Thamarai are delighted to learn that the London Borough of Kingston upon Thames, home approximately 12,000 Tamils, is to be twinned with Jaffna – a district in the northern province of Sri Lanka.
Hon. Justice C.V. Vigneswaran, the current Chief Minister of the Northern Province and head of the Tamil People’s Council, will attend the historic event on Tuesday 18th October 2016 at the Council Chamber at Kingston Guildhall where he will deliver a keynote speech and sign a Memorandum of Understanding during the ceremony.
The twinning will build greater understanding and sharing knowledge in the areas of governance, healthcare, education and enterprise. It will also encourage greater links with Jaffna, where the Tamil community is the largest in Sri Lanka.
During their visit to Kingston Hon. Justice C.V. Vigneswaran and a small Jaffna delegation will be shown around the borough, spending time at Kingston Hospital, Kingston University and a number of local small and mid sized enterprises (SMEs).
The United Kingdom is home to approximately 300,000 Tamils, with a large majority originating from the North & Eastern provinces of the Indian Ocean island. With over 4,000 families living in the Royal borough, located in the South-west of London, Tamil is now Kingston’s second most spoken language.
Kingston is also twinned with Oldenburg in Germany and Gwanak-Gu in Seoul, South Korea.
The public are invited to attend the twinning ceremony and watch a live broadcast of the event in the Queen Anne Suite. After the official ceremony, Hon. Justice C.V. Vigneswaran will greet attendees seated in that room.
Though it is a ticketed event, tickets are free and will require advance registration to attend. Space is limited and will be issued on a first come, first served basis. To apply for tickets, please register at: www.kingston.gov.uk/jaffna.
The deadline to register is Tuesday 11 October 2016.
Councillor Kevin Davis, Leader of Kingston Council, said:
“The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames has a rich history of community cohesion. Our twinning with Jaffna celebrates our large local Tamil community and recognises the importance it plays in the borough.
“Kingston has a great track record of twinning to share ideas with other towns on the best approach to tackling our shared challenges.
“We’re delighted to welcome Hon. Justice C.V. Vigneswaran to Kingston and are excited to hear him speak at this historic event.”
The Jaffna delegation will be guests of our borough, and we hope that all costs incurred by this visit will be covered by donations raised from community. Donations will be accepted on the night due to the uniqueness of the event and to help further some of the goals set out in the Memorandum of Understanding.