NSF cohosts the SLAAS theme seminar in 2023 on science diplomacy

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Prof. Ranjith Senaratne, Chairman, National Science Foundation was the General President of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science (SLAAS) in 2023.  Its annual sessions were held from 10-15, December 2023 at the Open University of Sri Lanka, Colombo where the theme seminar titled “Science Diplomacy as a powerful force for national unity and friendship among nations” occupies an exalted position. Given its great national and global relevance and importance, the SLAAS invited renowned scholars in the field from home and abroad to address this august assembly in order to share their knowledge and experience for the benefit of humanity. 

His Excellency Sandile Edwin Schalk, the High Commissioner of South Africa to Sri Lanka graced the occasion as the Chief Guest while a world-renowned scientist Sir Prof. Peter Gluckman, President, International Science Council (ISC) delivered the keynote address of the seminar. Scientists and professionals from six regions, i.e. Oceania, S. Asia, West Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America with a commendable grasp of the subject delivered talks online as given below: 

  • Emeritus Professor Saroj Jayasinghe, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka - “Elevating Sri Lanka's Global Influence: The Role of Sri Lankan Scientists in Science Diplomacy”

  • Prof. P. Balasundarampillai, Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka - “Science Diplomacy for Reconciliation, Peace and National Development”

  • Dr Baskar Balakrishnan, Fellow for Science Diplomacy, Research and Information System (RIS) for Developing Countries, India - "Science Diplomacy and the Asia Pacific Region: Challenges and Opportunities"

  • Mr. Pedro Ivo Ferraz da Silva, Head of Science, Technology & Innovation and Technical Cooperation at the Embassy of Brazil in Berlin - "Science and Innovation Diplomacy for and from the Global South"

  • Dr. Gihan Kamel Badie, Principal Scientist, Synchrotron-light Project for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME), Jordan - "Science Diplomacy in the Middle East and Neighboring Regions: Slogan or Reality?"

  • Prof. Pierre-Bruno Ruffini, Professor of International Economics at the Faculty of International Affairs, University of Le Havre, France - “Science Diplomacy: Lessons learned from the European Region”

Ambassador Sumith Nakandala, Former Secretary General of BIMSTEC and Former Additional Foreign Secretary served as the Chairperson of the panel discussion and Ms. Thilinakumari Kandanamulla, Scientific Officer, National Science Foundation served as the Rapporteur. The audience comprised   scientists, researchers, professionals, diplomats, senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, policy makers, planners, community leaders, and postgraduate students among others. Proceedings of the conference would be published  which will constitute a landmark volume  in the realm of national unity and international relations in Sri Lanka.