China-Sri Lanka Cooperation Studies Centre to be unveiled today

Thursday, 22 October 2015 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Pathfinder Foundation (PF) is making preparations to unveil the ‘China-Sri Lanka Cooperation Studies Centre’ on 22Octoberat 3:30 p.m. by Chinese Ambassador Yi Xianliang and the PF FounderMilindaMoragoda at No. 34, Purasarana Building, SanchiArachchi Mawatha, Off St. Sebastian Hill,Colombo 12.

The main objective of the centre is to promote conduct of analytical studies, exchange of experiences and ideas, facilitation of business-to-business and people-to-people relations.

The PF, as a leading research and advocacy think-tank, has been in the forefront of promoting market friendly economic policies, conducting Track II dialogues, particularly with Sri Lanka’s key bilateral partners.

The PF has been diversifying its international cooperation by developing links with similar think tanks in China, India and the USA, and exploring similar arrangements with countries such as Japan. In 2011 the PF’s participation in ‘Knowing China’ Deepening Mutual Understanding Exchange Program held in Beijing, opened the doors for deeper collaboration with Chinese think-tanks including the Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament (CPAPD). 

With the signing of a Cooperation Memorandum with CPAPD in 2012 and the exchange of business delegations in January 2013, the PF has significantly contributed to promoting Chinese tourists to Sri Lanka.

Furthermore, the PF, together with the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), (based in Hainan Province, China which  is similar to the World Economic Forum in Davos), successfully organised a high level seminar on cooperation between Sri Lanka and China in November 2014, to advance the 21stCentury Maritime Silk Road (MSR) initiative. The seminar attracted Government ministers, senior officials, business and corporate leaders, academia and the media. 

The Chinese delegation was led byZeng Peiyan, former Vice Premier of the State Council of China. Then Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa was the Chief Guest at the panel discussion. Former External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris, Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena and Investment Promotion Deputy Minister Faiszer Mustapha were also in attendance. As a follow-up, the BFA and PF signed an MOU in September 2015 with the intent of establishing closer cooperation.

This relationship, which has strengthened in the past couple of years, reached another important milestone with the visit of Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS) delegation headed by Prof. Yang Jiemian in December 2014 and entering into an understanding to conduct research on the Maritime Silk Road (MSR) and its impact on Sri Lanka.  However, a major breakthrough in the PF efforts in furthering China-Sri Lanka studies was realised with the constructive support of the Chinese Ambassador Yi Xianliang. 

With the cooperation of the Chinese Embassy, the China-Sri Lanka Cooperation Studies Centre foundered under the aegis of the PF, is expected to collaborate with a Chinese think-tank in Beijing or Shanghai, which will operationalise a counterpart ‘Sri Lanka-China Cooperation Studies Centre’.

After declare opening the ‘China-Sri Lanka Studies Centre,’ Ambassador Yi and his officials are scheduled to take part in a dialogue with a team of prominent Buddhist scholarly monks.

The Pathfinder Foundation is in the process of developing a program of action for the ‘China-Sri Lanka Cooperation Studies Centre’ initially for a brief period. Nevertheless, the final action plan is to be developed in consultation with a partner institute in China to be identified at a later stage.