Created: Tuesday, 18 March 2014
The 47th Commonwealth Day Reception was hosted on 10th March 2014 by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in New York in collaboration with the Permanent Missions of Malta and the United Kingdom at the premises of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York.
Heads of Missions and other diplomats from the Commonwealth family of over 40 countries attended the event, including H.E. Lord Vaea ,the Minister of Internal Affairs of Tonga and the Rt. Hon. Lynne Featherstone, the Minster for Foreign and International Development of the United Kingdom. Former Foreign Minister Gareth Evans of Australia was also present. A number of senior UN officials, including the President of the General Assembly, H.E. John Ashe, USG Peacekeeping Operations, USG Disarmament Affairs and the USG Small Islands and Land Locked Countries also joined the celebrations.
The Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, H.E. Dr. Palitha Kohona, welcoming the gathering said that “The Commonwealth is a large group of Nations representing different national aspirations, economic systems, cultures, religions and other interests. It can be a force for good and play a significant role in addressing some of the major issues confronting the world today, such as poverty, global health and youth issues, etc.” Ambassador Kohona also noted that many of the poor of the world lived in Commonwealth countries and that the Commonwealth had a special responsibility for addressing these issues. He invited the countries represented to attend the World Conference on Youth 2014 in Sri Lanka this May.
The Permanent Representative of Malta, H.E. Mr. Christopher Grima, during his address said that “With this year’s theme “team commonwealth”, we need to consolidate our natural strengths and deepen our ties and identity to promote our values wherever and whenever we can.”
The message from Her Majesty the Queen was read out by H.E. Sir Mark Lyall Grant, the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom. In her message she said that “The understanding that we belong together, and are able, through teamwork, to achieve far more than we could do alone has always been at the heart of our approach. For all of us this is now captured in the Commonwealth Charter which sets out the values and principles which guide and motivate us”.
The event concluded after an evening of Sri Lankan finger food and wine provided by Malta.
Ambassador Kohona with the Minister of Internal Affairs of Tonga & the Minister of Foreign and International Development of the United Kingdom.
(L to R) Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom, Permanent Representative of Malta & the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka
Ambassador Kohona with the President of the General Assembly, H.E. John Ashe.