in charge Mr. Sumith and several other staff members were present with about 25-30 current DRCK students.

Also present was Dr. Jayantha Pethiyagoda. Dr. Pethiyagoda was really impressed about the event and he encouraged the participating students to spread the word around about the benefits of the web based forum to other students.
DAANA current BOD President Ranil Banneyake was at DRCK during the event acting as the MC. Mahinda Gunasekera from California USA and Sajith Ellepola from Alberta Canada joined the forum creating truly an international panel.

The comments from the participating students at the event were very encouraging. One student wanted to know how this type of international virtual forum can be continued and the willingness of the students to come up with various topics of interest for such future events.

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