Chanuli Fernando believes that youth should work together for the country

Compiled by Nicola Jayasundera

Q: What’s the good, the bad and the ugly here in Sri Lanka?
A: One of the greatest features of Sri Lanka is its diverse geographical landscape. The genuine hospitality of our people and respect we place on values inherited from our ancestors are value additions. All this creates a valuable economy, which thrives on tourism.

However, the country faces obstacles when moving forward with this ethos. The humble lifestyle has changed into a competitive society that has lost respect for human values as people focus more on their individual needs rather than working together.

Q: And what are the challenges facing the country today?
A: As a developing country, Sri Lanka has been badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as it stifled the economy. The lack of health-care facilities coupled with the rapidly increasing number of cases created a large gap in the economy.

The unemployment rate has also increased substantially. The pandemic has seen the decline of the tourism industry, which is one of our main sources of income. A majority of other industries were also badly affected.

It will take some time for them to recover and improve the economy.

Q: Do you believe that Sri Lanka will be united one day? If so, why?
A: I believe that Sri Lanka is already united as a nation. Sri Lankans who suffered during the civil war have realised that it’s pointless to be against each other due to ethnic differences.

Most of the country’s people have developed this pattern of thinking over the past few years. For example, an event that united the nation was the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings when the country came together to find a solution regardless of individual differences.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
A: Although it’s hard to predict the future with certainty, I see myself pursuing higher education.

My goal is to render valuable services to the country through my knowledge and capabilities, and enable it to face global challenges in the future. I hope to play an active role in finding solutions to such problems through revolutionary ideas.

Q: And where do you see Sri Lanka in a decade from today?
A: In a decade from now, I foresee new amendments to the education curriculum in Sri Lanka that will enable us to face future technological challenges successfully. As the country depends on its younger generation, Sri Lanka should prepare its youth to reach their targets by working together towards common goals for the development of the nation.

Q: Who is responsible for climate change and global warming – and what must be done about it?
A: The main reason for global warming is the harm done by humans – and the consequences have been drastic. Rather than blaming one another for this damage, we need to take responsibility for our own actions and do our part to save the planet. Even a small act goes a long way.

Q: How do you view the growing importance of social media today?
A: Social media is an important tool that connects you to the world within seconds. It provides opportunities to connect with loved ones, it’s a great source of information and saves time in a busy life. Social media is a blessing in disguise if it’s used for the betterment of life.

But like a coin, there are two sides to social media.

There’s the harmful aspect that leads to negative consequences if it’s not used wisely and with caution. This applies especially to the younger generation that needs to find a balance between social media and education to benefit from the value it offers.

Q: Where do you see the world in 10 years’ time?
A: Valuable scientific research and technological improvements will have a major impact on the global population. I strongly believe that new solutions to global warming and environmental pollution will emerge – and the overall quality of life will improve.

An increase in globalisation, and improvements in science and technology, will bring beneficial changes. But if modern technology is misused by humans, it will cause more harm than good and result in irreversible damage to the world.