The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington D.C. on 27 September 2023 held a reception including a series of cultural performances to celebrate the 75th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and the United States of America.
The event was held under the patronage of Chief Guest, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka M.U.M. Ali Sabry. Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United States Mahinda Samarasinghe, the host on the occasion, welcomed the guests – special invitees from the U.S. government including the White House, Departments of State, Defense, Treasury, Commerce, the IMF/World Bank, members of the diplomatic corps and members of the Sri Lankan community, represented by several associations from the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, among other guests.
In his opening remarks, Ambassador Samarasinghe stated that the relationship between the U.S.A. and (then) Ceylon preceded the attainment of Independence in 1948. He traced significant developments in the friendship up to the present day. Looking forward to the future, he expressed the hope that the relationship would grow stronger in the years to come.
Counselor of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Clinton D. White traced the history of development cooperation between Sri Lanka and USAID with the assistance to the country dating back to 1956. The Counselor, who represented USAID Administrator Samantha Power, outlined the manifold sectors in which USAID is active in Sri Lanka and also looked to enhancing cooperation to enable the country to address and overcome the current economic challenges.
On behalf of the U.S. Department of State Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Ambassador Donald Lu stated that the young people of both societies would help to grow the bilateral relationship by ensuring enhanced understanding and goodwill in the future.
Guest of Honour, United States Senator for Maryland and Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chris Van Hollen reflected on his personal ties to Sri Lanka and expressed appreciation for the contributions of Sri Lankan Americans to the United States. He recalled his recent visit to the island and hoped that the multi-dimensional relations would continue to flourish.
The keynote speech was delivered by the Chief Guest, Foreign Minister M.U.M. Ali Sabry who expressed appreciation for the support extended to Sri Lanka by many agencies of the U.S. government. The minister noted that year 2023 was also the 75th anniversary of independence from colonial rule. He outlined national priorities ranging from economic recovery to reconciliation and the positive contribution made by the United States in many of these spheres over time. He concluded by proposing a toast to the further enhancement of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and the United States.
The guests and invitees were treated to a range of performances that exemplify the vibrant cultural diversity of Sri Lanka. It was led by a Sri Lankan artiste of renown Jananath Warakagoda and his team, Natamu School of Traditional Sri Lankan Dance led by Chathuri Wickramaarachchi, Serendib Dance led by Asanga Domask, and dancer Achila Perera, whose performances captivated the audience.
The Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington D.C. is grateful to the generous support extended by the Joint Apparel Association Forum Sri Lanka (JAAFSL), principal among several other sponsors, who supported the event as well as the publication of a commemorative souvenir to mark the 75th anniversary. The generosity and contribution from all, including from many Sri Lankan Americans, enabled the embassy to organize and conduct these events without cost to the government.
The year 2023, during which many events were held to celebrate the special friendship, has been a productive one for the development of bilateral ties.
(Embassy of Sri Lanka, Washington D.C.)
SLAF receives 2 Harbin Y-12 IV aircraft from China (Pics)
The Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) ceremoniously received two Harbin Y-12-IV aircraft at the SLAF Base in Ratmalana today (Nov. 05).
The formal proceedings commenced with the signing of documents symbolizing the transfer of the Harbin Y-12-IV aircraft to the Sri Lanka Air Force. Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Udeni Rajapaksa and Mr. Den Ling from China National Aero Technology Import & Export Cooperation presided over this key moment, marking the official handover.
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China – Mr. Qi Zhenhong, State Minister of Defence – Premitha Bandara Tennakoon, Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff, – Mr. Sagala Ratnayake, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence – General Kamal Gunaratne (Retd), Chief of Defence Staff – General Shavendra Silva, Commander of the Navy – Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera, Chief of Staff of the SLAF, Members of the Air Force Board of Management, officials of the Chinese Embassy in Colombo, members of the CATIC from China and representatives of CATIC Sri Lanka, senior officers of the SLAF and other officials graced the ceremony.
Addressing the gathering, Commander of the Air Force, expressed gratitude for the strategic partnership and elaborating the significance of the new additions to the Sri Lanka Air Force’s fleet. He emphasized the continued commitment to strengthening international collaborations, highlighting the value of the Harbin Y-12 IV aircraft in enhancing the Air Force’s operational capabilities.
(pics : airforce.lk)
Returned artefacts displayed at Colombo National Museum (Pics)
Following a milestone in international relations and provenance research, six priceless Kandyan artefacts seized during the Dutch colonial occupation of Sri Lanka have been returned from the Netherlands.
These Kandyan artefacts will be on public display at the Colombo National Museum from today (Nov. 05) until further notice.
A commemorative postage stamp issued during the event serves as a symbolic marker, celebrating the milestone in international relations and provenance research. The event took place at the National Museum today, presided over by the Minister of Buddha Sasana and Cultural Affairs, Mr. Vidura Wickramanayake, and the President’s Senior Adviser on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff, Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka. This marked a significant step in cultural collaboration between the two nations.
The exhibits include golden and silver kasthãné (ceremonial swords), two maha thuwakku (wall guns), and Lewke Disave’s cannon, which were originally taken as war booty by the Dutch East India Company in 1765, during the siege of the Palace of Kandy.
In attendance at this distinguished occasion were the Minister of State for Media, Shantha Bandara, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Sri Lanka, Ms. Bonnie Horbach, the Ambassador for International Cultural Cooperation at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Dewi van de Weerd, Ambassador of Egypt in Sri Lanka Maged Mosleh the Secretary to the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Cultural Affairs, Mr. Somaratne Vidanapathirana, the Director General of the National Museum Department, Sajani Kasturiarachchi, and several distinguished officials from both the Netherlands and Sri Lanka.
(President’s Media Division)
Russian Lit. Fest held in Colombo (Pics)
The Russian House in Colombo hosted the much anticipated annual Literature festival yesterday (Nov. 22), amid the excitement of Literary enthusiasts in the island.
Russian Literary greats Rasul Gamzatov, Leo Tolstoy and Ivan Turgenev were commemorated at the event.
A unique photo exhibition out front showcased the estates where the literary greats had lived and created their iconic pieces – Tolstoy’s Yasnaya Polyana and Turgenev’s Spasskoye-Lutovinovo. Photo archives were provided by the Director of the Russian House in Colombo, Madam Maria Popova, and the writer for the Russky Mir magazine, Irina Ivina.
Max Dimov, Deputy Chief Editor of “Moscow Media”, addressed the gathering with a video message.
During his visit to the Russian House in July, he had made friends among the founders of the Russian Literary Club, famous philologists, writers and translators Ranjana Senasinghe and Felix Fernando.
For the first time ever, the festival program also showcased the works of contemporary Russian authors in Sinhala.
Felix Fernando presented his translation of an international bestseller book by Evgeny Vodolazkin, ‘the most important living Russian writer’ according to the New Yorker. His novel “Laurus” was dubbed as ‘a new statesman book of the year 2016’. On top of that, Fernando also translated a touching New Year short story “I Won’t Tell!” by an extremely popular Russian author, producer, screenwriter and philanthropist Alexander Tsypkin.
Both authors addressed the audience with a video greeting, deeply touched by the interest in their works and happily responded to the invitation to visit Sri Lanka and personally meet the translator.
(Pics : FB of Russian House in Colombo)
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