Foreign Minister emphasizes importance of collaboration at University of Colombo 2021 Annual Research Symposium

Foreign Minister Prof. GL Peiris was special guest at the inauguration of the 2021 Annual Research Symposium, at the University of Colombo (23 November)

Symposium brings together prominent scholars representing a number of disciplines and highlights the theme for 2021 – Impartial research through interdisciplinarity

The event was also attended by Acting High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Vinod K. Jacob, notable academics from the faculty of the university.

Addressing the opening plenary session, the Minister, while stressing the importance of the colloquium, particularly drew attention to two main aspects of the colloquium: namely,
impactful research and methodology adopted, in the broader context of the interdisciplinary approach.

Elaborating on the role of the University of Colombo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs underlined the importance of the institution to foster interaction within our diverse communities,
adding that this is an area in which the University is able to do much more, including offering educational programs not only to undergraduates but to professionals and
members of the community who would benefit immensely from the expertise that the Metropolitan University has to offer.

The Minister, Prof. Peiris, stressed the importance of multidisciplinary research and its immense contribution to solving many of the problems currently facing the country.
moment, especially in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The situation demanded the collaborative efforts of many researchers, microbiologists and specialists who have
summer and are essential for crisis management. The Minister made special mention of the outstanding contribution of Sri Jayewardenepura University in this regard.

The Foreign Minister underlined the critical need for preparedness in crisis management, highlighting the recent Express Pearl disaster, and the invaluable contribution that a
interdisciplinary approach could bring to face the calamity and its collateral consequences.

Then speaking, the Minister, Professor Peiris, drew attention to the need for sustained research that can be undertaken in many areas and can inform the efforts of policy makers.

Elaborating on the genesis and evolution of the university system in Sri Lanka, the Minister, Professor Peiris, recalled the origins of the system and its development over the years from
represent an elitist system to become a more inclusive system that welcomes students from a wide range of society.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs also underlined the need for a change in the system to be socially relevant, in order to remedy the mismatch between the content of formal education and the
availability of livelihoods, which would result in the production of employable graduates with skills suited to the labor market.

Hinting at Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Neighborhood First’ and its potential for shared success, the Foreign Minister underlined the dynamic relationship
between India and Sri Lanka and their peoples highlighting the scope of multifaceted regional cooperation

Minister Prof. Peiris concluded his remarks by highlighting the disconnect between universities and vocational training and the need to focus more on vocational training institutes.
so that more people qualified in various skilled trades and professional occupations can be integrated into the higher education system.

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