Dr. Palitha Kohona is the current Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations (UN). Prior to that appointment, he served as Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as Special Adviser to the President on the Peace Process and Secretary-General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process, commencing in 2007 and 2006, respectively. In 2005, Dr. Kohona led the United Nations legal delegation to the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea at the invitation of that countrys Government, having served as Chief of the Organizations Treaty Section in New York since 1995.
He also worked in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia from 1983, heading its Trade and Investment Section under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization, and attached to the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations institutional mechanisms and dispute settlement unit in 1992. He also led Australias delegation to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Trade and Development Board in 1988, and was posted to the Permanent Mission of Australia to the United Nations in Geneva the following year.
On October 1, 2013, Dr. Kohona was unanimously appointed as the Chair of the Sixth Committee (Legal) of the United Nations. He is the first Sri Lankan to be elected to chair the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly. Ambassador. Sir Claude Corea chaired the Fifth Committee (UN Budget) in 1958 and the First Committee (Disarmament) in 1960. After a hiatus of 33 years, Ambassador Stanley Kalpage chaired the Fourth Committee (Decolanisation) in 1993.
Dr. Kohona hails from Matale, received his secondary education in Sri Lanka at St. Thomas College, Mount Lavinia. He obtained a LLB (Hons) at the University of Sri Lanka, LLM from the Australian National University on International Trade Law and a Doctorate from Cambridge University, UK, for the thesis The Regulation of International Trade through Law,. He is also an Attorney-at-Law, Supreme Court of Sri Lanka.
For us, rajans, Dr. Kohona is Buwaneka Bandara Kohona sirs cousin.
Kudos to member/director Buddhika Bandaranayake for inviting this most distinguished diplomat for DAANA webinar entitled "United Nations and Sri Lanka" at DRCK and creating an opportunity for Dharmaraja students to engage in a lively discussion with Dr. Kohona.
Our heartfelt thanks and appreciation go to Dr. Palitha T.B. Kohona for taking the precious time out of his busy schedule to talk to Dharmaraja students (from 11:30PM to 1:00AM midnight New York time on Oct 14-15, 2013, for that matter).