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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 108

Lions International President Amarasuriya is Sri Lanka’s Best Public Diplomacy Envoy to the World

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

Los Angeles, California, 11 July (Asiantribune.com): The newly inaugurated president of the International Lions Movement Mahendra Amarasuriya, the first Sri Lankan in the ninety-year history of world’s Lionism to attain the most influential and coveted post, is in a privileged position to explain to the international community the threat to sovereignty, territorial integrity and the democratic system his country is facing from terrorism, is the interpretation a former Lions Governor of Sri Lanka Oswin Silva gave to Amarasuriya’s election.Oswin Silva : Mahendra Amarasuriya could make use of his position to convey the complete truth to the international community to help bring a political solution to the satisfaction of all communities in Sri Lanka. Oswin Silva : Mahendra Amarasuriya could make use of his position to convey the complete truth to the international community to help bring a political solution to the satisfaction of all communities in Sri Lanka.

Governor Silva, now domiciled in Los Angeles, further told ‘Asian Tribune’ that Sri Lanka got a rare opportunity to get one of her son’s elected to lead the world Lions movement, and this opportunity should not be missed to explain to the international community about the plight this South Asian nation is facing due to the LTTE terrorism.

Mahendra Amarasuriya was inaugurated as the President of the International Lions Movement on July 06 at the Lions international convention in Chicago.

This was a rare privilege this South Asian nation achieved which is often misunderstood by the international community in her struggle against home-grown LTTE terrorism. Sri Lanka at present endeavors to strike a balance between combating terrorism and checking human rights abuses. In the absence of effective international public diplomacy on the part of the Sri Lankan authorities to convince the major players in the international community that the Tamil Tiger terrorism and the aspirations of the ethnic minority Tamils in Sri Lanka are two distinct issues, the Tiger professionals in western nations, to some extent, have succeeded in mixing facts and fiction to disseminate half truths to the world.

What Governor Oswin Silva says in his interview with the ‘Asian Tribune’ is that Mahendra Amarasuriya could make use of his position to convey the complete truth to the international community to help bring a political solution to the satisfaction of all communities in Sri Lanka.

If Lions objective is promoting international understanding, goes on former Sri Lanka Lions Governor Oswin Silva, then International President Amarasuriya could harness support in helping Sri Lanka to end terrorism.

Oswin Silva is well equipped to give cogent interpretations to and assessment of men and matters in Sri Lanka. He was an experience foreign service national (FSN) in the United Stated Department of State in public affairs and public diplomacy for three decades. Onetime director of U.S. Information Agency’s outpost in Sri Lanka’s hill country capital of Kandy which dealt with academics and student movement in the nation’s premier university while maintaining a cordial rapport with labor and political activists, Silva became the eyes and ears of the American diplomatic community in Colombo who greatly valued his interpretations, assessments and analyses of men and matters.

Mr. Silva, who read economics and history for his undergraduate degree, in his latter stage of his carrier in the United States federal government, was political advisor and special assistant to the Country Director of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) under whose purview an annual budget of US $200 million was dispensed for socio-economic development in Sri Lanka.

A longtime associate of the Lions Movement, Silva was the last to preside over the entire country as the Lions Governor in 77-78, and the following year Sri Lanka was divided in to two Lions Districts and now has four.

A sharp mind to assess men and matters, Governor Oswin Silva’s first appointment to his Lions cabinet was to install a relatively young mercantile executive Mahendra Amarasuriya as his deputy governor. The following year Amarasuriya was elected the governor of Lions District 306A, and went on to become International Director, third Vice President through first Vice President and now International President of this vast movement spread in more than 200 nations.

Oswin Silva reminded the ‘Asian Tribune’ that as the International President, Mahendra Amarasuriya is mandated to travel to about 200 countries that have active Lionism. He will have access to heads of government and state and other influential persons in those countries not forgetting that due recognition will be given to Amarasuriya’s country of birth Sri Lanka. The former Sri Lanka Lions Governor says that this was the opportunity he should grab to give adequate publicity to Sri Lanka worldwide, which will help tourism, trade and investment, and clear the misconceptions that many leading players in the international community have about Sri Lanka’s struggle against terrorism and her commitment to bring a peaceful solution to benefit all communities.

What Oswin Silve indicates is that Amarasuriya is the best public diplomacy envoy Sri Lanka currently gained because of his election to the most recognized and influential position of International President of the World Lions Movement at a time this South Asian nation has faced an uncertain times.

An effective public diplomacy could avert some of the leading nations to reverse their decisions to reduce socio-economic assistance, says Mr. Silva reminding that the international community needs to be convinced that aid reductions affect the poorest ethnic communities in Sri Lanka.

- Asian Tribune -

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