Rtr. Amitha Bandara Dissanayaka, the Immediate Past President of Rotaract Club of University of Moratuwa is an outstanding personality. He is smart; he is charismatic. Under his presidency, the club was awarded with five gold awards and a silver award making Rotaract Mora the “Most outstanding club of District 3220 for the year 2015/16”. He being awarded as the “Most Outstanding President of the year 2015/16” undoubtedly proves that he is a great and a smart leader. Here goes a conversation had with him.
1. How would you introduce yourself?
I would introduce myself as a simple person.
2. Give five words to describe your character.
(smiles) you should ask that question from people whom I’ve been around.
3. How would you describe Rotaract to a non-Rotaractor?
It is a place that everyone should go ahead and try out. It opens you to many paths and where other than getting the fellowship itself, it will open paths for building your network and meeting new people, it will give you a chance to do something meaningful to the society while getting something in return, you will be able to build your career and yourself, it will even be a life changer.
4. What differentiates a Rotaractor from an ordinary person?
Rotaractor has a certain set of skill sets that another person doesn’t have. Because Rotaract is a voluntary organization, a Rotaractor, especially a Rotaractor of the University of Moratuwa has to engage in a project and somehow has to manage a team of volunteers to get the work done properly. In this case, he’ll learn how to deal with people and at the end of the day, everything we do is to satisfy people and make them happy. Whether a person is a Rotaractor or not, in most cases he or she will end up having to satisfy various people of the society, a Rotaractor in this regard will have the advantage of specifically knowing how to deal with people as well as how to manage them properly in order to win their hearts.
5. Who introduced you to Rotaract?
One of my Vice-Presidents, a fellow Rotaractor, Didula Dissanayaka.
6. What was your initial objective for joining Rotaract?
Initially, in my first year in the University what I was looking was something other than academics and my main objective was for something to dedicate myself and my time to something worthwhile.
7. What qualities do you think a Rotaractor should have?
He should definitely be a pleasant person who can talk to people as well as someone who can understand people. If a Rotaractor tries to enhance those two skills, then the other skills necessary will surely follow.
8. What can people gain from Rotaract?
Rotaract is their everything. It gives you a wonderful family, a wonderful skill set and a great experience as well, basically Rotaract will give you everything. A Rotaractor can learn a lot about society and can build personal skills and learn how to live their life.
9. Which project in Rotaract did you enjoy the most?
What I enjoyed the most was the project called “Inspirer”, it focused on empowering school students to learn English enlightening them about its importance. In that particular project I was given the opportunity to coordinate, teach and guide a set of seven children back when I was a general member two or three years ago.
10. What are your plans for the future considering Rotaract?
I’ll continue my Rotaract life even after the current year.
11. What is the greatest challenge Rotaractors face?
In a general perspective, Rotaractors face a lot of challenges and the most important thing is prioritizing things, but I’m certain that a Rotaractor of Rotaract Mora in their hard pressed academic life somehow manage to balance their academics and their Rotaract life. Being busy and trying something else as a co-curricular activity make someone a perfect person, they will anyway achieve their objective but the main challenge is that in certain places they might have to commit the time spent with those that are closest to them such as family or friends, to various other tasks when they are prioritizing Rotaract.
12. What is the greatest thing that Rotaract has given to you?
Rotaract has given me many things, but the greatest gift that I’ve obtained from Rotaract is a wonderful second family as well as my wonderful friends. Basically Rotaract made me who I am today.
13. What qualities do you think a leader should have?
In the current society and even in the future, people should understand the difference between a boss and a leader. Not only in Rotaract, but also in the cooperate world we are now moving towards an era where in most cases everything that we do is people oriented not task oriented. So a leader should understand people and focus on making the people happy and if he or she can make that their primary goal whoever those people are, then he or she will end up achieving a good set of qualities.
14. Given the chance to accomplish any two tasks, which two tasks would you choose?
One thing I’ll do is I’ll travel around Sri Lanka with a certain group of Rotaractors and find the needs of the people and try to come up with something that will help them.
I would also try to expand my Rotaract network beyond Sri Lanka and find any people from our home other than whom I met so far.
15. Who helped you reach the position where you are today?
If I continue to name the people who were involved in helping me throughout these years, then it’ll be a very long list. I’ll just focus on who helped me throughout the last year, especially my Board, Rotaract Mora board of 2015/16 who were the ones behind every success in the last Rotaract year. What I did was not actually asking them to do something but getting their ideas and I just watched them doing what they desired, they had the passion and in the end we managed to achieve everything. I should especially mention Rtr. Chamara Bandara who was one of my Vice-Presidents who took almost half of my responsibilities.
16. Who is your role model?
I feel that I have a lot of Role Models because I feel that I have absorbed certain qualities of several people, but the closest person that I can name as my role model is Richard Branson.
17. What is the best photograph that you have taken?
There’s a lot, but the one I love the most is the one we took after “Are You Ready 2015” on the head table.