Esala Weerakoon assumed office as Sri Lanka’s new Foreign Secretary in Colombo on Monday (August 1). Weerakoon has been Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India for a little over eight months. He succeeds Ms. Chitranganee Wagiswara who in a reverse appointment moved to New Delhi as Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India.
Having joined the Sri Lanka Foreign Service in 1998, Weerakoon has served as High Commissioner to India, Ambassador to Norway, High Commissioner to Seychelles, Charge d’ Affaires at Sri Lanka Embassies in Washington DC and in Tokyo in addition to several other postings that include London, Canberra, Kuala Lumpur and Paris. During his tenure of service at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs he has served in different capacities including as the Director General of Economic Affairs Division and the Director General of East Asia & Pacific Division. He has also held office as Additional Secretary (External Relations) at the Ministry of Economic Development and as Additional Secretary (Special Projects) at the Ministry of Housing & Samurdhi.
A past student of Royal College, Colombo and a graduate in Economics from the University of Kelaniya, High Commissioner Weerakoon is also an alumni of the London School of Economics and the University of London, where he pursued his post-graduate studies. He is the only child of legendary former civil servant Bradman Weerakoon, who has served, during his career, under nine Prime Ministers and Presidents of Sri Lanka, including current Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
According to media reports from India, he and his wife Krishanti flew back home on Saturday night. On Friday night, Indian Foreign Secretary Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar hosted a dinner for Weerakoon and his wife at the elegant Hyderabad House, and wished Weerakoon all success in his new assignment. He said India is ready to offer whatever assistance Sri Lanka needs, and invited Weerakoon to be in regular touch with him. Augurs well for bilateral relations between India and Sri Lanka.
At 55 years Weerakoon is one of the youngest to hold the office of Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is held in high esteem in the Foreign Ministry and by the government of Sri Lanka.
BY: Upali Obeyesekere – Editor, TSL
He is married to Krishanti, New Delhi-born daughter of Bernard Tilakaratna, also a former Sri Lanka High Commissioner to India and Foreign Secretary, who was a distinguished public servant. The couple has a daughter and a son.
The outgoing Foreign Secretary Chitranganee Wagiswara is well known to us here in Canada having served in Ottawa twice – once in the nineties and more recently as Sri Lanka High Commissioner. She is the senior most foreign service officer in the ministry. Besides holding several senior posts within the Foreign Ministry, she also served as Ambassador in France, High Commissioner in Singapore and served in the U.K. Italy and was Sri Lanka’s Permanent Delegate to UNESCO. A pretty impressive career spanning over 30 years.