Top Canadian university creates new opportunities for Sri Lankan students

Thursday, 20 August 2015 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


By Senuri de Silva 

The University of Calgary has selected two top Sri Lankan universities to partner with them in a program to give cross cultural competencies to their students through a series of scholarships.

The scholarships will be granted by the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship Program.  

University of Moratuwa Vice Chancellor Professor A.K.W. Jayawardena and University of Peradeniya Vice Chancellor Professor Upul Dissanayake signed the MOU on behalf of the two local universities in the presence of representatives from the Ministry of Higher Education, the University Grants Commission and distinguished alumni in Sri Lanka. University of Calgary Vice Provost (International) Professor Janaka Ruwanpura signed on behalf of the top Canadian university yesterday.

The program will create opportunities for two Sri Lankan students (one from each of the two selected universities) to pursue their post-graduate studies at the Canadian university. Six Canadian students – four academic and two interns – in turn will come to study at the aforementioned universities in Sri Lanka.

Local students will be fully funded to attend the University of Calgary’s school of engineering and surrounding disaster risk resilience. 

Developing academic relationships 

The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship Program is funded by the Government of Canada, provincial governments and the private sector to mark the legacy of her 60 years as the Queen of Canada. 

The Queen Elizabeth scholarship program provides 40 million Canadian dollars towards 1,500 scholarship recipients from various Canadian and foreign universities. 

The five year program was launched last year with the first scholarships being granted to Canadian and other international commonwealth students in 2015.

The University of Calgary is one such university that has been partially funded by the scholarship program and has selected top Sri Lankan universities to partner with, given the history and strong bond that exists between the three schools. 

The agreement is also fully supported by the Canadian High Commissions Trade Commissioner Service (TCS), the Canadian government’s network of trade professionals that promote Canadian goods and services, facilitate innovation and R&D, as well as build networks between the two countries. 

Global network 

of scholars

Students selected will be recognised as Queen Elizabeth Scholars and, “This will even look quite good on their CV,” Ruwanpura said adding, “Students will be able to join a global network of QE scholars.”

The University of Calgary founded in 1966 is one of the best universities under 50 years of age and is ranked among the top research universities in the world. According to Ruwanpura the aim of the program is to develop international partnerships in educational research while also giving cross cultural competencies to their students.

This is also in line with the aims of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship which is to lay the foundation for the next generation of entrepreneurs, public servants, community leaders and academics with innovative minds and a sense of commitment to Canada and the Commonwealth.

Education Month

High Commissioner of Canada to Sri Lanka Shelley Whiting addressed the gathering at the singing of the MOU saying, “This partnership has opened up great opportunities to strengthen further collaboration between Canada and Sri Lanka in the field of education,” adding, “It will provide great exposure to the next generation of innovative leaders in the two countries to actively contribute to their local global communities.” 

In addition to this she said that August could be named ‘Education Month’, given the number of events organised by the High Commission for the next month to further academic relationships between the two countries. 

One notable upcoming event is the arrival of the first ever Canadian educational delegation to Sri Lanka on the 29th of this month. The delegation will comprise of officials representing eight Canadian universities namely, The University of British Columbia, Carleton University, Concordia University, University of Guelph, McGill University, Ryerson University, University of Toronto and York University. They will hold the Study in Canada Fair on 30 August from 2-6 p.m. at Taj Samudra. The university representatives will also visit a number of international schools on 31 August and 1 September.  

Pix by Lasantha Kumara