Embassy of Sri Lanka to Germany – Sri Lankan Cultural Evening at the ICD

Sri Lankan Embassy Report - 7th March 2013; Organised by the ICD, the Berlin International Economic Congress is an annual event focusing on intercultural relations, youth development advancement, environmental responsibility & ecotourism and the opportunities for successful nation branding. The Sri Lankan Embassy reports on the Sri Lankan Cultural Evening at the 2013 congress. Emphasising Sri Lanka’s rich historical culture and ties to Europe, the Embassy reports on the evening’s key themes of cross cultural exchange and tourism development.
  May 07th, 2013

From 6th to 10th March, the Berlin International Economics Congress 2013 organized by the renowned Institute of Cultural Diplomacy (ICD), an international organization with headquarters in Berlin with the focus on the promotion of international understanding by cultural exchange, took place under the motto of “Intercultural Relations, Youth Development Advancement, Environmental Responsibility & Ecotourism: Opportunities for Successful Nation Branding in the 21st Century”. Keynote Speakers from all continents were discussing a better future for their countries and the world.

On the evening of the 7th March, a Sri Lanka Cultural Evening organized by the Embassy of Sri Lanka took place in the framework of the Congress. The keynote speech was delivered by H. E. Ambassador Upali Sarrath Kongahage. Mr. Rumy Jauffer, Managing Director, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, and Deepal V.Perera, Sri Lankan Airlines, made presentations. The event was opened by Hang Nguyen, Secretary General of the Diplomatic Council, an international Think Tank headquartered in The Hague.

In his keynote speech, Ambassador Kongahage highlighted that Sri Lanka has a written history of more than 2000 years. The Ambassador further elaborated the multitude of historic links between Sri Lanka and Europe. He mentioned that Sri Lanka and Germany are celebrating the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2013. “As Sri Lanka once again takes its rightful place in South Asia after suffering of decades of terrorism on the world stage, both in terms of its economic potential and political profile, we want the world to take note of what is being accomplished in the country, and the hand of friendship, support and understanding to be extended to our people,” the Ambassador said. “This will enable our nation to march forward, complementing the efforts of the rest of the world and contributing towards economic, social and political advancement on the basis of our vibrant democracy.”

Rumy Jauffer, Managing Director of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, highlighted the potential of tourism in Sri Lanka. He mentioned that tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka crossed the 1-Million-mark in 2012 with German tourists ranked third. He further said that the island still has a great potential with all parts of the island included the North and East of the country now being accessible and developed as tourism destinations. He invited all present to visit Sri Lanka in the near future.

Deepal V. Perera, Manager Media Relations of Sri Lankan Airlines, detailed the history of the national carrier of Sri Lanka. He highlighted the function of Sri Lanka as a trade hub in the Indian Ocean as well as tourism destination. He proudly announced the opening of the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport in Hambantota as second international airport in Sri Lanka on 18th March and explained that tourists could reach many exciting destinations on the Southern Coast, including the old city of Galle and the Uduwalawe National Park, from there.