Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma’s visit to Lithuania for his Presentation of Credentials included several meetings with Ministers for discussions of mutual interest for the two countries.
On 23rd April, the Ambassador met with the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Mrs. Asta Skaisgirytė Liauškienė at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Vilnius.
Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Asta Skaisgirytė Liauškienė with Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Vilnius
In the meeting, the Ambassador shared with the Vice-Minister about the current developments in post-conflict Sri Lanka and the Vice-Minister inquired specifically about youth-focused action in connection with the rebuilding of the country, which is also a matter of particular concern to the Ambassador. The Vice-Minister also expressed that she wants to visit Sri Lanka in the future and she wished the Ambassador every success as the youngest person to be appointed to this position in Sri Lankan history.
Minister of Energy Mr. Arvydas Sekmokas with Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma
While in Vilnius, the Ambassador also paid courtesy calls on the Lithuanian Minister of Energy Mr. Arvydas Sekmokas, the Minister of Economy Mr. Rimantas Žylius and the Minister of Transport Mr. Eligijus Masiulis.
Minister of Economy Mr. Rimantas Žylius with Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma
During his visits to the respective Ministries, the Ambassador had the opportunity to learn more about Lithuania’s strategies and progress in the areas of energy, new technology and transport, as well as discuss how Sri Lanka and Lithuania can share knowledge for mutual benefit in these fields and others.
On Sunday 22nd April, the Sri Lankan Embassy participated in the annual International Bazaar organised by the Diplomatic Women’s Club in Stockholm at the Elite Palace Hotel.
Embassy staff representing Sri Lanka at the International Bazaar
On the day of the Bazaar the venue positively exploded with culture and colour and the visitors were met by tastes, scents, sounds and views from all over the world. Mrs. Madhu Sajjanhar, President of the Diplomatic Women’s Club and Spouse of the Ambassador of India welcomed the guests and Mrs. Susanne Eberstein, First Deputy Speaker of the Swedish Riksdag opened the bazaar.
Neighboring India was represented across the aisle from Sri Lanka
The money, which was raised from the selling of food, clothing and crafts from the 35 represented countries and from raffles and auctions with prices given by the embassies, was donated to support the work of NGO Save the Children in Sweden. The event also included several cultural performances.
Musical performance by Himal Fernando and Sashika Jayasingha
The Sri Lankan bazaar table was laden with food, tea and spices as well as products from Best of Sri Lanka in Sweden.
Tea and spices from Sri Lanka
Special thanks to Ms. Rebecca Wennberg for making beautiful flower arrangements.
Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma was welcomed to Sweden by Foreign Minister Carl Bildt during a meeting at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on 3rd April.
Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma with Foreign Minister Carl Bildt
The Ambassador and the Foreign Minister had the opportunity to casually discuss developments in the Northern and Eastern provinces in Sri Lanka as well as the LLRC final report (Read more). The Foreign Minister urged Sri Lanka to speed up the implementation of the LLRC recommendations, but the Ambassador explained that Sri Lanka needs more time and that the world community must show patience.
The Ambassador illustrated his point by sharing that the distance from Colombo to his hometown of Matara is 160 kilometres. It takes more than four hours to travel this road by car. Meanwhile, the same distance in Sweden can easily be covered in less than half the time. Infrastructure, attitudes and systems vary between countries and people. In the same way, perceptions of peace and reconciliation efforts vary and Western leaders must trust that Sri Lanka knows its people, their history and the distance of the road ahead.
The Ambassador invited the Foreign Minister to visit Sri Lanka to meet the people and see the current developments for himself and Mr. Bildt was glad to accept the invitation. At a time when an impressive amount of Swedish tourists visit Sri Lanka and cultural understanding grows out of personal meetings, there is a sincere hope that the same thing will occur at a political level.
Mr. Sarath Wattegedera of Sunray Travels/Ceylon Tours and Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma mingling with other exhibitors at the TUR fair
On 22 March – 25 March, the Embassy participated in the annual TUR fair in Gothenburg, Sweden on the behalf of the Tourism Promotion Bureau of Sri Lanka. TUR is the leading international fair on tourism and travel in Scandinavia, held at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre in Gothenburg, a 10 000 square metre exhibition area.
From the left: Mr. Chandra Ediriweera (Ceylon Tours), Mr. Rohan Abeywickrama (Hawk Tours), Mr. L.G. Dissanayake (Embassy of Sri Lanka), Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma, Mr. Sarath Wattegedera (Sunray Travels/Ceylon Tours), Mr. Ranjan Walpola (Ceylon Tours) and Mr. Nelman Senarathne (Embassy of Sri Lanka)
Ceylon Tours, Omni Travels, Hawk Travels and Chamathaka Travels exhibited in the Sri Lanka stall. The Ambassador visited the fair on 23rd March, while Mr. Dissanayake, Third Secretary (Commercial) attended all exhibition days.
The total number of participants was 36 100, of which 13 076 were trade visitors (including exhibitors) and 23 024 visitors from the general public. 342 journalists participated in the event.
Mr. Jesper Öhrn at the Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce with Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma
On 23rd March the Ambassador and Mr. Dissanayake, Third Secretary (Commercial) met Mr. Jesper Öhrn, Head of International Business Contacts at the Chamber of Commerce in Gothenburg.
After the meeting Mr. Jesper Öhrn presented the Ambassador with a West Sweden table flag
During the meeting the services and functions of the Gothenburg Chambers as well as emerging sectors of the Sri Lankan economy were discussed, and Mr. Öhrn expressed that he is impressed by the achievements of the Sri Lankan garment industry and particularly interested in the Knowledge Process Outsourcing/Business Process Outsourcing sector in Sri Lanka. There, he feels, might be scope for collaboration.
Visit from the Ambassador of Sri Lanka
Thursday 01.March 2012
The Ambassador of Sri Lanka, Mr. Oshadhi Alahapperuma, visited the UNU-GTP on Tuesday the 28th of February. He was escorted by Mr. S.B. Wijekoon, Minister Councellor and a representative for the Sri Lankan consul in Iceland, Sveinbjörg Pálsdóttir. The purpose of the Ambassador‘s visit was to learn about the UNU-GTP and its operation, in Sri Lanka and all over the world.
The UNU-GTP director, Dr. Ingvar B. Friðleifsson gave an introductory lecture about the GTP, from its establishment in 1979 until the present date. The Ambassador was very keen on learning, if and how, Sri Lanka could further its geothermal use and what the potential was of exploiting its geothermal resources.
The ambassador also informed the staff at GTP about Sri Lanka both about its culture and also politics.
H.E. Mr. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of the Republic of Iceland accepts the credentials of H.E. Mr. Oshadhi Alahapperuma, Sri Lankan Ambassador concurrently accredited to Iceland
On 27th February Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma presented his credentials to the President of Iceland, H.E. Mr Ólafur Ragnar Grimsson, as the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Republic of Iceland at the President’s house in Reykjavik.
While in Iceland, the Ambassador also paid courtesy calls on the Minister of Fisheries & Agriculture Mr. Stengimur J. Sigfusson as well as the Permanent secretaries of the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Energy Mr Kristjan Skarphedinsson and the Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs Mr. Einar Gunnarsson.
Deliberations with the respective Ministry officials, spanning on potential ties between Iceland and Sri Lanka in sectors of tourism, geothermal energy, fisheries industry technology, trade and investment, were highlighted throughout the duration of the meeting.
Minister Counsellor Mr.S.B. Wijekoon accompanied the Ambassador during the Iceland visit.
On 20th February the Ambassador visited Malmö along with Third Secretary (Commercial) Mr. Dissanayake to meet with Mr. Stefan Müchler, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Southern Sweden.
Ambassador with Mr. Stefan Müchler, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Southern Sweden
At the meeting the parties shared about the current infrastructural conditions in Sweden and Sri Lanka and discussed the current prevalence of and future opportunities for foreign investment. Mr. Dissanayake also informed Mr. Müchler about the Sri Lanka Expo 2012 exhibition and discussed the possibilities of sending a Swedish delegation on study tour to Sri Lanka.
On 20th February the Ambassador and Mr. L.G. Dissanayake, Third Secretary (Commercial) visited the World Maritime University in Malmö and met with Professor Björn Kjerfe, President of the WMU and Professor Neil Bellefontaine, Interim Vice-President of the WMU. Three Sri Lankan students are currently studying for their Master’s Degrees at the WMU in Malmö.
Ambassador with Professor Björn Kjerfe, President of the WMU and Professor Neil Bellefontaine, Interim Vice-President of the WMU.
During the meeting, Professor Bellefontaine stated that WMU can assist in building the competencies of the Naval and Maritime Academy of Sri Lanka. In 2011, a joint statement was given by Professor Bellefontaine and Professor Ranjith Senaratne of the NMA, suggesting further exploration of possibilities for cooperation. During the meeting in Malmö on 20th February, Professor Björn Kjerfve, Professor Ranjith Senaratne and the Ambassador held a telephone conference to follow up on this previous action. Professor Ranjith Senaratne of NMA will visit the WMU later in 2012.
Mr. L.G. Dissanayake, Third Secretary (Commercial), Professor Björn Kjerfve and Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma
Professor Björn Kjerfve also showed a model of the new university building which is expected to be completed in 2013 and verbally invited the Ambassador to attend the 2012 autumn term convocation at the World Maritime University.
On 14th February, Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma was invited for a small tea party hosted by H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf and H.M. Queen Silvia. It is a tradition of the King and Queen of Sweden to take this initiative to meet individually with each new Ambassador following the Presentation of Credentials.
Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma greets H.M. Queen Silvia
Sri Lanka is well-known to the Royal Family. The King visited the island during his military service in 1966 when he travelled the globe with Älvsnabben, a Swedish Navy cadet training vessel.
H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria, who is very interested in crisis and conflict management as well as devoted to development and humanitarian work, travelled to Sri Lanka in 2005 to study the Swedish relief efforts after the tsunami.
In 2005 H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria met with survivors after the tsunami in Sri Lanka. Photo: Jack Mikrut/Scanpix
The King and Queen asked to know more about the current situation in Sri Lanka and the Ambassador shared about the development taking place in the Northern and Eastern provinces. The Queen, who founded the World Childhood Foundation in 1999, was particularly eager to hear about the children’s situation.
The Ambassador invited the King and Queen to visit Sri Lanka to see how the country is being rebuilt after the end of the conflict. The King expressed that the Queen and himself take this invitation very seriously.