The economics undergraduates who took part in the 16th South Asian Economics Students Meet (SAESM) were able to show their talent to the world, by achieving the best-ever performance by a Sri Lankan team since the initiation of the event 16 years ago. While securing a win in half of the competitions, one student was able to bring the prestigious Amartya Sen Best Research Paper Award to Sri Lanka.
The SAESM is an annual event organised through the collaboration of South Asian universities, including the University of Colombo from Sri Lanka, and the World Bank that provides economics undergraduates a unique platform to present their research findings at international levels. The scope of the event does not end there it is also an opportunity for young economists in the region to establish long-lasting connections with the emerging policymakers of the region so that they can work collectively develop South Asia in the future.
The Sri Lankan team comprised nine undergraduates from the University of Colombo and one undergraduate from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura. Altogether these 10 participants competed with other South Asian countries to uphold their motherland in the 16th SAESM which was held in Kathmandu, Nepal from 21 to 26 January.
Despite the extensive competition that emerged from peer countries such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, Sri Lankan undergraduates were able to secure five medals out of 10 competitive themes of the conference. Added to these victories, one student won the prestigious Amartya Sen Best Research Paper Award which is considered as the most important award of the event. This achievement by a young Sri Lankan economist will bring the country to the limelight for its academic excellence once again. Kanchana Geeth Samaraweera, Janith Kaluarachchi, Pasan Wijayawardhana, Nilupulee Rathnayake and Kanishka Werawella won the Best Research Paper Awards in their respective research theme while Kanishka Werawella was able to win the Mahbub Ul Haq and Amartya Sen Best Research Paper Award of the 16th SAESM. The Sri Lankan quiz team which participated at the event ended up becoming the Runners Up of the Quiz Competition.
The other participants of the Sri Lankan team were Thisali de Silva, Ashen Hirantha Rajakulathilaka, Isuru Dhananjaya Mendis and Kavindya Thisarani Jayasundera.