EMBASSY WELCOMES YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS FROM
SRI LANKA AT CONCLUSION OF THREE-WEEK U.S. GOVERNMENT TOUR
Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya addresses Young Entrepreneurs
from Sri Lanka
A group of 18 young entrepreneurs and professionals
from Sri Lanka concluded a three-week working tour of the U.S.
government in Washington, D.C. recently with a reception at the
Sri Lankan embassy here.
The group, selected from among young leaders
and business people throughout Sri Lanka, visited U.S. government
departments and institutions and spent four days at the University
of Virginia in nearby Charlottesville, Va. The program was sponsored
by the U.S. State Department.
Several of the young professionals said they
found a two-day visit to the U.S. Institute for Peace particularly
inspiring. The Institute, which is funded by the U.S. Congress,
focuses on resolving international disputes.
“We got a broad perspective on the American
system of government,” said Mohamed Hisham of Colombo. “We
also learned how to work within the system, non-violently.”
The group visited with well-known U.S. statesmen,
including former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger and Richard
Armitage, who has served in a number of presidential administrations,
most recently as former President George Bush’s deputy secretary
They also met with Richard Boucher, the current
assistant secretary of state for south and central Asian affairs,
and Rep. John Salazar, a member of Congress from the state of
Representatives of the Educate Lanka Foundation
and Unity Sri Lanka, both of which help underprivileged youth
in Sri Lanka, also attended the April 8 embassy reception. The
groups, based in Washington, raise funds for academic and athletic
Jaliya Wickramasuriya, Sri Lanka’s ambassador
to the U.S., encouraged the young professionals to work with the
youth groups to put ethnic and religious differences aside.
“You should communicate with these groups,”
Wickramasuriya told the young business people. “Stay in
touch with them. Because what you do, and what they do, will only
help Sri Lanka.”
During their stay in Washington, the business
group also examined a number of non-governmental organizations,
including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Republican National
Committee, the American Jewish Committee and Street Sense, a newspaper
produced by homeless people.
While at the University of Virginia, the young Sri Lankans took
part in the university’s new program, Global Perspectives
on Democracy, which the university said, "is designed to
foster citizen-to-citizen dialogue among the United States and
other democratic societies around the world.”
The university was founded in 1819 by Thomas
Jefferson, author of the U.S. Declaration of Independence and
a past president.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
09 April 2009