The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Celebrated It's 66th Year of Independence
February 1, 2014

The Sri Lanka community in Hawaii celebrated the 66th Anniversary of the Sri Lankan Independence at the University of Hawaii.s Culinary Institute of the Pacific at KCC on Saturday February 1st, 2014.

The honored chief guests for the evening were LTG Dan "Fig" Leaf Director of the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS) and Dr. Amy Leaf.

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

Special guests for the evening were 6 participants from Sri Lanka to the APCSS College of Security Studies for the Advanced Security Cooperation Course 14-1. The were introduced to the audience by Consul Cooray after her welcome speech, amidst a a heartfelt applause. They are Mr. Sisira Kumara Senaviratne from the Ministry of External Affairs, Senior Superintendent Susantha Premalal Ranagala, BGD Palitha Prasanna Fernando, BGD Prathap Tillekerathne,BGD Kamaljith Thilakarathna and Commodore Ananad Kumara Guruge.

The celebrations commenced with the singing of the national Anthem of Sri Lanka followed by the Anthems of the United States of America and the State of Hawaii. The venerable Hingurakgoda Vibahavi Thera chanted and invoked blessings on all and was followed by a Hawaiian blessing by Prof. Plakiko Yagodavich.

In keeping with the Sri Lankan tradition the ceremonial oil lamp was lit by 14 ladies to the music of "Dhanno Budunge". The opening speech was by Hon. Consul Kusuma Cooray. At her request the audience observed a minute of silence in memory of Dr. David Kalupahana who passed away in January. Dr, Kalupahana was a Buddhist philosopher and author who was renowned internationally for his scholarly work.

Consul Cooray gave a brief history of Sri Lanka and spoke about the beauty of the island. She briefly outlined the conflict and the devastations and hardships that were caused. She pointed out the measures taken by the government in the area of rehabilitation and reconstruction.She pointed out the progress Sri Lanka has made in the recent past, and specially the sense of security in the country.

Consul Cooray introduced the chief guests and thanked the APCSS for the 15 year long association with the center and for all the help extended to Sri Lanka. General Leaf gave the keynote speech and ended it referring to the conflict.His hope was that peace and harmony would prevail and this he saw was needed specially now. As the cultural evening got on its way the guests were treated to a delicious dinner produced by Chef David Hamada and his chef assistants.

The cultural dance troupe compliments of Mrs. Medini Ratnayake from Los Angeles was spectacular. The Sri Lankan dancers Ruwani Horanage and Kaushalya Gajaweera thrilled the audience with their performances displaying the best of Sri Lanka.

"Puamana" the Hawaiian Hula troupe sang Hawaiian songs and danced the hula. Their performance ended with the audience joining them to sing the Hawaiian farewell "Aloha Oe".

The proceedings were brought to a close with Consul Cooray thanking all and bidding farewell and aloha.