Speech made by the Bangladesh Ambassador & Permanent Delegate to UNESCO H.E Shahidul ISLAM at the farewell dinner for H.E Tilak Ranaviraja & Madam Sunethra Ranaviraja at Bangladesh house.
Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen : Welcome to Bangladesh House. I am really grateful to you all for joining this evening’s dinner hosted to bid farewell to our dear colleague, H E Mr. Tilak Ranaviraja, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to France and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO. Our guests include, in alphabetical order of the countries they present.
I am really amazed to see the popularity of Ambassador Tilak Ranaviraja. He has been receiving farewell dinners and lunches from so many of his colleagues. He stayed in Paris for two years, yet the impact that he has created is tremendous (much more than what I could do in five years). This speaks of his wide acceptability as an accomplished diplomat, decent gentlemen and an outstanding human person.
He has been visible both in bilateral and multilateral activities. He also had to take care of hundreds of thousands of his countrymen living in France. He was also responsible for many other countries as concurrently accredited Ambassador. All in all, he has been very successful diplomat. No wonder that his President wants him to go back and join him quickly. And, I must put on record that Ambassador Tilak has been greatly supported by his lady wife Sunetra, who is dear to all of us.
My relationship with Ambassador Tilak has been somewhat exceptional – many people think he is the Ambassador of Bangladesh while others think that I am the Ambassador of Sri Lanka. That gives some credence to the theory that Bengalis are the fore fathers of the Sinhalese People…. As per the “Mahavamsa, arguably the greatest chronicle of Sri Lanka, the foundation stone of the Sinhalese community was laid by King Vijaya who had travelled there from Bengal region in 543 BC and founded the first Sinhalese town by the name of Tambapani. So, with the departure of Ambassador Tilak, I am going to lose my brother.
Let me wish Ambassador Tilak all success in his new position, a position which is expected to give him the opportunity to serve his country more closely and at the same time stay closer to his family and friends in Colombo. This dinner is going to be very informal – please feel free to say a few words and raise your glass again and again to the health and happiness of Ambassador Tilak and Madam Sunethra.