Willy Honors Sri Lankan Minister at Garden Party


Sri Lankan Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara (second from left) with George and Shanti Willy at the garden party held at their home. Photos: Mitan Sidhu


By Mitan Sidhu

SUGAR LAND: On Thursday, October 9, well-known immigration attorney, George Willy, and his wife, Shanti, threw an informal outdoor dinner party at their beautiful home in Sugar Land for the visiting Sri Lankan Cabinet Minister, Vasudeva Nanyakkara. The senior Minister has been working relentlessly to bring about reconciliation between the divisive factors of the country, especially those between the Tamils and the Sinhalese and was visiting his son who lives in the city.
Willy has had a life-long interest in politics, though he has not ventured into the arena himself. He has gained a reputation among the South Asian community as an attorney interested in contributing to the growth and empowerment of the community and hosted the visiting Minister to introduce him to various officials in town. He brought together an array of prominent local South Asians to meet and mingle with the Minister in an informal gathering to share and exchange views with the visiting dignitary and hear of his efforts in facilitating the reconciliation effort.

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From right: Sri Lankan Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara with the Honorary Counsel General of Sri Lanka, Bandula Wijay and two other guests.

Among the nearly 80 guests were city officials, businessmen, journalists, friends and family – all gathered in support of the grass-root effort at bringing about reconciliation to a country reeling from the effects of being torn apart by various differences, such as origins, cultural, language and religious. The somewhat shy, soft-spoken, smiling and unassuming Nanyakkara was most humble and gracious in meeting and greeting the guests. He laughed and joked with them, and listened to their views and suggestions, while sharing his own.

Nanayakkara felt that his trip has been successful in planting a seed of interest and curiosity among many of the South Asian community to see how the future of Sri Lanka unfurls. He hoped and felt sure that after he returned to Sri Lanka, the discussions he has begun shall continue, and that the seeds he has sown will germinate and take root. His convictions prove that one man can make a huge difference in bringing about positive change.

Shanti Willy played the role of a most gracious hostess, ensuring that the guests were well taken care of. The menu was extensive and she made sure that the food would satisfy every palate present. Though centered on a political issue the evening provided for animated discussions, pleasantries, and old bonds were strengthened and new ones forged and some guests were reluctant to leave early.