Balraj Arunasalam

Sri Lankan Balraj Arunasalam, chairman and managing director of Gemtrans Engineering Company, was named the new international president of Toastmasters International. ( photo)

Toastmasters International, a global organization devoted to communication and leadership skills development, announced Sept. 6 that Balraj Arunasalam, of Colombo, Sri Lanka, has been named its new international president.

Arunasalam was announced to the one-year termed post at the organization’s 86th annual international convention in Vancouver, Canada.

"Toastmasters is a way of life," Arunasalam said in a statement. "It helped me understand the philosophy of leadership, to give and receive respect, and to be humble."

Arunasalam is the chairman and managing director of Gemtrans Engineering Company, a maker of industrial belts.

He also serves as president of the Iyyappan Temple management board, vice president of the Aarunadu Velalar Society of Sri Lanka, as well as a member of both the local Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club, according to a news release.

In 2011, Arunasalam helped establish an English course for Rural Voices Unlimited, a project designed to educate youth in rural Sri Lanka, Toastmasters said. The U.S. Embassy in Colombo recognized him for this ongoing work with youth.

Arunasalam holds an advanced level General Certificate of Education from Trinity College in Kandy, Sri Lanka, and is earning a master's degree through the Australian Institute of Business Administration.

The organization noted that Arunasalam has been a dedicated Toastmaster for 28 years and is a member of two clubs, including his home club Colombo Toastmasters.

A distinguished leader, Arunasalam has held numerous offices from the club through the international level, having served as international director from 2011 to 2013, second vice president from 2014 to 2015, first vice president from 2015 to 2016 and Toastmasters president-elect from 2016 to 2017.

He holds the Distinguished Toastmaster designation—the highest level of educational achievement in Toastmasters International, the organization said.

In addition to Arunasalam, Deepak Menon of New Delhi was named the organization’s first vice president. Lark Doley of Texas and Richard Peck of Connecticut were named president-elect and second vice president, respectively.

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