Specsavers New Malden store director Dr Ahmed Sivardeen gave a rousing speech calling for unity between Commonwealth countries during a big luncheon event held in London this month.

The event, held at the Millennium Hotel in Knightsbridge and sponsored by Specsavers, brought together dignitaries and senior figures to highlight the importance of the Commonwealth and discuss ways of tackling current and future challenges facing Commonwealth countries.

Better together

Dr Sivardeen was in attendance in his capacity as chairman of the British Sri Lankan Association (BRISLA), an organisation dedicated to building relations between British and Sri Lankan communities.

Those also attending the event included Mr N.L.A. Haleem, Counselor for Political and Public Affairs at the Sri Lankan High Commission; Catherine McLeod, chief executive of charity Dingley’s Promise; and former England cricketer Mike Gatting OBE.

In his speech, Dr Sivardeen shared a personal story about how a shared history between Commonwealth countries had allowed his mother to study and work in the UK, adding that he has also benefited from having a ‘rich and excellent education’ in England.

Dr Sivardeen said: ‘More often than not, one only has to look inwardly at themselves to perceive the wonderful workings of the Commonwealth, which undoubtedly has shaped all of our lives in some way.’

Huge honour

During the luncheon, Dr Sivardeen was also honoured to sign the House of Commons Book of Tribute to former South African President, Nelson Mandela, joining the likes of leading political figures including former President of the United States, Barack Obama.

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