We’re home, but stay tuned

Galle Visit 28kb

Meg Heubeck and I arrived back in the U.S. on Sunday evening August 23rd.  During our stay we only had time to write blog enteries late in the evenings or early in the mornings, so there are many more stories to be told. We’ll try to keep them coming over the next few weeks.

We thank Larry Sabato, Ken Stroupe, Mary Brown and the entire staff of the University of Virginia Center for Politics for putting us in the position to participate in this exchange and allowing us to be away from the office for such an extended period. Our interns Ngowk, Emily, Ella and Alex covered for us in the YLI office and kept our operations running.  Thanks to all of you!

 It was such a pleasure working with our friends at Relief International. A special thanks to Joseph who first approached us about a partnership for this exchange back in February 2008 and worked with us through the end. I know our relationship will continue. Sheeni was  a fantastic coordinator, but she was much more than that. She definitely added a spark to the group which helped keep even our longest days energized and enjoyable. We also appreciate all her mom did for us. Not only did she host us for tea and a fully catered dinner, but she actually provided us use of her personal (and well air conditioned) passenger van and excellent driver, Chancey, after our original van died on the way up a mountain. Thanks, Mrs. de Sylva! You may have saved lives! Raji does such an excellent job leading RI Sri Lanka. Thanks for your leadership and friendship. Ramesh, you’re the glue that keeps the operation going from the running of the micro finance programs to the dispensation of our perdiem. We couldn’t ask for a better partner and host in Relief International.

Thanks to Chip Mann who helped plan the Center for Politics’ portion of the first leg of the exchange, and for his guidance leading up to our visit to Sri Lanka.

We are especially appreciative of the staff at the U.S. Embassy  in Colombo. Rebecca Cohn, Jeff Anderson, and Glen Davis are superb emissaries of our nation, and we thank them for all they did for us and this exchange.

Thanks to the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for funding this exchange and to the American tax payer.

It was such a pleasure reuniting with our Sri Lankan friends who participated in the first leg of the exchange. We hope to see you all again soon.

Thanks to everyone who followed Meg’s and my experiences during our three weeks in Sri Lanka. It was a thrill to share our stories with you and comforting to know that your thoughts and prayers were with us during the past three weeks.

After making so many friends and visiting the country we feel a very close connection and wish only the best for the nation and its people.  It was an experience we will never forget, and even though we are back home our advocacy for Sri Lanka will continue.

Watch for general news coming out of Sri Lanka. It’s a wonderful country with some significant challenges that deserve our attention. I pray for lasting peace and freedom for all.

Again, please continue visiting the blog over the next few weeks to read more about our experiences.

Daman Irby


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Tara said,

    Sounds like you guys had an amazing trip! So happy for you! What a great experience, and a wonderful thing for the Center and U.Va. to be involved in! Tara

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