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Embassy of Sri Lanka celebrates Sinhala & Tamil New Year Sunday 18 April 2021 from 1100 EST onwards

The Embassy of Sri Lanka, in collaboration with its ‘Overseas Sri Lankans (OSL) Network’ in the USA, will celebrate Sinhala and Tamil New Year on Sunday, April 18, 2021, from 11.00 am onwards. Modeled on the “Ratawata Aurudu” programmes done connecting main cities in Sri Lanka during the New Year, the celebrations conducted via zoom/facebook to allow connecting small gatherings consistent with COVID guidelines, will be joined by members of the Sri Lanka community and Friends of Sri Lanka from cities across the USA.

Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic and Christian religious blessings will precede the observance of New Year customs and rituals that will re-create the sense of festivity and provide an understanding of Sri Lankan traditions and culture, especially to children who have grown up in the US, as well as to the Americans who will be joining.

The Message for the New Year from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and greetings from Ambassador to the USA Ravinatha Arysinha, Permanent Representative to the UN in New York Ambassador Dr. Mohan Peiris and Consul General in Los Angeles Dr. Lalith Chandradasa will also be featured during the webcast.

The cultural programme that will follow will showcase 25 colorful dance/musical items from children, youth groups and adults from Washington D.C and over 15 States across the US – Maryland, California, Missouri, Texas, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Illinois, South Carolina, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Washington, Florida, and Hawaii.

The Embassy invites Sri Lankans and Friends of Sri Lanka living across the US to join in these festivities organized as part of the Embassy’s outreach programme through the recently established ‘OSL Network’, which now spans all 50 States and contributes to advancing Sri Lanka’s interests through political advocacy, economic empowerment, socio-cultural engagement and several other cross cutting areas.

See Program Details:

Embassy of Sri Lanka – Washington DC
Sinhala & Tamil New Year Celebration on Sunday 18th April 2021 at 11.00 EST
onwards.

Programme:

Hoisting of the National Flag followed by the National Anthem

Lighting of the Oil Lamp

1)The most Venerable KatagasthotaUparatana NayakaThero 2)Swami Ragubathi Kurukkal 3)Mr. Seyed Rizwan Mowlana 4)Reverend Father Dilantha Arachchilage 5)H.E. the Ambassador 6)Deputy Head of Mission

Welcome Speech by H.E. the Ambassador

Religious Observances
Buddhist – by most Venerable Katagasthota Uparatana Nayaka, chief Islamic – by Seyed Rizwan Mowlana
Christian – by Rev. Father Dilantha Arachchilage
Reading the New Year Message of H.E. the President
Remarks by PRUN/ NY 

Remarks by Consul General , Los Angeles
Sinhala & Tamil New Year – Customs & Rituals
Lighting the hearth & Boiling milk
Commencement of work/ Ganu Denu
Partaking of traditional Sri Lankan sweet meats
Offering betel leaves to parents/ elders
Anointing oil

Cultural Performances

Traditional Drums performance – Maryland
Traditional Dance ‘Mangalam’ – California
Tamil Classical Dance ‘Bharathanatyam’ – Texas
Recital in English (Solo) – Maryland
New Year Celebration- Missouri
Avurudu Dance ‘Ama wilata basa’– Texas
‘Sinhala Awurudda Awilla’ – Ohio
Dancing Performance ‘Game Suwanda’ – Texas
Sri Lankan Folk Song – Georgia
Dancing Item ‘Thuranga Wannama’-Maryland
Bharatha Dance – Maryland
‘Erabadu mal pipila dakkama hari asayi’– New Jersey
Greetings – Washington DC
Dancing item ‘Sirilaka piri Awurudu Sihine’ –California
Kandyan Dance -Maryland
Sinhala Song – Massachusetts
Dancing Item ‘Sirilaka Piri Awurudu Sihine’- Illinois
Dancing item ‘Lande ukula uda’ – South Carolina
Children Item – Hawaii
Dancing Item ‘deega nogiya punchi nano’& Tamil dance – New Mexico
Avurudu Dance item – Washington
‘Kiri Ithirewa Nawa Wasare’– Maryland
Drum Performance –Maryland
Kotta Pora – Florida
Kana mutti bindeema – New York

Traditional Avurudu Games

Playing the Rabana
Pancha Keliya
Tug-of-war
Scraping Coconut
Dice Game

Conclusion.

ZOOM ID- 872 0135 2083
PASSCODE- 742949

Improving Sri Lanka’s Market Access to the US – Growing beyond the traditional products

The National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) is partnering with the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington D.C. (SLEMB/DC) to better inform Sri Lankan exporters regards the evolving trends in the US market and strategies that could help navigate challenges and overcoming bottlenecks.

At a webinar held recently, over 40 Sri Lankan registered exporters, engaged with 10 selected business entrepreneurs identified by SLEMB/DC, following its State level interactions of the recently constituted Overseas Sri Lankans (OSL) Network. The event was also live streamed through social media of the Chamber, making the discussion accessible to a broader base of those interested in exporting to the USA. Moving forward, it was agreed to conduct sector specific dialogues, where the Sri Lankan exporters will be provided with the opportunity to engage in discussion with the business community of the particular sector, in order to foster mutually beneficial trading relationships. Further a separate event is proposed as a dialogue to enhancing long term trade related relationships such as partnerships, Franchise and Investment opportunities between the two countries.

Inaugurating the session, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the USA Ravinatha Aryasinha said, while increasing the value of apparel exports to the US, a concerted effort is presently being made to diversify the export product basket to US. He noted that while the USA has remained the largest single buyer of Sri Lanka’s exports since 1979 and in 2019 had a share of 26.3% of all exports, the products basket to the US had seen very little diversification. Apparel has been the dominant export item accounting for 74.5% of the total value, and did not benefit from GSP facility. The rest which enjoyed GSP, were mainly rubber based products which accounted for 7%, and the other products included tea, iron and steel articles, activated carbon, precious and semi-precious stones and sea food. The Embassy was reaching out to the OSL community in the US and to Americans who are interested in doing business with Sri Lanka and helping them in identifying the products which they could import from Sri Lanka to the US. The increased production of some of these products, could also encourage greater US investment in to Sri Lanka.

In the discussion that followed led by Chairman of the NEC Shiham Marikkar, focused on obstacles faced by importers when importing from Sri Lanka including quality assurance, pricing, promotion and communication and shipping and logistics. The need for adaptation to the largely e-commerce marketing strategies to increase exports. SLEMB/DC Minister (Commercial) Sumedha Ponnamperuma shared insights on the introduction of the US market, import system and current trends.

Management Committee:
President: Mr. Ravi Jayawardena, Vice President: Mr. Jayantha Karunaratne, Vice President: Mr. Indra Kaushal Rajapaksa, Immediate Past President: Mrs. Ramya Weerakoon, Past President: Mr. Ramal Jasinghe, Hony. Secretary: Mr. Dilshan Rajapaksa, Hony. Treasurer: Mr. Rajeev De Silva, Hony. Assistant Secretary: Mrs. Thushari Weerakoon, Hony. Assistant Treasurer: Mr. Lakshan Algama, 1 Representatives from the Council: Mrs. Nilrukshi De Silva & Mr. Farhath Amith

The participating Sri Lankan professionals residing and doing business in USA shared insights regarding the current market conditions and the opportunities available. Mr. Aruna Abeykoon from Las Vegas discussed obstacles faced by importers when importing from Sri Lanka, Mr. Jeevaka Fernando from Laos Angeles shared his experience on aspects related to Quality assurance, pricing, promotion and communication. Mr. Anjana Aluthwatte provided insights on sales and marketing strategies in the USA, Mr. Rick Miller from Virginia explained about the shipping and logistics including the including the potential to increase warehouse facilities to help mainly the SMEs exporting to the US in smaller quantities, Mrs. Udeni Abeykoon from New York focused on the selling of Apparel Products in the US market online and marketing strategies to increase exports, while Mr. Jeevaka Fernando from Los Angeles elaborated on important aspects regarding quality assurance, pricing, promotion and communication. Former Director General/Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka Nimal Karunathilake also shared his experience regarding the regulatory aspects of the USA market.

Some of the key highlights of the discussion were; • US is a highly competitive market due to the size of the market as well as the prominence in the world economy, therefore the businesses often dominate the trading terms. It is important for the exporters to understand this background when negotiating their business, as well as be well prepared to face challenges. The customs system and the import structure is unique and complex. Importers operate separately from the vendors.

• The importers face challenges when importing from Sri Lanka due to issues arising in quality, commitment and seriousness of exporters. Further lack of knowledge on the regulations in US market was also highlighted. Therefore, it is important to keep the commitment to source products as and when required, quality of the product as agreed.

• Discussing regarding GSP scheme, it was informed that the US GSP for Sri Lanka has expired on 31st December 2020 and currently the US Congress is in the process of deciding the next phase of GSP Scheme for all countries. Further discussing the beneficiary products range, it was mentioned that the Sri Lankan Exporters are requested to submit their suggestions to be included in the GSP eligible product list, when it comes for review of the scheme later in 2021.

• Another key feature that was highlighted was the quality. Quality is important, from process to storing stages, therefore the exporters need to be aware of different quality standards they have to comply with as well as the overall offering of the product.

• Pricing plays a key role and it is expected to be consistent. When exporters determine prices, it is important to analyze pricing elements in a broader perspective, including raw material, processing, transportation costs, storage costs, custom tariffs and insurance costs.

• It is important to support the SMEs and help them expand in the market as they could bring in quality products.

• US market due to its complexity and different regulations, finding partners is one of the key strategies to overcome barriers in exporting to US. The partners are often well conversant to cater to the market needs as well as assist the exporters to comply with the regulatory requirements. Further it is seen as an advantage regarding communication with multiple stakeholders given that partners are present in the US Market. Further another aspect to be mindful is the time differences between Sri Lanka and different zones.

• With the current situation there is a surge in usage of online platforms for selling and for marketing. However, it is important to focus on brand building rather than solely focusing on selling.

•Discussing regarding the apparel sector exports to USA, it was highlighted that the shopping patterns of people have drastically changed. More people prefer online shopping to physical stores and USA is a price sensitive market with high competition from competitors such as China and Bangladesh. However, the consumers are concerned regarding purchases from China, and this could be a positive opportunity for the Sri Lankan exporters in the sector. Another noteworthy change that has occurred in this sector is the reduction of stock turn-around time, as the consumers change their preference rapidly, as opposed in the past, further season specific colors and styles are preferred, and therefore the Sri Lankan Exporters should be ready to cater to the demand.

• Focusing on logistics, strategically locating businesses activities are important to ensure delivery on right time in right quantities, hence focusing on the timing and direction. East coast is one the convenient areas to reach the market, given the times and the convenience in reaching from Sri Lanka. The USA cities are connected with a rail road; therefore, it takes 3 to 10 days generally. For exporters who are hoping to expand in e-commerce, 19 to 20 days’ transit time is to be specially considered and for the exporters with smaller shipments, especially LCLs, it is important to select transit locations wisely in order to reap the best benefits of market opportunity.

The National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) is the only private sector Chamber which exclusively provides services to Sri Lankan Exporters, who make a vital contribution to the economy of Sri Lanka earning valuable foreign exchange. The Chamber has a membership of over 500 export companies, including some of the biggest Export houses in Sri Lanka, as well as a number of SME exporters. They are responsible for over half of the foreign exchange earnings of the country.

With a view to engage in successful market access promotional activities, the NCE is coordinating with all Sri Lankan Mission and their trade officers to jointly create awareness on the new market needs. Currently plans have been made to conduct a series of webinars, to provide valuable informative insights to the Exporters as well as connect them to relevant stakeholders.

The Chamber would like to invite Sri Lankan exporters to hold hands with the chamber’s initiative to enable expanded market access, whereby the destinations where proud Sri Lankan brands reach are expanded. Interested Sri Lankan exporters are encouraged to contact the chamber via nce@nce.lk to indicate your interest in participating in future event, where the Chamber will register you accordingly.


HE Ravinatha Aryasinha

NCE, SL Embassy in Washington host webinar

The National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) is partnering with the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington D.C. (SLEMB/DC) to better inform Sri Lankan exporters regards the evolving trends in the US market and strategies that could help navigate challenges and overcoming bottlenecks.

Inaugurating the session, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the USA Ravinatha Aryasinhasaid, while increasing the value of apparel exports to the US, a concerted effort is presently being made to diversify the export product basket to US. He noted that while the USA has remained the largest single buyer of Sri Lanka’s exports since 1979 and in 2019 had a share of 26.3% of all exports, the products basket to the US had seen very little diversification. Apparel has been the dominant export item accounting for 74.5% of the total value, and did not benefit from GSP facility.

The rest which enjoyed GSP, were mainly rubber based products which accounted for 7%, and the other products included tea, iron and steel articles, activated carbon, precious and semi-precious stones and sea food. The Embassy was reaching out to the OSL community in the US and to Americans who are interested in doing business with Sri Lanka and helping them in identifying the products which they could import from Sri Lanka to the US. The increased production of some of these products could also encourage greater US investment in to Sri Lanka. In the discussion that followed led by Chairman of the NEC Shiham Marikkar, focused on obstacles faced by importers when importing from Sri Lanka including quality assurance, pricing, promotion and communication and shipping and logistics. The need for adaptation to the largely e-commerce marketing strategies to increase exports.

SLEMB/DC Minister (Commercial) Sumedha Ponnamperuma shared insights on the introduction of the US market, import system and current trends.

The participating Sri Lankan professionals residing and doing business in USA shared insights regarding the current market conditions and the opportunities available.

Aruna Abeykoon from Las Vegas discussed obstacles faced by importers when importing from Sri Lanka, Jeevaka Fernando from Los Angeles shared his experience on aspects related to quality assurance, pricing, promotion and communication.

Anjana Aluthwatte provided insights on sales and marketing strategies in the USA, Rick Miller from Virginiaexplained about the shipping and logistics including the including the potential to increase warehouse facilities to help mainly the SMEs exporting to the US in smaller quantities, Udeni Abeykoon from New York focused on the selling of Apparel Products in the US market online and marketing strategies to increase exports. Former Director General/Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka Nimal Karunathilake also shared his experience regarding the regulatory aspects of the USA market. The discussion also focused on the prospects for collaboration between the NCE and the re-activated US-Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce. Dilan Ariyawansa of the US-Sri Lanka Chamber, elaborated on the role they proposed to play in the future in the furtherance of two way trade and investment between the US and Sri Lanka.

The National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) is the only private sector Chamber which exclusively provides services to Sri Lankan Exporters, who make a vital contribution to the economy of Sri Lanka earning valuable foreign exchange.

The Chamber would like to invite Sri Lankan exporters to hold hands with the chamber’s initiative to enable expanded market access, whereby the destinations where proud Sri Lankan brands reach are expanded.

Interested Sri Lankan exporters are encouraged to contact the chamber via nce@nce.lk to indicate your interest in participating in future event, where the Chamber will register you accordingly.

For more information go to:dailynewsonline@lakehouse.lk

Second Video Attached! SL Ambassador to Japan H.E Sanjiv Gunasekera speaks with Japan TV

Sanjiv Gunasekara was born on 18 May, 1965 in Colombo Sri Lanka and attended Royal College, Colombo from Grade 1 through 12 and was a Senior Prefect in 1983 and 1984. He won the Kumaran Gunaratne Trophy for the 200m and was part of schools’ athletic team and the under 19, 2nd eleven cricket team from 1982 & 83. He played the Trumpet and was a member of the school cadet band that won numerous awards for all island best band and was chairman of the Buddhist Brotherhood. He was accepted into Sri Jayewardenepura University and received a Mahapola Scholarship on merit.

He also received a 4-year scholarship to attend university in the U.S.A where he graduated in with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics & Management and International Relations in 3 ½ years. Sanjiv received his MBA in Finance while working in 1994.

After graduating from university, Sanjiv started working as a staff accountant in the private sector, and within 14 years climbed the American corporate ladder being CFO of the last two companies and CEO of the last company he worked.

In 2002, Sanjiv began working full-time for the real Estate Development company he founded in 1998. He started this company with a meager US $20,000 and today it has operations in three countries, 8 cities and over $60 in million Assets under its management. His businesses also include Real Estate construction and Private school operations. Today, his school operation encompasses over 12 locations spanning metropolitan Los Angeles, California employing over 270 teachers and staff.

Sanjiv has been involved in numerous charitable organizations serving Sri Lanka and was awarded SriAmerican of the Year in 2008 by Sri Lanka Foundation. Sanjiv is one of the founding members and current President of the Lankarama Buddhist Institute, one of the largest Buddhist institutions in Los Angeles. Sanjiv was instrumental in raising over US $250,000 for the 2004 tsunami victims in Sri Lanka. He built a model village, Nelumpokunawatta Induruwa, that consisted of 39 houses and a 32-ft replica of the Avukana Buddha statue. This project was completed in 153 days and was the second such project to be handed over to tsunami victims. He also built a community center for the village to have Sunday School and tuition classes. During the past 20 years, the Sanjiv and Manil Gunasekara Trust has sponsored over 120 students to help attend school and university. They are proud to have helped produce four doctors and many other professionals to be productive citizens to society.

Last year, Sanjiv was personally responsible for renovating a 700-year-old temple that houses over 20 monks, ranging from 6-years near Sella Kataragama called “Sadagirigala vehara”. He is also the executive committee member of Ranaviru Foundation USA that has raised over US $150,000 to fund long-term housing for Sri Lanka’s disabled veterans and is also an executive committee member for the Foundation of Goodness that raised over $250,000 to build a sports complex in northern Sri Lanka.

Sanjiv left his businesses in Los Angeles and assumed his new position as “Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Japan” in January 2021 to serve his mother land.

Click on the link below to watch the second interview video/ Japan TV
https://youtu.be/ZfY5bfc8Hes
Click on the link below to watch the first interview video/ Japan TV
https://youtu.be/dBccHOXQpG4

Video Attached! SLF speaks with H.E Ambassador Ravinatha

Ravinatha Pandukabhaya Aryasinha assumed duties on 1 December 2020. His Letter of Credence as Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United States of America was formally accepted by President Donald J. Trump on 23 December 2020.

Having joined the Sri Lanka Foreign Service (SLFS) in 1988, Ambassador Aryasinha is presently the senior most officer in the Service. Prior to his current appointment, he was the Foreign Secretary of Sri Lanka, serving from October 2018 to August 2020, under 3 political administrations.

As Foreign Secretary, Ambassador Aryasinha led the Sri Lanka delegation to the 74th UN General Assembly in September 2019, the first time a Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary has addressed the UNGA during the High-Level segment. He also led Sri Lanka delegations to the Sri Lanka-EU Joint Commission in Brussels in February 2019, the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Minister’s Meeting (CFAMM) in London in July 2019, and to the 19th Council of Ministers Meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) in Abu Dhabi in November 2019.

From April – October 2018 he served as the Additional Secretary/ Economic Affairs and Trade in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he operationalized a comprehensive Economic Diplomacy Programme(EDP) supported by an independent budget, enabling the Foreign Ministry and Missions to serve as catalysts in economic development, in close collaboration with Government Agencies, Business Chambers and the Private Sector.

From July 2012 – March 2018, he was Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva and Consul General of Sri Lanka to Switzerland. During this period he led Sri Lanka delegations to most sessions of the Human Rights Council (HRC), as well as launched several bilateral and multilateral initiatives related to UN agencies in Geneva. These included, conceptualizing the ‘Sri Lanka-World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Cooperation Action Plan’, enabling collaborative research between Sri Lankan scientists and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), evolving a self-funding mechanism as the Chair of the Permanent Representatives of the Colombo Process on Migration, and as Chair of the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) initiating a process that enabled the enhancement of the mandate on Lethal Autonomous Weapons (LAWS). As President of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) from January- February 2018, Ambassador Aryasinha secured a consensus among member states on Decision CD/2119 to establish five subsidiary bodies to discuss all items on the CD agenda, which brought the CD back to substantive work after a lapse of 22 years.

While in Geneva, Ambassador Aryasinha was also concurrently accredited as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the Holy See and oversaw the State Visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to Sri Lanka in January 2015, while establishing close relations between Sri Lanka and several key Pontifical Councils in the Vatican.

From April 2008- June 2012, he was Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and to the European Union. During the last phase of the LTTE terrorist conflict in Sri Lanka and the quest to take action against LTTE front organizations, he enabled cooperation between Sri Lanka and the Europol, as well as Eurojust,.

Other positions Ambassador Aryasinha held in Colombo and abroad include – Second Secretary in the Sri Lanka High Commission in New Delhi, India (1989-91), on leave from the SLFS as National Information Officer in the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka (1993-1995), and Director/Publicity & Foreign Ministry Spokesman (1995-2000). He served in the Sri Lanka Embassy in the USA (2002-2006), where during the latter period he was the Deputy Chief of Mission with Ambassador Rank. From 2007-2008, he was the Director General in the Public Communications Division and Foreign Ministry Spokesman.

Ambassador Aryasinha has served as a Visiting Lecturer in International Relations, South Asian Politics, Diaspora Politics, Counter-Terrorism and Public Diplomacy at several academic/professional institutions including the University of Colombo and the Sir. John Kotelawala Defense University (KDU) in Sri Lanka. He has co-authored ‘Spoilers or Catalysts: The role of Diaspora in Peace Processes’ with Yossi Shain of Georgetown University, in Edward Newman & Oliver Richmond (Ed) Challenges to Peace Building: Managing Spoilers during conflict resolution (U.N. University Press, 2006), while contributing to academic journals including the UK King’s College Journal of Conflict, Security and Development.

He started his professional life in 1981 as a journalist at the Ceylon Daily News – the then leading Sri Lankan newspaper, and was a pioneer in the setting up of Rupavahini – the National Television Network of Sri Lanka, where he was a Senior Political Correspondent from 1982-1988.

Ambassador Aryasinha received his secondary education at Ananda College, Colombo. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Peradeniya and a Master of Arts Degree in International Relations from the University of Colombo. He was a ‘Hurst Fellow’ in International Relations at the School of International Service (SIS), American University, Washington DC in 2001-2002.

A recipient of an ‘American Field Service (AFS) Scholarship’ as a student, he spent the academic year 1978-1979 attending Bennett High School in Buffalo, New York, and earned a US High School Diploma and won colours in athletics. In 1985, he received the ‘Ten Outstanding Young Persons of Sri Lanka’ Award by the Jaycees Junior Chamber International for his contribution to the field of Media.

Ambassador Aryasinha is married and has three children. His other interests include Reading, Music and Tennis.

Click on the link below to watch the video:

https://youtu.be/QZ6jLnxWs1g

Video Attached! SLAASC Committee prepares to Present 73rd Independence Day Celebrations!

SLF Interviews SLAASC Committee:

https://youtu.be/LxqK2Gzer40

This is to inform you that the recorded SLAASC 73rd Sri Lanka Independence Day Anniversary Celebration will be live on Facebook and YouTube on Friday, February 19 and Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 7 pm Pacific Time.
Please watch it!
For more information contact:
Shanmuganathan Vaithilingam [Shan]
Secretary
Sri Lanka America Association of Southern California.
Cell: [213] 399 8964
Email: pa2slcg.la@gmail.com
Website: https://www.slaasc.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/slaasc

See link below to watch the video:

https://youtu.be/LxqK2Gzer40

Ottawa, Canada Celebrated 73rd Independence Day

Sri Lanka’s 73rd anniversary of independence was celebrated by the Sri Lanka High Commission in Ottawa, Canada on 4th February 2021 at the Official Residence of the High Commissioner.

The Independence Day events commenced with the hoisting of the national flag by Mrs. Sithara Khan, the Acting High Commissioner and the singing of the national anthem of Sri Lanka. Multi-faith religious observances by the venerable members of the Maha Sangha and respected religious dignitaries representing the Hindu, Catholic and Islam faiths were conducted to bestow blessings on Sri Lanka and the people of the country.

  An excerpt from the vision of H.E the President of Sri Lanka outlined in the national policy document “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour” was read on the occasion followed by the reading of the Independence Day messages issued by the Hon. Prime Minister and the Hon. Foreign Minister.

The programme concluded with the Vote of Thanks by Mrs. Chandira Weerasinghe, Attaché, followed by traditional Sri Lankan refreshments.

  Due to the prevailing lockdown in Ottawa in view of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the event was attended by the members of staff of the High Commission.

Sri Lanka High Commission
Ottawa
  4 February 2021

SRI LANKA EMBASSY IN BEIJING CELEBRATED THE 73RD ANNIVERSARY OF INDEPENDENCE

The 73rd Anniversary of Independence of Sri Lanka was celebrated at the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Beijing, with the participation of the Embassy staff, their family members and the Sri Lanka community. The event was held on a limited scale due to the prevailing pandemic related restrictions.

The programme commenced with the hoisting of the National Flag by Ambassador, Dr. Palitha Kohona, followed by the singing of the National Anthem. Subsequently, two minutes silence was observed in remembrance of Sri Lanka’s heroes who scarified their lives for the country’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The traditional oil lamp was lit by the Ambassador, Embassy staff and the Sri Lanka community members. This was followed by religious observances conducted by the Buddhist monks from the Lingguan temple, led by the Most Venerable Shi Chang Zang Thero, Vice President of Buddhist Association of China with five other monks.

The Independence Day messages of the President, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister were read at the event. Addressing the gathering, Ambassador Dr. Kohona stated that despite difficulties faced by Sri Lanka during the 73 years of independence, the people of Sri Lanka have achieved much. He referred to the challenges endured by the people of Sri Lanka in confronting terrorism over a 30-year period, and natural disasters and stated that despite those challenges, Sri Lanka has been moving towards economic prosperity and sustainable development. The Government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has developed a clear vision for the development of the country, the “Vistas of Prosperity”.

In particular, he noted that the Independence gained in 1948, was the result of the enormous struggles of 1818, 1848 and other efforts over the years to regain our freedom by our people. He also highlighted the sacrifice in lives and limbs made by the youth of the country to counter the threat of terrorism and separatism which had caused inestimable damage to the nation.

He further stated that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the economy drastically. Therefore, he emphasised that it is the responsibility of all Sri Lankans to dedicate themselves to face the current challenges collectively, in order to achieve socio- economic advancement. Specifically, he said that the Embassy had the responsibility to dedicate itself contributing over and above the call of duty, to help the Sri Lankan people realise their socio-economic aspirations.

He further stated that the current challenge of Covid-19 is different from the challenges faced previously. This struggle could be won as we did previously, only, if all Sri Lankans work together. If Sri Lanka could overcome the current challenge of Covid-19, with the progressive economic policy of the government, the country could march towards economic prosperity.

The event was concluded with all the guests being treated to Sri Lankan delicacies.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Beijing, China
05 February 2021

AAUPOC Presents “Is my Depression for Real, Stress, or Brain Chemistry related? Treatment Options”

Dear Friends:

The Alumni Association of the University of Peradeniya-Ottawa Chapter (AAUPOC: https://operaalumni.com), Canada will host an interactive webinar (Zoom) on Saturday 13 February 2021. This will be the third one of a series of webinars we are organizing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our guest speaker will be Dr. Lal Fernando, Adjunct Professor at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and the Director of Adult ADD, Early Alzheimer and Psychopharmacology Clinics, Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

We are cordially inviting you to attend this webinar (ZOOM). You can register for the webinar using the link below. The registration link is also available in the attached flyer.

Following your registration, we will send you an email-acknowledgement and the Zoom link to participate. Please feel free to share this information with friends and colleagues.

For further information, please contact: aaupoc@yahoo.ca

See below link to register:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUpduqvqjwuG9Jrx1V5Kr7qhwM2q68pWzU1

Hope to see you all at the Webinar.

73rd Independence Day celebrations in SL Embassy in Tokyo

The 73rd Independence Day celebrations was organized by the Embassy in Tokyo on virtual in order to accommodate many personnel following COVID guidelines in Japan. Mission facilitated Zoom and Face Book technology to allow all interested Japanese and Sri Lankans to join the celebrations. The highlight of the event was the first-time live interaction between the community and the Mission staff through zoom technology. It was organized by giving an opportunity to the viewers to discuss their issues and give instant solutions by the Ambassador and the Diplomatic staff.

New Ambassador-Designate Mr. Sanjiv Gunasekara emphasized in his message, of his focus on the ‘economic prosperity through mutual understanding’ between Japan and Sri Lanka at the time Sri Lanka celebrates its 73rd independence and completing 69 years of diplomatic relations.

Senior Japanese Government Officials, former Japanese Ambassadors to Sri Lanka, Buddhists monks representing Temples, members of all Sri Lankan Associations in Tokyo, fellow Sri Lankan and Japanese friends attended the celebrations though Zoom and Facebook live programme. Mission also organised special Independence Day supplements at two national level newspapers in Japan; “The Japan Times” and “The Japan News” of Yomiuri Shimbun.

Suppliment at The Japan Times (1)

Sri Lanka Embassy
Tokyo, Japan
05 February 2021