Mar 07, Colombo: As part of its economic diplomacy role, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has undertaken a unique initiative to design and implement an online Economic Diplomacy Course catering to Sri Lanka's specific economic needs and challenges.
This Course is a result of the Foreign Ministry's collaboration with the Department of Commerce and Harvard University, one of the most prestigious Universities in the world.
The ceremonial launching of the Course was held today, 7th March 2017 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presided over by the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Harsha de Silva. Also participating at the event were Mrs. Sonali Wijeratne, Director General, Department of Commerce; Professor Matt Andrews, Senior Lecturer, Harvard University Center for International Development (HCID), invited guests and officials selected to take part in the Course.
This is the first time that the HCID is offering this course, with Sri Lanka being the first country to engage with the Center to design a course catering to its specific needs.
Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs speaking at the event said that Sri Lanka has fallen behind other countries in the region in terms of exports and attracting FDI and that it was vital that we reinvigorate our efforts to achieve the ambitious economic targets set by the Government.
In this regard, the Heads of Missions and Commercial Officers at Sri Lanka Missions abroad play a vital role as they are in a position to directly interact with foreign governments and private sector companies and to encourage them to utilize Sri Lanka's opportunities and capabilities.
The Course aims to enable diplomatic officers in Sri Lanka Missions abroad to play a more proactive role in spearheading the government's policies pursuing exports and foreign direct investment.
The course is spread over 18 weeks and comprises action-oriented practical lessons to ensure that the officers learn while engaging in their day-to-day work. The selected participants include approximately 35-40 Government officials, including Head of Missions and Commercial Officers in 15-20 Sri Lanka Missions abroad and in Colombo.
Director General of the Department of Commerce Mrs. Wijeratne highlighted the challenges Sri Lanka is facing in diversifying its export basket.
Prof. Andrews addressing the gathering cited examples of countries which were able to effectively utilize their Foreign Missions to enhance trade and investment opportunities. He added that the Course is a demanding one that would impart the skills, knowledge and abilities that would enable officers to effectively market Sri Lanka's potential.