President Ranil Wickremesinghe delivered a powerful speech during the 150th-anniversary celebration of St. Michael College in Batticaloa, (07) emphasizing the importance of unity and development for the country’s future. The president commended the school for its diverse student body and its role in promoting harmony among different communities.
President Wickremesinghe stressed that unity among Sri Lankans was the foundation for resolving ethnic and religious issues, also the progress for the development, highlighting the need for all Sri Lankans to come together as one people, regardless of their differences, to move forward and rebuild the nation after years of division and turmoil. He noted that the country had faced significant hardships that divisions had taken the country to the brink of collapse, referencing times when essential resources like petrol and food were scarce and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a poignant moment during his speech, President Wickremesinghe highlighted the power of unity when the choir of St. Michael’s sang “Namo Namo Matha” in Tamil. He emphasized that regardless of the language it’s sung in, the message remains the same – that all Sri Lankans are children of one mother. President Wickremesinghe stressed the need to overcome ethnic and religious differences, acknowledging that such divisions have hindered progress in the past. He pledged to engage with leaders to address these issues and urged everyone to come together to find solutions, emphasizing the importance of resolving these “small things” for the greater good of the nation.
The president encouraged dialogue and political discussions as a means to resolve issues within the country, asserting that Sri Lankans must work together to find solutions rather than seeking external intervention. He emphasized the need for maintaining high standards and addressing human rights issues within the country.
Concluding his speech, President Wickremesinghe commended St. Michael’s for its ability to bridge cultural and societal barriers, where students from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, including Tamils, Sinhalese and others, had studied together. He highlighted the school as an example of how national unity can be achieved, emphasizing that it can serve as a model for resolving differences and moving the country forward.
The event was attended by notable dignitaries, including Eastern Province Governor Senthil Thondaman, State Ministers Mr. S. Viyalanderan and Mr.Sivanesathurai Santhirakanthan, as well as the school’s Principal Mr. Anton Benedict, past and present students, and other attendees.