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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2429

Sri Lanka’s 70th Independence celebrated in Las Vegas

Daya Gamage reports to Asian Tribune from Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada 08 February (

Documentary presentation depicting Sri Lanka’s long journey from colonial rule to independence, cultural presentations signifying the rich Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim cultural heritage of Sri Lanka.

A United States Congresswoman delivering the keynote address, participation of the State of Nevada elected state representatives extending their solidarity with the Sri Lankan community.

Overwhelming participation of Nevada’s Sri Lankan community never witnessed before and organizational prowess to present a three-hour extraordinary ‘Independence Day’ and a superior ability of Sri Lankans to harness varied talents and expertise were amply seen last weekend when the Sri Lanka-America Association of Las Vegas held the first-ever Sri Lankan independence celebration in the City of Las Vegas.

The Association (SLAALV), the single organization that represents the statewide Sri Lankan community, was launched by them last August bringing the entire Sri Lankan community of all walks of life to a fraternal unity, took the lead in launching the 70th Independence of the Sri Lankan nation at a spacious auditorium of a leading city library in Las Vegas filling it to capacity.

The youthful leadership of the Board of Directors, with the extended solidarity given by the experienced Sri Lankans who proved their worth in yesteryear Sri Lankan projects and philanthropic endeavors, should be given the total credit for a program that harnessed the talents of Sri Lankans that made a significant impact.

Patriotic songs in both national languages – Sinhala and Tamil – of Sri Lanka made the hall-full of attendees proud of their motherland. The SLAALV made every effort to highlight the century-old Sri Lanka-America ties in its official website There were commendations that the Association recognized both the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim patriots who made untiring efforts during the British colonial times to win independence to Ceylon.

It is this posture of the resident Sri Lankans in the State of Nevada and their crown jewel the Association which brought nationwide and statewide elected representatives to the February 3 (2018) independence day celebration to extend their solidarity and register their long developed fraternity with the Sri Lankan community.

The most distinguished attendee was U.S. Congresswoman Dina Titus, a member of the South Asian Subcommittee of the powerful Congressional Foreign Affairs Committee, who has been maintaining a close rapport with Sri Lankan community activists for the past two decades. The Sri Lankans of yesteryear identified Dina Titus as an emerging national political personality when she was still the professor of political science at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV).

In her address at the 70th Independence of Sri Lanka celebration Congresswoman Dina Titus highlighted the close relations developed between the two nations, the political-economic ties and the common heritage of a democratic system. She did not fail to remind the large Sri Lankan audience the ties many Sri Lankan civil leaders in Las Vegas developed with her and how that fraternity extended to a very close rapport between them. During the interaction with Sri Lankan civic leaders in these long years, she said, she learned many aspects of Sri Lanka and her historic evolution. Congresswoman Titus awarded the Congressional Recognition Certificate to the SLAALV. President Aruna Abeyakoon accepted the recognition.

It is interesting that many Nevada State elected representatives who attended the ceremony highlighted their Greek, Irish, Italian and other ancestry in reminding that the American nation was built and prospered as a result of migration from other countries. The City and State elected officials too awarded Certificates of Recognition to the association.

The chief guest of the even Sri Lanka Consul General for the Western eight states of the United States Swarna Gunaratne addressing the even said that both nations enjoy very cordial bilateral relations that are built on mutual respect, friendship, people-to-people contact, enhances trade and investments. She commended the SLAALV for its efforts in building intercommunity relations to bring enhanced understanding between the two nations.

President of Sri Lanka America Association of Las Vegas Aruna Abeyakoon declared how Sri Lankans have over the years worked in cooperation with multi-ethnic America democratic system contributing toward national socio-cultural identity of America. He said he was proud, that within the six-month existence, the Association matched many strides forward “to make ourselves strong and resilient to face the future with much courage and confidence demonstrating the true meaning of independence”.

This was the first ever Independence Day Sri Lankans in the City of Las Vegas in the State of Nevada organized, and it is to the credit of the fraternity built by the entire Sri Lankan community rallying around an association just six months old.

- Asian Tribune –

Aruna Abeyakoon, President Sri Lanka America Association of Las Vegas addressing
US Congresswoman Dina Titus addressing the gathering in Las Vegas
Sri Lanka Consul General for Western States in the US Swarna Gunaratne addressing
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