About the SLAASC

Our Mission Statement

“The Sri Lankan American Association of Southern California is dedicated to fostering a spirit of fellowship and unity among our members while enriching and preserving our unique cultural heritage. We strive to create a welcoming environment for social, cultural, and recreational activities that celebrates our diverse roots and shared experiences.

Our aim is not just to disseminate valuable information about Sri Lanka and its illustrious diaspora in Southern California but also to provide a platform for regular social interaction, thereby weaving a tight-knit community that is supportive and resilient.

We are committed to establishing and managing a charitable fund aimed at uplifting and supporting those in need within our community, thus demonstrating our unwavering dedication to the values of empathy and generosity. In so doing, we hope to reinforce the essence of Sri Lankan culture – a culture that is warm, inclusive, and caring, extending its hand in friendship and support to all.”

Our Founding President

Jayam Rutnam, a native of Sri Lanka, is the founder of the Sri Lanka America Association of Southern California (SLAASC). He established SLAASC in 1973, with the vision to unite and serve the burgeoning Sri Lankan community in Southern California. Alongside seven other pioneering Sri Lankans, Jayam sowed the seeds of the organization at a time when there were only about 1,000 Sri Lankan immigrants in the region. Today, thanks to their concerted efforts, the community has grown to approximately 65,000 individuals as of 2010.

Jayam played a crucial role in keeping Sri Lankan expatriates connected in Southern California, offering them a haven for social interaction. His contributions extend beyond community building. Through the SLAASC, Jayam offered financial assistance to those struggling to make ends meet and provided funeral arrangements for those who had no local kin in Southern California.

Retired from his shipping business, Jayam continues to make valuable contributions to society. Currently, he is active as a film critic and journalist. His passion for cinema also led him to take on the role of associate producer for the film ‘The Road from Elephant Pass,’ a Finalist Award Winner at the New York International Television and Film Awards in 2011.

History of the SLAASC

Founded in 1973, the Sri Lanka America Association of Southern California (SLAASC) stands as a testament to the resilience and unity of Sri Lankan expatriates. The roots of the Association date back to 1970 when a small group of Sri Lankan immigrants discerned the need for an organization to represent and serve their community.

Distinctively, SLAASC was the first organization of Sri Lankan expatriates formed not only in the United States but likely globally as well. Demonstrating our commitment to democratic values, we remain unique as an organization with democratically elected leaders and committee members.

Over the past 46 years, SLAASC has continually been at the forefront of pioneering efforts, marking several ‘firsts’ in the Sri Lankan community. These achievements include organizing the inaugural Perahera at Echo Park in Los Angeles – a vibrant event featuring a live elephant and broadcasted live on NBC. We also proudly hosted the first Independence Day celebration and Sinhala/Tamil New Year celebration for our community in Southern California.

Our influence extends to policy and government relations as well. SLAASC played a pivotal role in persuading the Sri Lankan Government to establish a Consulate General in Los Angeles, and later, successfully lobbied against its closure.

On the cultural front, the first Sri Lankan music group to perform in California was facilitated by SLAASC in 1989. Held at California State University Dominguez Hills, the performance featured Stanley Pieris, Chitra, and PLA Somapala under the leadership of then SLAASC President Irvin Pieterz, who sadly passed away in 2018. In 1991, under President Vinitha Serasinghe, we invited Stanley Pieris and Kalashuri Latha Walpola to perform with the Band Fortunes in California. Furthermore, SLAASC holds the distinction of being the first to bring the popular Sri Lankan bands ‘Gypsies’ and ‘Marians’ to the United States. This is a succinct history of our cherished SLAASC, an organization that continues to thrive and shape the Sri Lankan community in Southern California.

Executive Committee

Niroshan Kahawatte


Aruna Krishantha

Vice President

Shanmuganathan Vaithilingam


Aruni Boteju


Samantha Kurera

Immediate Past President

Prasanna Yamasinghe

Public Liaison

Lahiru Perera

Technical Lead

Shyamalie Perera

Event Coordinator

Don Wijesinghe

Nadhini Silva


Desha Colonne

Dhyan Nimsara Hewage

Dinithi Senadheera

Eshan Fernando

Hasanjith Kuruppuarachchige

Heshawa Bamunuarachchi

Kaushika Geethani Gamage

Lakruwani Fernando

Nithya Bamunuarachchi

Pradeep Abeyrathna

Paul Ivan

Sanjaya  Kapila Welikala

Sanjeewa Gunaratne

Sylvia De Silva

Tharuki Daluwatte

Thenuka Perera

Vidhushi Madawala