Interaction with the farming and fishing community on the Karainagar island.

Highlights from Ambassador's Visit to Sri Lanka

Ambassador May-Elin Stener visits Sri Lanka, the second time in her term as Ambassador to Sri Lanka.

Meeting with the President and Foreign Minister

The Ambassador met with President Ranil Wickremesinghe and was able to brief him on the positive progress on Norwegian investments and development projects in the country. She underlined that Norway is committed to continue the close bilateral partnership. In her meeting with Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, the Ambassador discussed reconciliation, economic reforms, and Norway’s development efforts in Sri Lanka. Both countries are interested to cooperate more within renewables, circular economy and the maritime sector.

Engagement with Political Leaders and the Business Community:

In Colombo, the Ambassador also met with political leaders including the Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa and the leader of the National People's Power (NPP) Anura Kumara Dissanayake. Discussions revolved around economic reforms, the importance of reconciliation efforts, and opportunities for enhanced economic cooperation between Norway and Sri Lanka.

At a lunch meeting she met and interacted with the business community, organized by our excellent Honorary Consul, Mano Sekaram. This gave a good overview of opportunities for strengthening Norway-Sri Lanka business ties and Sri Lanka’s economic situation.

Norway’s continued engagement in the north

The Ambassador made sure to visit the Northern Province during her visit. In Jaffna, she interacted with Governor P.S.M. Charles and Bishop Justin Bernard Gnanapragasam. They had in-depth discussions on the situation and the way forward for development in the north and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. The Ambassador briefed about the excellent cooperation with the ILO on the PAVE-project, funded by Norway. She was later able to go on a field visit with the ILO to meet with the inspiring women seaweed growers and farmers that take part in the project.

She also met with the farming and fishing community on the Karainagar island, organized by FORUT Norway and the civil society organization FRIENDS. Sri Lanka is FORUT’s longest-standing partner-country in the global south. Throughout the years FORUT has contributed to the creation and development of several grassroots and local organizations in all parts of the country. She also got the chance to see the Cey-Nor factory, the result of Norway’s first development project in Sri Lanka in the 1960’.

Norway also has a strong collaboration with the University of Jaffna. The University is truly the beating heart of education and research in the north. The collaboration with Norwegian institutions has delivered some amazing results, such as the new modern clean energy research lab and the first floating solar plant, both supported by Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. The Embassy also met with students that had benefited from exchange programs with the University of Bergen and Agder.

National Day Reception

Back in Colombo, the Ambassador hosted civil society, government, member of parliaments and the Norwegian community at a National Day Reception. Norway’s national day on the 17th of May was celebrated a little earlier this time. The Ambassador had specially brought her traditional costume, the Bunad, for the occasion. In her speech she spoke about the importance of cherishing and nurturing the core values of democracy, human rights, and rule of law. These are the fundamental values of the Norwegian Constitution, which are celebrated in Norway every 17th of May.

Finally, a visit to Sri Lanka would not be complete without experiencing the country’s rich historical heritage. The Ambassador paid a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage sites Sigiriya and Anuradhapura, depicting impeccable art and culture. No wonder that the number of Norwegian tourists to Sri Lanka is increasing rapidly!