Sri Lanka Consulate in Dubai celebrates Independence Day

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By 2017-02-15

Commemorating the 69th Anniversary of Independence of Sri Lanka, the Consulate of Sri Lanka in Dubai & Northern Emirates hosted a reception on 5 February 2017 at the Grand Hyatt-Dubai.

Over 350 guests including diplomats representing around 50 countries, over 35 Consul General's of major countries based in Dubai, Emirati dignitaries, leading businessmen operating in UAE, Sri Lankan associations based in Dubai & Northern Emirates along with key figures of the Sri Lankan expatriate community in the UAE participated. It was after five years that a reception on such a grand scale was held to celebrate Independence.

Consul General of Sri Lanka to Dubai and the Northern Emirates, Charitha Yattogoda highlighted the progress made by Sri Lanka to achieve middle income status, with comprehensive national reconciliation under President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The focus of the event was to promote Sri Lanka tourism to the invitees. A three-minute video clip was shown at the event, provided by Sri Lanka Tourism which was the main sponsor of the event. Photos of Sri Lanka as a unique destination with heritage, nature, beaches and wildlife were displayed throughout the event and earned a good response from the crowd.

The Consul General also briefed the gathering about measures taken by the consulate, during the last year to enhance consular and labour services including the upgrading of its website and introduction of a courier system for passport and visa applicants. The newly upgraded website was re-launched. Additions to the website was to minimize time spent for consular and labour activities and to enhance convenience and efficiency in obtaining these services.

Four major Sri Lankan organizations in Dubai and Northern Emirates, the Sri Lanka Business Council, Sri Lanka Cultural Centre, Sri Lanka Welfare Association (Sahana)and Lanka Lions Sports Club were awarded plaques in recognition of the outstanding contribution that they have made towards the Sri Lankan community in the UAE and the motherland in the past. Plaques were also awarded to three locally recruited staff members of the consulate who have served the longest period in appreciation of their dedicated service. The proceedings commenced with lighting the oil lamp by the Chief Guest along with four members representing Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and the Burgher community showing the solidarity of the four major Sri Lankan communities living in the UAE. The cultural dancing performances showcased local talent from the Meshan Dissanayake Dancing Academy.

Dances such as Udarata Wes Natuma, Naga Raksha, Surapa Walliya, Kuweni along with some tailor-made dancing performances were seen enabling foreigners gathered at the reception to develop an image of Sri Lankan culture adding colour to the event. UAE State Minister of Higher Education, Dr. Ahmed Bin Abdulla Belhoul Al Falasi was the Chief Guest. Ambassador for Sri Lanka to UAE, Jeffry Suleiman Mohideen and other diplomatic officers from the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi participated in addition to staff members of the consulate.

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