Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne, the founder-president of Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement celebrated his 80th birthday on the 05th of November 2011.
The main event felicitating Dr. Ariyaratne’s 80th birthday was held in Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) in Colombo, with the participation of a number of local and international distinguish guests including diplomats of several countries, Heads of International and local Non-Governmental Organizations, and over thousand of Sarvodaya members across the island including North and East.
The chief guest of the event was Hon. D. M. Jayaratne, the Prime Minister of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. Hon. Dr. Sarath Amunugama, the Senior Minister for International Monetary Cooperation delivered the key-note speech.
Special guests including Hon. Karu Jayasuriya, the Deputy Leader of United National Party, Hon. V. Anandasangaree, Leader of Tamil United Liberation Front, Rev. Dr. Kimhiko Murakami, Executive Director, Japan Asian Friendship Society of Japan, Professor Alta Funnessa, the CEO of Gonosashtra Kendra and former Head of Department of Geography and Environment, Dhaka College, Bangladesh, M. Mariappan, Chairman of Sarvodaya Mandal Organization, Tamilnadu, India delivered their well wishes messages in the event.
The Sri Lanka Philatelic Bureau has issued a Special Commutative Cover to mark the occasion. ‘Nisala Ru Sanhitha’, a collection of landmarks of Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne’s life in picture has been compiled and presented to him. Sarvodaya Economic Enterprise Development Services (SEEDS) honored Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne with a plaque for his work towards alternative economic system. The G. T. C. 50 group of former Teachers Training Collage (presently National Institute of Education) honored their colleague. Media Unit of Sarvodaya presented a short documentary film on Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne, felicitating his 53 years of work to the nation.
The cultural items representing Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim traditions highlighted the event.