Prof. Peiris highlights need for goodwill and fellowship in the Christmas season

An event to celebrate Christmas was held at the Ministry of External Affairs on Friday, 20th December 2013 organised by the Welfare Society and Seva Vanitha Unit of the Ministry. 

The First Lady, Madam Shiranthi Wickramasinghe Rajapaksa graced the occasion as Chief Guest. Religious dignitaries, Members of the Diplomatic Corp and Hony. Consuls attended the event. 

The celebrations began with the lighting of Christmas candles by the First Lady; Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs; Neomal Perera, Deputy Minister of External Affairs;  Mrs. Savitri Peiris, President of the Seva Vanitha Unit; Mrs. Krishanthi Perera, Vice President of Seva Vanitha Unit; Mr. K. Amunugama, Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs and Mrs. Amunugama.

Neomal Perera, Deputy Minister of External Affairs, welcomed the gathering and spoke about the season marked with the joy of giving and receiving and that of the birth of Jesus Christ. The Deputy Minister highlighted that the season should also be one of reflection, as the New Year was approaching.

Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs addressing the gathering, noted that as in previous  years, the Ministry was pleased to organise the event to celebrate Christmas. The Minister highlighted that the Christmas season brought together people across the country in a spirit of fellowship and goodwill. Prof. Peiris appreciated that the concept of fellowship was important as it cuts across society, and was a time for family and friends to come together. The Minister noted that this idea was not alien to Sri Lanka, but traced it as being a part of traditions in Sri Lanka nurtured over centuries, and drew parallels with the Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations.   Speaking on the spirit of the season, Prof Peiris also noted that the vision of His Excellency the President to bring serenity and peace of the village to the city, and taking opportunities of the cities to the village, was part of the same Christmas spirit of peace and friendship. He also noted elements of Christian doctrine that was brought to Sri Lanka and the strong role of the Church in Sri Lanka, in the field of education, where a number of leading schools have been established. Remarking on the role of education, the Minister appreciated the work of the First Lady through her charities and noted that one school in the Southern Province funded through the Carlton network, had achieved 2nd place in English Dramatics, beating prominent schools in the cities.  Prof. Peiris underscored the need to use the Christmas period to reflect on what has been achieved in a spirit of renewal in the New Year ahead.

The First Lady presented an award for a Grade 5 child, of a staff member of the Ministry, who had secured very high marks and came in 3rd place island-wide and obtained a scholarship.  The celebrations closed with the Choir from the Welfare Society and Seva Vanitha Unit singing Christmas carols to the audience and select musicians performing festive songs in Sinhala and English. Santa Claus also made an entry and presented small children of staff with Christmas presents.

Ministry of External Affairs

http://www.mea.gov.lk/index.php/en/component/content/article/1-latest-news/4365-prof-peiris-highlights-need-for-goodwill-and-fellowship-in-the-christmas-season

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