Aug 03, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Minister of Education Bandula Gunawardene has recently invited American UNESCO Commissioner Professor Patrick Mendis to Sri Lanka.
The minister hosted a luncheon meeting in honor of the Sri Lankan-born American commissioner in Colombo with senior government officials and UNESCO-Sri Lanka staff. Anura Dissanayake, additional secretary to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, also attended.
After the meeting, the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKIIRSS) hosted a public lecture by Professor Mendis.
Minister Gunawardena (right) and Commissioner Mendis and his wife with Secretary Dissanayake (left).
Professor Mendis is a distinguished senior fellow and affiliate professor of public and international affairs at George Mason University. He is an alumnus of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.
Professor Mendis has worked at the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy and State as well as at the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the World Bank and United Nations.
Professor Mendis spoke about "China's Buddhist Diplomacy in Sri Lanka and 'CIA'". This was his second lecture at the Kadirgamar Institute at the invitation of External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris.
Professor Mendis enlightened the audience to his ideas based on his work on Sino-American relations. He has creatively dubbed the 'CIA' for China, India, and America to describe their relations with Sri Lanka. The lecture began with a comparative discussion of the two global powers: America and China.
Professor Mendis said tAmerica and China are two republics - the 'Old and Young.' China is an old and evolved civilization while America is new and created by enlightened men. The professor first gave an explanation of the historical context to both nations' approaches to world affairs and then highlighted how many of the end goals were the same for both, yet their approaches are different.
Professor Mendis explained that Sri Lanka stands to gain much from its geographic position connecting America and China, and has the potential to become a key player in the geopolitical arena as both nations believe in development through trade-for-peace.
The invited lecture was based on professor's upcoming book, "Peaceful War: How the Chinese Dream and the American Destiny will Create a Pacific New World Order."
Executive Director of the Institute Asanga Abeyagoonesekara delivered the welcome address.
LKIIRS is Sri Lanka's premier national think tank and is a multi-disciplinary research forum dedicated to analyzing Sri Lanka's strategic interests in the realm of international relations, within the contemporary domestic and global contexts. Kadirgamar Institute regularly host seminars, public lectures, and national conferences on topics, which influence and shape policy. (Press Release from LKIIRS)