What we saw at the first Yarl IT Hub meetup for 2k17


It is a fresh beginning, and Yarl IT Hub decided to kick off the New Year by inspiring those with dreams. By now, the Yarl IT Hub is no longer a strange name. But in case you’re lost, the Yarl IT Hub is a non-profitable organization. Its mission is to make Jaffna the next Silicon Valley. Founded by a few like-minded IT professionals, the organization is now very well renowned in the industry. This due to its famous hackathon – the Yarl Geek Challenge, and its regular meetups.

When 2017 dawned on us, the Yarl IT Hub decided to kick off the New Year in style. The organization held its first meetup on the first week of the year itself.  But this wasn’t the usual technical meetup it regularly holds. No, this was a meetup on leadership. As arranged the speakers of the meetup were Randhula De Silva – the SME Development Programs at GiZ, Professor Prema Arasu – Kansas State University and Jurgen Samuel – the CEO of iQuest.

The meetup began with Thusyanthan Arulsodhy, one of the members at Yarl IT Hub, welcomed the audience. He then shared with the audience four important characteristics of leadership. These four characteristics were: bravery, generosity, wisdom and persevering energy. Following his introduction, the audience were asked to introduce themselves. This was to help the speakers to make the sessions more interactive. Afterward, we saw Randhula De Silva take the stage.

Randhula De Silva speaking at the Yarl IT Hub meetup (Image credits: Yarl IT Hub)
Randhula De Silva speaking at the Yarl IT Hub meetup (Image credits: Yarl IT Hub)

“No matter what position we hold in life, be that a workplace, universities or colleges, we all have a role of leadership in certain instances,” began Randhula De Silva, who was the first speaker of the event. She went on to share examples of great leaders through history. Randula then shared with everyone the one common factor that made them great leaders: communication.

“All the leaders we look up at in our times, be that your father, mother, your university Vice- Chancellor, or even your boss who inspires you. How do they motivate and inspire you? By their communication, “continued Randula on her topic for the day. To be a better leader, one has to communicate and communication is not easy as it seems to be. Her presentation focused on the voice and body language a speaker should have. Randula concluded her session with a few interactive games that helped the audience better understand how to be better communicators.

The stage was then taken by Prof. Prema Arasu who is a professor at Kansas State University. She began her presentation on Academic Leadership and the need for new paradigms in education. She shared her experiences on working with several students around the world and shared with the audience on how one could identify oneself. She also spoke of how they could be a leader during your academics, and what they needed to do to follow to be a leader.

Prof. Prema Arasu conducting her session at the Yarl IT Hub Meetup (Image credits: Yarl IT Hub)
Prof. Prema Arasu conducting her session at the Yarl IT Hub Meetup (Image credits: Yarl IT Hub)

Following Prof. Arasu’s speech, there was a short break for the refreshments. Afterward, we saw Jurgen Samuel took the stage to speak on “Leading Transformation.” This transformation is more like moving from A to B. And it happens mostly under pressure. Jurgen explained the circumstances on which this transformation might happen, when it happens under pressure, what sort of factors could affect it, and how to overcome such factors. He concluded his session by sharing with the audience, his definition of a good leader.

While everyone thought that the meetup has come to an end with Jurgen’s speech, Balathasan Sayanthan – another member at Yarl IT Hub, had some announcements for the audience. The announcement was mainly about the two projects Yarl IT Hub is going to launch with Jurgen’s support. The first project was about blockchain.

By the end of 2k16, there was a meetup held by Yarl IT Hub in partnership with HackerCG on blockchain and cyber security. This new project on blockchain is the result of reflecting upon that meetup. Further details about the project and the call for applications will be announced soon, Sayanthan said. The second project is named as “Smart mirror” and this will be an Internet of Things (IoT) hardware project.

The calls for the individuals to work on these projects will be announced by the beginning of February. Additionally, Yarl IT Hub is also organizing a small industrial training course for those who haven’t been selected to attend Government Universities. There will be project based technical and leadership training for the selected applicants for 6 months. The call for applications will be announced soon, too.

2k17 has begun in a different way for Yarl IT Hub. Stick with us to know when they call for applications. And as always, we shall be bringing you latest updates from their future meetups in Jaffna as well.



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