By Catherine A. Dailey.
On Thursday, February 26, Ambassador Buddhi K. Athauda was awarded Diplomat Magazine’s Certificate of Merit, in recognition of his many contributions to the diplomatic community in The Hague. Among the large gathering of guests present for the ceremony and to bid him a warm farewell, were fourteen ambassadors, distinguished guests from near and afar and other private and government sector friends, who weathered a drizzly Dutch winter’s day in order to honor him.
Mr. Henry Ardvisson, of Diplomat Magazine, presented the award to Ambassador Athauda. A reception followed the afternoon program.
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The United States Ambassador to the Netherlands, H.E. Mr. Timothy Broas, on behalf of diplomatic community gave a speech, introducing the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the invited guests. Ambassador Broas appreciatively recalled how Ambassador Athauda was the first to extend a welcoming hand to him at one of the first receptions that he attended after he arrived in The Hague as a newly appointed ambassador.
He also briefly commented on Ambassador’s Athauda’s extensive experience in the private sector, specifically mentioning his senior management experience with Iridium LLC, pioneers in mobile satellite telecommunication technologies.
Ambassador Athauda was appointed by His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the Court of then reigning monarch, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. He presented his credentials as Ambassador Extraordinary of the Plenipotentiary of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka on the 28th of June 2011.
He has held many prestigious positions in various multinational organizations while representing his country in the Netherlands.
Presently, the Ambassador is the Chairman of the Budget Committee of the Permanent Court of Arbitration for the years 2014 & 2015, having been unanimously elected by 115 fellow member states.
He also serves as Chairman, Common Fund for Commodities (CFC), elected unanimously as Chairperson of the year 2014, by member countries at the 25th Annual Meeting of Governing Council, proposed by the Secretary-General of The Hague Peace Conference on Private International Law (HccH) to Chair the newly formed Administrative Council to formulate a financial framework for The Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) for a one year period from October 2014.
Further, Ambassador Athauda was unanimously elected as Vice-chair of 18th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons (OPCW) at the sessions held in December 2013.
Ambassador Athauda took the podium following Ambassador Broas’ introduction and was especially pleased to share a few words about the Diplomatic Council, a Global Think Tank founded by him and where he serves as President. The Council is a platform for both CEOs of companies and ambassadors to promote investment and market opportunities to make the world a better place for the benefit of all. It currently enjoys over 5,000 supporters in 16 countries.
Ambassador Athauda continues to promote bilateral relations in the realm of finance and trade between Sri Lanka and the Netherlands, which has resulted in significant increases in trade in the fields of agriculture, dairy products, information technology, healthcare and infrastructure.
In his closing remarks, Ambassador Athauda, smiling broadly, confided, that he “secretly collects friends” whom he considers “friends for life” and invited all guests present to continue networking with him wherever he may be found across the globe be it Sri Lanka, North America, Europe or beyond.
Certificate of Merit – Ceremony of Merit- Farewell ceremony