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A fitting tribute to outgoing Diplomat Chaminda Kularatne at British Parliament
Press Release - Pictures by Vishva Ratnayake & Jayasanka Wijesinghe

A farewell reception was held at the Committee Room 9 in the British Houses of Parliament, this week for Mr. Chaminda Kularatne, the outgoing Diplomat of the Sri Lanka High Commission in London. The reception was hosted by Rt. Hon. Stephen Timms, (Labour) Member of Parliament for East Ham while Councillor Lakmini Shah, Lead Member, East Ham, took the lead role in organizing the event together with Tourism Promotion Officer at the Sri Lanka Tourist Board in London, Nalin Perera.

This was the first time that a Sri Lankan diplomat has been hosted to a sit down farewell reception at this historic building which is considered as one of the oldest representative assemblies in the world.

The well attended audience comprised of many London - based diplomats and Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Home Office officials. Several representatives from London Consular Corps of where Mr. Kularatne served as an Executive Committee member were also present at the occasion. A large cross- section of prominent Sri Lankan expatriates representing all three major ethnicities in Sri Lanka were also in attendance.Speaking at the event Rt. Hon. Stephen Timms praised Mr. Kularatne's outstanding service to the Sri Lankan community and stated that it is a privilege for him to host this unique event. While paying tribute to Kularatne's exceptional service which made a huge difference within the community, MP Timms remarked that the farewell reception organized by Councillor Lakmini Shah, is a fitting tribute to Mr. Kularatne's dedication to the service. Councillor Lakmini Shah Charing the event highly commended the services rendered by Mr. Kularatne and extended her profound thanks on behalf of the community in East Ham which has a large number of Sri Lankans. "You are leaving a lasting legacy and you made the job hard for your successor" Councillor Shah said.

Tourism Promotion Officer, Nalin Perera, said Mr Kularatne has touched the hearts of lots of people during his tenure here in London and he helped people from all communities in many ways. "He was not compelled to do it but he made it his mission" said Nalin Perera.

It was a touching moment when representatives from all three major ethnicities namely Mr. Anura Hegoda, Mr. Pradeep Kandappa and Mr. Amjad Salim and Mrs Christina McDonald paid their tribute to Mr. Kularatne for his remarkable service to the community irrespective of their ethnicity. The presence of a cross- section of Sri Lankan community of diverse ethnicities in and around London reflected the outgoing diplomat's untiring efforts in bringing together various sections in the Diaspora in the UK forging bridges of friendship amongst them, thus contributing to a healthy relationship between the mission and the community.

Speaking at the event Mr. Bernand Silver, President of the London Consular Corps conveyed his best wishes to the outgoing diplomat and regarded him as "one of the best person ever met" and praised his ability to solve problems at any given time. He further thanked Kularatne for arranging a visit to Sri Lanka for the members of the Consular Corps and recalled the wonderful hospitality accorded during the visit.

In his remarks, Dr. Chris Nonis, Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to the UK, praised Mr. Kularatne's utmost dedication to the service and commended the pivotal role played by him within the Diaspora to build an inclusive and pluralistic society. Referring to the consular mobile services held in Crawley, Leicester and Manchester to provide consular services to the Sri Lankan community which was instrumental by Mr. Kularatne, High Commissioner said that those occasions made ample opportunities for the High Commission to extend its services to the community.

Mr. Kularatne in his farewell speech thanked MP Stephen Timms and Councillor Lakmini Shah for graciously hosting the event. He also expressed his special gratitude to Sri Lankan community in the UK for their immense support, co-operation and goodwill extended during his tenure. While acknowledging comments made by the Speakers, Kularatne said, "It is for others to judge my contribution towards my country, I leave confident that I did my portion of duty". His contribution was endorsed by the audience with
an overwhelming applause.

He particularly acknowledged the unwavering support given to him by the High Commissioner Dr. Chris Nonis and staff to make his tenure a success. He further took the opportunity to recall with gratitude the former High Commissioner Justice Nihal Jayasinghe and former Actg. High Commissioner P.M. Amza of whom he had worked during his tenure.

The event was preceded by a number of farewell events by various Sri Lankan Organizations for Mr. Kularatne whose tenure at the High Commission comes to an end shortly.

Mr. Kularatne will be deeply missed in London and we wish him all the very best.

On the panel - L to R - Mr Bernard Silva (President Consular Corp UK), Mrs Christina McDonald (Wallend, Labour  Party Chairman), Mr Nalin Perera (Sri Lanka Tourism UK), Councillor Lakmini Shah (Lead member for East Ham), His Excellency Dr Chris Nonis (High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in the UK), Mr Chaminda Kularatne (Minister Counsellor - Consular and Immigration), Rt Hon. Stephen Timms (MP for East Ham)


His Excellency Dr Chris Nonis - High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in the UK
Councillor Lakmini Shah Welcoming the guests
Mr Amjad Saleem
Mr Anura Hegoda


Mr Bernard Silva - President of the Consular Corps London
Mr Nalin Perera (Sri Lanka Tourism UK)
Mr Chaminda Kularatne
Mr Kularatne Receiving a memento from Councillor Lakmini Shah
Mr Kularatne Receiving a memento from His Excellency Dr Chris Nonis
Mr Kularatne Receiving a memento from Mr Bernard Silva
Mr Kularatne Receiving a memento from Mr Nalin Perera
Mr Pradeep Kanddapa
Mrs Christana McDonald ((Wallend, Labour  Party Chairman)


Rt Hon. Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham

SESATHA - The Sri Lankan Event Portal in UK