Minister Prof G L Peiris: Birthday tribute:
The appointment of a strong character like Prof G L Peiris MP, as
External Affairs Minister is one more example of the erudite diplomacy
possessed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has displayed his
Statesmanship amidst various foreign dignitaries while at the same time
preserving the independence, sovereignty and pride of the Nation.
Minister Prof G L Peiris
External Affairs Minister Prof G L Peiris, who takes pride in being a
Sinhala Buddhist is a humanitarian who possesses an exemplary character
not wavering in both applause and disgrace.
He was a great teacher, University Professor and a beacon of light
for thousands of students. He displayed his abilities as an
administrator while being an exemplary Vice Chancellor. He was a great
scholar and a true intellectual of the highest calibre.
New political culture
He is a gentleman politician playing his role as a prominent
personality in introducing a new political culture to the Sri Lankan
community fed up with abject terrorism and thuggery.
He performs his duties as a great leader both as a layman and as a
politician. He has shown his aspiration that he wants to create a
superior Sri Lankan nation by being a successful and intelligent
The beloved father of Prof G L Peiris, MP was Glanville Peiris, an
intellectual, who had created a name for him by being a great Ambassador
of Sri Lanka in various countries of the world. Lakshmi Chandrika Peiris
was his beloved mother. His grandmother was Louis Margret Salgado. Not
only the parents but also the grandparents of Prof Peiris had influenced
a lot in shaping his life, upbringing and character moulding.
The reputed politician of Horana Wilmot A Perera who pioneered the
establishment of Sri Palee College in Horana was a close relative of
Prof GL Peiris. Another reputed politician of the past Sir Susantha de
Fonseka was an uncle of Prof G L Peirisís grandfather, Walter Salgado.
They rendered yeoman service to Buddhist education in the country.
Colombo Visakha Vidyalaya and Sumangala Vidyalaya in Panadura which are
leading lights of present day Buddhist education in Sri Lanka were
creations of these philanthropists.
Born on August 13, 1946 Prof G L Peiris was the only male offspring
of the Peiris family. He had his primary education at S Thomasí College,
Mt Lavinia. Being a bright and exemplary student, G L Peiris won immense
reputation for his alma mater. He was placed first in both GCE Ordinary
Level and Advanced Level Examinations.
Having entered Peradeniya University in 1964 in the Arts stream he
was able to get entry into the Law Faculty of the Colombo University in
the following year due to high proficiency he had shown in the General
Arts Qualifying Examination.
He won the Mudliyar Edmond Peiris award as well at Colombo University
and at the final examination in the Law Faculty in 1967 he passed the
examination securing the highest marks.
Due to the high proficiency he had shown in his studies he was
awarded a Doctorate in laws and thereafter held the posts of Professor
in Laws, the Dean of the Faculty of Laws, as well as the Vice Chancellor
of the University.
The analytical knowledge and the clear mode of expression he
possessed amply demonstrated his acumen. Many publications he had
published both in English as well as in Sinhala are textbooks in the
subject resorted to by law students eagerly even today. Thus he rendered
yeoman service to the Law Education of the country. Having being
appointed to the Presidential Commission on Youth Unrest he got the
opportunity of going into the depth of the youth problems of the
The Youth Commission was able to propose far reaching recommendations
on youth aspirations as well as other problems of the youth thanks to
the painstaking deliberations held by the Youth Commissioners including
Prof G L Peiris.
They forwarded practical solutions to the problems of the youth.
Moreover, he was a member of the Education Commission as well.
The contemporary issues faced by the educated youth of the day and
far-reaching solutions for those problems were recommended by the
Commissioners including Prof G L Peiris.
He entered Parliamentary politics in 1994 as he though that it would
be very important to offer his share of experience to the wellbeing of
the country through the main legislature of the country.
He wished to enter politics to find solutions for the grave situation
faced by the country at the time due to the separatist terrorism in the
North and the youth unrest in the South.
Since he was able to identify problems and offer solutions for same
he was really an asset to the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. While others
benefitted from the Party Prof Peiris was a strong pillar that helped to
brighten the prospects of the Party.
Many intellectuals and educationist of the day began to rally round
the SLFP due to the part played by Prof Peiris in the development of the
He turned his attention to the building of the future through social
consensus. His analysis of the day-to-day problems of the country
attracted the attention of the general membership.
In preparing the election manifesto of the Peopleís Alliance in 1994
Prof Peiris played a major role. Due to his far-reaching knowledge about
the national and international issues he was able to recommend a set of
people friendly proposals to the Peopleís Alliance. People eagerly
accepted those policies and rallied round the Alliance to lead it to
victory in the 1994 General Elections.
In the 1994 Cabinet of Ministers, Prof G L Peiris held the post of
External Trade, Justice and Constitutional Affairs as well as the post
of Deputy Finance Minister. He presented a record number of Budgets as
well as a number of successful reforms in the spheres of Law and
He paid special attention to preserve and upgrade the fundamental
rights of the children and represented Sri Lanka in seminars and
As a representative of Sri Lanka he distinguished himself in
Commonwealth Ministerial Summits as well, highlighting his talents and
Prof G L Peiris has successfully faced the challenges of the day due
to his traditional family background, deep political knowledge about
national and international issues and the discipline he shows on the
strength of his patriotism.
In the light of these talents and strength displayed by Prof Peiris,
he has become a great asset to President Mahinda Rjapaksa and his
Government. The country is really proud of such sons of the soil. He is
presently facing bravely the challenges posed by the international
community to Sri Lanka specially in the sphere of external affairs.
We earnestly pray that he may live long, healthily and strongly in
order to render service to the country as well as to the world at large
for many more years.
The writer is the Secretary to the Chief Government Whip of