Pradeep Amirthanayagam was installed as the Golden Jubilee President of the Rotary Club of Colombo West yesterday (3). The glittering event was held at the Cinnamon Grand, amidst a large and distinguished gathering comprising of parliamentarians, members of the diplomatic corps and the business community. Performances by Soul Sounds and the Police Band added to the gaiety, making it a truly memorable evening. The chief guest was Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Sarath Amunugama.
The new President Amirthanayagam has made a notable contribution to the Rotary Club for more than 20 years. He has been actively involved in almost every avenue of service since he joined in November 1989.
He was chosen as the Outstanding Club Secretary 93/94 – District 3220 for his exemplary efforts and excellent performance. Later, Rotary International conferred on him the Public Relations Award for promoting awareness and understanding of Rotary.
In his service to the club, he is following a proud family tradition set by his father Gratien, who was President in 1987/88. Amirthanayagam is among the few Rotarians in the club who played a prominent role in the Interact and Rotaract clubs. He showed great promise even as a student and was placed first in the entire country in an oratory contest themed Rotary World Understanding and Peace, organized by Rotary International.
He was an outstanding product of St. Joseph’s College, Colombo. He won gold medals for oratory and singing, and also excelled academically, winning final year prizes for economics, commerce and finance, and accountancy. He was a member of the all-island under 12 champion cricket team in 1975, and went on to become a senior prefect of the college.
He became a Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and an Associate of Trinity College of London (Speech and Drama). He became a well-known media personality as a presenter of news on TV and as a cricket commentator during the early days of Sri Lankan cricket. From 1983-85, he trained at Bush House (the headquarters of the BBC in London), and became the local correspondent for CNN.
He has also earned an enviable reputation as an advertising professional. Over 20 years ago, he helped establish the leading ad agency Holmes Pollard & Stott, and currently serves as its Managing Director/CEO.
As President of the Rotary Club of Colombo West for 2010/11, Amirthanayagam has some ambitious plans for the club revolving around the Rotary International theme for the year – Building Communities, Bridging Continents. Now that peace has dawned, he hopes to undertake projects to build ethnic harmony, so that the country could achieve its true potential.