Embassy of Sri Lanka hosts “ Peace forum – A new vision for peace in the 21st century ” with Uiversal peace federation
Aug 7, 2009
A special gathering of peacemakers explored the theme, “A New Vision for Peace in the 21st Century,” held at the residence of the Ambassador of Sri Lanka on July 30th 2009 in Washington DC. The Sri Lankan Embassy partnering with Universal Peace Federation (UPF) International and UPF-USA presented a program which introduced the core principles and practices that can facilitate the creation of a world in which people of every race, culture and religion can live together in peace.
At long last, the three decades of military conflict in Sri Lanka has ended, and the government is looking to establish a sustainable peace for their people. For this reason, Thursday’s program was particularly timely and poignant.
An overflow crowd of diplomats, Ambassadors for Peace and new guests, encountered the exotic Sri Lankan atmosphere of the Ambassador’s residence and were welcomed by Ambassador Wickramasuriya himself, and his gracious staff. A delicious array of Sri Lankan foods and famous Ceylon tea was served for the reception, as valuable connections and new friends were made.
Mistress of Ceremonies: Tomiko Duggan, Director of the (UPF) Office of Embassy Relations, Washington, D.C., welcomed the audience and introduced the gracious host for the evening, the H.E. Jaliya Wickramasuriya, Ambassador of Sri Lanka. After showing a beautiful film of Sri Lanka, the Ambassador shared sincerely about his country as it savors a hard won peace and at the same time faces post conflict challenges.
Ambassador Wickramasuriya greeted us the traditional way, “Ayubowan,” which means, “May you live long”. Sri Lanka is the oldest democracy in Asia and rich in culture; however, nearly three decades of the recent civil war, which ended in May this year, caused a large amount of displaced families to live in the government-run centers. Now that peace has returned, the government has launched an ambitious plan to rebuild 80,000 new homes for those displace people, who “have a right to voluntary return, in safety and dignity, to their original places of residence.” They have also just completed a mission to remove 1,000 land mines near the northern city of Jaffna . In conclusion, he stated that now is the time to heal old wounds. The Ambassador invited everyone to visit Sri Lanka . It is a happy place, full of a new freedom and excitement for a future of peace, happiness and prosperity.
Mr. John Dickson, a Committee Chairman with the World Trade Centers Association, Inc., shared his thoughts on the topic, “Peace and Stability through Economic Growth and Development” Mr. Dickson praised Sri Lankan government for appointing an Ambassador from the private sector, noting the practical and effective nature of the Ambassador’s presentation. Mr. Dickson went on to explain the relationship between business, peace and stability.
After an inspirational musical presentation and an introductory video to UPF, Mr. Jim Flynn, Secretary General of UPF-USA delivered a comprehensive synopsis of the principles of peace building and reconciliation which are the central pillars of UPF’s work of establishing peace throughout the world.
At the close of the program, new Ambassadors for Peace were appointed and welcomed to UPF’s global network of peacemakers by the Washington area Secretary General, Ms. Gail Paine. Sri Lankan Ambassador to U.S, H.E. Jaliya Wickramasuriya, was appointed as an Ambassador for Peace, while two other Sri Lankans were among seven the newly appointed Ambassadors for Peace.
Ambassadors for Peace are a global network of leaders representing the religious, racial and ethnic diversity of the human family, as well as all disciplines of human endeavor. They stand on the common ground of shared principles, committed to the path of promoting reconciliation, overcoming barriers, and building peace.