Remarks by H.E. Dr. Rohan Perera, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, at the
The “Power of One” Award
Trusteeship Council Chamber | United Nations, New York
Tuesday, December 11, 2018 | 4:00pm- 5:30pm
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to address you all on the occasion of the “Power of One” Award, which recognizes distinguished personalities who have worked to further the vision of a peaceful and secure world for all. The “Power of One” Award, established by Diwali Foundation USA is a pillar of the commemoration of the festival of Diwali, or Deepavali at the United Nations. Given that Deepavali is a unique celebration of the values of peace, understanding, compassion and togetherness, this award perfectly embodies the message and spirit of the festival.
As Sri Lankans, we hold the festival of Deepavali especially close to our hearts. With a significant Hindu community in Sri Lanka, the festival is one that is given a special place in our country, and celebrated as an important national holiday. However, the message of Deepavali is not only one that is specific to our brothers and sisters of the Hindu community but in fact transcends all boundaries of religion, faith, or culture.
During this auspicious festival, light serves as a symbol for knowledge, enlightenment, and the dispelling of spiritual darkness. Therefore the festival serves as an opportune moment for reflection on our values not only as individuals but as a global community. In addition, by honoring light, we affirm the fact that from knowing arises respect for and acceptance of others.
At a time when our countries face unprecedented challenges that test our ability to stand united in our shared humanity, these tools of dialogue and cooperation are more important than ever. There is an urgent need for us to embrace our unity in religious diversity, and to foster a culture of genuine respect and appreciation for our plurality.
I am heartened by the fact that the distinguished colleagues being recognized at this Ceremony today are those who have worked tirelessly to further these values of dialogue, cooperation, peace and understanding within the UN. At a time when we are mired in harmful forces that attempt to divide us and cast one another as “the other”, those who work to cultivate a culture of peace and understanding must rightly be recognized.
I thank all those who are involved in the organizing of this ceremony, who have worked to establish this Award, which celebrates and propagates the unique values of peace and understanding which are fundamental pillars of Deepavali. On this auspicious occasion, let us continue to work towards this vision of generating more peace and understanding in our countries and communities. As we celebrate light, let us express a sincere hope that peace, prosperity, and compassion illuminate our lives and our world.