David Smith
Sunday July 23, 2006
The Observer

The United Nations should recruit stars such as Bono and Bob Geldof to inject the kind of passion seen in the Make Poverty History campaign, according to one of the leading candidates to succeed Kofi Annan as its secretary general.

Jayantha Dhanapala, a senior adviser to the Sri Lankan President, said he would like to give Tony Blair an ambassadorial role similar to that of Bill Clinton after he quits Downing Street.

The UN security council is due to hold a ballot this week on the four Asian official candidates to replace Annan, who will have completed two five-year terms as secretary general when he steps down at the end of this year. Asian countries have argued that it is ‘their turn’ to claim the top UN job on the ground of regional rotation. US President George Bush recently supported their claim.

At the Sri Lankan High Commission in London, Dhanapala told The Observer: ‘Africa is a continent where we are lagging behind most and I think we need to have a major effort on behalf of everybody to do what people like Sir Bob Geldof and Bono and others are so passionately involved in. We need to see that passion writ large through the United Nations in order to bring the people who live below the poverty line above the poverty line.

‘Coming, as I do, from a developing country, I feel very strongly committed to moving on that. It is a tide that will lift all boats.’

Dhanapala, a former UN under-secretary-general for disarmament affairs, has worked with Hollywood actor Michael Douglas in Albania and Sierra Leone, and praised the recent activism of actress Angelina Jolie. He continued: ‘We have Bill Clinton already using his enormous energy and charisma. He came to Sri Lanka just after the tsunami and I know he had a tremendous impact on the people because of his very genuine compassion for the suffering of the people. I’m sure that Tony Blair, if his services are available, would be used by the UN for similar purposes.’

The 67-year-old, regarded as too old by some critics, admitted that the UN has a credibility problem after several scandals. The other Asian candidates are Shashi Tharoor of India, the UN’s under-secretary general for communications and public information, Surakiart Sathirathai, deputy prime minister of Thailand, and the South Korean foreign minister, Ban Ki-Moon.

Volcker commission report on UN oil-for-food

Useful links
UN website
Wikipedia: Kofi Annan

(Source: Global Order)


COLOMBO: Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday categorically stated that no other Sri Lankan’s name has been put forward for the post of UN Secretary General.

Former Peace Secretariat Chief and Advisor to the President Jayantha Dhanapala has been officially announced as Sri Lanka’s candidate.

At a news briefing held yesterday, Minister Samaraweera said: "Sri Lanka has only one candidate and that is Jayantha Dhanapala. His candidature has already been submitted to the UN Security Council by the Government of Sri Lanka. We have not heard of any other Government nominating any other Sri Lankan for the post of UN Secretary-General."

The Minister was responding to a media query as to whether the candidature of another person claiming to be a Sri Lankan has been announced for the Secretary General’s post. -Rasika Somarathna


"Considered by many in the diplomatic community to be the front-runner, the former Under Secretary-General for disarmament knows how to navigate the UN inside out," notes the Foreign Policy Journal.

Dhanapala began as a private sector executive, but became a career diplomat in 1965.

He went on to serve in key capitals such as London, Beijing, Washington, with accreditation to the UN.

He had represented Sri Lanka in most of the major conferences of NAM, Commonwealth, UNCTAD, ILO and WHO among other organisations.

He was hand picked by Kofi Annan to take on the challenging job of Under Secretary General to re-establish the Department of Disarmament after the UN reforms of 1997 (1998-2003).

During his tenure he piloted the UN role in arresting the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, anti-personnel landmines, conventional weapons, and weapons of mass destruction while reinforcing existing norms and norm-building in other areas.

He also broke new ground both in-house in taking managerial initiatives in gender mainstreaming and in work-life issues, as well as in the disarmament field by innovating the exchange of weapons for a development programme in Albania and other areas, and also in the cross-sectoral linking of disarmament with development, the environment and peace education programmes.

Dhanapala’s UN plans

• Eliminating Terrorism.

• Enhancing international cooperation.

• Creating dialogue among civilisations and promoting compromise and tolerance to enable people to understand and respect each other’s cultural values by ensuring religious freedom.


He has published four books and several articles in international journals, and has lectured in many countries.

He was awarded a MacArthur Foundation grant to research and write his book on "Multilateral Diplomacy and the NPT: An Insider’s account" published by UNIDIR, Geneva in 2005.

His contributions towards the international community are widely recognised through the receipt of several awards including: Georgetown University, Washington DC, the Monterey Institute of International Studies, the Ploughshares Fund and the School of International Service of American University, Washington DC for his work in diplomacy and disarmament, and was the Global Security Institute’s first recipient of the Alan Cranston Peace Award in 2002.

Dhanapala has also received several honorary degrees including Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) by the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka (2000), Doctor of Humane Letters Honoris Causa by the Monterey Institute of International Studies, USA (2001), Doctor of Science in the Social Sciences by the University of Southampton, UK (2003), Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) by the Sabaragamuwa University, Sri Lanka (2003)

Source: Global Order

Reuters reports President Bush expects the next United Nations secretary-general to come from Asia:

"As I understand it, traditionally … regions rotate, and we’re really looking in the Far East right now to be the secretary-general," Bush said in an interview on Monday with print reporters with Russia, Japan, Italy and Germany.

"Asia, yes," he said when asked to clarify his answer, though he refused to be more specific or name names.

"You’ll find that we will work closely with friends and allies to come up with the best candidate, but we won’t be committing publicly," Bush added.

Kofi Annan’s second five-year term as Secretary General expires at the end of the year. Traditionally, the position rotates among geographic regions. Annan, who is from of Ghana, succeeded Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt. Having back to back Africans was rationalized on the basis that Boutros-Ghali only served one term.

In response to questions, President Bush clarified his criteria for a candidate telling the reporters he would not oppose a Muslim for the position:

"The criterion I’m for is somebody who wants to spread liberty and enhance the peace, do difficult things like confront tyranny, worry about the human condition, blow the whistle on human rights violations," he said.

According to Reuters, there are four candidates in the running for the job:

Three have been officially nominated: Deputy Thai Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai; Sri Lankan disarmament specialist and government adviser Jayantha Dhanapala; and Indian novelist Shashi Tharoor, the undersecretary-general for the U.N. Department of Public Information.

Seoul has also announced that South Korea’s foreign minister, Ban Ki-moon, would run for the post though his name has not been formally submitted.

International politics usually results in compromise candidates with lower profiles being chosen Secretary General.

A recent communication [pdf format]to the President of the General Assembly from the President of the Security Council confirms that the first "straw ballot" for selecting the new Secretary General will take place in the second half of July.


PERSONALITIES: It was indeed a great honour and privilege to spare some precious time talking to one of Sri Lanka’s most distinguished diplomatic personalities, a true career Ambassador, Jayantha Dhanapala who has held many prestigious positions in the diplomatic service and the United Nations, now in the ‘run-up’ for the powerful post of UN Secretary-General.

Having been a sportsman, he would take it in his stride to take up any challenges and suitably counter the opposition.

As Jayantha spoke refreshingly, sweet sentiments and memorable moments of exactly fifty years ago, rugby clock and ball ‘rolled-back’ onto the rugby fields of Asgiriya and Bogambara, up in Kandy, where as young students, we would spring into action and take absolute delight in mixing the fun and joy of sports with the seriousness of studies… and participate in any form of sport!

In that period of time, at Trinity College Kandy, it was the school policy that every boy should be encouraged to integrate study with sports, as a part of his education and to build desirable qualities of character and camaraderie.

As a sporting personality, Cricket, Hockey, Boxing and Athletics were the main attractions for participating and building life-long friendships, with goodwill.

In addition, as a brilliant student of Trinity College, Jayantha Dhanapala, nominee of the Sri Lanka Government for the post of UN Secretary – General and currently a Senior Advisor to His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakse, the President of Sri Lanka, could recall his college days in 1956 as a significant year for an ‘Outstanding Personality’!

Jayantha Dhanapala, a true example of a gentleman of high integrity, modesty, sincerity, persevering and peace-loving, won himself the "Ryde Gold Medal" for the Best All-round student at Trinity in 1956, an award which includs performance in studies and sport Jayantha took a keen interest in rugby and played as a wing forward, who could be depended on, whether it be on or off the field.

His advice, encouragement and words of wisdom was communicated to his team-mates and received with delight.

Reminiscing on Trinity Rugby, memories were refreshed of the classy rugby played by Trinity, during a remarkable year of school rugby in 1956, when Trinity won all their school matches, with their goal-line uncrossed – and even registering a couple of good wins in ‘friendly’ games against Up-Country clubs.

This team, considered to be one of the best rugby sides Trinity has ever produced, was captained by David Frank, an outstanding No. 8 forward, backed by ‘flying’ flankers Franklyn Jacob and Wilhelm Balthazaar, second rowers Gamini Weerasinghe and Rodney Frank, props Jinnah Dias de Singhe and Raji de Sylva with mercurial Mike de Alwis as hooker. ‘Safe-Hands’ Nimal Maralanda (fly-half) paired off with Ranjith de Alwis (scrum half), with two versatile, weaving centres, Ken de Joodt and Sena de Sylva, while Public School Athletes Vernon Boteju and Sene Ettipola manned the wings. A bold and courageous M. U. Odayar was the full-back.

Nine members of this team represented the Combined Schools XV and went on to be superb club rugby players, with most of them being picked to play for the country, Nimal Maralanda and Mike de Alwis captained Sri Lanka in 1964 and 1966 respectively.

At the end of 1956, Jayantha gained entry into the University of Peradeniya, along with college mates Sarath Amunugama (present Minister of Public Administration), S. M. L. Marikkar (Foreign Service) and N. G. Perera, (who migrated to Australia).

He chose to concentrate on his studies and then focus on his future career, after obtaining a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree.

Before embarking on a star-studded Diplomatic career, he entered into marriage and subsequently had two children.

In his own words, he described his desire by saying "My twin and life-long interests in literature and diplomacy have led me to a fascination with those in the diplomatic profession who have succeeded in retaining the creative spark under the carapace of protocol…!"

To further his career ambitions he became proficient in speaking both French and Chinese, in addition to his fluency in English and Sinhala.

Since joining the Sri Lanka Diplomatic Service in 1965, his achievements vary from receiving prestigious Awards, to delivering several keynote lectures, numerous Statements and Addresses at major Conferences, plus Publications of many Articles and Books, most importantly as an Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United States of America, (1995 to ’97) and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva and Austria, (’84 to ’87), then Under-Secretary General, Department for Disarmament Affairs in the United Nations, New York (’98 to 2003) and now as a hopeful prospect for the UN Secretary-General’s prestigious post.

This would be a proud achievement for him as well as the country. May all the blessings of God be bestowed on him for success.

In absolute frankness and honesty, Jayantha Dhanapala has immense experience and expertise to draw from and be able to advise many involved in sports, of their dedication and handling of their specific responsibilities.

Good reasoning, Justice and Fairplay must be considered top priorities, be it the player, the coach or the official at the helm of a sports organization. Victory is the main goal but how it is achieved matters a great deal. Source: ANCL Sri Lanka

[Editor’s Pick of the Month]

Says banning rebel funding right move

OTTAWA—Canada has done the right thing by banning the Tamil Tigers and must follow up by making sure there is no more fundraising, a former Sri Lankan peace negotiator said yesterday.

"The financing must stop," said Jayantha Dhanapala, the former secretary-general of the Sri Lankan peace process that negotiated with the LTTE.

On Monday morning, a suicide bomber in Colombo killed the deputy-chief of the Sri Lankan Army, Maj.-Gen. Parami Kulatunge.

In other violence overnight, four Tamil Tiger rebels were killed in an attack by a breakaway faction in Vakarai in the east and a soldier was shot dead by suspected Tigers in a separate incident in Trincomalee, further north.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa urged calm and said his government would "act with patience" — a sign officials were moving carefully amid fears the island nation was sliding back into all-out war after a four-year lull.

According to human rights officials, 171 politically motivated killings were recorded in Sri Lanka’s north and east in May.

Authorities blamed the Tamil Tiger rebels for yesterday’s attack on Kulatunge — a charge the rebels deny.

An insurgent leader, Seevaratnam Puleedevan, insisted the Tigers were abiding by the 2002 ceasefire and were committed to peace, but the denial was viewed skeptically by many diplomats and analysts.

In Ottawa yesterday, Dhanapala called the killing of Kulatunge an indication the LTTE is taking advantage of the ceasefire to come into the capital and launch suicide attacks that kill innocent civilians.

Despite the violence, he said he is optimistic there can be peace.

"I know that on one side of the conflict there is a genuine desire to solve it, to have a solution, but we need to have that reciprocated."

Dhanapala said expatriate Sri Lankans can help bring an end to the violence.

"I think the expatriates have a profoundly significant role to play," he said. "They have been providing much of the finance for the LTTE to buy arms and bullets which have gone to killing innocent men, women and children, which have gone into arming child soldiers in this horrendous conflict."

He said he appreciated that contributing money to the LTTE is illegal under Canadian law. Canada listed the LTTE as a terrorist group in April.
"There are very able professionals among the expatriate community, not on

ly in Canada but in other countries, who can contribute enormously to the development of Sri Lanka, particularly in areas where the predominant population are Tamils," he said. Dhanapala said there are also lawyers and constitutional experts who could help Sri Lanka achieve what the President calls maximum devolution within a united Sri Lanka.

Dhanapala, who is a candidate to succeed Kofi Annan as secretary-general of the United Nations, was in Ottawa yesterday to meet with Foreign Affairs officials as part of his UN bid.

Identified by the U.S. publication Foreign Policy as a front-runner for the position, Dhanapala was a Sri Lankan diplomat for 30 years, serving in London, Beijing, Washington, New Delhi and Geneva. He speaks Sinhala, English, French and Chinese.  (Toronto Star)

Senior Advisor to President Mahinda Rajapakse and Sri Lanka’s nominee for the post of Secretary General of the United Nations, Jayantha Dhanapala will be chief guest at the Annual General Meetings of the Board of Management of The Management Clubs and the Management Club of Mount Lavinia as well as the inaugural General Meeting of Enabling the Disabled, on June 30 at the upper crystal room of the Taj Samudra, president of the Board of Management of the Management club, Fayaz Saleem said.

Dhanapala will address the members and invitees at the ceremonial sessions due to commence immediately after the conclusion of the AGM of TMC.

A change of leadership and new styles of leadership from the younger managers of corporates are a priority of TMC. The growth and visibility of the Management Clubs has led to the strengthening of its stature and this is evidenced by the increased interest shown by new members.

The ceremonial sessions are open to heads of large corporates, NGOs, INGOs and government institutions among others. By participation at the ceremonial session members would provide vital support for the new leadership and also show solidarity will the chief guest Jayantha Dhanapala, who is vying for the most prestigious office at the United Nations, Saleem concluded. -Island by Brian Tissera

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