February 8, 2023 Reading Time: 3 minutes
Reading Time: 3 min read
The Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Lecture delivered by Hon. Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
03 February 2023
The Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Lecture was delivered on 3 February 2023 by Hon. Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh at a ceremony held at the Jasmine Hall of the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH). The event was hosted by Hon. M. U. M. Ali Sabry PC, MP Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and Chairman of the Board of Management of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies.
Delivering the Welcome Address Mrs. Suganthie Kadirgamar highlighted the Late Minister’s wish to see a united Sri Lanka. She quoted from a speech delivered by the late Minister on the 20 June 1998 where Mr. Kadirgamar said that “no sacrifice is too great to preserve the unity of all the people in Sri Lanka”.
Hon. M. U. M. Ali Sabry PC, MP delivering the Opening Address stated that “Kadirgamar paid a heavy price for his belief in a better Sri Lanka when he was tragically assassinated in 2005.” He further stated that “if we are to honour his life, his work and his ultimate sacrifice for our Nation we must strive to make his vision of a united Sri Lanka a reality. We must put aside our stubborn vanity bourne out of ethnicity, race and religion and come together as one Nation. A Nation of ‘Sri Lankans’ where our differences are put aside and we strive to give our best for our country.” Delivering the Memorial Lecture under the theme Shared Prosperity: A Vision for South Asia, Hon. Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen paid tribute to the Late Hon Lakshman Kadirgamar stating that he was one of Sri Lanka’s finest sons who served as the Foreign Minister during some of the most challenging times in Sri Lanka’s recent history. He highlighted the Late Minister’s contribution in steadily moving towards building a multi-religious and multi-ethnic united Sri Lanka where all communities could live together in harmony. He further stated that he hopes that “Bangladesh and its neighbours in South Asia would be able to tap the potentials of each other’s complementarities to further consolidate our relations to rise and shine as a Region.”
Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen has served as Bangladesh’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary as well as; Permanent Representative (PR) to the UN from August 2009 to November 2015. Dr. Momen has previously served as the President of the UNICEF Executive Board (2010-2011), President of UN Office of the South-South Cooperation (2014-2015), Vice President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (2011-2012), Chair and Vice Chair of the Peace Building Commission (2011-2014) and Vice President of the United Nations General Assembly (2013-2014) and also served thrice as Acting President of the United Nations General Assembly. Dr. Momen has obtained his PhD in Economics and an MBA in Business Administration from the Northeastern University (Boston). He has also obtained a Master’s in Public Administration, Public Policy and International Economics from the Harvard University and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Dhaka. The Memorial Lecture was attended by a large number of dignitaries including His Lordship Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya PC and Justices of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, Hon. Wijedasa Rajapakshe, PC, MP, Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms, Hon. Nimal Siripala de Silva, Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation, Hon. Tharaka Balasuriya, State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Sanjay Rajaratnam PC, Attorney General of Sri Lanka, Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera, Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Heads of Diplomatic Missions, Members of Parliament, senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Service Commanders.
The Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Lecture had been delivered by eminent personalities since 2006. The past, distinguished speakers included the Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, Former Prime Minister of The United Kingdom, Hon. Erna Solberg, Former Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway, Hon. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Former Minister of Law, Justice and Electronics of India, Hon. P. Chidambaram, Former Minister of Finance of India, Dr. Liam Fox, Former Secretary of State for Defence of the United Kingdom, Dr. Francis Gurry, Director General, World Intellectual Property Organization and Hon. Pranab Mukerjee, Former Minister of Finance of India (later served as the 13 th President of India (2012-2017)).