by Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam
The TGTE National, International & Global Awards 2018
The recipients of the Awards
The Awards were presented on April 15, 2018, at the Metropolitan Centre, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. There were some 400 people at the event, despite freezing rain and snow.
Karikalan S Navaratnam
Karikaran Navaratnam began his political activism as a high-school student in 1958. He was arrested for protesting against the introduction of the Sinhala letter “Sri” on car license plates. This was the first struggle for Tamils’ equality. This protest was spearheaded by such eminent leaders as the late S.J.V. Chelvanayakam, the late Mr Vanniasingam and the late Appapillai Amirthalingam and several others who were all arrested during the protest campaign.
He continued his active involvement and took a leading role in Tamils’ non-violent struggle in the 1960 Satyagraha demonstration and against the introduction of Sinhalese as the only official language. The Sri Lankan government led by Prime Minister Sirima Bandaranaike, declared a State of Emergency.
Navaratnam and many other Tamil leaders were arrested and imprisoned in the Panagoda Military Camp in the South. He was only 20 years old and was the youngest prisoner and was only released when other leaders were released after six months in custody.
He qualified as an Attorney-at-Law, worked closely with S.J.V.Chelvanayakam and other Tamil leaders and was part of the team that drafted important legal documents for the Tamil Federal Party. When Tamil youth involved in the struggle were arrested he became one of the leading lawyers and represented them in the courts free of charge taking great risk. He defended several Tamil pioneer youth leaders as Pon Sivakumaran, Thangathurai and Kuttimani. As a mark of respect, Thangathurai named his son as Karikalan when he was sentenced to death by the Sri Lankan Government. Thangathurai, Kuttimani and other Tamil political prisoners were slaughtered by Sinhalese prisoners – with the help of Sinhala prison guards – inside Welikada prison during the 1983 anti-Tamil pogrom.
The recipient of the S.J.V.Chelvanayakam Memorial Award for 2018 is the highly committed Ghandiyan and one of the most commendable leaders of the Tamil struggle for Justice and Freedom, Mr Karikalan S. Navaratnam
Professor Sabanayagam Thevanayagam
Professor Thevanayagam is a former student of Professor Thurairajah who has excelled in engineering as a scholar, educator and Researcher.
In 1982 he completed his Baccalaureate in Science, Civil Engineering degree with First Class Honours at Peradeniya University in Sri Lanka and was appointed Assistant Lecturer. In 1984 he was appointed as a Research Assistant at the University of California and later, in 1989 Research Assistant at Purdue University in Indiana. In 1989 he completed his PhD in Geotechnical Engineering at Purdue University. From 1988-1992 he was the Staff Engineer to the Senior Project Engineer at the Earth Technology Corporation.
In 1992 he was appointed Assistant Professor at the Polytechnic University in New York and promoted to Associate Professor at the State University of new York in 1998. Presently he is a Professor in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environment Engineering at the State University of new York in Buffalo.
He is a highly qualified Specialist in Geotechnical Engineering, Earthquake Engineering, Geoenvionmental Engineering.
He received over $ 2.4 million in grants for independent research and $ 22 million for group research facility development, and $0.8 million for education/outreach activities. In total he has received research grants of over $ 30 million in the past twenty years. He has more than 150 research articles and essays published in peer reviewed journals.
Among his many Awards and Honours are:
- Brooke-Bond Scholarship Award Ministry of Higher Education
- Highest Award for the Best Performance in the national University Entrance Examination, Sri Lanka
- Maple Point Fund Grant (1988), for independent research, Dept of Civil Engineering , Purdue.
- He is also listed in Who is Who in Science and Engineering (1998) Membership in the American Association for the Advancement of Science
- Research Initiation Award, NSF (1993)
The recipient of the Maamanithar Professor Alagiah Thurairajah Memorial Award for 2018 is Professor Sabanayagam Thevanayagam
Dr Brian Senewiratne
Dr Brian Senewiratne is a highly accomplished scholar, a dedicated Physician, an eminent clinical Professor of Medicine, an ardent advocate for Social justice, a tireless promoter of peace, and a world renowned activist working for the liberation of all oppressed human communities and minorities across the world.
Commendably he is a Sinhalese from the majority community in Sri Lanka who has campaigned for more than half a century for the rights of the Tamil people to live with equality, peace, justice and without discrimination. He is about the only expatriate Sinhalese to do so.
He spoke out publicly in 1948 when he was only a 16 year old schoolboy in support f the Tamils of Indian origin who were arbitrarily rendered stateless in Sri Lanka. In 1956 as an undergraduate in Cambridge University he firmly opposed the Sinhala Only Act that made Sri Lankan Tamils second class citizens.
His outspoken ways, strong convictions and activism made it increasingly difficult for him to remain in the island and in 1976 he left the country to take up a position in Australia as Associate Professor of Medicine and has been unable to return to Sri Lanka for reasons of safety. In Australia he continued to challenge the anti-Tamil stance of Sri Lankan government of J.R.Jayawardene and his successors, some of them his relatives.
His steadfast commitment to defending human rights and promoting social justice is an inborn trait that in his entire life he has fought relentlessly for people who are marginalised and persecuted, based on ethnicity, race, religion, language and culture. He advocates on behalf of all oppressed people communities in Sri Lanka and for refugees seeking asylum in Australia. He has been raising awareness of the plight of these people through education, international advocacy, lobbying and active engagement.
He has engaged, educated and lobbied parliamentarians and human rights groups in Australia as well as Canada, France, Germany, India, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, South Africa, Switzerland, UK, USA and the EU. He has addressed European Members of Parliament in the EU Parliamentary complex chaired by Robert Evans EU MP, Britain’s most senior MP to the EU. He has addressed meetings on the discrimination of the Sri Lankan Tamils in meetings in the British Parliament (House of Commons) and the Indian Parliamentary complex.
In July 2008, Dr Senewiratne travelled to South Africa to meet with Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Cape Town and other ANC leaders and politicians to discuss the deteriorating human rights situation in Sri Lanka. All this activity was self-funded.
His many books include “The 1983 Massacre – Unanswered Questions” and “Sri Lanka: Sexual Violence of Tamils by the Armed Forces”. He has recorded a dozen dvds to document the suffering of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka.
It is not surprising that the 2018 recipient of the Nelson Mandela Memorial Award is the well-known and internationally respected Dr Brian Senewiratne.
The first recipient of the Global Tamil Youth Leadership Award is a young Tamil student born in 1995 in London, United Kingdom. Her parents are of Tamil Eelam origin.
She began learning Bharathanatyam at the age of 5 completing a Diploma at age 16; and was awarded Natya Kala Jyothi.
She was an active member of West London Tamil School throughout her childhood and later served as an Assistant dance teacher. She received the Bachelor of Arts degree with Special Honours reading Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick in the UK. Her topics of research interest include International Relations, Political Theory, International Security, Gender and Development, Secret Intelligence, Ethnic Wars and Foreign Policy. Notably among her written research papers between 2015 and 2018 are:
- “The figure of the refugee from an international perspective in the Context of the international State system”.
- The role of gender in understanding development in the International context.
- How power can be conceptualised in International Relations.
Defining a ‘terrorist’; is it simply a term used to describe those who commit violence that we disapprove of, as opposed to violence perpetrated or endorsed by the State?
The importance of memorialisation and memories can be weaponised by the State.
During the placement in 2014, she held an office at the British Parliament in Westminster where she worked as a Parliamentary Assistant to a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons and in 2016 she completed an internship at Lloyd Banking Group and worked for Global Corporate Director of Pensions, a role which resulted in her current employment at British Airways within their pensions sector while she is seeking employment within the UK Civil Service.
Her main goal is to pursue a career in international diplomacy. She has been politically active from a very young age, and was an active member of the protest demonstration that filled the streets of Westminster in 2009 advocating democratic Rights and Human Rights. In 2016 she shared a Panel with senior Ministers and with Hon Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Opposition, at the Tamils for Labour Conference held at the British Parliament. She used this platform to speak on behalf of young Tamils in the UK who continue to speak for justice for the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Sri Lanka, particularly in the year 2009.
The First Recipient of the Global Tamil Youth Leadership Award is Miss Shibon Amutharasen from the United Kingdom.