Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 17 April 2011





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British High Commissioner visits Southern Province

British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, John Rankin, concluded a three-day tour of the Southern Province recently. "During my visit I saw the strong historical links between Sri Lanka and the UK and our dynamic, modern relationship," he said.

"In Unawatuna, I saw our strong cultural and linguistic links in action. Two retired British teachers Alan and Jo Brown are doing great work for Project Trust at the Unawatuna Maha Vidyalaya. Together with their team of young British volunteers they are helping teachers and students achieve greater fluency and confidence in their use of English, using creative cross-curricular content, including IT and drama.

The magnificent Galle Fort, is a slice of living history. The Fort simultaneously displays historical influences and the hustle and bustle of modern life. The Fort is now home to a substantial British expatriate community. It was a pleasure to meet some of these British nationals and hear their stories, told with great affection, about life in Sri Lanka.

In Hambantota, I was delighted to visit the bungalow of another Briton who has made a lasting impression on the area: Leonard Woolf, the writer, who served as Assistant Government Agent from 1908-1911. Woolf started out as a colonial administrator but developed a deep connection with the people of Sri Lanka and became a strong advocate for the end of colonial rule. My visit to the Southern province has been exciting and useful, giving me insight into different communities in the region.

I am touched and honoured by the warm welcome given to me at every turn. The Sri Lankan fame for hospitality is truly well-deserved." During the third day of his visit to the south, the High Commissioner met the Governor of the Southern Province, Senior Superintendent of Police, opposition politicians and several British nationals living and working in Galle, including youth volunteers.



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