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.

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.

Orientation Programme for the Management Service Officers

orientation

The BIDTI commenced an orientation program for 114 Management Service Officers (MSO) on the 15th September 2020.

oriantation

These officers have been selected to serve in Sri Lanka Missions abroad upon undergoing a selection process which includes examinations and interviews conducted by the Department of Examinations in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Relations.

They would undergo a formal training programme prior to deploying them in the Ministry in order to obtain on the job training before being posted to missions abroad.

orientation

Director of the Administration Erandika Dissanayake and Director of Human Resources and Mission Management Dilani Weerakoon briefed them whilst Director General of the BIDTI Ambassador Pamela J. Deen gave an introduction on their duties and responsibilities.

Adapting to the ‘New Normal’

Adapting to the ‘new normal’, the BIDTI has taken strides to conduct academic activities amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. As such, lectures for current students of the Diploma in Diplomacy and World Affairs commenced livestream from 20th May 2020.

Consequently, the final exam for the XXth batch of the Diploma Course was held on 12th July 2020 at the BIDTI. The examination procedures were carried out with adherence to health regulations imposed by the government.

Establishing the BIDTI Alumni Association

bidti alumai

Since the establishment of the Bandaranaike International Diplomatic Training Institute (BIDTI) in 1995, over 10,000 participants have enriched their knowledge and diplomatic skills through attending academic programmes of the Institute. There are prominent personalities among them who contributed to the society while holding significant positions as well as bringing fame to Sri Lanka.

In view of the 25th anniversary of the institution, the BIDTI has initiated an Alumni Association to provide a networking platform for former students of the institute. An initiative that was much appreciated by participants, the inaugural meeting of the BIDTI Alumni Association took place on Sunday, 16th August 2020.

 

 

 

This initial gathering was setup for all interested parties to familiarize themselves with one another and determine the objectives they wish to achieve through the organisation.

The following are elected as the Office Bearers

President- Shakthi De Silva

Vice President – Shamilka Karunanayake

Secretary – H. L. Tharindu Udara Liyanage

Assistant Secretary – Chrishantha De Silva

Treasurer- Jayasiri Samaratunga

Committee Members

Gayan Gombarage

Yashika Mahamalage

W.D. Thilakarathna

Hashan Wickramasingha Wadanambi

Lahiru Doloswala

In addition, the following has been elected to the Working Committee

U. G. Dasuni Sanoja

M. Joy Lucian

W.T.N. Dayaratne

K.M. P.P Prasadini Fernando

E. A. Kushendri Edirisinghe

Thilinie Nagasena

Dedunu Rupasinghe

S. S. Evangeline

Alumni who are interested in joining the association could contact the following:

info@bidti.lk

randc.bidti@gmail.com

+94 11 2682111

Children are the key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

“I find Sri Lanka the most amazing, energizing country with the most potential to really make significant progress for children. A country that is beginning to articulate a vision of how they want to be…. It is a tremendous privilege for me to represent UNICEF in Sri Lanka.” UNICEF representative in Sri Lanka Tim Sutton stated whilst delivering a guest lecture on 20th of August 2019 at the BIDTI.

Explaining the role of UNICEF and their objectives, Sutton mentioned that UNICEF works in over 190 countries and territories to protect the rights of every child, and has worked to improve the lives of children and their families for 70 years.

UNICEF began its operations after the Second World War, focusing on helping children affected by conflict. In 1953 it became a permanent United Nations agency and has focused on child survival, development and rights of the child. The agency is currently a principal driver of the equity agenda in the UN since 2010, which is now advocated through the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The organisation believes that all children have a right to survive, thrive and fulfill their potential in the hope of a better world. By cooperating with Governments, Civil Society Organisations and International Organisations to safeguard the Convention on the Rights of the Child. That is to ensure that all children receive access to adequate healthcare, good nutrition, protection from violence and exploitation, education, clean water and sanitation. UNICEF is a firm campaigner of investing in services that would reach out to the most disadvantaged and distanced communities, as this would have the most economically beneficial outcome.

He emphasised on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has become the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history. The 4 core principles of the convention are non-discrimination, devotion to the best interests of the child, the right to life, survival and development, and respect for the views of the child. Noting that the convention is important to UNICEF as the organization and its role has been stipulated within the convention.

 

‘Diplomacy & World Affairs’, the journal of the BIDTI is launched

Marking an important milestone for the Bandaranaike International Diplomatic Training Institute (BIDTI), the maiden issue of the journal ‘Diplomacy & World Affairs’ was launched this week.

First copies of the Journal were presented to Minister of Foreign Affairs Tilak Marapana and Foreign Secretary Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha respectively.

Launching of the journal precedes the commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the establishment of the BIDTI, which will fall in September 2020.

The journal has been unveiled in a background of pivotal changes occurring in the world. Contributions to the Journal were made by individuals of various backgrounds, including diplomats, academics, researchers, lecturers as well as students of the Institute.

The Journal encourages and inspires further examination into the discipline of diplomacy and International Relations. The BIDTI is indebted to the contributors for sharing their insights for the inaugural issue of the Journal.