U.S. Department of State to contribute $ 300,000 to complete funding

The Special Representative of the President and Secretary of State for Mine Action Lincoln P. Bloomfield, Jr. In conjunction with the Ambassador of Sri Lanka Devinda R. Subasinghe and the Marshall Legacy Institute hosted a select group of invitees in recognition of their contributions for mine detection dogs for humanitarian mine action in Sri Lanka. US Department of State efforts to help Sri Lanka rid itself of its persistent landmines and strengthen its peace process are being reinforced by private sector donations to provide these dogs. “We are proud to celebrate this public-private investment that will speed demining operations in Sri Lanka and accelerate the rate at which mined areas can be demarcated, cleared, and double checked to ensure that deadly persistent landmines….really have been cleared” said Lincoln P. Bloomfield.

Private donors present a $120,000 check to the Marshall Legacy Institute for six mine detection dogs for Sri Lanka
at the US Department of State on January 14, 2004.
(Left to Right) Ambassador Devinda Subasinghe; Assistant Secretary of State Lincoln P. Bloomfield, Jr.; Jack Gehring (Caterpillar); Nihal Goonewardene (Sri Lankan Association of Greater Washington); Donald Y. McCoy; Raj Rajaratnam (Galleon Group); General Gordon R. Sullivan (MLI); Christine Smith (Georgetown University); Sima Narron (Chubb Corporation) and Coy Knobel (Office of Senator Mike Enzi,R-WY). Donors not in photo include Hilda Davis, Dr. Beall & Linny Fowler and the Martin Trust Family Foundation.

The Embassy of Sri Lanka launched a fund raising campaign in 2003 in partnership with the Marshall Legacy Institute and the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the Bureau of Political Military Affairs of the Department of State which resulted in the successful raising of $120,000 for six mine detecting dogs. US corporations, expatriate Sri Lankans, school children and concerned US citizens from Wyoming to Pennsylvania to Greater Washington DC., have made generous contributions for this humanitarian cause. The donors are :

  • President Nihal Goonewardene and members/friends of the Sri Lanka Association of Greater Washington, Inc. with Billie and Don McCoy, a former US corporate CEO with a long relationship to Sri Lanka, for a dog named “Hannah”,

  • Mrs. Diana Enzi, wife of Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) leading the Wyoming school children participating in the Children Against Mines Program (CHAMPS), for a dog named “Wyoming:,

  • Ms. Hilda Davis, Hilda and Preston Davis Foundation in New Jersey,

  • The Martin Trust Family Foundation, dog named “Trusty”

  • Concerned citizens in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, dog named “Lehigh”.

  • Caterpillar Inc., and the Chubb Corporation, dog named “CC”

  • The Galleon Group, founded and managed by Raj Rajaratnam, dog named “Galleon”.

The U.S. Department of State will match the $ 120, 000 with a grant of about $ 300,000 to complete the funding of the training, deployment and operations of the six-pack of dogs to launch the Mine Detection Dog Program in Sri Lanka.

Ambassador Devinda R. Subasinghe thanked the donors from the US business community, Sri Lankan expatriates, school children of Wyoming and other US citizens who contributed the funds for the purchase of dogs. “I am extremely elated that we have now funded the first six-pack of dogs for Sri Lanka, which is an excellent start. However, given the scope of the humanitarian demining requirements , we need to increase the funding and mine awareness further in order to expedite the process of demining to enable the children of Sri Lanka to return to their schools and to re-open health centers” the Ambassador stated. He praised the Marshall Legacy Institute for taking the initiative to launch this program in Sri Lanka and Perry Baltimore, its President, for his personal dynamism and organization in achieving this objective.

Mr Raj Rajaratnam, the Founder and Managing Partner of The Galleon Group spoke on behalf of all the donors. He recalled his visits to the mine impacted areas of Sri Lanka and underscored the humanitarian toll that mines have taken. Recounting his encounter with a young child, in Kilinochchi in northern Sri Lanka, who had lost both legs to a landmine Mr. Rajaratnam, mentioned that this particular image, etched in his memory, “made it an easy decision to write the check”. On behalf of the donors, he handed over the check for $ 120,000 to Gen. (Ret.) Gordon R. Sullivan, Chairman Emeritus of the Marshall Legacy Institute.

Ambassador Subasinghe invited the major donors to attend the graduation ceremony of the dogs and local handlers in Sri Lanka scheduled for May 2004 to witness first hand the “ return” on their investment in the humanitarian mine detection program in Sri Lanka.

Click here for the Marshall Legacy Institute Annual Report

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

21 January 2004


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