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Enhancing Palliative Care Facilities in Sri Lanka Emphasized in Toronto


Members of the  Sri Lankan expatriate community in Toronto were briefed recently on a project to establish the world’s first ever eco-friendly palliative care hospital in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka by an Australia based charity organization, Shanthi Foundation. The hospital which will be equipped with an in-patient unit with 40 beds for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and cancer patients, as well as a clinic for such outpatients.

Founder and Chairman of the Shanthi Foundation Dr. Suharsha Kanathigoda, a Sri Lankan born specialist on palliative care travelled to Toronto recently to enlighten Sri Lankan expatriates  in the Greater Toronto Area on the importance of palliative care and to solicit their collaboration for this hospital project, following the signature of an MOU with the Ministry of Health in Sri Lanka in August 2017.  The Consul General of Sri Lanka in Toronto U. L. Mohammed Jauhar graced the occasion as the Chief Guest.

Read more: Enhancing Palliative Care Facilities in Sri Lanka Emphasized in Toronto


Sri Lanka’s new High Commissioner to Canada Presents Credentials


Sri Lanka’s envoy to Canada, Asoka Girihagama presented his Credentials as Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Governor General Julie Payette of Canada at a ceremony held at the Rideau Hall in Ottawa on 13th November 2018. Senior officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Canada and Diplomats attended the ceremony which was held to mark the presentation of credential by five envoys representing Mongolia, Egypt, Sri Lanka, The Gambia and Uzbekistan.

Addressing the five new envoys to Canada, the Governor General, in her welcome address, spoke briefly on the bilateral ties shared between each of the five countries and Canada. Referring to Sri Lanka, the Governor General noted the long standing relations between Sri Lanka and Canada and outlined issues of mutual interest.

At an audience following the presentation of credentials, the new High Commissioner among other matters, briefed the Governor General on recent developments in Sri Lanka. High Commissioner Girihagama stated that he was keen to improve trade and investment relations between Sri Lanka and Canada and encourage Canadian investments in Sri Lanka. He also stated that as a country with numerous sites and tourist attractions, Sri Lanka had immense potential to offer many diverse options to potential tourists from Canada.

High Commissioner Girihagama is a senior Diplomat counting over 26 years in the Sri Lanka Foreign Service. He has served in Embassies/High Commissions of Sri Lanka in Hungary, Austria, New Delhi, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates. Prior to his appointment as High Commissioner to Canada, he served as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman and as Senior Director General, South Asia and SAARC.

 He is married with one daughter.


Sri Lanka High Commission


14th November 2018


High Commissioner –designate Mr.Asoka Girihagama Assumes Duties in Canada


The newly appointed High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Canada, Mr. Asoka Girihagama assumed duties at the High Commission on 08th November 2018. He was received upon arrival at the High Commission by the members of the staff.

Addressing the staff of the High Commission upon assumption of duties, High Commissioner –designate Mr. Girihagama outlined the importance of widening Sri Lanka’s trade relations with Canada and the promotion of Canadian investment in Sri Lanka. His assumption of duties was marked by a simple ceremony organized by the staff of the High Commission along with milk rice and other sweets being served in keeping with Sri Lankan tradition.

High Commissioner- designate Mr. Girihagama joined the Sri Lanka Foreign Service in 1992, and has served in Embassies/High Commissions of Sri Lanka in Hungary, Austria, New Delhi, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates.  He also served as the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Sultanate of Oman from 2011- 2014. Prior to his appointment as the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Canada he served as the Director General of the South Asia and SAARC Division at Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka.

He holds a B. Sc. Degree and a Master’s degree in Applied Statistics and he is a past pupil of Anuradhapura Central College, Anuradhapura. High Commissioner- designate Mr. Girihagama is married and has one daughter.


High Commission of Sri Lanka, Ottawa

08th November 2018


IORA Ministers welcome Sri Lanka’s lead in Maritime Safety & Security


The Indian Ocean Rim Association held its 20th Committee of Senior Officials and 18th Council of Ministers sessions from 31 October to 2 November 2018 in Durban, South Africa on the theme: Uniting the people of Africa, Asia, Australia and the Middle East through enhanced cooperation for peace, stability and sustainable development.

In the country statement to the Council of Ministers, Sri Lanka’s head of delegation, Saroja Sirisena, Director General of Economic Affairs (Multilateral) of the Foreign Ministry highlighted the importance Sri Lanka places on regional cooperation and the sustainable use of the oceans.  Sri Lanka called for cooperative arrangements to be put in place towards realising tangible results enabling the people of the region to grow together. Sri Lanka also emphasised the need to increase intra regional trade and investment. It was also stated that in economic, strategic and environmental terms the Indian Ocean is poised to shape the planet in the 21st Century and Sri Lanka stands ready to play its role.

The report on the initial workshop to formulate the Terms of Reference for the Working Group on Maritime Safety and Security was presented to the IORA CSO. The IORA Ministers welcomed Sri Lanka’s efforts and progress made as the lead coordinator in the Maritime Safety and Security pillar and also the offer to host the first meeting of the Working Group in 2019.

The Ministerial Meeting was chaired by the Minister for International Relations & Cooperation of South Africa Lindiwe Sisulu.  In addition to the 21 Members States of IORA, the 7 Dialogue Partners comprising China, Egypt, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America participated at the session.  

As the Ministerial meeting coincided with the centenary of the birth of the legendary South African leader Nelson Mandela, a special commemorative declaration was adopted by the IORA Ministers.

Counsellor of the Sri Lanka High Commission in Pretoria Ms. Priyangani Hewarathna was part of the Sri Lanka delegation.


Ministry of Foreign Affairs


05 November 2018

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Text in Tamil (PDF)



Foreign Minister Amunugama says "no justification for the changing Travel Advisories"


Foreign Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama, said that there was no justification for the Travel Advisories issued by a few countries, since there have been no incidents of violence or disruption in the country following the recent events. The Tourism sector has not been subject to any inconvenience.

The Minister made these observations when he met with the leading inbound tour operators, Senior Officials of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), representatives of the Sri Lankan Airlines and other leading foreign carriers to discuss the Travel Advisories issued recently. He said that the Government was fully committed to safeguarding and improving of the tourism industry.

 Industry leaders   briefed the   Minister that in addition to regular flights,  TUI , one  of  the   world’s   leading  tour  operators, is  now scheduled to operate  03  Charter Flights to  Colombo  on   a weekly  basis  while  the TUI   Cruise Liner  is  also scheduled  to  use Sri Lanka as a Port of Call in   the  high  season. The  industry  leaders also  informed  that   Aeroflot has  announced     nonstop   direct  flights  from  Moscow  to   Colombo  from  28 October 2018  and  SWISS will  resume  its  direct  flights  Zurich – Colombo from 04 November 2018. Meanwhile   Lonely  Planet, one  of the   leading international travel  guide   publishers,  has   recently   named  Sri  Lanka  as   the world’s top  destination.   It was noted that presently there are around 4000 cricket fans from the UK in   Sri Lanka to follow the   English cricket team’s current tour. This was testimony to the peaceful environment prevailing in the country and tourists are enjoying uninterrupted access to tourist sites and facilities throughout the Island.

 The Minister also informed that since the assumption of his present portfolio he has instructed all Heads of Sri Lanka Missions overseas to personally make representation to the authorities concerned in their countries of accreditation in order to remove the Travel Advisories, to be in keeping with the ground realities in Sri Lanka. They will also maintain  regular interaction with the leading Travel Agents/ Outbound Tour Operators  in their  respective capitals to brief them on the peaceful situation prevailing in the island with a view to promoting arrivals. The Minister said that he planned to make Tourism Promotion a main aspect of the Foreign Ministry’s work programme.

Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha and Senior Officials of the Ministry were present at the meeting.


Ministry of Foreign Affairs



02 November 2018

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Foreign Minister meets Heads of Mission of SAARC countries


Foreign Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama met the Ambassadors and High Commissioners of SAARC countries and their representatives at his office today (31). Heads of Mission and their representatives of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Maldives and Pakistan were present on this occasion to discuss matters of mutual interest. The Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ravinatha Aryasinha was also present at this meeting.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs



31 October 2018

Text in Sinhala (PDF)

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New Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha assumes duties


Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, a senior officer of the Sri Lanka Foreign Service, assumed duties as the Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today (31) having being appointed to the position by President Maithripala Sirisena.

The new Foreign Secretary Aryasinha was warmly received by his colleagues this morning, upon arrival at the Ministry.

Ambassador Aryasinha was previously Additional Secretary/ Economic Affairs and Trade in the Foreign Ministry since April 2018.

Having joined the Sri Lanka Foreign Service in 1988, he was Second Secretary in New Delhi (1989-1991) and Minister and later Deputy Chief of Mission with Ambassador rank in Washington D.C. (2002-2006). He served as Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and to the European Union from April 2008-June 2012, and as Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva and Consul General of Sri Lanka to Switzerland (July 2012-March 2018), while being concurrently Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the Holy See. Between 1995-2000 and again in 2007-2008 he headed the Public Communications Division and was the Foreign Ministry Spokesman.

On leave from the Foreign Service, in 1993-1995 he served as National Information Officer in the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka. Prior to joining the Sri Lanka Foreign Service, he was a pioneer in the setting up of Rupavahini, the National Television Network of Sri Lanka, where he served as a Senior Political Correspondent/ News Editor from 1982-1988.

Foreign Secretary Aryasinha is a past student of Ananda College, Colombo. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Peradeniya and a Master of Arts Degree in International Relations from the University of Colombo. He was a 'Hurst Fellow' in International Relations at the School of International Service (SIS), American University, Washington DC in 2001-2002.

Ambassador Aryasinha is married and has three children.

 Ministry of Foreign Affairs


31 October 2018

Text in Sinhala (PDF)

Text in Tamil (PDF)


New Minister of Foreign Affairs assumes duties



The newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Sarath Amunugama assumed duties at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Tuesday 30 October 2018.

The Minister was received by the Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Prasad Kariyawasam and senior officials upon arrival at the Ministry.

Foreign Minister Amunugama addressed the senior staff of the Ministry following his assumption of duties.


Ministry of Foreign Affairs



30 October 2018
Text in Sinhala (PDF)
Text in Tamil (PDF)



Sri Lanka participates in the Montreal International Tourism and Travel Show for the third consecutive year



Over 36,000 visitors walked the carpets of the 30th edition of the Montreal International Tourism & Travel Show in which the Sri Lanka High Commission in Ottawa, in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, participated in for the third consecutive year.

The event, which took place from October 19 to 21 at Place Bonaventure in Montreal, attracted prospective travellers preparing for their trips, discovering new destinations and seeking expert advice on their future holiday destinations. More than one hundred countries were represented at this event through their tourism offices, tour operators and travel agents.

During the event, all visitors to the Sri Lanka booth were provided with maps of Sri Lanka and brochures. The Sri Lanka stall showcased tourist attractions illustrating the rich cultural heritage, beautiful landscapes wildlife, and provided an ideal opportunity for prospective visitors to catch a glimpse of what Sri Lanka has to offer. Representatives of the Sri Lankan tourism industry from Sri Lanka and Toronto were also present at the event.

According to the Annual Statistical Report of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, around 46,896 Canadian tourists visited Sri Lanka in 2017, which is a 6% increase in the tourists’ arrivals from Canada to Sri Lanka. It is expected that Sri Lanka’s participation at this year’s Show would further enhance Sri Lanka’s tourism potential in the Canadian market.


High Commission of Sri Lanka


25 October 2018




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