Unleashing potential through the lens | Daily News

Unleashing potential through the lens

The journey of Sachinda Dulanjana, award-winning photographer and youth advocate
Great Exporsure Winning Image
Great Exporsure Winning Image


Photography captures meaningful moments and memories, offering a deeply personal experience for viewers. Sachinda Dulanjana, a talented newcomer in the field, achieved recognition for his work when one of his photographs won the ‘GREAT EXPOSURE’ national photography competition. The competition was organized by the GREAT campaign in partnership with the Royal Photographic Society and Heathrow Airport. Expert judges selected the winning entries, which are now displayed at prominent locations in Heathrow Airport and will be exhibited in British High Commissions and embassies worldwide. Additionally, Dulanjana received the ‘People’s Choice’ Award for two consecutive years at an international students’ photography competition organized by the University of Edinburgh.

In an interview with Arts & Culture, Dulanjana expressed how photography is an integral part of his identity, connecting his past, present, and future. He had the opportunity to study at the University of Edinburgh as an international scholar, thanks to the Chevening scholarship awarded by the UK Government. Pursuing an MSc in International & European Politics at the School of Social and Political Science, he specialized in European Union affairs, international relations, Foreign Policy Analysis, International Security, and Gender and Political Representation.

Great collection of images

Dulanjana’s decision to participate in the GREAT EXPOSURE competition stemmed from his desire to explore the UK and its people during his stay. Although he was new to photography, he felt compelled to enter the competition after seeing a tweet from the British High Commission Colombo. Having amassed a great collection of images and already won an award in the University Photography Competition for international students, he took a chance and submitted his work.

“Since my childhood, I’ve always enjoyed postcards with beautiful scenery,” Dulanjana shared. “Relatives overseas used to send them to me, and they sparked my desire to travel the world and capture beautiful pictures. Edinburgh in Scotland was the perfect place to start. Whenever I had free time, I would go out with my camera to capture the city’s scenic beauty. I also traveled outside the city on weekends.”

Proud of his Sri Lankan identity, Dulanjana believes his achievements can positively impact Sri Lanka’s international image. He sees himself as a brand ambassador for his country and hopes that his photograph being displayed at Heathrow Airport, one of the busiest airports globally, will contribute to this positive perception.

Image from Scottish Highlands (The Quirain)

Winning the People’s Choice award in the University’s photography competition was a life-changing moment for Dulanjana. As an international student representing one of 156 nations, he was elated by the fact that the award was determined through online public voting. This recognition opened new avenues for him and further fueled his passion for photography.

The iconic railway running through the University of Peradeniya

Spontaneous shot

“The winning photograph in 2020 captured an elderly couple strolling through a misty park in the afternoon. It was a spontaneous shot I took while out for a walk. When the couple learned about the photograph, they visited the University premises, and their daughter kindly shared their heartfelt feedback with me. It was truly touching. I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to Ms. Ioana Staicu, a lifelong friend I met in Edinburgh, who graciously agreed to be featured in the black and white image that won the same award in 2021,” Dulanjana explained.

Dulanjana is a remarkable individual who has achieved numerous milestones in his life. During his time at the University of Edinburgh, he was elected as the Social Secretary of the Edinburgh Political Union, one of the university’s largest and oldest student societies. He also served as a Policy Officer at the University’s Sustainable Development Association, where he played a key role in establishing the Gender Scholars’ Forum in Sri Lanka, aiming to integrate gender perspectives across academic disciplines.

Volunteerism holds great importance for Dulanjana, and despite being away from his homeland, he made efforts to empower the youth in Sri Lanka. His dedication to voluntary service earned him the Chevening Volunteer Award (Bronze category) from the UK government and the EUSA Volunteer Award from the Edinburgh University Student Association.

Dulanjana’s message to the youth emphasizes the importance of actively pursuing and seizing opportunities. He encourages overcoming barriers and becoming a guiding light for others aspiring to tread a similar path. Celebrating personal accomplishments is crucial, as it distinguishes individuals who positively contribute to society from those who do not.

Legal apprenticeship

Having returned to his homeland, Dulanjana successfully completed his legal apprenticeship and was admitted to the Bar. He recently attained a significant milestone by being appointed as a youth representative for the sectoral oversight committees of the Parliament of Sri Lanka. This esteemed position enables him to contribute actively, advocating for the interests and concerns of the youth across various sectors. Prior to this role, he played an active part in a global comparative project led by Harvard University, which focused on student agency and the impact of students on higher education. Dulanjana made a notable contribution to the project as the chapter author representing Sri Lanka.

Downtime on Blackford Hill Scotland
People’s Choice Award 2021 Winning Image

Dulanjana is currently devoted to his role as a corporate leadership trainer and training consultant, driven by a profound passion for the field of training and development. He is also honored to serve as a visiting lecturer in leadership at the University of Peradeniya. In addition to his professional endeavors, he is the Founder and Co-Convener of Youth to Lead Sri Lanka, a youth advocacy group focused on promoting youth political rights. They actively engage in initiatives to enhance youth representation in politics, recognizing the unique potential of the country’s young generation in contributing to its development.

His deep passion for politics and international affairs is evident, and he aims to utilize the knowledge he acquired from the University of Edinburgh to serve his country. As a Chevening Scholar, Dulanjana appreciates the valuable experience and exposure he gained, which will aid him in pursuing his vision for a better Sri Lanka. His commitment lies in fostering a happier and more inclusive system, with a particular emphasis on empowering the youth to take the lead in this endeavor. Dulanjana’s future goals revolve around making a lasting impact, often summarizing his aspirations with the phrase “Mission Continues.” Furthermore, he will continue to capture the beauty of the world and its people through his photography, sharing inspiring stories along the way.



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