Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka and the 25 th year of the establishment of the Consulate General of Sri Lanka, the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Dubai & the Northern Emirates celebrated the both occasions at a grand National day reception event held in Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa, in Dubai on 4 th February 2018.
Consuls General participated at the event representing over 40 Consulates General in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, the H.E. Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Sayoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment and H.E. Mr. Abdulrahman Ghanem Al-Mutaiwee, Director of the Dubai Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation who represented the Government of the UAE at the function are also in the picture.
Over 400 guests including key personalities such as diplomats representing over 50 countries consisting of more than 40 Consuls General of the Consulates General based in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, Emirati dignitaries, leading businessmen operating in the UAE, representatives of the Sri Lankan Associations based in Dubai & the Northern Emirates along with key figures of the Sri Lankan expatriate community in UAE, graced this event with their participation, which was held at the much sought after location in the Burj Khalifa building itself. This was an exclusive occasion to project Sri Lanka as a renowned destination for both tourism and investment.
Consul General Charitha Yattoda welcoming H.E. Dr.Thani bin Ahmed Al Sayoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment of the UAE and the Chief Guest of the event along with traditional drummers and dancers of Sri Lanka; the highest welcome accorded to any guest as per the Sri Lankan customs.
During the speech made on this occasion, Mr. Charitha Yattogoda, Consul General of Sri Lanka to Dubai and the Northern Emirates highlighted that “the development process spearheaded by His Excellency the President and the Honorable Prime Minister of Sri Lanka is gaining its momentum in both local and international spheres”. He further added that, “in line with the Government of Sri Lanka’s vision 2025, it has been envisaged to position Sri Lanka as an export-oriented economic hub in the Indian Ocean, securing opportunities for local businesses in the Global Production Networks. In keeping with vision 2025, concrete steps will be taken to shift from exporting mainly low-technology products to high tech products and to attract transformational, knowledge-based investments.”
Consul General Charitha Yattogoda cutting the anniversary cake with the representatives of Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and Burger communities of Sri Lanka
Speaking on the bilateral relations, the Consul General further added that “over the decades, Sri Lanka has been enjoying friendly relations with the UAE in the fields of trade, investment, Tourism and economic cooperation. The cordial relations between Sri Lanka and the UAE are based on trust, mutual understanding and friendship. The UAE is the largest export market for the Sri Lankan products and the largest source of imports to Sri Lanka in the GCC Region. The total bilateral trade turnover between the countries has now reached over US$ 1.34 billion.”
Traditional dancing performed by Chandana Wickramasinghe dancing academy, a leading Sri Lankan Dancing Academy was the limelight of the event
The Consul General further briefed the gathering on the measures taken by the Consulate General to enhance its services provided to the Sri Lankan Community in Dubai and the Northern Emirates such as the translation of its website to both Sinhala and Tamil, in keeping with the trilingual policy of the Government of Sri Lanka an in addition to the achievements of the Consulate General such as winning the “Best-Website or Microsite” award at the SLT Zero One Awards for digital excellence, held in Sri Lanka in last year.
Throughout the event, the pictures were displayed specifically promoting tourism industry of Sri Lanka in the backdrop, depicting the photos of Sri Lanka as a unique destination complete with heritage, nature, beaches, wildlife, tranquility and etc, and it received a commendable response from the foreign gathering. The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau was also the major sponsor of the event.
In addition, five minute video clips, displaying the touristic attractions of Sri Lanka and the investment opportunities available for the potential investors were played during the event, thereby boosting Sri Lanka’s image as a much sought-after destination among the elite crowd.
The proceedings of the event commenced with lighting the traditional oil lamp by the Chief Guest along with four members of Sri Lankan Community representing Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim & Burger communities showing the solidarity of the four major Sri Lankan communities living in the UAE.
The cultural dancing performances of Chandana Wickramasinghe and the Dancers’ Guild specially flown from Sri Lanka to perform at the event, consisted of a number of unique performances such as “Abisek”, “Naga Raksha”, “Rupat Nari” and “Thelme” , presenting the essence of Sri Lankan Culture to the participating international audience.
Further, the attendees were able to enjoy sumptuous buffet dinner which included some special Sri Lankan food such as Sri Lankan hoppers, Kotthu Roti etc, specially prepared by the Sri Lankan sous chef of the hotel, and were highly appreciated by the foreign guests at the event.
This event was hosted in addition to the official National Day ceremony which was held at the Consulate General premises on 4 th February 2018 in which the hoisting of the National Flag, reading the National Day messages of His Excellency the President, Honourable Prime Minister and the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs along with multi-faith religious observances were carried out. Additionally, the Sri Lankan Day 2018, was held in a unique and exclusive nature for a mass crowd, which unfolded in in Zabeel Park, Dubai on Friday 9 th February 2018.
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