Before the proceedings start
Members of the Dialog CSR team
Sign at entrance to Nuga Gama
Banyan at close quarters
Screened as we go in on day 2
British Council Director Keith Davies interviewed
Flew to Sri Lanka via Maldives, arriving yesterday afternoon – and was picked up at the airport by Michael de Soyza of Dialog Axiata. Finished reading Charles Cumming‘s brilliant spy novel, The Trinity Six, on the last leg.
Thence to the Cinammon Lakeside hotel to shower and brush up, before I met the company’s CEO, Hans Wijayasuriya, following which we made our way across to the conference venue for the first of two events, this one for an audience of invited CEOs.
The panel discussion that followed included Dr Hans and Dr Rohan Fernando, chairman of the Sri Lankan UN Global Compact network. Dialog have active programs around social enterprise and base of the pyramid markets.
Afterwards, some 20 us had a wonderful dinner at Nuga Gama, under a towering banyan tree, with traditional music and dancing. Amazing how much cooler it was under the banyan than it was in the wider city. At one point, a member of the restaurant team demonstrated the system of bells that runs through the tree, to disturb the bats that might otherwise rain droppings on the diners beneath.
Then back to the hotel, where I had to work late on some outstanding things for Volans.
Today there was a repeat performance for CSR and sustainability practitioners and members of the public. My warm thanks to the British Council, once again, for its support for such aspects of our international work. An even livelier discussion today than yesterday.
Then out to the airport with Michael for the flight to Singapore. Flying Emirates, I found their vegetarian meal in Economy significantly better than BA’s equivalent in Business class. BA makes you feel that you are doing penance for following a vegetarian diet, whereas the Emirates equivalent feels almost celebratory. Time for BA to pull up its vegetarian socks?
As for Sri Lanka, this was my first trip – but it already felt like home.