The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Celebrates it's 65th year of independence
February 2, 2013

The Sri Lankan community in Hawaii celebrated the 65th Annniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka at the University of Hawai'i Culinary Institute of the Pacific at KCC on Saturday February 2nd 2013.

The honored chief guests for the evening were Consul General of Sri Lanka in Los Angeles Dr. Hector Weerasinghe, and Dr. Mrs. Swarna Weerasinghe.

Sri Lankans, Sri Lankan American community members and distinguished guests included Consul Generals, Honorary Consuls of the Consular Corps of Hawaii, Ambassadors, Represemtatives of the Governor and the State Department, Univesity of Hawaii Administration, East West Center and APCSS Executives witnessed and enjoyed an exciting evening.

The evening's celebrations commenced with the sininging of the National Anthem of Sri Lanka followed by the National Anthems of the United States of America and the State of Hawai'i.

The Venerable Hingurakkgoda Vibhavi chanted and invoked blessings on all. In keeping with Sri Lank's tradition the ceremonial oil lamp was lit by 14 guests to the music of "Danno Buddunge". The opening speech was by Honorary Consul Kusuma Cooray.She welcomed the audience and introduced the Consel General of Sri Lanka in LA Dr. Herbert Weerasinghe. Consul Cooray gave a brief account of Dr. Weerasinghe's background and highlighted his selfless service to his Motherland.

Dr. Weerasinghe delivered his keynote speech. He spoke at length about the conflict, the nation's suffering, hardship and economical devastations and concluded with Sri Lanka'a post conflict achievements; and highlighted the hard work ahead to be "The Wonder of Asia".

A Proclamation issued by the Governor of the State of Hawai'i Neil Abercrombie was read by the Governor's Chief of Staff Bruce Coppa and was presented to the Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka Kusuma Cooray.

Honorable Karen Awana the State Floor Majority Leader read a Certificate from the State House of Representaives that was addressed to the President of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakse. This was presented to Honorary Consul Cooray and Consul General Hector Weerasinghe to be sent to the President.

Dr. Robert Franco representing the Chancellor of KCC spoke about the many projects between Hawai'i's hotel industry and the Hotel School in Sri Lanka through the University of Hawaii. He highlighted the University's efforts made to build a bridge of friendship between the "Island Nation and the Island State".

As the culrural program got on its way the guests were treated to a delicious dinner prepared by KCC's Popular TV Star Chef Grant Sato and his team.

The daughters of Nasrin and Ramon Segovia- Martiza, Anisa and Maysa "The 3 Sisters" danced the hula "Kaulana Molokai" to a big applause.

The spectacular cultural program featured a dance troupe compliments of Ms. Medini Ratnayake. The dancers thrilled the audience with their performances displaying the best of Sri Lankan culture.

The Hawaiian Hula troupe sang Hawai'ian favorites, danced the hula and sang farewell "Aloha Oe". The proceedings were brought to a close with the Consul Cooray thanking and bidding farewell to all.