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Japanese FM's Commendation 2017 awarded to three Sri Lankans

The Japanese Foreign Minister's Commendations 2017 was awarded to Punnyakante Wijenaike, Professor Carlo Fonseka and Punchi Banda Munasinghe, by Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka, at a special ceremony held on October, 19, 2017 at the Ambassador's residence in Colombo.

Punnyakante Wijenaike, one of the most successful writers in Sri Lanka, was appointed Committee member of the Japan - Sri Lanka Friendship Cultural Fund Awards Committee in 1997. Until her retirement in 2016, she participated in almost every Committee meeting and always provided constructive opinion on how the Cultural Funds should be managed, based on her broad knowledge about art.

Professor Carlo Fonseka, a clinical Doctors in Sri Lanka, was appointed as Co-Chairperson of the Committee of the Japan - Sri Lanka Friendship Cultural Fund Awards Fund Awards in 2010. His leadership and contribution to the committee, has enabled the Cultural Fund Awards to maintain and develop its reputation as the most distinguished cultural award in Sri Lanka, while adapting to the cultural environment.

The Japan - Sri Lanka Friendship Cultural Fund Awards (Bunka Award) established in 1993, is one of the most prestigious awards in Sri Lanka and aims to encourage and promote Sri Lankan artists with remarkable talents. The Bunka Award is presented annually by the Fund and has helped many artists to develop their talents further. The tremendous and long-sustained dedication by Ms Wijenaike and Professor Fonseka for the development of Japan - Sri Lanka Friendship Cultural Fund Awards is highly commendable.

Punchi Banda Munasinghe, an active and reliable Administration Director at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka, had dedicated himself to establish the Japanese Graduates Alumni Association of Sri Lanka (JAGAAS) as Founder Secretary. He was then appointed as President of JAGAAS in 2007 and took the lead in introducing the Bon Odori Festival as one of the major events of its activities along with many seminars, lectures and workshops. Through these activities, he has contributed greatly to the promotion of mutual understanding between Japan and Sri Lanka.

The Foreign Minister's Commendations are awarded to individuals and groups for their outstanding achievements in international fields to acknowledge their contribution to the promotion of friendship between Japan and foreign countries, according to a Press release.