February 4th marks the 70th anniversary of Sri Lankan independence. It also marks the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and Sri Lanka. In honor of this milestone, the U.S. Embassy in Colombo will launch a series of programs over the course of the next twelve months.
Encompassing cultural events, educational opportunities, and community engagements that will involve Sri Lankans from all backgrounds and regions of the country, the #USSL70 campaign underscores the seven decades of respect and partnership that have characterized the U.S.-Sri Lanka relationship, the Embassy said in a statement.
“Our Embassy community is delighted to celebrate this wonderful anniversary with our Sri Lankan friends and partners,” said Ambassador Keshap. “For seven decades, the United States has stood shoulder to shoulder with Sri Lanka, whether as one of the largest donors of foreign assistance or as Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner.”
Later in February, celebrated New York City jazz artist Wycliffe Gordon will travel to Sri Lanka and premiere a special composition commissioned by the U.S. Embassy commemorating the 70th anniversary. Gordon will perform at a gala concert in addition to informal shows around Colombo that will be open to the public. Other major cultural events during the year-long celebrations include the American Film Showcase featuring visiting U.S. filmmakers, an education fair on American university academic opportunities, and sports exchange programs with Sri Lankan youth.
#USSL70 will also highlight new significant bilateral initiatives, such as the signing of the Peace Corps’ bilateral agreement to return to Sri Lanka. During the campaign, exercises between the two countries’ militaries will enhance disaster response capabilities and expand interoperability. Supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development, job training programs will help prepare Sri Lankan youth for employment in the 21st century, while agricultural assistance will help make Sri Lanka’s dairy industry more productive.
“Our #USSL70 campaign is about more than looking back at our shared history; it’s about a vision of Sri Lanka’s future as a stable democracy that could stand as a beacon of tolerance and prosperity in the region. For another 70 years and beyond, the United States is here to help make that vision a reality,” added Ambassador Keshap.