Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha has said, over the 70 years since Independence, Sri Lanka has never shied away from taking its fair share of responsibility in the UN system, which has helped Sri Lanka build an image as a moderate, and progressive partner, able to bridge differences and build consensus.
He said, in Geneva, Sri Lanka continues to give leadership on a wide range of issues such as disarmament, migration, human rights, health, intellectual property, science and technology and international trade policy.
Ambassador Aryasinha made these observations when he addressed representatives of the diplomatic community, UN and other international organizations based in Geneva and friends of Sri Lanka, at a ceremony held to celebrate Sri Lanka’s 70th Anniversary of Independence, at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ambassador R.D.S. Kumararatne, Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya and Mission staff were associated with the Ambassador at the event.
The centre piece of the Geneva celebrations was an exhibition titled ‘Facets of Sri Lanka’, conceptualized and organized by the Sri Lanka Permanent Mission in Geneva, in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It comprised of 7 ‘facets’ – ‘Reflections of Sri Lanka’s Foreign Relations‘, ‘Sri Lanka in Geneva’, ‘Intellectual Property Assets of Sri Lanka’, ‘Visit Sri Lanka’, ‘Buy and Invest with Sri Lanka’, ‘Flavors of Sri Lanka’ and ‘Rhythms of Sri Lanka’, which featured the State Dance Ensemble of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs of Sri Lanka. A commemorative publication built around the 7 themes was also launched at the event.
As a special tribute to the UN and International Organizations that the Sri Lanka Mission collaborates with in its day to day work, ‘Facets of Sri Lanka’ was inaugurated by Dr. Francis Gurry, the Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), with the Director-General of the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG), Mr. Michael Møller, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Ambassador William Lacy Swing, Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Mr. Guy Ryder, Secretary General of the UNCTAD, Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary General of the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU), Mr. Martin Chungong, Secretary General of CITES, Mr. John E Scanlon, Deputy Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Mr. Xiaozhum Yi, Deputy Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Mr. Malcom Johnson, Director of the Conference on Disarmament (CD), Ms. Anja Kaspersen, Director for International Relations of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), Ms. Charlotte Lindberg Warakaulle, Head of the Regional Perspectives Programme of Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), Col (GS) Christian Bülmann, and interlocutors from these and other organizations based in Geneva.
Ambassador Aryasinha said while showcasing Sri Lanka’s historical and natural assets and abundant talent, ‘Facets of Sri Lanka’ was an opportunity to salute the work done by all the previous Ambassadors and staff who served in the Mission in Geneva, Sri Lankans in the International Civil Service and other Missions in Geneva, colleagues from diplomatic Missions, the UNOG, UN agencies, WTO and other international organizations, who over the years, have supported Sri Lanka, and contributed to Sri Lanka’s standing in Geneva.