U.S. Ambassador Julie J. Chung delivered a passionate speech at a recent event, focusing on the crucial theme of freedom of expression and its role in shaping the future of Sri Lanka.

Addressing the youth in attendance, Ambassador Chung commended their presence, referring to them as the torchbearers of tomorrow. She inspired them to remain engaged, challenge existing norms, and actively participate in reshaping the narrative of their nation. Ambassador Chung urged the youth to celebrate Sri Lanka’s cultural diversity and ensure that their voices resound in every corner of the country.

A significant aspect of her address was directed towards the current leaders, where she encouraged them to recognize and empower the youth as the driving force behind Sri Lanka’s future. She emphasized collective ambition, not only for economic and political stability and innovation but also for safeguarding democracy and instigating systemic change to combat corruption.

Ambassador Chung made the poignant point that stability should never come at the expense of fundamental values, especially the value of freedom of expression. She stressed that this freedom must be preserved, whether exercised through peaceful protests, artistic expression, or social media.

In a spirited gathering of distinguished guests, Ambassador Julie J Chung delivered a compelling address at the International Day of Peace Celebration, held a day after the global observance of International Peace Day. The event, which coincides with the 75th anniversary of Sri Lanka’s independence and marks the enduring diplomatic ties between the United States and Sri Lanka, brought attention to critical themes of freedom of expression, youth empowerment, and fostering lasting peace in the nation.

Freedom of Expression:

Ambassador Chung began her address by highlighting the significance of translating the concept of peace into tangible actions. She emphasized that peace is not merely a lofty idea but a continuous effort that demands vigilance and dedication. In this context, she pointed to the vital role of freedom of expression, which serves as a cornerstone for open dialogue, understanding, and peaceful coexistence.

Chung acknowledged that peace can be elusive, as evidenced by recent global events, such as the invasion of Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis in Sudan. These crises underscore the fragility of peace and the importance of actively working towards its preservation. She also drew attention to internal threats in democracies worldwide, emphasizing that understanding and dialogue should replace resentment and fear.

Youth Empowerment:

One of the central themes of Ambassador Chung’s address was the vital role of the youth in shaping a peaceful future. She commended the vibrant and spirited youth present at the event and encouraged them to continue engaging, challenging, and reshaping the narrative of Sri Lanka. Chung believes that the youth are the torchbearers of tomorrow and urged today’s leaders to recognize and empower them as the country’s future.

Commitment to Peace:

In her closing remarks, Ambassador Julie J Chung invoked the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, emphasizing the importance of believing in peace and actively working towards it. She pledged to continue her commitment to peace alongside the people of Sri Lanka, with the shared goal of ensuring lasting prosperity in the nation.

The International Day of Peace Celebration, with its vibrant exhibitions and student contributions, showcased a collaborative effort to build a united, peaceful, and prosperous Sri Lanka. Ambassador Chung’s address served as a call to action, inspiring attendees to not become complacent and to challenge themselves and each other to live out the principles of peace through their actions.

The event concluded with a renewed sense of purpose, highlighting the importance of freedom of expression, youth engagement, and the collective commitment to a peaceful and harmonious Sri Lanka. Ambassador Julie J Chung’s words resonated as a powerful reminder that peace is not an abstract concept but a continuous journey that requires belief and dedicated effort from all.