Bangladesh and BIDTI discuss strengthening ties

High Commissioner for the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to Sri Lanka His Excellency Tareq Md Ariful Islam met with Director General of the BIDTI Amb. (Rte.) Pamela J. Deen on 28th April 2021.

Welcoming the High Commissioner, Amb Deen congratulated him on his appointment as the High Commissioner to Sri Lanka as well as the successful State visit undertaken by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to Bangladesh in March 2021. She also conveyed best wishes for the Golden Jubilee of the Independence of Bangladesh celebrating this year. Further, acclaimed their steady economic performance over the years. Referring to the high level visits taken place, she stated that Sri Lanka and Bangladesh enjoy highest level of friendship due to the fund of goodwill generated by those exchanges.

In response, High Commissioner Islam stated that though arriving in Sri Lanka recently, he already felt at home due to common affinities between the two countries. Furthermore, he mentioned of the discussions held during the State visit to share the experience of Bangladesh with Sri Lanka, especially in the agricultural sector. He also inquired on the activities of the BIDTI and possible collaboration throughout the pandemic.

Upon discussing ways and means to strengthen ties between the diplomatic institutes of both countries, they both agreed to implement areas of cooperation identified in the MOU signed in 2017 between the BIDTI and the Foreign Service Academy of Bangladesh.

Webinar on Counter Terrorism Measures and IHL

The BIDTI in collaboration with the ICRC delegation in Sri Lanka conducted a webinar on ‘Counter Terrorism Measures and International Humanitarian Law’ on 8th April 2021. This is the third webinar of the series conducted on the contemporary challenges to International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

The objective of the Webinar series is to create a platform for the state actor to deliberate on the challenges in implementing IHL. The panellists consisted of former Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN and former Legal Advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Rohan Perera PC, former Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of
Sri Lanka and Chair Professor of Law in University of Peradeniya Professor Deepika Udagama as well as Brigadier Keerthi Kottawaththa Director, Directorate of Human Rights in IHL in Sri Lanka Army and Legal Advisor of ICRC Headquarters in Geneva Kelissiana Thynne.

his webinar in particular, featured the challenges to IHL by counter terrorism measures conducted in the context of armed conflict. Professor Udagma set the scene for the discussion by explaining the concurrent application of IHL to counter terrorism operations. Whilst Kelissiana Thynne addressed the concerns identified by the ICRC with regard to application of IHL to Counter- Terrorism measures in armed conflicts. Dr. Rohan Perera, who has written extensively on international terrorism gave an insight to disscussions of the sixth committee terms of application of IHL to Counter Terrorism measures. Lastly, Brigadier Kottawaththa shed light as to how the Sri Lanka Armed Forces integrate humanitarian considerations in Counter Terrorism operations in armed conflicts from an operational perspective.

The webinar was moderated by Legal Advisor to ICRC Delegation in Sri Lanka Samindika Elkaduwe.

Commencement of Bilateral & Multilateral negotiations in Diploma Programmes

The BIDTI recently conducted assignments on Bilateral and Multilateral negotiations for participants of the XXIInd Diploma in Diplomacy & World Affairs on 29th and 31st March 2021 which received with much enthusiasm.

Newly introduced into the diploma course, this assignment enables participants to experience proceedings that may allow them to negotiate successfully in multilateral fora and bilateral negotiations. The practical assignment also equips participants to develop leadership skills.

Webinar on Counter Terrorism Measures and IHL

We are pleased to inform you that the ICRC delegation in Colombo together with the BIDTI are jointly organizing a webinar on the topic of ‘Counter Terrorism Measures and International Humanitarian Law ’, which will be held on the 8th April  2021, at 2.30pm (SL time). The webinar will be conducted via MS teams platform.

In order to join this webinar, please register online via  https://forms.gle/9AjsqbKntc3VLzu3A

For any questions/comments/queries please contact  cranasinghefernando@icrc.org

You can also direct your questions to the speakers during the webinar by typing them in the Live Question and Answer platform.

We look forward to your participation!

Webinar on New Technologies and Challenges to IHL

The BIDTI in collaboration with the ICRC delegation in Sri Lanka conducted a webinar on ‘New Technologies of Warfare and Challenges to International Humanitarian Law’ on the 2nd February 2021. This is the second webinar of the series conducted on the contemporary challenges to International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

The discussion dealt challenges posed to the interpretation and implementation of IHL due to the technological advancements of warfare such as Autonomous Weapons Systems and Cyberwarfare. The panel consisting of Additional Secretary of the Foreign Ministry Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Legal Advisor of ICRC Headquarters in Geneva Kelissiana Thynne as well as Wing Commander A.P.I. Sampath Kumara and Squadron Leader L.N. Randeni of the Sri Lanka Air Force spoke on theoretical and practical aspects of new technology in warfare. The legalities new technologies in Warfare was discussed by Kelisianna Thynne whilst Ambassador Azeez elaborated on challenges posed to States due to new technologies as well as to upholding IHL. He also explained various legal agreements that have been placed in the international arena for States to collectively adhere to.

Deliberating on the practical aspects of using new technologies of warfare, Wing Commander Kumara shed light on the use of cyber warfare and autonomous weapons as a means of defending national security from a technical aspect. An alumnus of the BIDTI and recipient of the Lorna Dewaraja Award Squadron Leader Randeni looked into the application of IHL in the new technologies of warfare. In particular, she pointed out the need for interpretation of IHL in the cyber sphere mentioning the challenges in distinguishing engaging parties in cyberwarfare.

The webinar was moderated by Legal Advisor to ICRC Delegation in Sri Lanka Samindika Elkaduwe.

7th Post Graduate Diploma Course Inaugurated

Despite delays and restrictions imposed due to the ongoing pandemic, the 7th Post Graduate Diploma in Diplomacy & World Affairs commenced on Friday 15th January at the BIDTI.

The inaugural lecture was delivered by Head of International Relations Department of the University of Colombo Dr. Maneesha Wanasinghe Pasqual. Dr. Pasqual has been involved with the programme since its inception.

Management Service Officers gift books to the BIDTI Library

Management Service Officers (MSOs) selected to serve in Sri Lanka missions abroad gifted a collection of valuable books for the use of the BIDTI library today.

112 officers from various Ministries and Departments who were selected through a vigorous process facing two examinations and an interview, attended the orientation programme organised by the BIDTI in collaboration with the Foreign Ministry from 23rd September to 2nd October, 2020.

The presentation was initiated by the former Director Administration Erandika Dissanayake who coordinated the group of MSOs’ integration in the Foreign Ministry attended the event.

Webinar on IHL and the Role of the Diplomat

BIDTI in collaboration with the International Committee of Red Cross Delegation in Sri Lanka organized a webinar on ‘Contemporary Challenges to International Humanitarian Law and the Role of the Diplomat’ on 17th December 2020, which received an overwhelming response from all over the world. Referring to the long association the BIDTI has with the ICRC Delegation in Sri Lanka, Director General (Amb.) Pamela J. Deen stated that taking the relationship to another level, this webinar has been organized, as the first of three events planned.

In the opening remarks, Foreign Secretary Admiral Professor Jayanath Colombage expressed that the role of Non State Actors in armed conflict proves to be a challenge to the application of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). Further, mentioned that increasing awareness amongst government officials and the military on International Humanitarian Law must be encouraged.

Panelists of the webinar consisted of former Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN and former Legal Advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Rohan Perera PC, Additional Secretary Bilateral Affairs (West) & Legal of the Foreign Ministry Ambassador A.M.J Sadiq and Regional Legal Advisor of the ICRC for South Asia Ilya Ivanov. The webinar was moderated by Legal Advisor of the ICRC delegation in Sri Lanka Samindika Elkaduwa.

Ilya Ivanov speaking about the role of the Diplomat in IHL, reiterated that “In practice, it is the Diplomat that creates the avenue for the implementation of International Law”.  Ambassador Sadiq stated that “There is a limited knowledge of IHL amongst the public hence an increase in awareness is essential”. Further, he acknowledged efforts of the BIDTI in disseminating knowledge of IHL, being one of the Institutes within South Asia to include IHL in its academic programmes. While expressing the importance of Diplomacy and the role played by the Diplomat to uphold IHL in the international setting, Dr.  Perera emphasized the need to enhanced cooperation with other stakeholders such as Civil Society Organisations and Multilateral Organisations to overcome contemporary challenges to IHL.

George Cooke presents his latest publication to the BIDTI Library

The latest publication edited by George I. H. Cooke titled ‘Sri Lanka and the United Nations – Relations with the UN General Assembly’ was presented to the BIDTI Library today, 16th December 2020.

At the book launch held at the BCIS auditorium on 14th December to commemorate the 65th anniversary of Sri Lanka joining the United Nations, Cooke referred to Deshamanya Dr. Vernon L.B. Mendis, the founding Director General of the BIDTI as his mentor.

A prolific writer and a visiting lecturer of the BIDTI, George Cooke is also an alumnus of the BIDTI who has followed three courses conducted by the Institute.

Having served as a member of the Sri Lanka Foreign Service over a decade, George Cooke is presently serving as the Deputy Director of the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS).

Eight Heads of Missions designated participated in an Orientation Programme Virtually

The Bandaranaike International Diplomatic Training Institute (BIDTI) recently organized an Orientation Programme for Ambassador and High Commissioners designated by Sri Lanka. The programme conducted virtually from 7th to 11th December, 2020 was co-hosted in association with the Foreign Ministry. Eight Ambassadors and High Commissioners designated for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Kingdom of Sweden, Republic of Egypt, Republic of Poland, Kingdom of Thailand, Canada and Qatar participated and exchanged views.

The BIDTI extends its best wishes to Ambassadors and High Commissioners designated in their respective missions.