The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York celebrated Sri Lanka’s 71st Anniversary of Independence with a diplomatic reception held yesterday (February 4th) at the mission premises.
Over 300 high dignitaries including a large and representative gathering of Permanent Representatives, senior diplomats, senior officials of the UN, Sri Lankan professionals, members of the press and civil society, among others, were present to mark the occasion.
The proceedings commenced with the singing of the National Anthem in both Sinhala and Tamil by two members of the expatriate community Dr. Esiri Karunaratne and Mr. Godfrey Tisseverasinghe, following which Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, H.E. Dr. Rohan Perera, delivered the welcome address.
Ambassador Perera said that Sri Lanka’s post-independence journey has not been without its challenges. “We have faced challenges of conflict, challenges of building, restoring and maintaining peace, and challenges of meeting national development goals, among others, he noted.
“Independence celebrations are an opportune moment to reflect on these challenges, draw lessons from them, and articulate a common vision for the future – a vision of building an equitable, open and inclusive society, respecting the multi ethnic, multi-religious and multi- cultural character of our nation, he also said.
Dr. Perera concluded by assuring the international community of Sri Lanka’s commitment to engagement. Noting that Sri Lanka had been an active member of the United Nations since our admission 61 years ago, he said that Sri Lanka will continue to closely engage with the UN and its systems and procedures in diverse areas including peacekeeping and peace building.
The evening featured a variety of traditional Sri Lankan cuisine and sweet meats including a tea station which enabled guests to sample a variety of Sri Lankan teas. Additionally, all guests were presented with gift tea packs.
One of the highlights of the evening was a performance by the highly acclaimed Schiller Institute New York City Chorus who performed two Sri Lankan classical favorites, Lanka Lanka and Dakuna Neganahira as a gift to Sri Lanka on the occasion of its 71st Anniversary of Independence.
In addition to the diplomatic event held on 4th February the Permanent Mission will continue to celebrate Independence Day by holding another event in Edison, New Jersey on 9th February 2019 together with the Sri Lanka community in the Tri State area. Founder of the Congressional caucus on Sri Lanka, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. and the Mayor of Edison, Mr. Thomas Lankey are also expected to grace the occasion. (ENDS)