AMBASSADOR HONORS SCHOLAR'S ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Symbolize Sri Lanka's Promise for the
Ambassador Wickramasuriya addresses attendees
The Ambassador of Sri Lanka hosted Ms. Esther
Benjamin, her family and friends for dinner recently to recognize
Ms. Benjamin’s selection as American University’s
School of International Service’s alumna of the year.
Ms. Benjamin, who is a native of Sri Lanka, was
welcomed to the April 19 reception by Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya
at his residence in Washington, D.C.
The Ambassador noted how proud all Sri Lankans
are to see a fellow Sri Lankan achieving success on the international
stage. He further mentioned that a former ambassador to the U.S.,
Mr. Jayantha Dhanapala, was similarly honored in 2003 by American
University, and that Ms. Benjamin may follow in the same foot
Ambassador Wickramasuriya noted that Ms. Benjamin’s
represents the reality of harmony in Sri Lanka, an ideal he said
is the key to lasting peace there.
“You are a beacon of hope for all Sri Lankans as you take
such great leaderships roles in your community and in your professional
circles,” the Ambassador said.
Ms. Benjamin addresses attendees
Ms. Benjamin is currently executive director
for resource development at the International Partnership for
Microbicides. IPM is a non-profit product development partnership
(PDP) established in 2002 to prevent HIV transmission by accelerating
the development and availability of a safe and effective microbicide
for use by women in developing countries.
Benjamin was also recently a member of President
Barack Obama’s presidential transition national security
team. Prior to that, Ms. Benjamin was the vice president of business
development for the International Youth Foundation. In 1999, President
Bill Clinton named Benjamin a White House Fellow. She worked during
that period with the U.S. Secretary of Labor on international
Mr. Louis W. Goodman, the Dean of American’s University’s
SIS, also praised Ms. Benjamin’s accomplishments.
Ambassador Wickramasuriya with Ms. Benjamin and her family
In her remarks, Ms. Benjamin mentioned that
she came from a small village in Sri Lanka, Murunkan, to the United
States to continue advanced studies. During her talk she also
recalled her village fondly, noting the support it gave her to
come to the U.S. to continue her studies.
The ceremony was concluded with a Sri Lankan
dinner hosted by the Ambassador.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
29 April 2009