AOD confers BA and Masters Honours to the class of 2023 with commendation of local and global dignitaries

  • The young designers’ work inspired the masses with AOD’s Reveal Graduate Exhibition; the showcase now continuing online with digital features of graduate stories

In an inspiring event held at the Mount Lavinia Hotel on December 5th, 2023, AOD, Sri Lanka’s renowned design educator, orchestrated a graduation ceremony for a new cohort of designers, entrepreneurs and innovators joining the country’s economic force. The graduation welcomed esteemed guests from the spheres of education, innovation, entrepreneurship, and politics, both locally and globally, joining graduates and their proud families in celebrating this milestone event.

Students, who undertook AOD’s comprehensive three-year undergraduate programmes in collaboration with Northumbria University Newcastle UK, received their degrees. These graduates specialized in several fields, including (Hons) Fashion & Textile Design, (Hons) Fashion Design & Marketing, (Hons) Interior Architecture Design, (Hons) Graphics & Visual Communication Design, and (Hons) Motion Graphics & Animation Design. The conferral of degrees by Prof Jon Reast, Pro Vice-Chancellor at Northumbria University UK, underscored the academic rigor and international accreditation of these programmes.

Lisa Whanstall, Acting British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, graced the ceremony as the Chief Guest and highlighted the enduring partnership between the UK and Sri Lanka in education. She commended AOD for its role in bringing UK design education to Sri Lanka; “AOD has a long standing partnership and has been a flag bearer of UK education. We are proud of the affiliation with the University of Northumbria with its design centric curriculum; BA level, which is providing students with exemplary international design qualifications.”

In postgraduate achievements, 28 MA graduates were conferred their Master’s degrees through AOD’s partnership with De Montfort University UK. The conferment, led by Ms Jill Cowley— Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Design, and Humanities at De Montfort University UK—represented the commitment to fostering advanced design education with a global perspective.

Dr. Harsha De Silva, Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance, conferred First-class awards for both BA and MA degrees. As the keynote speaker, in his address he emphasised the critical role AOD plays in providing avenues for highly talented young individuals to excel in specialized design fields, ultimately contributing to the country’s economic growth. “There really aren’t many avenues for highly talented young people to excel in design, specialising in graphic, motion design, animation, interior, fashion. But, it’s important for this country’s economy to have young, qualified innovators complementing our industries. AOD has created this space and this opportunity for the young people of this country. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Linda Speldewinde and the entire team that she works with for creating this,” he stated.

The ceremony also featured speeches from notable graduates, with Lihini Samarasinghe as the Valedictorian for BA, and Poornima Meegammana speaking on behalf of MA graduates. The graduates shared their gratitude and optimism, acknowledging the transformative journey facilitated by AOD to young people who want to channel their creativity into serious careers.

Preceding the convocation, AOD’s Reveal Graduate Exhibition, inaugurated by Orlando Edwards, Country Director of the British Council, showcased the exceptional work of these graduating designers. Reveal Graduate Design Exhibition served as a potent nexus, seamlessly intertwining employment opportunities, inspiration, and learning. Reveal catalyzed a bridge between emerging talents and prospective employers, fostering an environment where employment opportunities were not just envisioned but actively realized. The exhibition also became a vibrant learning space, allowing for a cross-pollination of ideas, techniques, and perspectives. Reveal, in essence, represented AOD’s dynamic ecosystem that propelled the design community forward, connecting talent with opportunity and creating a space for continuous inspiration and learning. Reveal Graduate Design Exhibition now continues to inspire as a digital showcase sharing student stories and featured projects.

With fresh design visionaries released to refresh and enrich the local and global economies, AOD is now open to inquiries. AOD is currently open for enrollments, for both BA and MA programmes. Prospective students are encouraged to reach out today and become part of AOD’s innovation-centric ecosystems in learning, creating and entrepreneurship cultivating the next generation of design leaders.

AOD invites Sri Lanka’s aspiring young designers who have just completed their O/Ls and A/Ls -and their parents, and creatives interested in postgraduate qualification, to learn more about the university’s design programmes, and of how they too can be next global star.

For more information please call 0775727772, email, or walk in between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday – Colombo Innovation Tower, No 477, R A De Mel Mawatha, Colombo 04.

The Sunday Times Article