Veteran diplomat Jayantha Dhanapala passed away today. He was 85. Dhanapala joined the Sri Lanka Foreign Service in 1965. After holding a series of diplomatic appointments in the UK, China, the USA, and India and serving as Director of the Non-Aligned Movement Division of the Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry, in 1984 he was appointed Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva.

In 1998, he was appointed United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, a post he held until 2003.

Ambassador Dhanapala has received numerous international awards for his accomplishments in diplomacy and disarmament. In addition to his new role as Chair of the UNU Council, he serves on the advisory boards of such organizations as the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, the Center for Non-Proliferation Studies, the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. He serves on the governing board of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute and is honorary president of the Geneva-based International Peace Bureau. He has written four books and several articles to international journals.