The Embassy convened a virtual meeting on 06th August 2021 with the Sri Lankan Honorary Consuls in the United States. Those in attendance were Sri Lanka's Honorary Consular representatives in the States of Hawaii - Mr. Bede Dhammika Coooray Pennsylvania - Mr. David Sherman, and Texas - Ms.Dakshini Senanayake.
Delivering the opening remarks, Ambassador Aryasinha appreciated the opportunity to connect with all Sri Lankan Honorary Consuls in the US collectively and recalled with satisfaction the notable contributions and services rendered by the Honorary Consuls to promote Sri Lanka – US relations and support Sri Lankan Americans with their consular needs, included the repatriation of a large number of Sri Lankans on health, humanitarian and emergency grounds. Ambassador Aryasinha encouraged the Honorary Consuls to leverage with their US interlocutors and private sector companies at the State level regarding projecting and prioritizing Sri Lanka's prospects and opportunities in the trade, investment and tourism spheres on the one hand, while continuing to extend their services to Sri Lankans in their jurisdictions. He briefed the Honorary Consuls on the Embassy initiative in establishing OSL network cutting across all 50 US States with a view to leveraging their support towards realizing the interests of Sri Lanka in the US in political advocacy, economic empowerment, and socio-cultural engagement. The revamping of the consular division's webpage, including re-orientation of layout and introduction of user-friendly features, was also projected as part of the Embassy's people centered projects implemented over the first half of 2021. Ambassador welcomed the Honorary Consuls to continue to stay connected with the Embassy and sustain the momentum built with local authorities in all their representational activities.
The Honorary Consul for Hawaii, Bede Cooray, expressed his gratitude to Ambassador and staff for the opportunity and underscored the need to keep the current momentum going, especially when Sri Lanka is going through a period of uncertainty, including facilitation of COVID pandemic-induced repatriation of Sri Lankans in distress. He also spoke of his active involvement in the Embassy-led OSL network of activities and meetings.
The Honorary Consul for Pennsylvania, David Sherman, appreciated the Embassy's support and guidance in carrying out several activities in his jurisdiction. Speaking on the recent meeting had with Ambassador Aryasinha and Embassy staff, he was optimistic of the prospects for the work envisaged. In particular, he noted reaching out to Congressional staffers in Pennsylvania and the productive meetings he had with them.
The Honorary Consul for Texas, Dakshini Senanayake, appreciated the Embassy's role in facilitating her work and repatriation of Sri Lankans during the pandemic. In particular, she said she had made many efforts to ensure students' welfare and well-being in Texas. She also regularly participated in the Embassy-driven OSL network meetings and contributed to deliberations. Among other things, the Embassy was assisted by her in consular related inquires and educational and socio-cultural events organized by the Embassy in celebration of Sri Lanka's multi-ethnic, religious, and cultural events and activities.
Mr. Sumedha Ponnamperuma, Minister Commercial, appreciated the support given by the Honorary Consuls on commercial matters. He specifically thanked the support given by Mr. David Sherman on trade and investment promotional activities that are currently ongoing and requested the support of the three Honorary Consuls on the promotion of apparel products. Highlighting the recently finalized power generation project of the New Fortress Energy, Mr.Ponnamperuma requested their assistance in attracting further US investments, including to the Colombo Port City Project.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
07 August 2021