Sri Lankan serendipity
With tea and spice, the new High Commissioner for Sri Lanka HE Ms Manisha Gunasekera toasted Sri Lanka’s 71st anniversary of Independence. Joining in the High Commissioner for her first National Day celebration in London was the FCO Minister Lord Ahmad, diplomats, parliamentarians and the Commonwealth Secretary General.
In her Independence Day address, the High Commissioner pointed out that Asia’s oldest democracies had had to overcome many challenges. This year marks a decade since the end of the civil conflict and the High Commissioner said her country had “undergone a sea change in these 10 years” and that it was in the process of a “comprehensive reconciliation process involving all communities”.
Thanking Britain for its assistance in this important process, the High Commissioner also listed the abiding historic, economic and cultural ties between Britain and the UK, not least cricket – where the two countries would be slugging it out on the cricket pitch at the World Cup hosted by England and Wales this summer.
Guest of Honour FCO Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon echoed the High Commissioner’s comments, adding the importance of the people to people ties, notably the strong British Sri Lankan diaspora (such as the Booker Prize winning Sri Lankan-born writer Romesh Gunasekera who was also in attendance) and the thousands of British tourists who have flocked in record numbers to the beautiful island, also known as Serendip (the ancient Persian name for the Island, meaning ‘wonderful surprise’).
And in the spirit of serendipity the evening concluded with a prize draw where two lucky guests won flights and a trip to experience ‘So Sri Lanka’ – voted the best destination by Lonely Planet for 2019. But even those who did not win a prize departed with a goodie bag of premium Ceylon tea and spicy sambol to give them a lasting taste of Sri Lanka.
Above Photo: Lord Ahmad and High Commissioner Gunasekera toast Sri Lanka’s 71st Anniversary of Independence
PHOTOS: PIERRE DE VILLIERS