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Government Gazette

R.C.A. Vandergert - a tribute

Rodney Clement Austen Vandergert passed away on 4th May 2009. The lawyer, diplomat joined the Sri Lanka Foreign Service in 1961. During his formative days he functioned as Assistant Secretary, Deputy Director in various divisions of the Ministry of Defence & External Affairs and also in various capacities in Sri Lanka Missions abroad.

I came into contact with him towards the latter part of the seventies when he was the legal advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It had been a pleasure to work under him as he had been a very humane person and a gentleman par excellence.

He left us in 1980 when he was appointed the High Commissioner to Canada and upon his return after a successful tour of duty; he held high positions in the Foreign Ministry such as Director United Nations & Multi Lateral Affairs Division, Director-General Political Affairs etc. He was elevated to the highest position in 1994 as Secretary to Ministry of Foreign Affairs which post he held in high esteem. He was only the second career diplomat who became the Permanent Secretary to the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

He always looked placid and relaxed even in tough problematic situations and his inspiring friendliness coupled with courtesy and patience won the hearts of all who worked with him. I never saw him in anger and never heard him speaking in an aggressive tone. I also can never forget his face which was always lit with smiles.

He was a devout Catholic who preached what he practised, discharged his duties without fear or favour, harbouring ill-will to none. The honesty and integrity of character, the devotion to duty, the simplicity in no small measure, earned the respect of all who came in contact with him.

May he rest in peace!

Vivian Fernando Panadura



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