The British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka James Dauris, together with British Council in Sri Lanka Director Gill Caldicott hosted a Commonwealth Big Lunch on 7 April, bringing together 50 members of the arts community in Sri Lanka to celebrate their Commonwealth connections.
The Commonwealth Big Lunch initiative comes as the UK is set to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, an extraordinary international meeting that will bring together leaders from across the Commonwealth to London and Windsor from 16-20 April.
Lunches of all shapes and sizes have taken place throughout the Commonwealth since 12 March, Commonwealth Day, and will continue till Sunday 22 April. The lunch initiative partner is the Eden Project, an educational charity that works to connect people with the living world and to explore how we can work towards a better future.
The creative arts are one of the many thriving areas of engagement that closely link people in Sri Lanka and in the UK. The Commonwealth Big Lunch in Colombo brought people together from lots of disciplines, including the worlds of design, literature, music and film, many of them Sri Lankans who had studied and worked in the UK.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May said: “The Commonwealth is a diverse and vibrant network and its strength lies in the people-to-people links. Commonwealth Big Lunches are an opportunity for people across the Commonwealth to come together and, over a shared meal, discover and celebrate their connections, experiences and stories.”
Patricia Scotland, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth said, “Commonwealth Big Lunches remind us of the range and diversity of our connections and counterparts in countries and communities far away, and bring us together with those who live alongside us locally. They offer wonderful opportunities for people of all ages to bring our great Commonwealth family alive in new ways as we work towards a common future.
“Linking countries and communities set in every continent and ocean, our Commonwealth connection is both global and local. It is also organic and human, enabling us to build together as a worldwide family. Every nation, community or individual person is able to make a contribution to the common good, and each can benefit from our collective achievements.”
This Big Lunch initiative builds on the Eden Project’s annual Big Lunch, which was launched in 2009 as a way to connect people with their communities over a shared meal. It has since seen millions of people get involved, including for The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.”