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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2403

Sri Lanka Consul General Jaliya Wickramasuriya Given Rousing Farewell in LA

By Philip Fernando in LA for Asian Tribune

Los Angeles, 07 May, (Asiantribune.com): A record gathering of Sri Lankans in LA agreed in unison that Consul General Jaliya Wickramasuriya had united them in no uncertain manner. Said one Angelino “he came, he saw and he conquered our hearts”. President of the Sri Lanka Foundation and respected community leader said it best “he revolutionized the concept of diplomacy. This man, plucked from the business world in Atlanta Georgia by the Sri Lankan President showed how a government office should be run”. We have no doubt his congenial winning ways would earn him success as our new ambassador in Washington, he added.Consul General  Jaliya Wickramasuriya and Mrs. Priyanaga Wickramasuriya with the Los Angeles gathering in the backConsul General Jaliya Wickramasuriya and Mrs. Priyanaga Wickramasuriya with the Los Angeles gathering in the back

A cross section of the domiciled Sri Lankans-Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims- gathered at Community Center Arcadia to honor Jaliya and Priyanga Wickramasuriya on Sunday. Jaliya thanked everyone and said that memories he carried from LA were the most treasured bonds of friendship that he had cultivated.

The event was the brain child of a group of prominent community leaders who spared no pains to make it a memorable event. Dr. Walter Jayasinghe, Dr. Sumedha Jayasena, Asela Ratnayake, Medini Ratnayake, K D and Arie Somasiri, Bandula Somaweera, Asoka Selvahewa and Shanthi Suraweera were the brains behind the show. It had the unmistakable Hollywood touch in its professionalism and glitter. Medini Ratnayake and Ali Kamalee Jabbar compeered with a gusto keeping things moving well.1.	A section of the gathering at the LA farewell to Jaliya Wickramasuriya with Dr. Walter Jayasinghe, Sanjiva Gunasekera and Roma de Soysa in the foreground.1. A section of the gathering at the LA farewell to Jaliya Wickramasuriya with Dr. Walter Jayasinghe, Sanjiva Gunasekera and Roma de Soysa in the foreground.

Jaliya Wickramasuriya said he left his well-established business where he was CEO, as well as his contended family life in Atlanta when President Mahinda Rajapaksa requested him to come to LA. I could not put aside the confidence the President had in him a well as my sense of service to his motherland. The appointees to LA Consulate were usually senior career diplomats as LA had the largest gathering of Sri Lankans. My familiarity with the conditions in America as well as the cooperation I received from the people of LA were the key to whatever success I reaped as Consular General. I am fortified by the knowledge that I carry with me as Ambassador to Washington the same sense of dedication and the utmost confidence and loyalty that Sri Lankans had in me while performing my duties as Consul General,”, Wickramasuriya said.

He said that the relations between Sri Lanka and USA in the spheres of politics, foreign affairs, bilateral trade, economic activity and cultural affairs were areas that he would do his utmost to foster. “I am determined to strengthen the awareness levels of the people of the two countries and I am duty bound to pursue the government policies in a productive manner,” he said. He concluded that he hopes to carry out the primary task of meeting the counter-propaganda of the LTTE and to project a correct image of Sri Lanka in her quest for peace vehemently pursued by the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa. He thanked everyone for their unstinted cooperation in rallying round him. He thanked the Maha Sangha and the religious dignitaries for their presence. He graciously appreciated the support lent by his wife Priyanga.Walter Jayasinghe, President of Sri Lanka Foundation. Mr. and Mrs. Jaliya and Priyanga Wickramasuriya, Rev. Fr. Boniface Perera, Navaratnam Nandakumar, President of the Sri Lanka Tamil Association and Al Kamalee Jabbar President of the Sri Lanka Muslim Association were among the prominent community leaders who addressed the gathering. Walter Jayasinghe, President of Sri Lanka Foundation. Mr. and Mrs. Jaliya and Priyanga Wickramasuriya, Rev. Fr. Boniface Perera, Navaratnam Nandakumar, President of the Sri Lanka Tamil Association and Al Kamalee Jabbar President of the Sri Lanka Muslim Association were among the prominent community leaders who addressed the gathering.

Dr. Walter Jayasinghe recalled some of the events that marked Jaliya’s presence in LA-the Focus project, the MOU signed with the Georgia University whereby post-graduate students from Sri Lanka could spent their final year here in the US, the proposal to get Sri Lankan nurses in work here in LA and the 60th Independence Day Celebrations when unprecedented crowds gathered under one roof. “He has even got an expert on elephant psychology to work at the famous elephant orphanage at Pinnawela Sri Lanka. This man is no ordinary person. We saw him perform and get the best in all of us. He banished red tape from his consulate office. This is an example for everyone” he said

Navaratnam Nandakumar President of Sri Lanka Tamil Association said that Jaliya had the Midas touch-whatever he touched turned into gold. He used his own resources when hosting some of the events that he organized and not the tax payers’ money. The way people responded to him was ample testimony to his inspiring approach to diplomacy. “When I mentioned all these things during my speech when President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited L: A, I may have unintentionally promoted Jaliya to be the ambassador in Washington. The president must have made mental notes of what I said, he added as the crowd roared with laughter. 5.	The large gathering that honored Consular General Jaliya and Mrs. Priyanga Wickramasuriya.  (Photos by Moran)The large gathering that honored Consular General Jaliya and Mrs. Priyanga Wickramasuriya. (Photos by Moran)

Al Kamalee Jabbar President of the Sri Lanka Muslim Association said that Jaliya had a knack for picking the right man for the right job. He recognized talent very fast and hence he attracted people in an amazing way. He added “behind every successful man is a great woman and in Mrs. Priyanga Wickramasuriya we have a lady who always stood by Jaliya’s side.

Master Kalpa Semasinsghe who had participated in every project that Jaliya had undertaken during the past fifteen months spoke in praise of the Consular General who inspired the youth of LA in said. He hoped that Jaliya would carry out projects beneficial to children in his new post as ambassador.

Pansil was administered by Venerable Dr. Walapola Piyananda thera , Chief Incumbent of DharmaVijaya temple Los Angeles, Catholic invocation was given by Rev. Fr. Boniface Perera and Muslim prayers were recited by Shariz Ajward.

- Asian Tribune -

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