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
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
May he rest in peace!
Vivian Fernando Panadura