Connect with us

News

US – SL Fulbright commission celebrates 70th anniversary

Published

on

The Sri Lankan President – Ranil Wickremesinghe, Minister of Education – Susil Premajayantha, U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka – Julie Chung, and the U.S.-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission Board of Directors, Executive Director and staff yesterday (16) celebrated the 70th anniversary of the launch of the binational Fulbright exchange program between Sri Lanka and the United States at a gala dinner for current scholars, alumni, senior officials from academia and others who have supported the program for seven decades.

Since 1952, the U.S.-funded programs of the Commission have enabled over 2000 Sri Lankan and American students, scholars, teachers and professionals to study, earn graduate degrees, teach, undertake research and obtain professional development.  As Ambassador Chung stated in her remarks at the gala: “Through the Fulbright Program, thousands of Sri Lankans and Americans have had the precious opportunity to study and live in our two countries, to share knowledge, to develop professional relationships and to develop lifelong friendships.”

In the ceremony President Wickremesinghe, Minister of Education Premajayantha, and Ambassador Chung hailed Sri Lankan and American current scholars and alumni of the program who typified the exchange of knowledge and professional development that has benefitted both nations.

In her remarks the Ambassador cited the example of a young Sri Lankan biology student who earned a Master’s and a PhD in the United States and returned to direct a biosafety lab at a Sri Lankan university that will strengthen the country’s capacity to achieve food security.  She also highlighted an American teaching assistant who is currently in Sri Lanka, teaching English to Sri Lankan undergraduates despite the ongoing economic crisis.

Fulbright’s Sri Lankan history includes many other examples of beneficial impacts:   An American senior scholar attached to the Ministry of Health developed Sri Lanka’s first Master of Science program in health education and two Sri Lankan scholars returned to introduce courses in global politics and conflict resolution based on their Fulbright experiences.  Globally, Fulbright alumnae have included 41 current and former heads of state and 62 Nobel Prize winners.

Ambassador Chung also saluted the binational Fulbright Commission and its staff based in Colombo, stating that, “The last 70 years of successful two-way cultural and academic exchange is no doubt due to the tremendous efforts of the U.S. –Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission, its board of directors and support from the Government of Sri Lanka.”

Launched in 1952, the initial Fulbright program in Sri Lanka sponsored short-term academic exchanges and was then expanded 12 years later to become a permanent agreement between the two countries.

Currently, the Fulbright program in Sri Lanka is fully funded by the U.S. government and enables gifted young scholars to pursue graduate degree programs with generous scholarship support; scholars and professionals to teach and conduct research; and teachers to get valuable training.  It also encourages linkages between Sri Lankan and American universities and provides opportunities for Sri Lankan and American senior scholars to develop joint research relationships.

Continue Reading

News

New SL ambassador to China assumes duties

Published

on

By

The Ambassador-designate of Sri Lanka to the People’s Republic of China – Majintha Jayesinghe had assumed duties yesterday (May 20).

The post of the Sri Lankan ambassador to China was vacant for several months after the tenure of Dr. Palitha Kohona ended.

Continue Reading

News

Heavy showers today as well

Published

on

By

The Department of Meteorology says the Southwest monsoon conditions are gradually establishing over the island and hence, the prevailing showery and windy conditions will continue. 

Cloudy skies can be expected over most parts of the island.

Showers or thundershowers will occur at times in Western, Sabaragamuwa, Central and North-western provinces and in Galle and Matara districts.

Heavy showers above 100mm are likely at some places in Western, Sabaragamuwa and North-western provinces and in Galle, Matara, Kandy and Nuwara-Eliya districts.

Several spells of showers will also occur in the Northern and North-central provinces, it said.

Strong winds of about 40-50 kmph can be expected at times over the island.

General public is kindly requested to take adequate precautions to minimize damages caused by temporary localized strong winds and lightning during thundershowers.

Continue Reading

News

SL – Indonesia pledge stronger bilateral ties

Published

on

By

In a significant bilateral meeting during the 10th World Water Summit, President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Indonesian President Joko Widodo reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the longstanding relationship between their nations. The discussions, which covered a wide range of regional and international issues, underscored the importance of collaboration in addressing global challenges.

President Wickremesinghe, in his opening remarks, highlighted the historical ties between Sri Lanka and Indonesia, dating back to their joint participation in the 1956 Bandung Conference. He expressed appreciation for President Widodo’s leadership in regional, international, and bilateral matters, noting the importance of such summits in fostering global cooperation.

A major topic of discussion was the critical issue of water management. President Wickremesinghe emphasized the importance of the World Water Summit and expressed Sri Lanka’s willingness to participate in the Global Blended Financial Alliance, an initiative aimed at addressing common financial challenges faced by countries in managing water resources. He commended Indonesia for establishing a Secretariat for the Alliance, recognizing its significance for Sri Lanka.

President Widodo, in his remarks, focused on the economic cooperation between the two countries. He stressed the need to finalize the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) by the first quarter of 2025 to enhance economic ties. Additionally, he highlighted Indonesia’s interest in entering the Sri Lankan vaccine market through Indonesian pharmaceutical companies, and called for the lifting of import restrictions on Indonesian palm oil and related products.

The Indonesian President also showcased Indonesia’s advancements in renewable energy, specifically the country’s largest floating solar power project. He emphasized the importance of hydro diplomacy and political leadership in achieving sustainable water management and development goals. Furthermore, he welcomed Sri Lanka’s leadership in the Indian Ocean Rim Association and its aspirations to become a sectoral dialogue partner.

President Wickremesinghe reiterated the importance of completing the PTA by early 2025, noting Sri Lanka’s existing free trade agreements with India, Singapore, and ongoing negotiations with Thailand, Bangladesh, and Malaysia. He emphasized the potential benefits of joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), suggesting that Sri Lanka’s inclusion could encourage other South Asian countries to follow suit. 

He also mentioned the ongoing removal of import restrictions and assured that Sri Lankan health authorities would address the entry of Indonesian pharmaceuticals into the market.

The discussion also touched upon regional security and economic cooperation in the Indian Ocean. President Wickremesinghe supported ASEAN’s Indo-Pacific outlook and stressed the need for closer bilateral and regional cooperation regarding Indian Ocean affairs. He proposed more frequent meetings between heads of government and a specific bilateral agreement with Indonesia to enhance commercial collaboration in the region.

President Widodo thanked Sri Lanka for co-sponsoring the Global Blended Financial Alliance, emphasizing its role in achieving sustainable development goals. He called for continued collaboration between relevant ministries from both countries to support this initiative. Looking ahead, President Widodo mentioned the upcoming presidential transition in Indonesia and expressed hope that the new administration would continue to strengthen ties with Sri Lanka.

In conclusion, President Wickremesinghe expressed his eagerness to work with Indonesia’s new leadership and extended a personal invitation to President Widodo to visit Sri Lanka after his term ends in October. Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to enhancing bilateral relations and addressing shared global challenges through continued cooperation.

(President’s Media Division)

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2024 Sri Lanka Mirror. All Rights Reserved