The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Japan and the Association of Sri Lankan Academics in Japan, in cooperation with Sri Lanka Students’ Association, Sri Lanka Business Council and Professionals’ Association in Japan, organized an International Conference titled “Emerging Sri Lanka: Prospects for Development & Reconciliation” at the premises of the Embassy. Approximately 80 guests and participants attended the conference including Sri Lankan experts and academics from Japan and from other South Asian countries.
H.E. the Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Japan, Admiral (Rtd.) WasanthaKarannagoda, delivered the opening address. In his address, he encompassed the vitality of the subject of Development and Reconciliation, particularly for Sri Lanka, and expressed appreciation to the speakers as well as to the Associations based in Japan. He further accentuated the importance of analysing and of obtaining different perspectives, with regard to the theme of this Conference, in order for the guests and participants to comprehend this broad and complex subject. H.E. the Ambassador concluded his brief opening address by stating that both the Development and Reconciliation should be addressed in tandem. Prof. Monte Cassim, Vice Chancellor of the Ritsumeikan University in Japan, delivered the key note address. Prof.Cassim is originally from Sri Lanka and has been a highly respected Scientist and a Professor in Japan for the last four decades. His key note address focused on open innovation platforms for climate change adaptation, biodiversity mapping and addressing of lifestyle diseases, among others. The President of the Association of Sri Lankan Academics in Japan, Prof. N.S. Cooray from International University of Japan, who was instrumental in organizing and coordinating the said Conference, delivered the welcome address.
Given the importance and significance of this timely initiative, there were two segments and a panel discussion. The two key segments were Empowering Local Economies and Development; and Peace Building and Reconciliation. The first segment of the conference covered issues such as Asia’s Growth Experience, Mineral Based Industry for Economic Prosperity of Sri Lanka, Development Strategy for Small Economies, Emerging Competitive Advantages of Sri Lanka, Social Development and Labour Productivity, and Inflation Growth Nexus of Sri Lanka. During the second segment, the speakers touched upon Peace Building and Reconciliation, thus focussed on such issues as Housing Reconstruction in the North and East of Sri Lanka, Role of International Community in the Integration and Rehabilitation, Promotion of Family Tourism in Sri Lanka, Peace Building in the Post-conflict era and Cases of Reconciliation in other countries, among others. The panel discussion, which was chaired by Prof. Monte Cassim, included academics and experts in the realm of Development and Reconciliation both from Japan and Sri Lanka. The panel discussants proposed a plan of action to be executed and implemented with regard to the prospects for development and reconciliation.
The conference, which was initiated by the Association of Sri Lankan Academics in Japan and by the Embassy of Sri Lanka, was highly fruitful and productive since a number of new ideas, initiatives and propositions were raised, proposed and were contemplated by those who attended.
Embassy of Sri Lanka to Japan
13 July 2012