Haresh Selvaskandan (22), a Sri Lankan medical student in Britain, was selected as a torch bearers for the final lap of the 2012 Olympic Torch. Born in Hong Kong, he moved to Sri Lanka at the age of four and attended British School Colombo and the Colombo International School (CIS). “It was at CIS that I became the person I am today, thanks to a combination of a “great group of friends and an amazing set of inspiring teachers”, he smiled. In 2006, Selvaskandan, attended the Future World Leaders Summit at Georgetown University in Washington DC as a member of the Sri Lankan delegation. His fellow delegates at this summit from CIS were, Thushya Shah, Sohanya Wickremaratne, Nikhil Amalean, Abdul Kareem, Nuzhath Kareem, Shanil Nethicumara, Meliza Cyril, Menuwan Weerasinghe, Thamalee Palansuriya, Abishek Devraj, Darron Henricus, Charya De Silva, Imran Jeevunjee, Thiyagi Ruwanpathirana, Thehinde Fonseka and Hassan Manikku.
The Olympic Torch is perhaps the most famous herald of the Olympic Games. It is ignited at the site of the ancient Olympics in Olympia, Greece several months before the opening ceremony. This year the Olympic Flame arrived in Britain on May 18, and 8,000 inspirational individuals were selected to carry it through over 1000 cities, towns and villages in the lead-up to the London Olympics which began on July 27.
“These Leadership Summits are designed for promising teenagers to explore and challenge their leadership ability, build self confidence and interactive skills at a very early age to achieve Leadership Excellence in Society”, said Ananda Rajapakse, Sri Lanka Country Director for Presidential Classroom the local representative for Student Leadership Summits at Harvard, Yale, Chicago and Georgetown Universities in USA. In 2013, Sri Lankan students will have the option of three different Leadership Summits. For ages 17 to 19 Leadership in Action Summit at Harvard & Yale Universities or Business & Entrepreneurship Summit at Chicago University. For ages 15-17 World Leadership Forum in Washington D.C. For details of 2013 Leadership Summits in USA, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Selvaskandan joined Leicester Medical School in 2007 immediately after the Future World Leaders Summit. He discovered Medsin, a national organization of students affiliated to the UN dedicated to tackling inequalities in global health distribution. He now works as a regional coordinator for Medsin and keeps his scientific interests alive through work on various projects with clinicians. “My ultimate goal is to go into academic nephrology and play a key role in International Development, starting in Sri Lanka,” he says.
For Selvaskandan, the best thing about carrying the Olympic Torch was having his parents and friends there to support him. Perhaps, this is a reflection of the life and attitudes of a young man who went into medicine with the aim of helping others and was chosen to be part of the select group carrying the Olympic Torch thanks to his humanitarian work in the field of medicine.