25 August 2008


25 August 2008
Press Release
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Biographical Note

New permanent representative of SRI LANKA presents credentials

(Based on information provided by the Protocol and Liaison Service.)

The new Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, Hewa M.G.S. Palihakkara, presented his credentials to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today.

Mr. Palihakkara, who currently serves on the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters, retired as the Foreign Secretary of Sri Lanka on 31 December 2006 after 38 years of civil and diplomatic service.

Since the 1990s, he has served his Government on a number of assignments to the United Nations in Geneva and New York, covering work related to the General Assembly’s First Committee (Disarmament and International Security), and later the Conference on Disarmament, as well as on human rights, humanitarian and economic and social affairs.  He either led or participated as a member of Sri Lanka’s delegation in several peace and security/disarmament-related conferences and meetings, including the 1995 Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

He served as Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and head of delegation to the Conference on Disarmament from 1997 to 2000.  After his work in Geneva, he was appointed Ambassador to Thailand, Cambodia, Lao Peoples Democratic Republic and Viet Nam, and from 2000 to 2004 served as his country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

Mr. Palihakkara served as Acting Director-General and Deputy Director-General of Sri Lanka’s Peace Secretariat (SCOPP), which serviced the Norwegian-facilitated peace talks (2002) and subsequent ceasefire (2003).  Among other positions, during the mid-1990s, he was Director-General of Multilateral Affairs at Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry, covering work related to preventive diplomacy, peacebuilding, arms control and non-proliferation.

Holding a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, Mr. Palihakkara entered his country’s foreign service in 1979.  His foreign affairs training took place in Australia in 1980, and he followed up his studies in international human rights and humanitarian law at the Raul Wallenberg Institute, University of Lund, Sweden.

Born in Sri Lanka in 1947, Mr. Palihakkara is married with one child.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.