By Aruni Amarasinghe
The newly-appointed Sri Lankan Envoy to Sweden Oshadhi Alahapperuma presented his Credentials to the King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf recently at the Royal Palace in Stockholm.
Representing the Sweden Government, the Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps called at the Sri Lankan Embassy which is located in the heart of Stockholm and escorted the Ambassador and his accompanying suite to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in limousines provided by the Court.
Later the Sri Lankan Ambassador was taken to the Royal Palace of Stockholm in a horse-drawn Royal Mews’ carriage according to tradition. The Royal Guard presented arms when the carriage arrived at the outer courtyard of the eastern wing of the Palace and the military band played while the Ambassador alighted from the carriage at the inner courtyard.
Two Chamberlains welcomed the Ambassador and his suite. He was then escorted into the Palace while a guard of honour composed of grenadiers lined the stairs leading to the audience chamber. Later he was received by a Lord-in-Waiting and followed by the Master of Ceremonies in the second Chamber.
In the third chamber the Ambassador was received by the First Marshal of the Court, the Chief of the King’s Military Staff and the Grand Master of Ceremonies. Finally Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma was escorted to an audience with the King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf to present his Letter of Credence.
After the official ceremony the Ambassador had a ‘one to one meeting’ with the King. The King had been very interested in knowing about the root cause for the conflict in Sri Lanka and had said that he was very happy that the Sri Lanka war had ended.
The King had been interested in knowing about the ongoing rehabilitation programmes especially for those affected by the war and the tsunami. The King mentioned the visit to Sri Lanka by Crown Princess Victoria in 2005.
Ambassador Alahapperuma took the opportunity to explain the steps being taken by the Government of Sri Lanka headed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to develop northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the war and also to rehabilitate the war-affected youth and the people.
He further stated that within a short period of time after the war the rehabilitation took place and is now coming to an end. The Ambassador also mentioned that almost all the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) had been resettled in their places of origin.
The King recalled his visit to Sri Lanka in 1966 as a Cadet Officer and Ambassador Alahapperuma made a request to King Carl XVI Gustaf to visit Sri Lanka once again as the country has returned to normalcy after 30 years of conflict.
At the end of the audience the Ambassador requested permission to introduce his accompanying suite, S.B. Wijekoon, Minister Counsellor and L.G. Dissanayake, Third Secretary (Commercial).
After the presentation of Credentials, a multi-religious function was held at the Embassy to bestow blessings on Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma. Chief Incumbent of the Stockholm Buddhist Vihara, Ven. Kirindigalle Dhammarathana Nayaka Thero, Chief Incumbent of the Tapovana, Ven. Watapana Pannaratana Thero and Swe-Lankan Catholic Priest Rev. Father Michael Bjerkhagen conducted the religious proceedings.
Sri Lanka’s newly appointed Envoy to Sweden, former General Manager of Mobitel, Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma, is an engineer by profession. He was born in Matara in 1972. His primary education was at Meegasdeniya Junior School, Urugamuwa, Kumaratunga Munidasa Maha Vidyalaya, Dickwella, Matara and secondary education at Ananda College, Colombo.
He completed obtained a BSc in Engineering, specialising in Telecommunication at Electro Technical University at St Petersburg, Russia. He has worked in the telecommunications sector and attended training programmes at Ericsson in Stockholm and Gothenburg in March 2004 and October 2005 respectively.
Prior to his appointment, Ambassador Alahapperuma worked as an engineer at Mobitel Ltd. in Sri Lanka from 2003 to 2010. Since 2010 he has served as Private Secretary to Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development Dullas Alahapperuma. He is also fluent in the Russia and conversational Swedish.
Pix by Alexis Daflos – The Royal Court, Sweden and Janaka Samanpriya