The Ministry of Foreign Affairs learns with deep sorrow of the passing away of eminent Sri Lanka Foreign Service officer Deshamanya Jayantha Dhanapala and conveys its profound condolences to his family.
The late Mr. Dhanapala joined the Sri Lanka Foreign Service in 1965 and had a distinguished career as a public servant during which he served his country with integrity, dedication and the highest professionalism which has inspired succeeding generations of Foreign Service officers.
In his Foreign Service career, he served in Sri Lanka Missions in Beijing, New Delhi and London and as Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva and as Ambassador to the United States. He was also Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He also served as Secretary General of the Secretariat established to Co-ordinate the Peace Process in Sri Lanka and as Senior Advisor to the President of Sri Lanka.
Mr. Dhanapala was also a distinguished international civil servant who held many positions of international distinction. He was Director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) and later Under Secretary General of the United Nations for Disarmament Affairs from 1998 to 2003. He later served as President of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs and Vice President of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
The late Mr. Dhanapala is renowned globally for chairing the 1995 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference and for his expertise and dedication to a world free of weapons of mass destruction including disarmament and nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. He wrote several books and articles notably on the topics of international security, nonproliferation, disarmament and multilateral diplomacy.
The late Mr. Dhanapala was deeply admired and respected in Sri Lanka and internationally for his humanity, competence and warm personality. He was a role model and beacon to all through his dedication and commitment to public duty and wider intellectual interests and dedication to the arts.
He leaves behind his devoted wife Maureen who was his pillar of strength both in his professional career and as a friend in life’s journey right to the end. He is deeply missed by his son Sivanka and daughter Kiran.
The Sri Lanka Foreign Service and the Foreign Ministry mourns his loss.
May he rest in peace!
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
27 May 2023