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FM Samaraweera Calls for Patience on Human Rights Front and Improved Sri Lanka-USA Relations

Photo courtesy MFA Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera in his first visit to Washington, D.C. after assuming office addressed a full-house gathering at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) on Wednesday February 11th. The CEIP, founded in 1910, is the oldest international affairs think tank in the United States. In the last few […]

Sri Lanka’s geopolitical importance to the United States

Image courtesy California Bangla An analysis of Nisha Biswal’s visit to island nation During late January and early February 2015, Sri Lanka witnessed the visits of many foreign officials to the country. Prominently featured among them were the visits of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister of State, Hugo Swire, the United States Assistant […]

Charting a New Course: Sri Lankan Foreign Policy

Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images, via Time There could not have been a better time to be a student or a professional of International Relations in Sri Lanka, given the geopolitical dynamics in the region. As one government official told me, “India and China are on the rise, we simply need to jump on this […]

In conversation with Dinesha de Silva Wikramanayake

Dinesha de Silva Wikramanayake is the Country Representative of The Asia Foundation. We begin by talking about what compelled Dinesha to join TAF, after, as noted on the Foundation’s site, two decades of experience in the field of international development – with special interest and experience in economic governance, rule of law, access to justice, and […]

Portraits of diversity from Myanmar vital for Sri Lanka

When the British administrator J.S. Furnivall coined the term “plural society” he was talking about colonial Burma to describe the extraordinary diversity of nationalities, ethnicities, races and religions that inhabited its cities. Sixty years ago he wrote, “Bengali Muslims jostled alongside Iraqi Jews and Armenian Christians”. Walking around Yangon’s streets today, you can still experience […]

Ramaphosa and Government’s Policy shift on Reconciliation

Image courtesy Daily Maverick Several weeks after Cyril Ramaphosa, Vice President of South Africa and Special Envoy of President Zuma to Sri Lanka, arrived in Sri Lanka to assist us in our search for durable post war peace and reconciliation, it is possible to observe several tactical moves by the Rajapakse Administration with regard to […]

The slow wheels of justice and change: a Sri Lankan case study?

Image via Rights Now Five years since the end of the war, the state of affairs in Sri Lanka is likely to evoke feelings of frustration and despondency for most readers of this series of essays. The military has entrenched itself in the governance of the North and East and continues to suppress Tamil political […]

Problems of success? Post-war Sri Lanka’s international challenges

Photo by Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images, via RightsNow Since the end of Sri Lanka’s thirty year-long war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the island is often evoked internationally in relation to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva. The UNHRC remains the only supranational body where the case of Sri Lanka […]

A South African effort at promoting reconciliation

Ebrahim Ebrahim, Deputy Minister of  International Relation and Cooperation Republic of South Africa meeting  Basil Rajapaksa, Senior Adviser to the H.E. President and Minister of Economic development. Via Ministry of Economic Development. General elections in South Africa concluded a few days ago and the results were a resounding reelection victory for the ruling African Nation […]

Political settlement or regime change!

Photo by AFP, via SBS “I fled down labyrinthine ways And glooms of chasmed fears” (Not exactly Francis Thompson) This essay is premised on an ill-omened reading of the Geneva tea-leaves. What be this ominous message I see floating in the cup? For reasons I will lay out in the initial paragraphs I find it […]

Sri Lanka: Post-Geneva, Post-Provincial Council Elections

Photograph by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP/Getty Images via Al Jazeera Post- Geneva and post- PC elections, some clarifications are in order because the resolution, locally, came to be obscured by the fog of elections and the scare stories that were put out about sanctions and the electric chair, not to mention the absurdity of the arithmetic of the […]

Dangerous defeat in Geneva

Image courtesy Wikipedia “The passage of the resolution marks a historic moment…” Having lost the crucial vote in Geneva and opened the door to an international investigation, Sri Lanka is now in new territory. Sri Lankans saw who their real friends were at the UNHRC on Thursday night. Our friends, Pakistan, Cuba, China, Russia — […]

The Lalith Weeratunga Presentation

Image courtesy ITU video Though I cannot say the same of his companions on the voyage, my friend Lalith Weeratunga embodies a rare combination of intelligence, ability, affability and civility. He made a valuable presentation of the government’s case, in Geneva and the USA. Mr Weeratunga has made some very valid points on the dangers […]

Meetings across acrylic, canvas and dance: India-Sri Lanka Artists Week

I spent some time with 12 visual artists and 1 dancer, from Sri Lanka and India, at the Taj Samudra Hotel in Colombo today, who are part of an interesting and pioneering artistic collaboration between the two countries, from the 18 – 23 January. The artists work in the open near the hotel’s pool. Anyone […]

Nelson Mandela’s Legacy to the World: Some Less Celebrated Aspects

Photograph courtesy National Geographic Give me that man That is not passion’s slave, and I will wear him In my heart’s core Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 2 The death of the moral colossus in the politics of our time has occasioned a worldwide celebration of all things bright and beautiful that he represented in such […]