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Ambassador and staff meet with 2,000 Americans Americans, dressed and greeting in the Sri Lankan way About two thousand Americans visited the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington D.C. during an open house organized as part of Washington’s Passport DC annual festival. “This is unprecedented and we are so pleased to see this many Americans visiting the embassy and showing interest in Sri Lanka” remarked Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya. Ambassador Wickramasuriya in conversation with some guests The open house was part of a special program called “Passport DC”, which is a joint initiative by Cultural Tourism D. C. -- a Washington D.C. based non-governmental organization -- and more than 50 foreign missions, including the Embassy of Sri Lanka. The event also marked the embassy’s celebration of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, which each May recognizes the contributions of the people of Asian and Pacific Island descent in the United States. American ladies trying saris Passport DC showcases Washington D.C.’s embassies and cultural organizations with a wide range of performances, talks, and exhibits.  It is very popular among the Americans in the Greater Washington area (Washington D.C. and the states of Maryland and Virginia), as it offers the public a rare chance to visit foreign embassies and enjoy many cultural and traditional events during a single day, at no cost. An American gentleman learning how to wear a sarong The activities organized by the Embassy of Sri Lanka staff and their families included a demonstration of sari and national dress wearing, which proved  popular among visitors. It was heartening to see so many American women queuing up to drape themselves in saris, while men were trying colorful sarongs and national shirts. In another corner, some Americans learned to write their names in Sinhala and Tamil languages. Guests signing up at the registration desk In keeping with traditional Sri Lankan hospitality, the embassy staff served visitors with a freshly brewed Ceylon tea. The embassy also distributed a large amount of promotional tourism materials. The event lasted from 10 am to 4 pm, and by its close more than 800 had signed up either to visit Sri Lanka or to receive more information. The embassy will pursue these contacts and explore the possibility of organizing special group tours in close collaboration with Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and the national carrier, Sri Lankan Airlines. Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC USA 10 May 2010