Balraj Arunasalam takes over as President of Toastmasters International | Daily News

Balraj Arunasalam takes over as President of Toastmasters International

Creating a landmark is the Toastmasters history, Toastmaster Arunasalam Balraj was elected International President, becoming the first Sri Lankan residing in Sri Lanka and the first South Asian to lead this organization. He was elected at the recently concluded International Convention held in Vancouver, Canada.

International (TMI) is a world leader in communication and leadership development. The organization has a membership of 360,000 across 16,500 clubs in 142 countries that make up a global network of meeting locations.

District 82 of Toastmasters International comprises 240 Toastmasters Clubs, with 6,500 members spread across Tamil Nadu, India and Sri Lanka. The Toastmasters movement in Sri Lanka, which commenced its journey in 1983 with one club, has made significant strides locally and internationally.

A dedicated Toastmaster for 28 years, Balraj is a product of Trinity College, Kandy. He has held numerous offices from club level to International level.

The roles he has served in include International Director 2011-2013, Second Vice President 2014-2015, First Vice-President 2015-2016 and President Elect 2016-2017.

Balraj is considered the architect of the first District between India and Sri Lanka. Working selflessly towards growing this movement exponentially, his efforts have provided people from all walks of life an opportunity to ignite their confidence to face this world and its challenges.

Balraj firmly believes in the 'People First' attitude. He explains, “Toastmaster is a tool that helped corporate sector employees gain confidence and move up in the ladder. For administrators too it’s a tool to gain confidence to execute their work.”

“Toastmasters is not just an organization or a movement, it is a learning laboratory and it provides members a platform for self-discovery. With the help of a continuous, structured program, members discover their strengths by learning at their own pace”.

Toastmasters International has a proven track record of helping members eliminate their fear of public speaking. The program is specially designed to groom individuals into effective leaders.

The growth of the Toastmasters movement is very evident in Sri Lanka’s corporate world.

Many top companies across the island - realizing the need for employees to express themselves with clarity - have encouraged in-house corporate Toastmasters Clubs.

“We are proud that le41ading organizations have embraced our program as a platform for learning and development. Several Heads of HR also view participation in the program as a Key Performance Indicator of an employee’s success.”

Balraj is a strong advocate of the belief that leadership training for individuals should start at the grassroots level - in our schools.

"Students will influence the direction of this country. I am proud to state that, in my tenure as International President, we have launched a Youth Leadership Program targeting 1000 school children. This is a 10-week course, aimed at grooming confident young communicators and leaders, from various parts of Sri Lanka. We hope to introduce the same model in other countries, as well”.

To felicitate Balraj Arunasalam’s appointment as the International President of Toastmasters, District 82 - along with his home clubs of Colombo Toastmasters, Ralph Toastmasters, Smedley Toastmasters and Pinnacle Advanced Toastmasters - have organized a felicitation ceremony on September 16 at Hotel Galadari.

The event will be graced by over 500 Toastmasters of Sri Lanka, as well as International Toastmasters, in addition to respected Government officials, Diplomats and Senior Corporate representatives.

He was felicitated at a reception last Friday and some highlights of the event.

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