HRH Prince Charles confirmed to attend The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2013 in Sri Lanka
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales with Dr. Chris Nonis at the CHOGM 2007, Kampala, Uganda
The Royal Household today confirmed that His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, Heir to the Throne, will represent Her Majesty the Queen at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka this November. HRH Prince Charles has previously represented The Queen as Head of the Commonwealth in the past, including at the Commonwealth Games 2010.
Her Majesty celebrated her 87th Birthday this April, and unfortunately had to cancel her attendance at the Commonwealth Day celebration in March this year at London’s Westminster Abbey after many years, due to Her Majesty being indisposed, and having been recently hospitalised.
Buckingham Palace stated that this decision reflects the wish of Her Majesty at this time in her reign to limit her long distance travel. In addition, several other members of the Royal Family represented Her Majesty on a number of long-haul visits to Commonwealth countries during the celebrations of Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee last year.
His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales has always taken an active interest in supporting and encouraging the Commonwealth and its values, and attended the 2007 CHOGM in Kampala, Uganda. Whilst paying enormous tribute to Her Majesty’s continuing dedication and deep sense of duty to the Commonwealth, Sri Lanka warmly welcomes His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, to Colombo, Sri Lanka, for CHOGM 2013.
British Prime Minister David Cameron with Dr.Chris Nonis, Sri Lankan High commissioner to the UK
British Prime Minister Rt Hon David Cameron, and Foreign Secretary Rt Hon William Hague, will be attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka, Dr Chris Nonis, Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK confirmed. The Commonwealth biennial meeting in November this year, will be preceded by the Commonwealth People’s Forum, the Commonwealth Youth Forum, and the Commonwealth Business Forum, and usually attracts several thousand delegates, and global media coverage. It will provide the opportunity for the 54 Heads to meet to discuss matters of global and Commonwealth concern, and agree collective policies and initiatives.
Although there had been intensive lobbying in the past year by anti-Sri Lanka activist groups with collateral agendas, in particular in London, which is home to the Commonwealth Secretariat, they had not succeeded in their attempts to pressurize Commonwealth Nations to shift the venue, nor to pressurise the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group to place Sri Lanka on its formal agenda.
In that context, Dr Nonis reiterated the strong support that Sri Lanka enjoyed amongst the Commonwealth countries, represented by the Board of Governors of the Commonwealth Secretariat, comprising the 54 London-based Commonwealth High Commissioners, during their regular deliberations at Marlborough House, in the spirit of unity and friendship. He also recalled the unwavering support of all except one Country, at recent meetings, which necessitates a depth and breadth of understanding that Commonwealth countries are at different stages of development, with a commonality of values and aspirations, as well as challenges and constraints, and it is precisely this rich and diverse tapestry that makes up the modern Commonwealth.
Dr Chris Nonis also spoke earlier this week at the BBC’s RADIO 4 “Today” Programme in London, the BBC’s flagship news and current affairs programme, which provides insight, analysis and expert debate as key policy makers are challenged on the latest news stories throughout the UK. He articulated the comprehensive reconciliation, reintegration, and reconstruction programme underway in Sri Lanka in the post-conflict era, under the leadership of HE President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Questioned by BBC interviewers, he also pointed out the imperative for the international community to visit Sri Lanka and make an objective and impartial analysis of the reality of contemporary Sri Lanka, and extended an invitation to all those countries to experience Sri Lanka, the Host Nation of CHOGM 2013.
The High Commission of Sri Lanka London
04 May 2013
British Airways resuming flights after 15 years sends a strong message of confidence in Sri Lanka – Dr. Chris Nonis
(From L to R) H.E. Dr. Chris Nonis , High Commissioner for Sri Lanka to the UK with Mr. Keith Williams, Chief Executive Officer of British Airways, at the Sri Lanka High Commission.
Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK, Dr Chris Nonis said that the fact that British Airways, the UK’s National carrier and third largest airline in Europe, has taken the decision to resume flights to Sri Lanka is an excellent index of their substantial confidence in Sri Lanka and its future growth potential.
British Airways suspended its flights to Sri Lanka in the late 1990’s due to security reasons and resumes flights to Sri Lanka after a fifteen year absence in the island, and is represented by the Hayleys Group, one of the largest diversified conglomerates in Sri Lanka. The country offers a wealth of culture, history, heritage, and rich diversity of experiences from pristine beaches and stunning landscapes to wildlife and adventure, all within a compact location, and was named the top travel destination for 2013 by British Airways. The UK was the second largest source of tourists to Sri Lanka in 2012 at over 114, 000, from a total of over 1 million, Dr Nonis said.
Keith Williams, Chief Executive Officer of British Airways, will be taking the inaugural flight on the 14th April, and spoke at the Sri Lankan High Commission about his confidence in Sri Lanka. British Airways is the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom and the largest airline in the UK based on fleet size, international flights and international destinations. Following its merger with Iberia, the International Airlines Group, IAG, created the world's third-largest airline in terms of annual revenue and the second largest airline group in Europe, serving over 150 destinations.
Keith Williams said “This is an extremely exciting new route for us. Sri Lanka is experiencing a boom in tourism, and the industry is expected to grow further. The addition of BA would give British tourists additional flexibility, and create value for both the aviation and tourism sectors. The UK has the second largest number of tourists visiting the island after India, so it’s a great opportunity for them to fly there with British Airways. “
Keith Williams said “We will be operating flights to Sri Lanka from UK's Gatwick airport to Colombo's Bandaranaike international airport via Male in the Maldives. We will operate Boeing 777’s, long-range wide-body twin-engine jet airliners in a three class configuration on a thrice-a-week flight schedule to Colombo. I am looking forward to our inaugural flight, at the time of New Year celebrations, and the dawn of a new opportunity for the UK and Sri Lanka.”
The High Commission of Sri Lanka London
12 April 2013
Mattala and Hambantota to position Sri Lanka as a Logistics Hub - Dr Chris Nonis at the Global Economic Forum, UK
L to R : H.E. Mr Gordon Campbell, Canadian High Commissioner, Ambassador Prof. Miomir Zuzul, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Croatia, H.E. Ms Ruth Elizabeth Rouse, Grenadian High Commissioner and H.E. Dr Chris Nonis, Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK.
Dr. Chris Nonis spoke on the Ambassadors Panel of the Global Economic Forum 2013, UK, and highlighted the geo-strategic positioning of Sri Lanka at the nexus between shipping and aviation routes of the West and the East, and the substantial infrastructure development in the country in the post-conflict era. He spoke of the recently inaugurated Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, along with the Hambantota Port, which will help to position Sri Lanka as a logistics hub within the Indian Ocean. Dr. Nonis also spoke of the infrastructure investments in “Uthuru Wasanthaya” and “Nagenahira Navodaya” in the North and East, in addition to the comprehensive reconciliation and reintegration programmes in Sri Lanka.
He also highlighted the increasing number of tourists to Sri Lanka, with over 114,000 tourists from Britain alone, from a total of over 1 million in 2012, and that British Airways will shortly recommence its flights to Sri Lanka, which are strong indices of the tourism potential of the Country.
The panel consisted of H.E. Mr Gordon Campbell, Canadian High Commissioner; H.E. Ms Ruth Elizabeth Rouse, Grenadian High Commissioner; chaired by Ambassador Prof. Miomir Zuzul, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Croatia; and H.E. Dr Chris Nonis, Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK, who each spoke about their respective Countries on the theme of “Economic Diplomacy” and its value in increasing trade and investment inflows to their Countries.
The High Commission of Sri Lanka
05 April 2013
HRH Prince Charles announces the appointment of Dr Chris Nonis of Sri Lanka and Mukesh Ambani of India to the Advisory Councils of the British Asian Trust
HRH the Prince of Wales, President of the British Asian Trust, announced the new appointments to the British Asian Trust’s Advisory Councils, at the 5th anniversary dinner of the Trust, held at Windsor Castle on Monday 11th February. Mr Mukesh Ambani - Managing Director and Chairman of Reliance Industries, was appointed to head the Trust’s India Advisory Council, and Dr. Chris Nonis, Chairman of the Mackwoods Group and Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK was appointed to head the Trust’s Sri Lanka Advisory Council. They join Tom Singh, OBE, founder of New Look Fashion, who heads the Trust’s UK Advisory Council, and Arif Naqvi, founder and CEO of Abraaj Group, who heads the Trust’s Pakistan Advisory Council.
The British Asian Trust is one of Prince Charles’ charities, founded in 2007, and is dedicated to help disadvantaged communities and rural upliftment through education, health and livelihood initiatives that generate self-sufficiency. The Trust has already touched the lives of more than 800,000 people across South Asia. The Advisory Councils are intended to provide the British Asian Trust with further in-country insight and assist with their rigorous selection of future projects.
HRH Prince Charles, during his speech to an audience of over 200 at the Trust’s Anniversary dinner, whilst announcing the Advisory Board appointments, said that “I am hugely grateful to Mukesh Ambani who has offered his support in India, also to Arif Naqvi in the lead in Pakistan, His Excellency Dr. Chris Nonis in Sri Lanka and Tom Singh here in the UK. We are incredibly lucky to have such important and supportive people.”
Dr. Chris Nonis stated that he was honoured to have been entrusted with this role, and that his experience in Medicine, Pan-Commonwealth development issues and International Affairs, Business, and Charitable work, will assist him in helping to realise the aims of the Trust.
The High Commission of Sri Lanka London
21 February 2013
Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris joins in the Independence Day Celebrations of the Sri Lanka High Commission in London
L-R: H.E. Abdulla Ali Al-Radhi, H.R.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Maktoum Bin Rashed Al Maktoum, H.E. Dr. Chris Nonis, Hon. Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris, Brig. Mohan Gupta, Aiden Burley MP, Ian Paisley MP
Professor G.L. Pieris, Minister of External Affairs who graced the High Commission’s Independence Day Celebration delivered a seminal address on the Country’s progress in the post-conflict era, highlighting the tremendous challenges and constraints Sri Lanka had faced, and the remarkable progress it had achieved, in particular in rehabilitation, demining, livelihood development, infrastructure development, education and capacity building. Professor Pieris also highlighted the recent Independence Day celebration in Trincomalee, and the significant programme of investment and infrastructure development taking place in the North and East.
He was addressing over 180 Members of the Diplomatic Community, Parliamentarians from the House of Lords and House of Commons; Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Commonwealth Institutions; Think Tanks and Opinion Leaders, at the celebration of Sri Lanka’s Independence Day at the Sri Lanka High Commission in London.
Referring to the nature of the Commonwealth as a voluntary organisation of 54 member-states with diverse cultures, ethnicities and value systems, the Hon. Minister articulated that it was not a monolith. If a few member-states attempt to turn such an organisation into a political tool in pursuit of their own agendas, it would not only damage the ethos that the Commonwealth represents but also threaten the very future of the organisation.
High Commissioner Dr Chris Nonis articulated that Sri Lanka had achieved Universal suffrage 17 years prior to Independence, and has always cherished the values of Democracy and Development, which were twin pillars of the Commonwealth. He recounted the success of the recent Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s Conference attended by over 700 Parliamentarians, and the ongoing preparations for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November 2013, and the three Fora which precede it.
He commented on Sri Lanka’s progress on Reconciliation, Rehabilitation, reintegration and reconstruction, and the growth rate in the previously conflict-affected areas of the North and East, which was a firm index of the economic dividends that are accruing.
DR CHRIS NONIS ADDRESSES THE MULTIFAITH FORUM IN THE UK PARLIAMENT
Sri Lankan High Commissioner Dr. Chris Nonis and several British Parliamentarians were invited to address the Multifaith Forum in British Parliament, during Multifaith week in the UK. In his address, Dr Chris Nonis spoke of the multiculturalism of Sri Lanka and the spirituality of its people, and the value of faith as a unifier across communities. He also spoke about the progress Sri Lanka had made in the post conflict era, and that it was incumbent upon all communities to open their hearts to each other, to respect the diversity of each other, thereby providing each other dignity, which in turn will ensure a durable peace in Sri Lanka in the post conflict era.
DR. CHRIS NONIS ADDRESSES THE DEFENCE AND SECURITY FORUM, UK
Dr. Chris Nonis, Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK addressed the Defence and Security Forum, UK, the Foreign and Defence affairs “think tank” which is chaired by Major General Patrick Cordingley, DSO, who commanded the ground forces in the First Gulf War. Its Deputy Chairman is Rt Hon Sir John Wheeler, former Minister of State for Northern Ireland, and Lady Olga Maitland, former Member of Parliament, serves DSF as its President. DSF serves to inform and brief members of the City, the professions, diplomats and servicemen on current events in the field of defence and foreign affairs, and bearing in mind the impact that the economies of the world have on international relations, DSF also keeps a monitoring eye on trade relations and economic issues.
HON MINISTER NIMAL SIRIPALA DE SILVA ADDRESSES THE DIASPORA COMMUNITY AT THE HIGH COMMISSION’S CHRISTMAS CAROLS IN LONDON
The Sri Lanka High Commission in London celebrated a Christmas Carol Service on the 14 December 2012, with the participation of over 150 members of the Sri Lankan Diaspora community living in the UK. The evening commenced with the lighting of the advent candles.
Rev. Father Rohitha Rodrigo; Rev Father Tony de Alwis, Venerable Konwawe Ariyarathana Thero; Pastor Charles Abraham; and Rev Father Colvin addressed the gathering, conducted prayers , and highlighted the significance of Christmas, and the message of peace, love and goodwill to all.
Hon Nimal Siripala de Silva, Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Management and Leader of the House, addressed the diaspora community. He congratulated High Commissioner Dr Chris Nonis on all his initiatives in bringing the diaspora communities living in the UK together as a symbol of unity, friendship, and peace. He said that Sri Lanka today is a Nation for all communities and all religions. He spoke of the sincere reconciliation efforts, in addition to rehabilitation and reconstruction, and the imperative of bringing the hearts and minds of the diaspora together. He wished the diaspora community the joy and peace of the Christmas Season on behalf of His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Sri Lankan People.
Deepavali Celebration at the Sri Lanka High Commission, London
Over 130 members of the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora and other Sri Lankan community members living in the United Kingdom participated at the Deepavali celebration organised by the Sri Lanka High Commission in London on 16th November 2012.
PIRITH CHANTING IN LONDON TO INVOKE BLESSINGS FOR PRESIDENT RAJAPAKSA
Fifteen Venerable members of the Maha Sangha from several Buddhist Viharas in the United Kingdom gathered to invoke blessings on His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a Pirith Chanting and Sanghika Dana organised by the Sri Lanka High Commission in London.
Chief Incumbent of the London Buddhist Vihara Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thero, Chief Incumbent of the Kingsbury Buddhist Vihara Ven. Galayaye Piyadassi Nayaka Thero, Chief Incumbent of the Birmingham Buddhist Maha Vihara Ven. Dr. Vitharandeniya Kassapa Nayake Thero and Venerable Maha Sangha Theras from the following Buddhist Viharas also participated at the Pirith Chanting and Sanghika Dana on 17th and 18th November 2012:
London Buddhist Vihara, Chiswick; Sri Saddhatissa International Buddhist Centre, Kingsbury; Birmingham Maha Vihara in Birmingham; Thames Buddhist Vihara in London; Eastham Temple, London; Edmonton Temple, London; Letchworth Dhamma Nikethanaya, Letchworth; Ilford Temple, London; Heathrow Athula Dassana Temple, London.
High Commission of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
13, Hyde Park Gardens
London W2 2LU
Tel : 020 72621841
Fax : 020 72627970
Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK Dr. Chris Nonis, with the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs William Hague at the Annual Conference of the Conservative Party in Birmingham, which concluded this week. Addressing the party conference Foreign Secretary Hague underlined the importance of economic diplomacy and the imperative of engaging with emerging economies.
Sri Lanka In Pictures - A Captivating Photographic Display
A two-day photographic exhibition capturing in graphic detail Sri Lanka before and after the 30-year conflict attracted a wide cross-section of foreign and local dignitaries.
Held at the Sri Lanka High Commission in London the exhibition was viewed by parliamentarians from the House of Commons, House of Lords and the European Parliament, leading Buddhist monks in the UK, London-based diplomats, Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials and from Commonwealth institutions, public figures and the Sri Lankan community.
Among the attendees was Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat who was in Sri Lanka recently during the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association's Annual Conference.
The photo-exhibition graphically conveyed the various acts of terrorism of the LTTE and the enormity of the damage and destruction caused across the country. During that tragic period the LTTE gunned down or blasted several dozen Sri Lankan leaders including Tamil politicians and intellectuals.
At the invitation of the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Chouhan, President Rajapaksa visited sacred Sanchi on 21 September for a series of landmark events, during his official visit to India.
On arrival, President Rajapaksa was received by the Governor of Madhya Pradesh Ramnaresh Yadav, Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan, and other dignitaries of the Madhya Pradesh Government. The President visited the Sanchi Stupa Complex built by Emperor Asoka, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and paid homage to the Relics of the two main disciples of Gautama Buddha, Arhat Sariputta and Maha Moggallana, at the Chetiyagiri Vihara in Sanchi.
Thereafter, the President laid the foundation stone for the Sanchi University of Buddhist and Indic Studies together with the Prime Minister of Bhutan Jigme Yoser Thinley, the Governor and Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Minister of Culture of Madhya Pradesh Laxmikant Sharma, and former Member of Parliament Prakash Ambedkar.
To mark this important occasion, President Rajapaksa planted in Sanchi, a sapling of the Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura.
Addressing a Public Meeting in Sanchi attended by approximately five-thousand people, to mark the occasion, President Rajapaksa remarked that his journey to Sanchi was undertaken as a pilgrim, in veneration of sacred Sanchi, and saluting and celebrating the glorious past of that great region.
Serving the Sri Lankan community - A Consular Mobile Service organized by Sri Lanka High Commission in the UK
The High Commission of Sri Lanka in London held a full day mobile service at Judgemeadow Community College in Leicester on 2nd September 2012 to provide consular services to the Sri Lankan community living in the Leicester area. The services included registration of births, renewal of passports, acceptance of applications for new passports and other consular services.
This was organized under the guidance of Mr. Chaminda Kularatne (Attorney-at-Law) Head of the Consular and Immigration Division of the High Commission of Sri Lanka in London in collaboration with the "Sri Lanka Muslim Diaspora Initiative UK" , which is present across Britain.
A large number of individuals from all communities in Sri Lanka and residing in Leicester, Manchester and Birmingham benefited from this mobile service. This is part of a wider programme to take the High Commission's services directly to the Sri Lankan community. This is the second mobile service conducted this year. The High Commission intends to provide similar mobile assistance in other cities of Britain in the future.
Sri Lanka's First-ever Paralympic medal winner felicitated in London
Bronze medal-winner Lance Corporal UDP Pradeep Sanjaya of the 4th Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment was felicitated by the Sri Lanka High Commission, London, when the Paralympic team and the officials and coaches visited the Mission on Friday.
The Men’s 400m T46 runner Pradeep Sanjaya was presented with an engraved trophy by High Commissioner Dr Chris Nonis to mark what was a historic achievement by the soldier who had been seriously injured at Kilinochchi during the terrorist conflict in Sri Lanka.
His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa personally spoke to the medal winner by telephone during the presentation ceremony to congratulate him on the honour he has brought to the Nation.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony High Commissioner Dr Chris Nonis said it was a signal achievement for the young soldier and equally for the country and the people of Sri Lanka, for it was the first time that Sri Lanka had won a medal at the Paralympics and more so in the country in which these games originated.
Over 600 parliamentarians and officials from 54 Commonwealth nations for the CPA Conference in Sri Lanka
The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Dr William A Shija with the Sri Lanka High Commissioner to the UK Dr Chris Nonis
With parliamentarians from the entire Commonwealth due to gather in Colombo for a week-long meeting which will formerly open on 11th September, Secretary-General of the CPA Dr Shija had discussions with High Commissioner Chris Nonis on the upcoming conference.
The CPA, headquartered in London, brings together more than 170 parliaments and legislatures throughout the Commonwealth, and is a powerful organisation dedicated to strengthening good parliamentary practice and respect for the institution of Parliament.
Sri Lanka's Speaker of parliament Chamal Rajapaksa MP will be chairing the forthcoming CPA Conference. The cross-party UK parliamentary delegation to the 58th annual conference, will be led by Labour MP Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods.
Sri Lankan Olympians - an inspiration for future youth
The Sri Lanka High Commission in London held a reception recently to felicitate the country's athletes who participated at the Olympic Games held in the British capital.
High Commissioner Dr Chris Nonis who welcomed the Sri Lankan contingent said that our Sri Lankan Olympians with their dedication and perseverance are a genuine inspiration to the youth of the country.
Sir Peter Heap KCMG, President of the Friends of Sri Lanka, Cllr Nizam Ismail, the Mayor of Harrow Council London; Mrs Frances Stainton, Deputy Mayor of Hammersmith & Fulham and James Wharton, MP. also spoke and praised the young Sri Lankan athletes for their courage and discipline. They said that sport is a great unifier across communities and countries. It also serves to encourage and enthuse future generations of the country.
VISIT SRI LANKA AND SAVOUR THE CHANGE - HIGH COMMISSIONER NONIS
High Commissioner Dr Chris Nonis with (from L to R) Michael Wynn Parker, chairman of the Guild of Tourism; The Marquess of Bristol; HRH Princess Katrina of Yugoslavia; Lord Pendry and Andrew Rosindell MP for Romford.
High Commissioner to the UK Dr Chris Nonis outlined the strides that Sri Lanka had taken in economic, social rehabilitation, reconstruction and reconciliation since the defeat of terrorism in May 2009 to the Guild of Tourism at a luncheon meeting held at the Cholomondelay Room at the House of Lords..
One of the beneficiaries of this development effort in the post-conflict era was the tourism and hospitality industry which has witnessed a significant increase in foreign tourist arrivals including from the UK, he said.
Addressing a distinguished audience that included Royalty, Lords, MPs and other notables, Dr Nonis urged them to visit Sri Lanka and view first hand the unprecedented development that has also opened the doors to enterprising foreign investors in various sectors including tourism and hotels.