At the commencement of the session, the participants called on Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana, who welcomed them and wished them a productive and enjoyable stay in Sri Lanka. Diplomats from Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brazil, China, Cuba, Egypt, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam, are attending these sessions. (Colombo Gazette) State Minister of Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake who inaugurated the Dialogue, said Sri Lanka has always been a melting pot of diverse cultures and ethnicities as well as different religions, and its strategic geographical location has made it a unique international player since ancient times.Outlining the trajectory of Sri Lanka’s foreign relations and the challenges the country has faced through history, he said Sri Lanka was well positioned to be a knowledge center for international relations. In their interactions with each other and their Sri Lankan counterparts, he encouraged the visiting diplomats to be forward looking and to collectively seek to anticipate future trends and how to deal with them, in the region and the world. The two week long programme is held as part of the Economic Diplomacy Programme (EDP) of the Foreign Ministry and will primarily focus on Sri Lanka’s Economy with special emphasis on its emergence as a ‘Hub of the Indian Ocean’ and as a trade, investment, and tourist destination, while showcasing Sri Lanka’s international brands, entrepreneurship, as well as important strides in research and innovation. It will also explore Sri Lanka’s rich history and culture, aspects of foreign policy including positions on international politics, and thematic issues – good governance, sustainable development, and right to information, social media and cyber security. Sri Lanka’s key government officials, academics, scientists, and business leaders will participate in the discussions, and a 3- day field visit will follow. Acting Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha addressing the diplomats said their presence was a reflection of the importance their respective Governments placed on relations with Sri Lanka. He expressed confidence that through this Dialogue Sri Lanka will not only be informing them about how Sri Lanka is straddling the many politico- economic and social challenges of our times, but that in turn would also be informed of the perspectives their respective countries and regions have on each of these subjects. He said their remaining engaged with Sri Lanka – both professionally and personally, would be a tremendous support to the efforts by our respective Missions in or accredited to their capitals, as they seek to strengthen bilateral relations between the countries.The Foreign Ministry said that under the EDP, having analyzed patterns of recent economic flows and the potential within each target market, the Foreign Ministry has set specific performance targets to be accomplished on exports, investment, tourism and foreign employment for each Mission. Also in collaboration with the relevant line Ministries and the private sector, 10 Sri Lanka Missions abroad in emerging markets are being supported in carrying out targeted campaigns that would enhance Sri Lanka’s global footprint and bring tangible economic benefits to Sri Lanka. Programmes are being initiated to promote ICT products and services and also organic food products in Sweden, apparel, textile & footwear in South Africa, fresh and processed food in Bahrain, Gems and Jewellery in Turkey, spices and apparel in Brazil, wellness tourism in the UAE, inward investment from the Republic of Korea and Japan, and outward investment in Myanmar and Nepal. Ten Sri Lanka Missions abroad in emerging markets are being supported in carrying out targeted campaigns that would enhance Sri Lanka’s global footprint and bring tangible economic benefits to Sri Lanka, the Foreign Ministry said today.The Sri Lanka Foreign Policy and Economic Diplomacy Dialogue, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, commenced on Monday ( 15 October) with the participation of mid-career diplomats from 23 countries from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Australasia. read more

Brock University drew record numbers to its Open House and Scholars Reception March 2. The numbers are in and, despite another major snowfall the night before, Brock University drew record numbers for its Open House and Scholars Reception on March 2.More than 3,600 people attended the major recruitment event where prospective students and their families take campus tours, attend special presentations or converge on the Ian Beddis Gym to speak with faculty and staff from scores of programs and departments.The Scholars Reception, a key component of the Open House, also drew more than 300 guests, a significant increase over previous years.Besides the handouts and personal consultations on offer in Beddis Gym, other popular destinations included residence tours, dedicated program presentations held in lecture halls, and tours of the nursing lab and other sites.And throughout the afternoon, a steady stream of attendees took time to have their photo taken with Boomer the Badger.Beth Natale, director of recruitment and retention, said the turnout represents an 11-per cent jump from last year’s then record-setting numbers.She said the University expects another 1,000 guests to come on campus for tours during next week’s March break for Ontario high schools.Brock had applications from more than 16,000 Ontario high school students this year, and there was an increase in market share of students who made Brock their first choice. The University will have an intake of approximately 4,000 new students in September. read more