US Marks Two Cultural Preservation Milestones

Ambassador Chung officially launches the AFCP project to preserve the ancient palace of Kandyan kings and modernize the archeology museum

COLOMBO, March 15: This week, US Ambassador Julie Chung traveled to Kandy to preside over events marking two important milestones in the United States’ longstanding support for the preservation of Sri Lanka’s diverse cultural heritage.

On March 14, Ambassador Chung and University of Peradeniya Vice Chancellor Prof. MD Lamawansa held a closing ceremony for a project of the United States Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) who has documented and preserved four traditional ritual dance forms and related crafts. The $116,000 grant, launched in 2016, supported the university’s efforts to preserve and share the following performing arts traditions: 1) Kandyan Kohomba Kankariya Dance, 2) Tamil Koothu Dance Theater of the North and the East, 3) Adivasi rituals and cultural practices of the East. Province, and 4) southern dance-drama rituals and performances of the Kolam tradition in the Southern Province. Records of these intangible forms of Sri Lankan heritage are now archived at the Department of Fine Arts, Faculty of Arts, University of Peradeniya. For public and online reference, shorter videos will be available on the internet with links on the Peradeniya University Department of Fine Arts website at afcp/. Ambassador Chung explained, “Through the collaboration between the U.S. Embassy and the University of Peradeniya, the traditions of these cultures have been recorded and made accessible to future generations. All of this effort demonstrates the deep respect and close partnership between our countries. »

US Ambassador Julie Chung joins celebration of preservation of traditional ritual dance forms at University of Peradeniya

On March 15, Ambassador Chung and Director General of Archaeology, Professor Anura Manatunga, officially launched a new project: an AFCP partnership between the United States and the Sri Lankan Department of Archaeology. The $265,000 grant will support the conservation of the former Kandyan Kings Palace and fund the modernization of the Kings Palace Archeology Museum located in the Sacred Temple of the Tooth complex. Conserving these elements of the UNESCO World Heritage Site will provide future generations of students, scholars, Sri Lankans and tourists with the opportunity to see and continue to learn about the history of the ancient kingdom of Kandy. In her remarks, Ambassador Chung noted, “Today’s ceremony demonstrates the breadth and impact of the partnership between our two countries and shows that by celebrating the richness of our past, we can create a future. stronger.

Since 2001, the AFCP has funded 14 projects in Sri Lanka, including the conservation of the Buddhist forest monastery of Rajagala, the preservation of the Buddhist, Hindu and other collections of the archaeological museum of Anuradhapura and the restoration of the Dutch fort of Batticaloa. For more information on how the AFCP supports cultural preservation in Sri Lanka, visit the U.S. Embassy website at

James C. Tibbs