Author Archives: Kumari Wickramasinghe

About Kumari Wickramasinghe

Knowledge Management Assistant at UNIC Colombo since November 2000. Obtained a Masters in Library and Information Science Degree and a Diploma in Journalism from University of Colombo. Associate Member of Sri Lanka Library Association.

The Secretary-General Appeal for Peace on 1st January 2017

On my first day as Secretary-General of the United Nations, one question weighs heavily on my heart.

How can we help the millions of people caught up in conflict, suffering massively in wars with no end in sight?

Civilians are pounded with deadly force. Women, children and men are killed and injured, forced from their homes, dispossessed and destitute. Even hospitals and aid convoys are targeted.

No one wins these wars; everyone loses. Trillions of dollars are spent destroying societies and economies, fueling cycles of mistrust and fear that can last for generations. Whole regions are destabilized and the new threat of global terrorism affects us all.

On this New Year’s Day, I ask all of you to join me in making one shared New Year’s resolution:

Let us resolve to put peace first.

Let us make 2017 a year in which we all – citizens, governments, leaders – strive to overcome our differences.

From solidarity and compassion in our daily lives, to dialogue and respect across political divides… From ceasefires on the battlefield, to compromise at the negotiating table to reach political solutions…

Peace must be our goal and our guide.

All that we strive for as a human family – dignity and hope, progress and prosperity – depends on peace.

But peace depends on us.

I appeal to you all to join me in committing to peace, today and every day.

Let us make 2017 a year for peace.

Thank you.

UN in Sri Lanka celebrating the Vesak Festival

Vesak lanterns

Vesak day globally marked as United Nations Observance Day. The United Nations by creating specail observances promotes international awareness and action on various themes, topics and social issues. With the adoption of the UN resolution 554/115, moved by Lakshman Kadirgarmar the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister in 1999, Vesak Day is now internationally accorded as a United Nations Observance Day.

The Buddha Rashmi Pooja, the National Vesak Festival illuminated Colombo once again in commemoration of the Vesak Poya that falls in May . During a period of seven days starting from 21st May 2016, the Gangaramaya Temple together with the Presidential Secretariat facilitated the festival, transforming a zone earmarked as the ‘Vesak Kalapaya’ for this principal Buddhist event of the Annual Calendar, signifying the Birth, Enlightenment and Passing of Lord Buddha.

Hence Accepting the invitation of the Prime Ministers Office, UN in Sri Lanka displayed the UN Secretary Generals Message with a Vesak lantern highlighting the SDGs in this Vesak Zone. Thousands of people visited Colombo to see the Vesak Zones during these days.

SDG Vesak lanterns

Japanese delegation of NPO 2050 led by Former UN Assistant Secretary General Mr. Kitatani met with the UN family

Jap1UNIC Colombo kicked off an awareness session on “Introduction to UN in Sri Lanka” arranged for a Japanese delegation of NPO 2050 led by Former UN Assistant Secretary General Mr. Kitatani from Japan.


The UN Agency work was shared by Mr. Donglin Li, Representative, ILO, Mr. Jorn Sorenson, Resident Representative a.i., UNDP, Mr. Alain Sibenaler, Representative, UNFPA, Mr. Juan Fenandez, Senior Human Rights Ad visor, OHCHR , Dr. Wijeratne Darmasiree, Assistant Representative, FAO and Ms. Zoe Keeler, Transition and Coordination Specialist, RCO. Japanese Delegates donated some gifts to be given to the underprivileged in Sri Lanka. Ms. Akiko Abe, International Specialist/ Reconciliation and Development Support Officer  ,UNV organized the session and the study tour for the delegation.Some UN Colleagues also were present to welcome the international group.

UN Study Circle of the Richmond College organized a Leadership Training Workshop

UN Association (UNA) Study Circle of the Richmond College, Galle organized a day long leadership programme for the students of the school and some under-resourced neighbouring schools on 7th February 2016 at school premises for 150 students.

Prof. Lakshman Marashinge, President of the UNA and some members of the Executive Committee of the organization participated the event. Mrs. Kumari Wickramasinghe, UNIC Officer In Charge a.i., delivered a lecture based on Sustainable Development Goals and the work of the United Nations . Mr Mahesh Jayasinghe, UNA Executive Committee Member, spoke on the communication skills for better leadership. Video clips were shown on good health. Team building activities were conducted during the day. Members of the Richmond’s School UN Study Circle performed several cultural items. Mr. Achala Welarathne, The Secretary of the Study Circle delivered the vote of thanks.

The students were happy to learn on the new global development agenda and in the opinion that by organizing such activities as the members of the UN Study Circles, they gain knowledge and skills to improve their lives.

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the first anniversary of Sri Lanka’s political transition

The Secretary-General congratulates the President of Sri Lanka, H.E. Maithripala Sirisena, and the Government and the people of Sri Lanka on the first year of the country’s political transition. He is encouraged by the Government’s commitment to a broad reform agenda that aims to realise durable peace, stability and prosperity for the Sri Lankan people.

The Secretary-General acknowledges the initial steps the Government has taken to strengthen good governance, advance reconciliation and implement the resolution of the Human Rights Council of October 2015. He urges continued progress in these areas and emphasises the need for inclusive consultation processes to address issues of transitional justice.

The Secretary-General supports the Government’s efforts to advance a nation-wide dialogue to achieve a long-term political settlement acceptable to all. In this regard, he welcomes the Government’s announcement to commence constitutional reform. He calls on all stakeholders to cooperate in a spirit of inclusion and good faith.

The Secretary-General remains committed to supporting Sri Lanka’s reform initiatives to secure long-term peace, prosperity and respect for human rights, including through financial support from the Peacebuilding Fund and technical assistance. He commends Sri Lanka’s leadership in working to transform the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals into reality on the ground.

New York, 7 January 2016

Reham Al-Farra (RAF) Memorial Journalists Fellowship Programme 2016 : Call for Application

The United Nations Department of Public Information is currently seeking applications from young journalists and broadcasters for the 2016 Reham Al-Farra (RAF) Memorial Journalists Fellowship Programme.

[UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe] Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon meeting with the 2015 Reham Al-Farra Fellows

[UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe] Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon meeting with the 2015 Reham Al-Farra Fellows

The Programme provides journalists with an opportunity to gain first-hand experience in the work of the United Nations. It is also an opportunity to meet journalists from other countries and exchange ideas with UN communication professionals.

Selected journalists and broadcasters will spend four weeks at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, from 8 September through 5 October, 2016

Upon completion of the Programme, participants are expected to continue working in journalism or broadcasting and help promote better understanding of the United Nations in their home country.

Applicants must be aged between 22 and 35 and currently employed by a recognized media organisation, with several years of professional experience and oral and written fluency in English. The United Nations will cover the cost of a round trip ticket and a daily subsistence allowance. For further information, please visit

Inclusion matters: Access and empowerment for people of all abilities

International Day of Persons with Disabilities was celebrated under the theme “Inclusion matters: Access and empowerment for people of all abilities”. PIYAPATH Foundation & SWASHAKTHI Disabled People’s Organization, Mirigama, organized a Walk and Public meeting in the Mirigama town celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3rd December 2015. Brochures highlighting the issues faced by people with disabilities were distributed.

UNIC celebrating International Day of Disabled People

UNIC celebrating International Day of Disabled People

Mrs. L.A. Deepthi, the secretary, SWASHKTHI DPO delivered the welcome address. Mrs. Pradeepika Samaranayake, secretary, PIYAPATH Foundation described the objectives of the walk and the meeting. Dr. Asela Perera, Medical Superintendent of Mirigama base hospital, highlighted the services exclusively provided for the people with disabilities in the government hospitals. Guest of Honour, Mrs. Kumari S. Wickramasinghe, Officer-in-charge, UNIC Colombo spoke on the Convention of the Rights of the Disabled People and the importance of being empowered. Mr. Gamini Karunarathne, Senior Sectional Head of Nawana central college delivering the keynote speech indicated the difficulties he faced as a visual impaired person and the support he received from the people who are able to see in the school, university and the society. Mr. Rajitha Amarasinghe delivered the vote of thanks. “All Friends” musical band comprising visually impaired people performed on stage and around 150 people participated.

Panel Discussion on UN and Sri Lanka Partnership

Celebrating UN and Sri Lanka Partnership

Celebrating UN and Sri Lanka Partnership

Department of International Relations (IR), University of Colombo in collaboration with UNIC Colombo conducted a Panel discussion celebrating 60 years Sri Lankan participation in the UN on 14th December 2015.
The three panel discussions were led by undergraduates themed “MDG to SDG transition”, “Sri Lankan contribution on the UN Peacekeeping” and the “UNICEF contribution in Sri Lanka”. The Chief Guest for the event, Mr. Alain Sibenaler, Representative UNFPA spoke on the UN and Sri Lanka partnership. He encouraged youth to take leadership in developing the nation. Prof. Athula Ranasinghe, Dean, Faculty of Arts gave away the certificates and Prof. Nayani Melagoda, Head of the Department gave the vote of thanks. Around 200 students participated the event.

Empowering Youth on Peace and UN Sustainable Development Goals (National Programme) : A joint venture by Universal Peace Federation (UPF – Asia) and United Nations Information Centre, Colombo

UNIC & UPF SDG National Tour - Inaugaration

UNIC & UPF SDG National Tour – Inaugaration

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an intergovernmental set of aspiration Goals with 169 targets approved at the 70th UN General Assembly in September 2015. Globally youth took part in the post 2015 activities contributing their ideas through “My World” Survey. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon stated in his Post-2015 synthesis report, “young people will be the torch bearers of the next sustainable development agenda”.

The UN Information Centre, Colombo (UNIC) together with The Universal Peace Federation (UPF) organized SDG awareness sessions for youth covering all nine Sri Lankan provinces. The inauguration ceremony was held at Sarvodaya Vishva Samadhi Hall, Moratuwa on 4th December 2015. These sessions give Sri Lankan youth an inspiration to lead the development and a forum to discuss the challenges having a peaceful mind. More than 300 youth attended.

Hon. Mahinda Amaraweera, Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Research graced the occasion. Ms. Sveva Pettorino, Programme Officer, UNV was the Guest of Honour. Dr Vinya Ariyarathne, The General Secretary, Sarvaodaya Shramadahana Movement spoke few words on SDGs. Dr. Chung Sik Yong, Regional President, UPF Asia and Dr. R.S. Kittle, Director of Education, UPF spoke on the relationship between peace of mind, family and the sustainable development. UNIC Colombo was represented by three exceptional youth activists. The session on introducing SDGs from a youth perspective was led by Mr. Sachinda Dulanjana, A young motivation speaker, The Youth Adviser on Social Work and volunteerism (2014 – 2017) for the UN Country Team. Also Mr. Nilan Sajith Perera, A social mobilizer as well as a young entrepreneur and Ms. Ruwini Perera, a dedicated professional with a sound knowledge and experience in Environmental Research and Project Management shared their experiences with the participating youth. UPF members and the UNIC staff also attended the ceremony. Participants were given a certificate of attendance and the ceremony concluded with a positive feedback.

Sri Lanka’s contribution to the UN System over the last 60 years

The UN Communications Group in Sri Lanka, with the support of UNIC Colombo and the UN Association in Sri Lanka, organized a speech competition for students of UN study circles aged between 16 – 19 years. The competition was organized as part of the 70-60 campaign, which marks the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations and the 60th Anniversary since Sri Lanka became a Member State.

The topic for the speeches was ‘Sri Lanka’s contribution to the UN System over the last 60 years’, and the competition was conducted in three language categories: English, Sinhala, and Tamil. The event was held at the UN Compound in Colombo, while the finalists represented schools from Colombo, Negombo, Matale, and Galle.

M.G. Nisala Nuwanidu of Richmond’s College, Galle in Sinhala Medium, Adshyani Pirapahara of C/ Ramanathan Hindu Ladies College in Tamil Medium and M.J Christina of Ch/Holy Family Balika Vidyalaya, Marawila in the English Medium were the Winners. The Head of the Resident Coordinator’s Office, Ms. Chamindry Saparamadu handed over the certificates to the winners. ‪#‎OurUN‬ ‪#‎UN70‬