Ambassador Dr. Palitha Kohona visits Utah as Guest of the State Government
Ambassador Dr. Palitha Kohona, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations visited Utah State as the guest of the Utah State Government and the Utah Valley University (UVU).
He addressed the UVU international relations class on "Sri Lanka Looks Ahead - Winning the Peace" and fielded a range of questions from a packed auditorium on Sri Lanka's reconstruction and reconciliation process. There was considerable sympathetic interest demonstrated in Sri Lanka’s success in defeating a ruthless terrorist group and its reconstruction and reconciliation efforts. The University conferred a Honorary Professorship on Dr. Kohona.
On 2 November he called on the Lieutenant Governor, Bell, and Senior Apostle of the Mormon Church, Elder Oaks. Elder Oaks was a Judge of the Supreme Court of Utah previously. Subsequently, Dr. Kohona was hosted to lunch by the President of the Brigham Young University (a large private University named after the leader of the original Mormon settler group in Utah) and the Model United Nations Class.
The following day, Dr. Kohona was hosted to lunch by the Utah Valley World Trade Centre and the Governor's Office of Economic Development at the New Yorker Restaurant. After a stimulating information exchange with the representatives of the business community present, many participants expressed keen enthusiasm in Sri Lanka as a tourist destination and as a potential investment destination. The World Trade Centre, some of whose members are proactively seeking opportunities to expand in the Asian region, plans to send a fact finding mission to Sri Lanka in 2013. Sri Lanka’s free trade agreement with India aroused much interest.
Salt Lake City (SLC) is home to a large number of cutting edge industries in the fields of IT, medical and aviation technology, genetics, engineering, electronics, etc. Utah also boasts of a booming tourist industry with world class ski resorts (SLC hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics) and natural attractions such as the Arches National Park. The unemployment rate in the state is one of the lowest in the United States, while it escaped the worst effects of the recession. 37 countries maintain honorary consuls in Salt Lake City. Utah is predominantly Mormon and conservative.
Statement by Ambassador
Utah Valley University
November 1, 2012
Sri Lanka Looks Ahead – Now, to Win The Peace
Ambassador Dr. Palitha T.B. Kohona, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, New York
“Peace will not come from the mere absence of war; Peace will not come while not addressing hunger, deprivation, marginalisation and inequality. Peace will not come from testimony provided to truth commissions or by simply punishing the wicked for past misdeeds. Peace will dawn, when forgiveness spreads its gentle embrace to the fearful; When we treat those who harmed us with dignity and ensure an existence of contentment, equality and opportunity; Then peace will breathe freely. This is what we are seeking to achieve in Sri Lanka.”