WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 15, 2015) — Sri Lankan-born American UNESCO Commissioner Dr. Patrick Mendis recently met with Ambassador Crystal Nix-Hines, the U.S. Permanent Representative to UNESCO in Paris. The two were in Washington for the annual meeting of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and to welcome the Director-General Irina Bokova of UNESCO at the U.S. State Department.
Both Commissioner Mendis and Ambassador Nix-Hinges were appointed by the Obama administration. Dr. Mendis and the ambassador have previously worked at the State Department under Secretary Madeleine Albright. After their government service they returned to pursue their academic and legal careers until recently. Both are alumni of the Harvard University; so is President Barack Obama.
The UNESCO commissioner, a distinguished scholar and senior expert for the Confucius Institute at George Mason University (in the United States), taught last year at the Nanjing University and the Tongji University in Shanghai. The author of “Peaceful War: How the Chinese Dream and the American Destiny Create a Pacific New World Order,” Professor Mendis has lectured at over 20 institutions in China, including the Guangdong, Hong Kong, Peking, Pudan, Renmin, Sichuan, Tsinghua, and Zhejiang universities.
For the influential “Peaceful War” book in China and America, Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala, former distinguished Sri Lankan diplomat to Beijing and Washington, wrote: “Dr. Patrick Mendis’ new book is both timely and relevant as the center of gravity of global political and economic power moves inexorably from the Euro-Atlantic to the Asia-Pacific. Dr. Henry Kissinger observed that ‘American exceptionalism is missionary . . . Chinese exceptionalism is cultural.’ The relationship between these two giants will be the determining influence in international affairs for the foreseeable future and the scope for structures of peace to be built between them is analyzed through Mendis’ unique perspective and wide-angled vision.”
Before Dr. Mendis became a naturalized American citizen and a U.S. diplomat, he represented the government of Sri Lanka at the United Nations with Ambassador Dhanapala, his mentor and friend for more than two decades.
Born in Polonnaruwa, Professor Mendis serves on the Board of Resource Persons at the Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies in Sri Lanka.