( December 17, 2012, Paris, Sri Lanka Guardian) On December 14th, 2012, Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka hosted a farewell reception, at the Maison Marie Walewska for diplomats, French officials and academicians.
Delivering his farewell speech, Ambassador Jayatilleka highlighted the value of his experience in Paris: “We have been truly enriched by our experience here. We have valued in France the experience of civilité in everyday life, as in diplomacy. We have had a very constructive and very warm friendly relationship with as France during my period here. Our interactions have been excellent. And also the many adventures we have had at UNESCO. These have enriched us tremendously.”
Full text of the farewell speech ;
Dayan Ambassador Jayatilleka’s Farewell speech to the Diplomats in France at the Maison Marie Walewska
December, 14th, 2012
Good evening friends,
I should say Excellencies, but I consider you friends before diplomats. Thank you very much for being here today.
I know it is not the usual place that we meet. It is not UNESCO; it is not one of our usual locations in town. We thought that this was a picturesque little place which was suitable for our gathering. I was told by my Research Officer that this is in fact the house of the mistress of Napoleon, so I hope that our distinguished representatives from the Holy See will not mind this.
So after two years, we leave Paris, and as all of you know Paris is not an easy place to leave. It is a place that makes an indelible impression. But it is not only the place; it is also our friends from the other Missions to France and from UNESCO.
We have been truly enriched by our experience here. We have valued in France the experience of civilité in everyday life, as in diplomacy. We have had a very constructive and very warm friendly relationship with France during my period here. Our interactions have been excellent. And so also the many adventures we have had at UNESCO. These have enriched us tremendously.
During the two years that we spent here, one of the landmark events has been of course the historic recognition of Palestine at UNESCO, which was the opening of the door through which the UNGA vote has followed this year. Whatever our positions were, we were all part of that moment in one way or the other and this we will always remember.
Thank you for your friendship, for your solidarity and for everything we have learned from you. Every one of these faces has with it a positive memory of friendship and of example. We have learned so much about the world and culture, because culture is really global and I think we in UNESCO have proved that.
Today is also an example of the true universality of our values and our culture, which has a place for diversity. If there is anything that unites us is the humanism that we all share in our outlooks; a humanism which, of course, has different accents and different emphases depending on our trajectories.
So on behalf of Sanja and myself, a very warm thank you to all of you. Thank you all for your gifts, and the gift that matters most, the gift of friendship.