Embassy hosts colourful Thai Pongal celebration

On 17th January, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Stockholm organised a Thai Pongal celebration on its premises. The Embassy was decorated in an elaborate manner, and Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma held a welcome speech where he emphasised the importance of bringing the Sri Lankan community together. Hindu priest Mohan from Stockholm Ganesh Temple then briefly explained the history and meaning of Thai Pongal and performed a religious ceremony.

Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma read President Mahinda Rajapakse’s Thai Pongal message, which was also read in Tamil by Praba Balan.

Minster Councellor Mr. S.B. Wijekoon held the vote of thanks and guest Mr. Shanmuga Balan expressed his gratitude to the Ambassador and the Embassy staff for organising the event. A buffet of traditional Sri Lankan food was then served and guests and embassy staff mingled. A symbolically significant part of the celebration was that venerable Buddhist monks from Stockholm Buddhist Vihara and people from all religious persuasions in Sri Lanka were present. Link to the Picture Gallery 

Embassy hosts festive christmas celebration

On 20th December 2012, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Stockholm celebrated Christmas for the first time in the Embassy’s history with the participation of Sri Lankans living in Sweden and special guests. The event was held at the Embassy premises.

Religious leaders representing main religions were present at the event. The Embassy was adorned with Christmas decorations in an impressive manner. The event commenced with the singing of the national anthems of the two countries followed by the lighting of the traditional oil lamp by the participants.

Vicar of the Royal Court Michael Bjerkhagen then made a Christmas prayer and read selected verses from the Bible. Venerable Buddhist monk Matale Dhammakanda of Stockholm Buddhist Vihara and hindu priest Mohan from Stockholm Ganesh Temple also graced the event with their presence.

One of the guests expressed his appreciation of the event organised by the Embassy with the hope of bringing Sri Lankans together and working with the Sri Lankan community closely.

In a vote of thanks appreciations were extended to all who contributed in every way to make this event a success and the gathering was invited to taste the Sri Lankan delicacies and Swedish Christmas treats.

 

Embassy hosts colourful Deepavali celebration

On 28th November, the Embassy organised a Deepavali celebration on its premises. The Embassy was decorated in accordance with Deepavali tradition, and after a welcome speech by Minister Counsellor Mr. S.B. Wijekoon, hindu priest Mohan from Stockholm Ganesh Temple performed a ceremony in honour of lord Ganesh.

Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma read President Mahinda Rajapakse’s Deepavali message, which was also read in Tamil by Mrs. Praba Balan who then gave an introduction to the historical significance and meaning of the Deepavaali festival.

Third secretary Mr. L.G. Dissanayake held a brief speech to thank the guests, after which a buffet of traditional Sri Lankan food was served and guests and embassy staff mingled. A symbolically significant part of the celebration was that venerable Buddhist monks from Stockholm Buddhist Vihara and people from all religious persuasions in Sri Lanka were present.

 

Ambassador presented his credentials to the President of Finland

H.E. the Ambassador Mr. Oshadhi Alahapperuma of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka presenting his credentials to the H.E. the President Mr. Sauli Niinistö of the Republic of Finland

On 14th June, Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma presented his credentials to H.E. the President Mr. Sauli Niinistö, as the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the Republic of Finland at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki.

President Niinistö assumed office on 1st March this year after winning the 2012 presidential election in Finland. In the brief discussion that followed after the presentation of credentials, the new President showed both knowledgeable interest and thoughtful involvement in the challenges and new opportunities faced by post-conflict Sri Lanka. Ambassador Alahapperuma shared with the President about the substantial development taking place in many areas and explained about how Sri Lanka is evolving as an investment destination.

Ambassador Alahapperuma with the President of Finland and Minister Counsellor S.B. Wijekoon at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki

Minister Counsellor Mr. S.B. Wijekoon accompanied the Ambassador during the Finland visit.

Pakistan winners of the 2012 SAARC Inter-Embassy Cricket Tournament

On 9th June, The Pakistan Embassy won the first ever SAARC Inter-Embassy Cricket Tournament, held at Sigtuna Cricket Club Stadium in Märsta, north of Stockholm.

Three team captains. Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma with H.E. Mr. Nadeem Riyaz, Ambassador of Pakistan and H.E. Mr. A.F.M. Gousal Azam Sarker, Ambassador of Bangladesh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This event was jointly organised by Sri Lanka and Pakistan Embassies in Stockholm. Please find complete results below.

Players of Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh with H.E. Mr. Ashok Sajjanhar, Ambassador of India and representatives from the Sigtuna Cricket Club

 

The Embassies of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka took each other on in the most gentleman like of games and the teams were also the first ones who got the opportunity to try the brand new combined cricket/soccer field in Sigtuna.

The opening batsman of the Sri Lankan Embassy, Ambassador Alahapperuma in the game between Pakistan and Sri Lanka

H.E. Mr. Nadeem Riyaz, Ambassador of Pakistan and Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma

 

 

Sri Lankan Embassy driver Mr. Nuwan Prabath was named “Best Batsman” for scoring 31 rounds and thus provided a certain bit of consolation for the defeated Sri Lankan team.

Sri Lankan Embassy Mr. Nuwan Prabath accepts the prize for “Best Batsman” from the hands of Dr. Ghulam Hussein, former Cabinet Minister of Pakistan

But the “Man of the Match” both by good sport and inspirational spirit was H. E. Nadeem Riyaz, Ambassador of Pakistan. In his speech at the award ceremony, this former opening batsman for the Pakistan Foreign Service team, shared with the players and the audience about his personal battle against cancer. This was the first time since that battle began five years ago that he took a bat in his hand, and he did so with verve. Ambassador Riyaz thanked the Ambassador of Sri Lanka for taking the intiative to organize the tournament and encouraged everyone present to support cancer research.

The Presentation Ceremony

The Sri Lanka team fought bravely under the captainship of Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma, as did the Bangladesh team, but both teams had to admit defeat and finally congratulate the Pakistan Embassy to a well-deserved victory.

This cricket Saturday was an opportunity for team-building, both within the playing teams of the participating Embassies and within the larger South Asian “diplomatic team”  which came out strong and ready, despite the threatening rain.

We all hope to meet again on 7th July, when a combined SAARC Embassies team will meet the combined New Zeeland-Australia Embassies team at the same venue, as well as next year, at the 2013 SAARC Inter-Embassy Cricket Tournament.

The Sri Lankan Embassy team. From the left: Mr Nuwan Prabath, Mr. Anjula Varusawithana, Mr. Nimesh Gunawardana, Mr Nohim Galgamuwa, Minister Counsellor S.B. Wijekoon, H.E. the Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma, Third Secretary L.G. Dissanayake, Mr. Sashika Jayasinghe, Mr. B.D.T. Peiris and Mr. Sanjaya Dayananda

 

 RESULTS

1st match
Pakistan – Bangladesh
Bangladesh 27 for 5 wickets in 10 overs
Pakistan 28 with losing 2 wickets

2nd match
Bangladesh – Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka 46 for 1 wicket in 10 overs
Bangladesh 47 without losing a wicket

3rd match
Pakistan – Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka 38 for 4 wickets in 10 overs
Pakistan 39 with losing a wicket

Finals
Pakistan – Bangladesh 
Pakistan 64 for 5 wickets in 10 overs
Bangladesh 33 all out

Pakistan won the final match by 31 runs.

Embassy shared food with Stockholmers at Poson Dansala

Staff of the Embassy of Sri Lanka with local visitors at Poson Dansala

On 5th June, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Stockholm organised a Poson Dansala to celebrate and raise local awareness with regards to this year’s Poson Poya, the full moon of the month of Poson which commemorates the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka, as well as the day on which the Lord Buddha gave his first Dhamma sermon.

Dhamma Pade verses were posted along the tree-lined boulevard outside the Sri Lankan Embassy

Dansala is the Buddhist practice of sharing food and an opportunity for laypeople to offer their Dana, an ancient Pali word meaning “generosity” or “gift” and which is intrinsic to the 2 500-year-old Buddhist tradition.

Venerable Matale Dhammakkanda and Venerable Marathugoda Pagnananda inspected the food alms after having inaugurated the dansala by chanting pirith on the instruction of Most Venerable Bhante Kirindigalle Siri Dhammaratana , Chief Incumbent of the Stockholm Buddhist Vihara

The stubborn spring rain stopped just in time to allow a sunny afternoon of sharing food and visiting with Stockholmers strolling on the Strandvägen boulevard, outside the Embassy premises.

Venerable Matale Dhammakkanda and Venerable Marathugoda Pagnananda inaugurated the dansala on the instruction of Most Venerable Bhante Kirindigalle Siri Dhammaratana , Chief Incumbent of the Stockholm Buddhist Vihara, by chanting pirith, after which passing people were invited to share the food and learn more about the celebration and about Sri Lanka.

Passerbys were curious about both the Sri Lankan food and the religious background of the celebration

Throughout the day, Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma, Minister Counsellor S.B. Wijekoon and Third Secretary (Commercial) L.G. Dissanayake, as well as other staff members of the Embassy had the pleasure to serve and get acquainted with visiting neighbourhood residents.

Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma took the opportunity to socialise with the visiting locals

The Embassy wishes to thank Hondahitha Enterprises for the generous donation of banners and decorations.

Ambassador presented his credentials to the Queen of Denmark

On 11th May, Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma presented his credentials to H.M. the Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, as the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark. The ceremony was held at the Fredenborg Palace, the Spring and Autumn Residence of the Danish Royal family, approximately 40 kilometers from the Danish capital, Copenhagen.

The ceremony was followed by a brief, pleasant conversation with H. M. the Queen and H.R.H Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark, who enthusiastically recalled his visit to Sri Lanka in the 1950s. Minister Counsellor .S.B. Wijekoon, accompanied the Ambassador during the Denmark visit.

 

The Embassy launched new website

The ceremony of the official launch of the new website of Embassy of Sri Lanka was held recently. The chief guest of the ceremony was Ms. Margareta Björk, the President of the City Council of Stockholm.

The ceremony started with singing the national anthems of Sri Lanka and Sweden, followed by lighting of the traditional oil lamp.

On invitation of Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma, Ms. Margareta Björk, the President of the City Council of Stockholm launched the new website. Minister Counselor Mr. S.B. Wijekoon and Third Secretary L.G. Dissanayake and staff of the Embassy of Sri Lanka participated in this event.

After the celebration traditional foods, sweets and tea were offered.

SAARC Inter-Embassy Cricket Tournament

Ambassador presented his credentials to the President of Lithuania

Ambassador of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka presenting his credentials to the President of the Republic of Lithuania. Photo: Džoja Gunda Barysaitė/Press Service of the President

On 23rd April, Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma presented his credentials to the President of Lithuania, H.E. Ms. Dalia Grybauskaitė, as the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Republic of Lithuania, at the Presidential Palace in Vilnius.

H.E. the President Ms. Dalia Grybauskaitė accepting the credentials of H.E. Mr. Oshadhi Alahapperuma, Sri Lankan Ambassador accredited to Lithuania. Photo: Džoja Gunda Barysaitė/Press Service of the President

The President wished the Ambassador every success in discharging the responsible duties of his position.

Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma with H.E. the President Ms. Dalia Grybauskaitė. Photo: Džoja Gunda Barysaitė/Press Service of the President