Sri Lanka Express

SL diplomat to discuss post-war peace building at Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Gamini Keerawella, the deputy chief of mission of Sri Lanka in the United States, will visit Penn State on April 24 to discuss socio-political dynamics of the conflict and post-conflict reconciliation initiatives in Sri Lanka. Dr. Keerawella’s talk, “Ethnic Conflict and Post-War Peace Building in Sri Lanka,” will be held from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. on Monday, April 24, in room 112 of the Lewis Katz Building.

In addition to his current position as a high-ranking diplomat, Dr. Keerawella is also an eminent Sri Lankan academic and historian who has held faculty positions at the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka and the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts.

His research focuses on peace and security in the Indian Ocean and post-colonial state -building and political processes in Sri Lanka. He has also published research on peace and security issues in the Indian Ocean, Japan and South Asia, the role of India as a regional power, and the influence of colonialism on post-colonial states, among numerous other topics.  (Source: Penn State School of International Affairs)
Dr.  Gamini Keerawella

US Marines, Sailors Work with Sri Lanka Navy, Marine Corps for Second Time

The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG).  US Navy photo

Story by Lt. Adam Cole , Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet
March 27. 2017
This is the second military-to-military exchange with Sri Lanka for the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 11th MEU during their multi-month deployment to both the Indo-Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastregions. USS Somerset (LPD 25) and embarked Marines of the 11th MEU participated in a TSC with Sri Lanka Marines and Sailors at Trincomalee Naval Base in November 2016.

This iteration of ongoing U.S.-Sri Lanka military exchanges focuses on the infantry and logistical skills necessary to implement humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. The training will culminate with a full scale, bilateral humanitarian assistance mission exercise.

"This is a great opportunity to continue our partnership with the Sri Lankan Marine Corps. This exchange is a unique experience for our young non-commissioned officers to impart our history, traditions, and training to the world's newest Marine Corps," said Lt. Col. Patrick Reynolds, commanding officer, Combat Logistics Battalion 11, 11th MEU, and commander of troops embarked aboard USS Comstock. "The training will focus on the fundamentals of security operations and considerations for planning and executing humanitarian assistance/disaster relief operations."

U.S. Marines will also work to provide increased familiarization of Marine Corps tactics and equipment to advance Sri Lanka Marine Corps' lnowledge and expertise. Topics of exchange include basic offensive and defensive tactics; combat lifesaving skills; tactical convoy operations; humanitarian assistance and disaster relief training; and amphibious assault vehicle familiarization.

The Comstock crew will host their Sri Lankan Navy counterparts for shipboard tours and familiarization of naval damage control procedures. Additionally, Sailors and Marines will have an opportunity to conduct an outreach project at an orphanage and experience the culture of Sri Lanka. Finally, sporting activities and a concluding BBQ reception will round out the activities, allowing forces from both nations to build bonds in parallel with training.

"The U.S. Navy has a good relationship with the Sri Lanka Navy and specifically with the Makin Island ARG-11th MEU team," said Cmdr. Bradley Coletti, commanding officer, USS Comstock. "Our counterparts aboard USS Somerset recently conducted a meaningful exchange with the Sri Lankan Navy, which was a great success for both of our militaries and countries. We hope to build upon that success and do what we can to exchange best naval practices for regional security and humanitarian assistance, and to ensure a bright future for further bilateral engagements like this."

Approximately 325 Marines and Sailors from the Makin Island ARG/11th MEU and 175 Marines and Sailors from the Sri Lankan Navy and Marine Corps are expected to participate in the TSC. The U.S. units involved are Company B, Battalion Landing Team 1st Bn., 4th Marines; Combat Logistics Detachment 113, Combat Logistics Battalion 11; and USS Comstock.

The Sailors and Marines of Comstock and 11th MEU will also have the opportunity to experience the sites and history of Sri Lanka as part of the visit.