The Protocol Division seeks to advance the foreign policy goals of Sri Lanka by creating an environment for successful diplomacy. Our team extends the first hand that welcomes Presidents, Prime Ministers, ruling monarchs, and other dignitaries to Sri Lanka. By serving on the front lines of diplomatic engagement, we promote cross-cultural exchange and greater understanding between people and governments around the world respecting the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
Working with style, elegance, and deep attention to detail, the division plans, executes and supports a wide range of ceremonial and official functions hosted by H.E. the President, Hon. Prime Minister, Hon. Foreign Minister, Foreign Secretary and other high-ranking Sri Lankan Dignitaries.
The essence of the international protocol is the practice of employing proper etiquette, official formalities, and dignified ceremonies in the welcoming and hosting of foreign leaders. The Protocol Division plays a key role in maintaining this timeless tradition. Protocol Officers plan each event meticulously, considering every detail from the invitations and seating, to menus, decor and official entertainment, all while adhering to cultural considerations and ensuring that the honored guests feel welcome and comfortable. These events include but are not limited to official and state Luncheons, ministerial and major international summits, receptions, credentialing and swearing-in ceremonies.
The Protocol Division also organizes the participation of the Diplomatic Corps in special events and official public events such as Sessions of the Parliament, inaugurations and other ceremonies. In addition, the Protocol Division maintains the Order of Precedence of the Government of Sri Lanka. It also answers questions on flag etiquette, forms of address, seating, and invitations, as well as dietary restrictions and cultural customs.
Immunities and Privileges
The Protocol Division is serving as the Point of Contact and liaison to the Diplomatic Corps in Sri Lanka. The Division is responsible for:
- all activities associated with the accreditation of bilateral Heads of Missions, Heads of Delegation, Chargés d’ Affaires and their dependents,
- overseeing matters relating to privileges and immunities.
The Division directs the agrément process for new bilateral Heads of Missions and Heads of Delegation, including arrivals and presentations of credentials to the President at the Presidential Secretariat/ “President’s House”. The Division is responsible for maintaining the Order of Precedence of bilateral foreign Heads of Mission, Heads of Delegation, and Chargés d’ Affaires, and manages the publication of the foreign diplomatic list. The Division serves as an overall liaison for the diplomatic community and handles problems that may arise in the Ministry’s engagements with foreign diplomatic missions. The Division provides advice and assistance to diplomatic missions regarding the establishment of new missions and consular posts, and to other line agencies, the District Secretariats, and state and local government authorities on matters of common concern.
The Division plans to arrange and execute detailed programs for visiting Heads of State, Heads of Government and other foreign dignitaries from the arrival of a visiting foreign leader to his/her departure from Sri Lanka. Protocol Division works on the front lines of diplomacy and plays a significant role in creating the framework for foreign relations. The Division, often working closely with other line agencies, takes a lead role in the logistical planning from bilateral meetings with H.E. the President, First Lady, Hon. Prime Minister, Hon. Foreign Minister and Foreign Secretary to Official and State visits, international meetings and summits. In advance of a visit, the Division works with the advance delegations and embassy staff to create a detailed schedule from beginning to end. Working with the embassy, the division will lay the blueprint for a successful visit by ensuring all logical considerations are arranged and all cultural and traditional customs are met. In addition, the Protocol staff assists and accompanies Presidential Delegations for events and visits abroad.
Gifts for Official Engagements
The Protocol Division receives all diplomatic gifts on behalf of the Presidential Secretariat and Ministry of Foreign Relations’ officials and maintains records pertaining to diplomatic gifts. This includes all diplomatic gifts received by H.E. the President, Hon. Prime Minister, Hon. Minister of Foreign Relations. Working closely with the staffs of the President, the Prime Minister, and the Foreign Minister Foreign Secretary the Protocol Division also helps in selecting gifts to present to foreign dignitaries.
Events and Conferences
The primary mission of Protocol Division is to logistically support H.E. the President, Hon. Prime Minister and Hon. Foreign Minister in hosting major international multilateral summits, talks, and other international conferences, either in Sri Lanka or abroad. The Division is responsible for planning, staffing, and executing the infrastructure and logistical platform upon which these major events take place.