As you may be aware, H.E. the President on 05th January 2019 at the Aluvihara Temple in Matale has announced the declaration of Thripitaka to be a national heritage of Sri Lanka. Moreover, arrangements are underway for the inscription of the Thripitaka in the World Register of Monuments.
To mark the declaration of Thripitaka as a national heritage of Sri Lanka, the Government has announced a “ Thripitaka Week “ from 16th - 23rd March 2019 during which religious activities are being organized in Sri Lanka and abroad in collaboration with Buddhist temples.
In this regard, Sri Lanka Diplomatic Missions abroad have been requested by the Presidential Secretariat and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to arrange Buddhist religious activities with the guidance and blessings of prelates of Buddhist Temples in the respective capitals. Accordingly, the Embassy of Sri Lanka together with Sri Lankan Buddhist temples in Washington DC and Maryland have jointly organized a series of Buddhist religious activities from 16th – 24th March 2019 to mark the Thripitaka Week as follows.
|Maryland Buddhist Vihara||16.03.2019||4.00 – 6.00 p.m||Buddhist Sermon|
|The Washington Buddhist Vihara||17.03.2019||4.00 – 6.00 p.m||Bodi Puja|
|Nisala Arana Buddhist Monastery||23.03.2019||5.00 – 7.00 p.m||Special Dhamma Kathikawatha and Dhamma discussion about Thripitaka|
|Mahamevnawa Meditation Center||24.03.2019||4.00 – 6.00 p.m||Special Sermon on the historical background of Thripitaka|
The Embassy of Sri Lanka has the honur to invite members of the Sri Lankan community in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia States to join the religious activities at the respective temples on the given dates at their convenience.
Please confirm your availability for the scheduled activities - by phone or email to the contact numbers/email address given below.
Tel: 202 483 4025/26 (Mrs. Karuna Koggala/Mrs. Vidya Peiris)
Embassy of Sri Lanka
The Congressional (UXO)/ Demining Caucus held a panel discussion on demining efforts in Sri Lanka on 14th March at the Capitol Hill where the government’s ownership of the program and the commitment for a mine free Sri Lanka came for praise by the implementing partners and the US government. The Panel Discussion was held on the invitation of the Co-chairs of the UXO/ Demining Caucus, Representative Bill Johnson (R) and Representative (D) Jackie Spiers.
Rear Admiral Dharmendra Wettewa, Minister (Defence) represented the Embassy at the panel which also included Mr. Alistair Moir, of the Mine Advisory Group (MAG), Mr. Vithoozan Anthony of the HALO Trust and Mr. Rodney A Robideau, the Conventional Weapon Destruction Program Manager, South and Central Asia of the Department of State.
Introducing the speakers of the panel, Co-Chair Rep. Bill Johnson spoke about the 30 years long ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka and touched upon the reconciliation and accountability process which he stated U.S.A. is following closely. He recalled his visits to Sri Lanka and expressed his great appreciation to the Sri Lankan government and the international partners, especially the dedication of the women Mine Clearance workers for their efforts to achieve the vision of a mine free Sri Lanka by 2020 and reiterated the U.S. government’s commitment to help achieving that goal.
Rear Admiral Wettewa made a detailed presentation of the background of the conflict, the challenge of clearing lands contaminated due to mines and Explosive Remains of War (ERW) and the government’s commitment to achieve the goal of a mine free Sri Lanka by 2020. He elaborated the holistic approach the government has taken by establishing the National Mine Action Center to coordinate the national and international efforts in the challenging task of achieving a mine free Sri Lanka. The National Mine Action strategy looks beyond mine clearance towards the resettlement of affected people on cleared lands enabling access to infrastructure and providing opportunity for economic and livelihood development to ensure a safe and a dignified life. The strategy also includes Mine Risk Education and a victim assistance program to help mine affected victims to become self-sufficient and also a stockpile destruction program aiming to achieve a mine free Sri Lanka. All government institutions and international partners are working together towards this goal. The Minister Defence went on to explain the role played by the international implementing partners like MAG and the HALO Trust who have helped to bring in capacity, technical expertise and international assistance. SLA Army is playing a key role in the process and is also working with the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI), who have provided 31 Mine Detection Dogs (MDO) since 2002, to increase the indigenous mine detention capability of the Sri Lanka Army. After presenting the main achievements of the National Mine Action Program since 2002, Rear Admiral Wettewa expressed the hope that the international development partners, especially the USA would continue to help in providing the funds required (about $ 20–30 million) for the completion of the mine clearance program to achieve the 2020 goal and thanked the international community for the assistance given up to now.
The MAG Representative described the work they are doing in Sri Lanka and expressed their appreciation for the government, Sri Lanka Army and the civilians who are involved in the tedious task of mine clearance and related operations (especially women) for their constant dedication and for the government’s serious involvement in the program.
Mr. Rodney Robideau of the State Department spoke highly of the entire Mine Action Program and commended the commitment shown by the government and remarked that this is one of the most significant post war involvement of the history and spoke about the US government’s assistance of over US$ 60 Million up to date. He paid tribute to the implementing partners and was highly appreciative of the role played and the professionalism shown by the SLA with the dedication towards the whole program. Mr. Rodney was very appreciative of the work the MLI has done with the donation and training of Mine Detection Dogs. He assured that the US government will continue to provide funds for Sri Lanka and will even consider adding more to the already committed funds as the year goes by.
The representative of the HALO Trust, Mr. Vothoozon Anthony, who is a resident of Jaffna, described the experiences of living his life in the conflict zone and expressed his gratitude to the international assistance given and hoped that the life would become normal for all the people in the region sooner than later.
The Panel Discussion was followed by a Q & A Session.
The Chargé d' Affaires of the Embassy, Mr. Sarath Dissanayake and the Second Secretary, Mr. Niranga Palipana attended the event.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
02 April 2019
The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington D.C. and the Mine Advisory Group ( MAG ) jointly hosted a gathering of US officials, demining agency representatives and prospective partners to a breakfast briefing at the Sri Lanka Residence on 13th March 2019 on the theme “ Mine Free Sri Lanka 2020 “
The breakfast briefing was organized as part of a joint initiative by the Sri Lankan Embassy and MAG, which is at the forefront in mine clearance activities in the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka since 2002, to reach out to the members of the Congress and the Senate, potential partners and well wishers seeking their support for Sri Lanka’s vision to usher in a mine free Sri Lanka by 2020.
Delivering opening remarks, Chargé d'Affaires , Sarath Dissanayake welcomed the guests and appreciated their presence. Echoing the sentiments expressed by Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General promoting universalization of the Ottawa Convention, Prince Mired Bin Ra’ad Bin Zeid Al - Hussein, at a panel discussion on “ Mine Free Sri Lanka 2020 “ held in Geneva on 30th November 2018 in which he commended Sri Lankan government and partners for the extra ordinary work being done to make Sri Lanka mine free by 2020, Charge d’ Affaires said Sri Lanka is a unique story and model for other countries. He expressed Sri Lanka’s sincere appreciation and gratitude to the US Government, funding partners and agencies such as MAG, HALO and MLI etc for the extremely delicate tasks being performed on the minefields at great risk to themselves. He expressed optimism that with such committed and dedicated donors from US and elsewhere, and funding to be continued by US and others, Sri Lanka’s quest to reach mine free status by 2020 is a realizable hope. Thereafter, Minister/Defence, Rear Admiral Wettewa, made a comprehensive presentation in regard to mine clearance, resettlement, awareness and education, victims assistance programs implemented since its inception in 2002 as well as prospects and challenges. Emphasizing Sri Lanka’s vision and mission to rid the country of mines once and for all, he requested those present in the audience to continue supporting Sri Lanka in order to realize its cherished goal. Being a battle - hardened officer himself, Rear Admiral drew parallels and likened to the humanitarian work performed by armed forces in post conflict phase of rehabilitation, reconstruction and resettlement to that of mine detection, demining and highly dedicated work performed by agencies including those from MAG, HALO etc on the mine fields in Sri Lanka.
MAG America Executive Director, Jamie Franklin briefed the gathering on the MAG’s contribution to demining operations overseas and its success story in Sri Lanka. Reiterating MAG’s continued commitment to Sri Lanka, the Executive Director assured its fullest support to realizing Sri Lanka’s vision. The former Country Director, MAG Sri Lanka, Alistair Moir, who spoke next, made a structured presentation on the progress of demining activities in Sri Lanka and work remains to be done. Speaking on the Sri Lanka’s vision, former Director commended the support and cooperation extended by the government, armed forces, lending partners, civil society and civilians in carrying out mine related activities diligently and expeditiously. He said Sri Lanka’s progress in demining is unique and that a mine free Sri Lanka has the potential to offer tangible opportunities and benefits to Sri Lanka and its peoples.
The briefing was followed by Q & A session and breakfast.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
14 March 2019
Ten extra ordinary women from around the world were honored with International Women of Courage Awards ( IWOC ) 2019 at the US State Department on 07th March 2019. Sri Lankan Marini de Livera was among the awardees from Bangladesh, Burma, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Montenegro, Peru, Tanzania and Ireland who were felicitated by the State Department.
The US Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award ( IWOC ) honors women who have demonstrated extra ordinary courage and leadership in advocating for social justice, human rights, gender equality, and the advancement of women and girls. Since its inception in 2007, over 120 women from 65 countries have been honored with the IWOC award.
The First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and delivered special remarks.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo congratulated the IWOC awardees on being recognized as outstanding women leaders around the world as part of US’s commitment to advancing the status of women and children around the world. Secretary of State, Prompeo also touched on Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative ( W-GDP ), launched in February 2019 by the White House, aimed at empowering 50 million women across developing countries by 2025 and the launch of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs ( AWE ) on 06th March 2019 in support of W-GDP, by the State Department, to provide online education resources, foster networks that support access to mentorships, and connect women through existing exchange programs.
Marini de Livera, who champions the causes of women and child victims of crime, promotes alternative care for children trapped in orphanages and innovative use of visual arts and street theater to promote legal literacy, is the former Chairperson of the National Child Protection Authority and a member of the Steering Committee on the Rehabilitation of Child Soldiers, the Prisons’ Reforms Committee, and the National Committee on Women. She also chaired the committee that drafted the amendments to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act and worked as a Human Rights Trainer.
Charge d’Affaires of the Sri Lankan Embassy, Washington DC, Sarath Dissanayake participated in the felicitation ceremony together with members of the Diplomatic Corps.
Embassy of Sri Lanka