Otago Varsity Professor delivers address in Tamil

Otago Varsity Professor delivers address in Tamil

Dunedin Tamil Society Diwali Programme
Supplied Content
Dunedin, December 8, 2019

Dr Benjamin Schonthal lighting the lamp with Labour MP Clare Curran

The highlight of this year’s Diwali Programme organised by the Dunedin Tamil Society was the keynote address delivered in Tamil by Dr Benjamin Schonthal, Associate Professor, Buddhism and Asian Religions at University of Otago, Dunedin.

A Scholar in Tamil, with a high degree of proficiency in reading, writing and speaking the language, his speech was a source of inspiration to the Tamil-speaking population in the South Island city.

Labour MP Clare Curran with Dr Nivethanan Kamalendran and others

About 120 men and women attended by event organised by the Dunedin Tamil Society at the Union Hall of the Otago University on November 16, 2019.

Among the Guests of Honour were Labour MP Clare Curran.

Children presenting a song

Variety Entertainment

The Programme included cultural performances and a debate and South Indian dinner.

The dinner was prepared by volunteers and committee members, and was a success once again. The main chefs arrived from Christchurch to assist with the meal preparation, which included a selection of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options.

The debate in progress

Event Coordinator and Vice-President Dr Nivethanan Kamalendran said that the Organising Committee has been planning for several months, requiring the time and assistance of many volunteers.

‘Thavil’ is an ancient percussion instrument of Tamil Nadu

Volunteers contribute

“A majority of the Dunedin Tamil Society community are full-time employed or are studying, and yet contributed their time and energy to make this event happen. The Deepavali celebration was enjoyed by all and it was immensely rewarding to see their happy faces.  It is these smiles that motivate us to keep doing well, keep getting better at what we do and continue organising many more such events for our people,” he said.

“It is amazing to see how the Association, which started as ‘Dunedin Tamil Friends,’ has grown big today, and I am sure that our community will continue to grow, transform and gather more and more strength in the coming years. Our only goal, objective and passion is to make our people feel at home away from home,” Dr Kamal added.


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