Laura Davies » Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and the Maldives

Laura Davies

Former Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and the Maldives

Part of UK in Sri Lanka

17th June 2016 Colombo, Sri Lanka

Happy Birthday, Ma’am

Last night, we hosted a very special event at the High Commissioner’s residence: a party to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday.  Over 400 friends of the High Commission, from Sri Lanka, the Maldives and the UK, from Government to civil society to the private sector, gathered to toast the longest reigning monarch in British history.


We also wanted to mark the 400th anniversary year of the death of Britain’s most famous playwright William Shakespeare, so we chose “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as our theme.  This was reflected in our woodland decorations that brought a touch of Athenian magic to Colombo, and were a perfect backdrop to the performance of excerpts from the play by The Workshop Players.


In his speech, High Commissioner James Dauris, said:  “Her Majesty the Queen and William Shakespeare are thought of with admiration and affection around the world, especially in countries that are members of the Commonwealth. It is a pleasure for me and my colleagues in the British High Commission to celebrate Her Majesty’s 90th birthday and Shakespeare’s extraordinary legacy with so many friends this evening.   Shakespeare’s plays and poems shape a language that, with each passing year, unites more and more people around the world in more and more ways.  When you talk of foregone conclusions or wild goose chases, comment that you haven’t slept a wink or that a joke had you in stitches, wish you could have vanished into thin air or assess that the truth will out, it’s Shakespeare you are quoting.


“One of our highest priorities in the High Commission has been and will continue to be the work we are doing with the government, Parliament, government agencies, the armed forces, the police, journalists, civil society organisations and many others to help them in the work they are doing to strengthen democratic values and institutions, and facilitate reconciliation, including through truth and accountability.  We are proud of the support we are giving. Some of this is direct – for example the demining work we support in the north, work we are doing with the police on training and community policing, expertise we have been sharing with the agencies leading the fight against corruption. And much of the support we are giving – some $50 million a year – is indirect, through partner organisations we help to finance.  We congratulate the government and all those who have had a part in what has been achieved over the past year. We know how much more needs to be done. We know that getting this right and winning nationwide public support and maintaining confidence will need sustained and determined leadership. We will continue to give our support.”


It was a wonderful evening, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our sponsors, four companies – HSBC, Millennium IT, De La Rue and Finlays – who between them illustrate very neatly the full range of business Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom are doing together, from the most traditional to the most modern.

The creativity and hard work of all my colleagues also deserves a bow!