NEW YORK (TIP): A reception to celebrate the Commonwealth Day was organized at Sri Lanka mission here on 11th March. Sri Lanka, UK and Australia cohosted the event. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon was among those present that included the Permanent Representative of UK Sir Mark Lyall Grant, Permanent Representative of Australia Gary Quinlan, Sri Lanka Permanent Representative Palitha Kohona, and Heads of Missions, senior UN officials and diplomats from various countries.
The Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, Palitha T.B. Kohona welcomed the guests in a speech and insisted on more unity among the Commonwealth Nations, “In the long run, it is tangible benefits that will keep us together. Although ideas and values are important, tangible benefits will be the glue that will bind us together as a family”. He also highlighted the challenges of “youth empowerment, women’s issues and trade and labor liberalization”.
The Permanent Representative of Australia, Gary Quinlan, in his address spoke of the distinctive differences among the Commonwealth countries. “The Commonwealth comprises of 54 member states, of which, only 4 are developed countries. The rest are still developing”, he added. Permanent Representative of UK Sir Mark Lyall Grant read out a message from Queen Elizabeth. In her message the Queen said, “The heart of the Commonwealth lies in the striving of individuals and communities to achieve great goals”.