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(Photo provided by Dilum Goonewardena)

(Photo provided by Dilum Goonewardena)

Dilum Goonewardena works at the Permanent Delegation of Sri Lanka to the UNESCO which she joined after moving to France for her studies. She shares her story today on what inspired her to follow her dreams.

Life: An inspiration

“I left Sri Lanka when I was 21, and since then I have become an independent woman. Learning a different culture and integrating into it has been a challenge. I took it up with courage and have kept my head upto now. If I ever lower my head, it would be to admire the beautiful heels covering my feet,” she added laughing.

Dilum takes life itself as an inspiration. For her the people around her, her family and friends have been those who inspired her to achieve her goals.

“Life inspires me. I am inspired by nature, family, good friends sometimes even random people I meet in everyday life. Everyone goes through good and bad periods in life. In the end what matters is that you decide what you make out of the present situation – be it bad or good,” she said.

Believing in one’s self

Speaking of her past, she says, “I had a difficult past since I came to France , I had to learn everything from scratch. I believe myself to be a fighter, and I did not have time to cry every time things did not work out the way I wanted them to. When I did cry, I looked at myself in the mirror and realised how ugly it made me look. So realised I did not have time to waste on being like that”.

She also commented on being a woman and how it impacts her work life and added that being a woman has not changed how her work life impacts her.

“I don’t think being a woman changed circumstances for me. I think what matters is the way you look at things, and your attitude. I never thought being a woman was an inferior thing, and I never let being a woman stop me in achieving my goals,” she said.

Aiming higher

Dilum’s aim is to promote her country at a high level  in UNESCO . She adds “We are like a big family at UNESCO. We come from different parts of the world, talk in different languages and have different cultural backgrounds. But we have lot of things in common –  UNESCO is the world in a nut shell”. These days she is  busy organising a three day Sri Lankan Vesak event at UNESCO headquarters, a high level forum  which will  be on “ Interfaith Dialogue and Education for a Universe of Peace” .