Embassy hosts the 2nd Annual Diaspora Gathering in Kuwait
By Embassy of Sri Lanka, Kuwait
Apr 24, 2010
As part of its initiative to maintain a constructive dialogue with the Sri Lankan community in Kuwait, the Embassy of Sri Lanka has successfully concluded the "Second Annual Sri Lankan Diaspora Gathering" on the 16th April 2010 at the Embassy premises. A large gathering of Sri Lankans numbering over 450 from all walks of life was present on the occasion. It is recalled that the maiden Sri Lankan Diaspora Gathering was held on 17th April'

The program of the day, inter-alia featured performances such as dancing, drama, poetry, music, songs etc. The proceedings began with the unfurling of the National Flag followed by the playing of the National Anthem. Thereafter the ceremonial oil lamp was lit by the distinguished guests. A minutes' silence was observed as a mark of respect for those who sacrificed their lives for the defense of motherland.

Delivering the welcome speech, Mr. Herath Yapa/ Minister Counsellor, thanked the guests for their presence and added that their participation in such large numbers is a source of strength and an honour to the Embassy. Mr. Sunil Premaratna/ First Secretary tracing the historical and legendary roots enlightened the audience on the origins and the relevance of Sinhala & Hindu New Year in forging unity and harmony. Fr. Felix Mellawarachchy, Director/ Sri Lanka Catholic Guild in his remarks emphasized the significance of "Diaspora Gathering" for the consolidation of trust and understanding between the Embassy and the expat community. Fr. Mellawarachchy spoke highly of the contributions made by the expat community in Kuwait toward their motherland in terms of increased remittances which help sustain Sri Lanka's socio-economic development. He also touched upon the issues and concerns of Sri Lankan migrant workers in Kuwait and added that the concerned Sri Lankan authorities need to study the situation with a view to putting in place a suitable mechanism to address such issues.

Ambassador, Sarath Dissanayake in his speech appreciated the interest and commitment of the Sri Lankan community toward making the day's events a success. In this regard, he said the Sri Lanka and Kuwait enjoy best of relations today which are vital for the consolidation of a mutually beneficial and rewarding partnership. Presenting an over view of the current status of Sri Lanka - Kuwait relations, he made a candid analysis of the overall achievements in respect of trade, investment, tourism, employment promotion as well as culture media and information sectors.

Ambassador made a special mention of the services rendered by Sri Lankan migrant workers who have been the source of second largest foreign exchange earner to the country. The generous assistance provided by the associations, business community, well-wishers etc. for their motherland in kind and deed were also appreciated. Reference is also made to the upcoming "Sri Lanka Culture Week Celebrations in Kuwait" toward end of April 2010 as well as for the 40th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations to be commemorated in 2011. He appealed to the Sri Lankan community to support their motherland at a time the fruits of peace have made a real deference in the lives of all Sri Lankans for the better.

Dr. Imbulana, the Embassy Visiting Doctor presented health tips and medical advice to the audience on health issues and concerns to the people in the community. He assured his continued support and services to them whenever a need arises. Dr. Imbulana who is well known among the Sri Lankan community has been of great help in extending medical services, counseling and care to the safe-house inmates in particular and the Sri Lankan community in Kuwait in general.

It is noteworthy that the associations, such as Sri Lanka Cultural Association, Society of Sri Lankans in Kuwait (SOSK), IQRA Islamic Community, We are the Sri Lankans etc, performed cultural and musical items which were well received. In addition, children of the two schools; National school and the Sinhala School performed some well known dance items to the music played by a leading musical band "Sunray" which entertained the crowd with live music. The "Bakmaha Kumari" finalists selected out of safe-house inmates at the Sinhala & Hindu New Year celebrations organized by the Embassy on 14th April 2010. were brought on stage and presented to the audience.

It was a unique occasion for the Sri Lankan community to come together and enjoy the Sri Lankan hospitality at an auspicious occasion such as Sinhala & Hindu New Year. The atmosphere was truly amazing filled with fun, entertainment and closer interaction for all those present which they said is worth repeating as an annual calendar event. They also appreciated the excellent arrangements made and generous hospitality provided by the Embassy.

The vote of thanks was proposed by Mr. D M P B Dissanayake/Counsellor in which he thanked the sponsors, well-wishers and services providers for their help to make the event a reality which paved the way for the community and the Embassy to celebrate yet another occasion in a spirit of friendship and togetherness'

All invitees were offered traditional milk rice and sweet meals at the end' The event was compeered by Mr. Sunil Premaratna/First Secretary and Mr. A M Indranesan/ Attaché of the Embassy.