National Foundation Day Celebration of Republic of Korea held in Colombo
On 5th October 2022, the Korean Embassy led by Korean Ambassador, Santhush Woonjin Jeong hosted the National Foundation Day Celebrations of the Republic of Korea, at the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo. It is a monumental year to commemorate the 4354th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean nation, against the backdrop of the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Sri Lanka celebrated this year, The National Foundation Day reception was celebrated with the participation of many Korean nationals, Sri Lankans and friends of Korea.
Among the dignitaries, the gracious presence of the Chief Guest, Minister of Education, Susil Premajantha, Speaker of the Parliament, Cabinet Ministers, State Ministers, Members of Parliament, Chief of Defence Staff, Attorney General, IGP, Governors, Secretaries, Ambassadors and diplomats further contributed to strengthening the bilateral cooperation of Korea and Sri Lanka. Members of the business community with ties to Korea, Sports and cultural dignitaries, Korean ODA directors and media organizations were also present at the event to felicitate this occasion. Korean residents including Um Kyung-Ho PUAC President also took part in the celebrations.
The Korean National Foundation day ‘Gaecheonjeol,’ marks the origin of the first Korean Nation by the legendary founding father Dangun in 2333 BCE on October 3rd of every year. It is a special occasion for Korean nationals living worldwide. Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the National Foundation Day Reception was not held in the last two years. The grand celebration held this year on the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations has served as an opportunity for the two Asian friends to develop the bilateral cooperation to new heights. The official ceremony started with the National Anthems of both Sri Lanka and Korea performed by the Sri Lankan Navy Band.
Delivering the opening remarks, Ambassador Jeong stated that, “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all Korean nationals, Sri Lankans and friends of Korea in Sri Lanka for attending today’s event. It is my great honour to host this wonderful occasion after a hiatus of two years. The Republic of Korea was once known as an aid-recipient nation in the past. We started from nothing, from ruins, devastated by the Korean War. Today, Korea has risen to the 10th largest economy and the 7th biggest exporter in the world. This year we celebrate the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties between our two countries. At this juncture, I remind you that the relations between our two countries have continued to evolve and develop in a whole spectrum of fields of mutual interest. Now is the time to realize the potential of this beautiful country and achieve our common goals together. It is an opportune moment for Korea and Sri Lanka to deepen and widen exchanges, learn from each other’s experiences and intensify mutually beneficial cooperation.”
Minister Premajantha congratulated Ambassador Jeong for the National Foundation Day of Korea. He stated, “Korea has emerged as a peaceful country with a vibrant democracy and a rich cultural heritage. We are proud as an Asian country to say that Korea has progressed in her journey as a developing country to a developed nation through the economic miracle, popularly known as ‘Miracle of Han River.’ Sri Lanka too wishes to draw from be guided and to emulate the economic miracle of the Republic of Korea, towards achieving our goal of socio-economic development. Korea has remained consistently as an invaluable development partner of Sri Lanka contributing to the development priorities of the Sri Lankan government especially in the fields of education, transportation, water management and rural development.” Hon. Minister further highlighted the Sri Lankan government’s initiative to adopt Korean language for advanced level classes and introduction of the Korean language for the university entrance examination from 2023. The Minister commended the paper donations by the Korean community in Sri Lanka to the Department of Examinations during the difficult times. Furthermore, the Minister expressed the deep appreciation to the government of Korea for providing much needed employment opportunities to Sri Lanka and looking after their welfare.
High Commissioner of New Zealand to Sri Lanka meets with the Chair of the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus in Parliament & Secretary-General of Parliament
Michael Appelton, High Commissioner of New Zealand to Sri Lanka, accompanied by Andrew Traveller, Deputy High Commissioner, met with the Chair of the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus in Parliament, Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle MP, and Secretary-General of Parliament, Kushani Rohanadeera, recently.
During the meeting, the Ambassador emphasized that gender equality in politics is vital for the achievement of peaceful societies, the realization of full human potential, and sustainable development. He also stated that they have taken several initiatives to ensure equal women’s participation in the New Zealand Parliament.
Dr. Fernandopulle, MP, shared her concerns regarding the lack of gender sensitivity in Sri Lankan politics. She drew attention to the urgent need for a more inclusive political framework that ensures equal representation and participation for women.
The Secretary-General of Parliament affirmed that Parliament has taken actions to increase youth and women’s representation in committees and is currently working on improving disability access to Parliament.
Climate Change University to be launched next year
At the briefing on the progress of Climate Change and Green Growth held on Wednesday (31) at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo between President Ranil Wickremesinghe and officials of the Climate Change Secretariat led by President’s Adviser on Climate Change Ruwan Wijewardene it was revealed that the Climate Change University would be launched next year and that the University Grants Commission had identified approximately 130 scientists who have gained international recognition for their research on climate change who, together with their international affiliations would be brought together as part of the initiative.
President Wickremesinghe expressing his perspective on the International Climate Change University, emphasized that it should be a post-graduate institution solely focused on research which does not offer undergraduate courses. Any country or organization that contributes to the university becomes a stakeholder and gains membership on the Board of Governance. The Korean Exim Bank has expressed interest in partnering with the university and negotiations between Sri Lanka and the Korea Exim Bank, led by the External Resource Department have concluded successfully. The President said that prestigious institutions like Harvard and MIT have also expressed interest in collaboration.
The discussions also revolved around inviting a group of international experts from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, tentatively scheduled for July/August to engage in policy conversations, addressing global issues, and exploring potential research projects that could be derived from these policy dialogues.
President Wickremesinghe emphasized that all future research in the field of climate change should be conducted at this institution.
IUSF threatens showdown
By Pradeep Prasanna Samarakoon
The university system is facing a grave crisis as around 40 percent of the lecturers have left the state education system, says the Convenor of the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) Madushan Chandrajith.
Chandrajith said the ‘exodus’ of top academics would lead to a massive drop in the quality of education as most of those who have left are among the cream of scholars.Chandrajith said that about one-third of students in state universities, eligible for hostel facilities, did not have access to them.He warned that the IUSF will organise massive protests, in the coming weeks, if steps are not taken to resolve the many issues in the University system.
While the Mahapola scholarship has not been increased, the prices of food in the hostels have risen dramatically, he said.
“About 2,500 students in Kelaniya, 4,000 students in Rajarata and 6,000 in Peradeniya do not have hostel accommodation,” he went on to say..According to Chandrajith, a student needs about Rs 20,000 a month to meet basic needs.
“One requires about Rs 12,000 a month for food alone,” he said.
A senior official at the Ministry of Public Administration told The Island that some lecturers and doctors had a 100 percent attendance record but they avoided work.
“They are responsible for the attendance registry and they cook up the books to have full attendance. They take a lot of OT payments by doing this. We are looking at introducing a digital mechanism to mark attendance at universities and hospitals,” he said.
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