The British Council celebrates successful culmination of Commonwealth
Connections programme in Sri Lanka with two-day festival of Sport and Art

The British Council marked the end of the Commonwealth Connections programme in
Sri Lanka with an exciting two-day festival of Sport and Art. Held on Wednesday the 10 th
and Thursday the 11th of August 2022 at Ranabima Royal College, Gannoruwa, in
Peradeniya, school children, members of their teaching faculty, as well as officials from
the Ministry of Education and the British Council in Sri Lanka, engaged with a unique
showcase of Sri Lankan culture, and also celebrated the successful completion of the
year-long global initiative.
A joint project by the British Council and the Birmingham Organising Committee for the
2022 Commonwealth Games, Commonwealth Connections was initiated with the goal
of creating meaningful sports, arts, citizenship, and cultural connections between young
people based on shared Commonwealth values. In order to achieve this, 60 schools
from the West Midlands were paired with their counterparts from the Caribbean, Sub-
Saharan Africa, and South Asia.
A cluster of six schools from Sri Lanka were chosen for the programme, and included
the Pamunuwa Primary School, Hemamali Girls’ College, Ranabima Royal College,
Kotagaloluwa Sri Jinarathana Kanishta Vidyalaya, St. Sylvester’s College (Primary), and
Badi-Ud-Din Mahmud Girls’ College – from the Central Province. Students from these
schools have been engaging with the programme since July 2021, working together and
participating in various activities at the Queen’s Baton Relay in January, the
Commonwealth Connections media launch in February, meeting with the UK High
Commissioner in March, and finally the Art and Sport festival held in August.
Throughout the entire duration of the programme, all performances, projects, and
demonstrations were live-streamed, allowing the Sri Lankan students and their partner
school peers in Birmingham to exchange ideas, participate in cultural activities, and
engage with each other.
At the Art festival held on the 10 th of August, both the UK and Sri Lankan clusters were
given the opportunity to showcase their Art projects to each other. The Sri Lankan
demonstration revolved around the traditional Kandyan and folk dances, and exhibited
their paintings of selected landmarks –ancient Buddhist temples, forest reserves,
botanical gardens, etc.- close to their school. In exchange, the students from Dudley
exhibited how they had created a model of the Netherton anchor –an exact replica of
the Titanic anchor- entirely from recycled materials.

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At the Sports event held on the 11 th of August, the Commonwealth Connections Sri
Lankan cluster schools introduced their English peers to the national sport of “Elle,” by
sharing instructional video clips and photographs on how to play the game. Additionally,
presentations on a few Sri Lankan New Year folk games and “Angampora” (an ancient
Sri Lankan martial art) were also presented to the Dudley schools.
“The Commonwealth Connections built international partnerships and collaborations
among 6 schools in Kandy, Sri Lanka, and Dudley (West Midlands) UK by offering
opportunities of joint work on arts, sports, and citizenship,” explained Maarya Rehman,
Country Director British Council Sri Lanka. “As a result, the young people became more
aware of the Commonwealth and its shared values. They learnt to appreciate and value
diversity, gender equality, different global perspectives, and to respect others. In
particular, the Arts component of the programme was an eye opener, enhancing
creativity and highlighting the value of environment protection and ways of minimising
climate change. The sports component supported themes of gender equality, harnessed
the power of togetherness, and promoted inter-faith harmony.”
“The young people of participating schools from Sri Lanka were happy and proud to
become a part of the Commonwealth Games through this programme,” she added.
Mrs Yamuna Rathnayake, Cluster Lead, Ranabima Royal College, also commented on
the initiative, “In the Sri Lankan cluster we have six schools which are urban as well as
rural schools. The students received the opportunity to visit the cluster schools, share
their views, develop mutual understanding, and friendship. Students became aware of
the Commonwealth values, and they applied those while they were engaged in
activities. Especially the values of protecting the environment, tolerance, respect,
gender equality etc. I think they’ll adhere to these values in future and set example to
“Engaging in Commonwealth Connections was one of the greatest experiences in my
life,” said I.P. Piyumi Maduhansika, a student at Kotagaloluwa Sri Jinarathana Kanishta
Vidyalaya. “It inspired me to learn about sports, arts, and cultures from different parts of
the world. It expanded my knowledge of skills for life with a greater understanding of the
Commonwealth, and it built my confidence.” “Commonwealth Connections also
provided an amazing opportunity for me to work collaboratively with our UK partner
school, Thorns Collegiate Academy,” she added. “I learnt the value of respecting and
understanding different cultures. I would like to pay my gratitude to the British Council
for selecting our school.”
British Council 1: Kandy Education Zone Deputy Director of Education (English)
Deepthika Priyadarshani delivering her speech

British Council 2: Visual Artist Chandana Samarakoon sharing his experience
British Council 3: Denuwara Education Zone Inservice Advisor English K G Menuka
Gamage delivering her speech at Sport Festival
British Council 4: Students at the Commonwealth Connections Art Festival
British Council 5: Artwork done by students – Commonwealth Connections Art project
British Council 6: A student sharing his experience with the art project
British Council 7: Some painting exhibited
British Council 8: Commonwealth Connections Art Festival-Traditional Kandyan dance
British Council 9: Commonwealth Connections Art Festival – Stick dance
British Council 10: Sri Lankan Marital Art – Angampora demonstration
British Council 11: Commonwealth Connections Sport Festival – Elle game
British Council 12: Sri Lankan New Year folk game – breaking the clay pot blind folded
British Council 13: Students at Commonwealth Connections Sport Festival
British Council 14: UK folk game – What’s the time Mr Woolf?
British Council 15: Baseball game at the Sports Festival
British Council 16: Irish Jig and Sri Lankan folk fusion dance

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