June 12, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera on Thursday invited Sri Lankan diaspora to return to the island as dual citizens. “The Government of President Maithripala Sirisena realizes the true value of the diaspora community and welcomes all of you as our citizens,” Samaraweera said. “There is much that you can contribute, and there is much that we can learn from your experiences.” He was speaking at a ceremony to mark the granting of dual citizenship to 150 members of the Sri Lankan diaspora. “Per capita of Sri Lanka’s Diaspora is one of the world’s largest and it is also one of the most illustrious diasporas,” Samaraweera said. “In fact, according to the OECD, in 2006, one in three members of the Sri Lankan diaspora living in the OECD is an educated professional,” “They also estimate that OECD contains over 8,000 legislators, senior officials and managers of Sri Lankan origin.” Samaraweera said we should strive to reverse the brain drain during the long years of conflict and ensure that Sri Lanka will now receive all the benefits of a brain gain at this crucial time of history. Samaraweera also asked new dual citizens to carry the Sri Lankan message across the world. “Tell them about the beauty of this island, its ancient history, and its potential for investors, its advanced human resources, and the advantage of its location. Today, I invite you to take a single practical step in that direction.” In order to encourage diaspora members to engage and contribute to efforts in Sri Lanka, Foreign Ministry is to organize a Diaspora Festival later this year. “We believe that such an event to connect Sri Lanka to its diaspora, which could even take the form of a regular annual event, will enable the communities in the country to benefit from their knowledge, capacity, expertise and skills.” “As you know there are several other countries who have benefited from such organized events – India and Ireland to name a few.” Samaraweera further said.