Charnika Imbulana Munasinghe, a veteran Journalist, Consultant Editor Colombo Times.net and Columnist, Daily Financial Times was presented with the Iconic Women Award 2023 at the International Women Parliament Conclave held at Hotel Samrat in New Delhi, India on the 30th June 2023.
The International Women Parliament (IWP) is an initiative of India’s Project 100. In an effort towards promoting women empowerment and gender equality, IWP’s eminent Jury selected women leaders in this sphere from amongst the thousands of nominees received from around the world for the Iconic Women 2023 award. The event celebrated the hard work of women across the globe bringing positive change.
The Iconic Women Award trophy for Journalism, Community and Social Welfare was presented to Charnika Imbulana Munasinghe by Dr. A.D. Sawant, Vice President of Project 100, a former Vice Chancellor-University of Rajasthan and Mumbai University and currently Joint Director, Higher Education-Govt. of Maharashtra, amidst a distinguished gathering that had several Heads of Foreign Missions in Delhi, also present. The certificate of Award was presented to Charnika by Sudeshna Parmar, US Space Camp Ambassador, U.S Space and Rocket Centre, Huntsville.
THE EMINENT JURY PANEL
The Iconic Women awardees were selected by an Independent eminent Jury panel comprising of -; Dr. Mangala Kohli, former member UN Education Committee, former-ADG, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of India, Dr. Rinchen Chopel, Member UN CRC Committee, Director General SAIEVAC, Mr. Rashad Alkhader, Member UN Correspondence Association and of the International Federation of Journalists & Neelam Chopra, Former Deputy Secretary, University Grants Commission, India. The Jury assessed the profiles, work and impact of each nominee and decided to confer the Iconic Women Award to 43 women in 30 categories.
IWP’s Iconic Women Awardee 2023, Charnika Imbulana Munasinghe has an impressive profile. She has held several positions in the Print, Electronic and Broadcast media in Sri Lanka. She has served as International News Editor of Wijeya Group’s Daily Mirror newspapers and as World News Editor of The Island newspapers, a columnist and Special Correspondent to the Lake House Newspapers and Daily Financial Times. She has presented and produced 25 documentaries on National TV and has been a News Editor and Programme Presenter at the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC).
In her career in Journalism, Charnika holds the distinction of being the sole recipient from Sri Lanka thus far of the prestigious East West Centre scholarship for the reportage of the USA presidential election. Every four years leading Journalists from around the world, specializing in International news are selected for this scholarship that gives them the opportunity to be on the campaign trail of the US Presidential candidates and give exclusive on the spot coverage of the election. Charnika was amongst the 7 selected in the Presidential Election year 2016, when Donald Trump won. She has interviewed the world’s first woman Prime Minister, our own Mrs. Sirimavo Bandarenaike, British PM Margaret Thatcher and recently former Malaysian PM, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed. Her Special overseas successful coverages include the Re-unification of Germany, Hong Kong Handover, Macau Handover, the 75th anniversary of the UN in Geneva, the G 7 Summit in Japan and the CHOGM, Malta in 2015 and CHOGM, UK in 2018.
Having held the position of also Women’s Editor during her tenure at The Island newspapers, Charnika has since continued awareness campaigns through the media on women and children’s rights and eventually Co-founded ‘Women’s Forum Sri Lanka’ (WFSL), that comprised of a group of eminent professional women to promote Women’s empowerment. This was formed upon her return from representing the country at the first ever Women’s Forum held alongside Commonwealth of Heads Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta in 2015. She created a common platform for all Women to unite and give them an opportunity to be heard.
Documents were also prepared by WFSL, proposing Policy changes to empower women and were handed over to the Govt. representatives at events ‘Action for Parity’ organized and held to address the issues that are faced by women and children. The Mahila Samithi, the largest and longest serving women’s organization together with many other local and foreign women’s organizations and representatives were associated with the WFSL events.
Charnika’s work record of over four decades is testimony of her dedication towards the dissemination of accurate information to the public and of her commitment to empower women. Because of her exemplary skills, her efforts in both these areas of work, independently and through the combined work which contributes systematically to the progress and improving standards in these two fields, continue to garner international recognition.
“AWARD IS FOR ALL HARD WORKING WOMEN”
Colombo Times.net speaking to her upon her return from New Delhi asked her how she feels of her achievement. “This is an award, I like to dedicate to each and every woman in Sri Lanka who has sincerely and quietly dedicated themselves to their chosen profession and through which they have also selflessly served and contributed to the community and our society’s progress in whatever way, in their own little way.” she said.
“I am humbled by the recognition and I don’t take it as a personal one. So many have contributed and worked together with me as a team to get good results in whatever I have done. I share this honour with them. I am very lucky to have had a solid foundation with parents who gave me the freedom of choice of profession and supported and encouraged me greatly, as long as they lived, every step of my way for which I am very grateful.”
“I was fortunate to have served under eminent Editors in the Print media and have currently chosen to work with ones whom I have equal respect for. Similarly, I have also always carefully chosen my own closely knit circle of people who share the same values in life. With such strength abound, it’s been a pleasant ride to have achieved almost all of my life’s aspirations already” she said contentedly.
When asked about how it feels like working in the women’s empowerment front, she said “we work with many like-minded women’s activists and I find it to be interesting, inspiring and mostly it’s very fulfilling when there is progress recorded. One such lady I have worked with is Mrs. Thileka Perera, President of the Mahila Samithi. She is yet another recipient of many awards in recognition of her relentless work towards women’s welfare. It is she who magnanimously nominated me to this award of international recognition.” Charnika declared with much gratitude. “This recognition by IWP will assist me to do more for the two fields- Journalism and Women’s Empowerment”, she added.
Consistent with assistance to women’s causes, upon invitation Charnika submitted a video message for the currently running Commonwealth Foundation’s No More campaign- a global campaign to combat violence against women. Her video message was selected for the official CF social media platform. She has now been directed to initiate the Commonwealth Foundation’s NO More Campaign platform in Sri Lanka. Speaking further on the future work she said Women’s Forum Sri Lanka (WFSL) will be more active and will work towards its main goal of bringing all Sri Lankan Women’s organizations under one umbrella to make the women’s voice even stronger. “
A SUCCESSFUL IWP CONCLAVE
Charnika expressed appreciation of the IWP organizing team headed by Namita Ghimire, President-IWP, the IWP Jury for having selected her from among thousands of nominees from around the world and the Project 100 Vice President, Dr. A.D. Sawant and his team in New Delhi for a pleasant and successful culmination of the IWP Conference and Iconic Women Awards 2023.
The IWP conclave in New Delhi, India attracted the participation of more than 50 delegates who are key decision makers and opinion leaders from the Government, the corporate world, civil society organizations, media, professional bodies, academia and the International Community. It brought together women from across the globe onto a single platform in India to share their experiences, challenges and wins in pursuit of collective global agendas and collaborate on issues related to women’s rights and empowerment.