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Pathfinder Foundation, Shanghai Institute partner to boost potential of Sri Lanka’s strategic locati

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While discussing the ways and means of achieving sustainable development, invigorated by the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of China involving 65 countries, the Pathfinder Foundation (PF) and Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS) during a roundtable discussion focused on exploring new areas of cooperation with China and managing international and regional forces to promote the country’s economic interests. 

The primary effort of the one-day roundtable held on 4 September was to discuss the prospects and challenges of achieving sustainable development goals in the backdrop of BRI.

The roundtable was attended by a delegation comprising seven members representing the Shanghai-based SIIS headed by Dr. Chen Dongxiao, President of the Chinese think-tank. Dr. Chen, who obtained his PhD from Fudan University, specialises in the studies of the United Nations, China’s foreign policy and China-US relations. He has led a number of research projects commissioned by the China National Foundation of Social Sciences Studies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council. 

During the follow-up discussions, the two institutions agreed to explore the possibility of jointly studying the ways and means of tapping into the full potential of Sri Lanka’s unique location in the Indian Ocean, which is equidistant from the Far Eastern, Middle Eastern, European and African markets. 

In addition, opportunities of further cooperation in the education, religion and cultural fields were discussed. Both parties also agreed that exchange of media personalities in both English and vernacular languages should be given priority in their future programs. In order to realise these objectives, detailed proposals will be formulated for discussion and implementation by the SIIS and PF. 

The roundtable was addressed by Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chairman Rajendra Theagarajah, Prof. Sirimal Abeyratne of the University of Colombo’s Department of Economics and Prof. O. G. Dayaratna-Banda of the Department of Economics and Statistics and Dean of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Peradeniya. 

Among the participants were former Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, John Keells Holdings Plc Director Krishan Balendra and Aitken Spence Director Dr. Rohan Fernando. The Pathfinder Foundation was represented by Bernard Goonetilleke, Admiral Dr. Jayanath Colombage, Luxman Siriwardena and Ameera Arooz.

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