The promising Sri Lanka Peace Collection has successfully garnered the US government's nod. 'Sri Lanka Peace Collection' is the government's initiative to provide livelihood support for war widows through country's handloom sector.
“The Sri Lanka Peace Collection has very high potential” announced Her Excellency Patricia Butenis, Ambassador of the United States of America. H.E. Butenis announced this after a special presentation and a discussion facilitated by Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce, last month in Colombo.
H.E Butenis was attending the second round of discussions on the Sri Lanka Peace Collection along with the officials of Sri Lanka Export Development Board, the Textiles Department, Department of Commerce and National Entrepreneurs Development Authority represented the Government of Sri Lanka on this occasion.
Attending the discussions along with H.E. Butenis are Edward.P.Heartney, Counsellor on Economic and Commercial Affairs, US Embassy and Laura. A. Gonzalez, Private Enterprise Officer, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Preliminary discussions were held with H.E. Butenis on January 6, 2011 to explore possible market access for the Peace Collection in the US.
Ms Himali Jinadasa, Advisor to the Hon. Minister of Industry and Commerce and Convenor of the Sri Lanka Peace Collection project made the special presentation on Peace Collection on November 3 to H.E. Butenis. H.E. Butenis and Minister Bathiudeen discussed the many ways in which the US assistance could be incorporated to the Peace Collection project and jointly evaluated the next steps on how to move the project forward.
H.E. Butenis announced: “This collection of fabrics are vibrant, colourful and of high quality. The Sri Lanka Peace Collection has very high potential.”
Minister Bathiudeen, apprising H.E. Butenis said: “The Peace Collection is our effort to support he war widows of North and East. We have already received support from USAID and UNESCO for this unique project.”
The collection is scheduled to be launched at the Sri Lanka Expo 2012, the mega export show held in Sri Lanka in March 2012 after 15 years lapse. Thereafter the Collection will be launched in Washington, New York and Los Angeles with support from the US Trade Representative for Central and South Asia and the US Embassy in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (SLEDB), Department of Commerce and Textile Unit of Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka.
Handloom experts praised the latest development. “The US support is good news for the Peace Collection and also the Sri Lankan handloom industry in general” said Senaka De Silva, leading Sri Lankan fashion designer of international fame who has been in the fashion industry for over 25 years and the Designated Designer for the project.
Mr. De Silva has worked on researching and restoring age old textile techniques in Sri Lanka. His vast collection has a Sri Lankan identity and is admired by international buyers in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Rome, Oman, Dubai and more recently, in Mumbai.