Presentation of Credentials - 27 June 2019

27 June 2019


The following foreign Heads of Mission presented their credentials to President Halimah Yacob in separate ceremonies at the Istana today:



  (a) The British High Commissioner
Her Excellency Kara Owen

  (b) The Ambassador of the Republic of Finland
His Excellency Antti Vänskä

  (c) The High Commissioner of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Her Excellency Sashikala Premawardhane


Their bio summaries are attached.     


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27 JUNE 2019




Kara Owen

British High Commissioner

to the Republic of Singapore

United Kingdom 


Ms Owen has come to Singapore from her most recent appointment as Director for the Americas at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Prior to that, she spent four years as Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Paris, during which she was awarded with a CVO (Commander of the Royal Victorian Order) by HM The Queen. Ms Owen has a lifelong interest in the South East Asian region, which began during her teenage years when her parents lived in the Philippines and was cemented during her diplomatic postings to Hong Kong and Hanoi.


Ms Owen graduated from the University of Sheffield with a BA in History. She is committed to lifelong learning for herself and her teams. She has a MSc from LSE in Diplomacy and International Strategy and a MSc from Cranfield University in International Human Resource Management. Alongside her diplomatic work, she has focused on diversity issues and organisational development.


Ms Owen’s husband, William Tierney, is a retired military officer (Irish Defence Force). They met while working in Aceh, Indonesia.


[Photo Credit: Ministry of Communications and Information]


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Antti Vänskä

Ambassador to Singapore

Republic of Finland



Ambassador-designate Antti Vänskä arrived in Singapore in June 2019 to assume his position as Head of Mission at the Embassy of Finland.

Mr. Vänskä joined the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland in 1996 and has had several interesting assignments both home and abroad.

Prior to Singapore Mr. Vänskä spent four years as Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Finland in Washington DC, USA. Earlier in his career, Mr. Vänskä worked in the Embassy of Finland in Berlin, Germany (2001 – 2004) and in the Consulate General of Finland in St Petersburg, Russia (1997 – 2001).

In Finland, Mr. Vänskä has served, among other positions, as the Special Adviser to the Prime Minister of Finland (2010-2014). Earlier, he worked in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs as Deputy Director in the Unit for Russia and as Counsellor in the Unit for Asia dealing for instance with relations between the EU and ASEAN.

Mr. Vänskä graduated from Turku School of Economics and Business Administration (Finland) with a Master’s degree in Economics. He has also studied abroad in Sweden and in the United States.

Mr. Vänskä speaks English, Swedish, Russian and German. He is married and has two teenage children.




[Photo Credit: Ministry of Communications and Information]


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Sashikala Premawardhane

High Commissioner to Singapore

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka


High Commissioner Sashikala Premawardhane is a career diplomat with more than 20 years of experience in the Sri Lanka Foreign Service. Prior to being appointed as High Commissioner to Singapore, she served as Director General, Policy Planning and Research of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, a position she held from January 2019. She also served as the first Director General of Ocean Affairs, Environment and Climate Change from March 2017 to January 2019.


High Commissioner Premawardhane’s appointments in Sri Lanka include a secondment at the Ministry of Defence as Senior Assistant Secretary (Foreign Affairs) from 2012 to 2017. She has held several key appointments in the Foreign Ministry including Director/United Nations, Multilateral Affairs, Human Rights and Conferences, and Director/Technical Cooperation.


Overseas, High Commissioner Premawardhane has served as Minister at the Sri Lanka High Commission in Canberra from 2009 to 2012 and as Acting High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Australia from December 2010 to July 2011. She also served in the Sri Lanka Embassy in Tokyo as First Secretary from 2001 to 2004. High Commissioner Premawardhane has represented Sri Lanka at numerous international conferences, seminars and symposia.


High Commissioner Premawardhane holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Pune, India and a Master in Conflict and Peace Studies from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.


[Photo Credit: Ministry of Communications and Information]

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