U.S. Ambassador Advocates for Open Government at Open Parliamentary Caucus Summit


In a recent address at the Open Parliamentary Caucus Summit, U.S. Ambassador Julie J. Chung highlighted the importance of open government principles and discussed the parallels between architectural design and the concept of open government. The Summit, which focuses on fostering transparency, accountability, and citizen participation in Sri Lanka’s legislative processes, served as a platform for international collaboration and dialogue.

Ambassador Chung began by describing the Parliament of Sri Lanka, a remarkable legislative building designed by renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa.

The building’s transparent, inclusive, and open design reflects principles of good governance, mirroring the objectives of open government initiatives. She emphasized that an open parliament is crucial for promoting transparency, participation, and accountability within democracies, enabling citizens to have a voice in their government’s decisions.

Drawing from her personal experience as a young high school student in California, Ambassador Chung shared her initial exposure to the state government through visiting the California State Assembly. This firsthand encounter with legislative processes and discussions inspired her to engage in political activities, ultimately underlining the potential of an open parliament to inspire youth participation in public affairs.

Ambassador Chung underscored the commitment of both the United States and Sri Lanka to the Open Government Partnership, an international network of democratic societies dedicated to promoting transparency and accountability. She highlighted the collaborative efforts between the U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Democratic Institute, and the Open Parliament Caucus initiative in Sri Lanka. This collaboration aims to enhance open and transparent governance, bringing the parliament closer to its citizens. Ambassador Chung also discussed the House Democracy Partnership (HDP), a bipartisan Commission of the U.S. House of Representatives that works to support the development of effective, independent, and responsive legislatures around the world. HDP has been collaborating with the parliament of Sri Lanka since 2016, focusing on oversight, citizen engagement, and e-governance. Highlighting the significance of communication and action,

Ambassador Chung emphasized the importance of responding to citizens’ voices and engaging with their needs. She reaffirmed the commitment of the U.S. government, the diplomatic corps, international organizations, civil society, and government in supporting the Open Parliament Caucus in Sri Lanka to achieve its objectives of transparency, accountability, and citizen participation. In conclusion, Ambassador Chung’s remarks at the Open Parliamentary Caucus Summit highlighted the United States’ dedication to advancing open government principles in collaboration with Sri Lanka, and her speech resonated with the audience’s commitment to fostering transparency and accountability in the country’s legislative processes.

Communication is a two way exchange.  It’s not enough to listen, we must respond.  It’s not enough to respond, we must act. People want a say in their country, a voice in their democracy.  And that’s why we remain committed to working alongside the Caucus to achieve these objectives and strengthen the legislature’s openness, transparency, and accountability to the people of Sri Lanka”.


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