It is with deep sadness we announce the demise of one of Trinity’s most illustrious old-boys, Mr. Jayantha Dhanapala. The veteran diplomat’s passing was reported yesterday (The 27th May 2023) At the Kandy National Hospital.
He was awarded the most prestigious award which Trinity presents, The Ryde Gold Medal in 1956. He was known as a very talented and charismatic school boy who showed significant interest in Sports as well. He was always known as a student who is interested in the peacekeeping of the world, It is made obvious with the fact that at the age of just 17, he won a very respected contest under the topic “The world we want”. Courtesy to this achievement he met then Senator John. F Kennedy – One of the most respected American presidents, and the then president Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Dr. Dhanapala’s career as a diplomat was also a very respected one. He was appointed the Ambassador in Geneva from 1984 to 1987, Dr. Dhanapala was recognized to the United Nations and he was appointed the very important position of Sri Lanka’s ambassador to the United States from 1995 – 1997.
He was mostly known as the President of the 1995 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference, because of his awe-inspiring diplomacy it was adopted without a vote.
However, Perhaps his most legendary position would be as the Under-Secretary-General at the United Nations. His position was a challenging one because he had the tough job of re-establishing the Department of Disarmament after the UN reforms of 1997. His tenure was very impressive due to several reasons mainly because of many major increases of arrest which were creating a harm to the society.
Later, Dr. Jayantha was appointed as the secretary general of the SCOPP ( Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process ) in Sri Lanka (2004-2005). He was special advisor to several Sri Lankan presidents such as Mahinda Rajapakse, Chandrika Kumarathunga and Maithripala Sirisena, he was also a member of the Constitutional Council of Sri Lanka from 2018 and 2020.
Dr. Dhanapala who at time of his passing was 84, was a very distinguished gentleman who often helped Trinity College with many projects, and even featured in the College Digital Magazine lately. We take this moment to appreciate the unprecedented services to the society by Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala and we express our heartfelt condolences to his family.
May his soul rest in peace.
Nimuthu Pathiraja (Web Content Team)