South African High Commissioner speaks on challenges of Foreign Ministries in the 21st Century

South African High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, His Excellency Sandile Schalk speaking at the Bandaranaike International Diplomatic Training Institute highlighted challenges before the Ministries of Foreign Affairs in the 21st Century. Delivering a speech on ‘The Role of Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the 21st Century” at the BIDTI on 3rd November 2023, he said that global issues were calling for a new economic order.

High Commissioner Schalk emphasised the need of addressing the veto power of the United Nations Security Council, as it was no longer represent the existing global order. Further, with the advent of the multi polar world, a new global order is in the offing thus the world is in need of a moral leadership.

He highlighted the challenging situation in the world and how Foreign Service officers should respond to those by dissecting and analyzing situations reported in the media.  High Commissioner Schalk expressed the importance of adopting to new trends as states cannot achieve multilaterally what had been lost bilaterally.
Referring to the South African Foreign Service, he said that Foreign Service Act governs the conduct and role of officers and they take the lead role in every negotiating event on behalf of the country.

Korean Ambassador Visits the BIDTI

The Korean Ambassador to Sri Lanka Her Excellency Miyon Lee paid a visit to the BIDTI on Monday 18th September, 2023. Welcoming the Ambassador, the Director General appreciated her visit undertaken upon commencing Ambassodor’s assignment in Sri Lanka.
Referring to the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the BIDTI and the Korea National Diplomatic Academy (KNDA) on 15th March 2017, Director General reminisced the visit undertaken by H. E. Cho Byug-jae, Vice Foreign Minister and Chancellor of the Academy to the BIDTI on 31st October, 2017. She also mentioned the dynamic language training programmes conducted by the KNDA, for which Sri Lankan diplomats are given opportunities to learn the Korean language.
Ambassador Lee stated that Sri Lanka is important to Korea as it has undertaken a number of projects in the country. In view of the cordial relationship enjoyed between the two countries Korea wishes to further enhance economic collaboration for the mutual benefit.  Ambassador mentioned that she has already commenced meeting with key stake holders to discuss in this regard.

XXVIII Diploma course inception of the BIDTI

Inauguration of the XXVIII Diploma in Diplomacy & World Affairs Programme was held on Wednesday, 2023 at the Bandaranaike International Diplomatic Training Institute (BIDTI).

Following a documentary depicting the activities of the BIDTI, the Director General of the BIDTI welcomed the participants. While briefing on the programme, she explained the importance of learning diplomacy and world affairs which would mould the personality of individuals.

A former participant, Mr. Shamil Akbar, who was the recipient of the ‘Lorna Dewaraja Memorial Award’ shared his experience at the BIDTI with the participants. Praising the overall activities provided by the BIDTI during the programme, he encouraged participants to get maximum out of the programme by enjoying and sharing the experience of others and making a network of knowledge.

Following refreshments, the lecture on ‘Introduction to Diplomacy’ was delivered by Dr. Geroge I. H. Cooke, Senior Lecturer of the University of Colombo, a former Foreign Service Officer, and the Initiator Awarelog Initiative.

Ambassador Ajwad presented book on ‘Sri Lanka – Oman Relations: Past, Present and future’ to the BIDTI

A book on Sri Lanka – Oman relations: Past, Present and Future authored by Ambassador Omar Lebbe Ameer Ajwad was presented to the library of the Bandaranaike International Diplomatic Training Institute (BIDTI) on 2nd August, 2023.

Ambassador Ajwad who served as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman with concurrent accreditation to the Republic of Yemen released the book in Oman on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the two countries.

In a foreword to the book, Omani foreign Minister His Excellency Badr Albusaidi has appreciated the service of the Ambassador Ajwad in connection with further strengthening the bilateral relations between Oman and Sri Lanka.

Dr. Nadeera Rajapakse talks on Travelling through Silk Roads at the BIDTI

Delivering a special guest lecture on ‘Travelling through Silk Roads: Cultural Pluralism and Porous Boarders’ at the BIDTI on 28th July, 2023, Assistant Professor of the University of Paris, Pantheon – Sorbonne Dr. Nadeera Rajapakse gave a detail description of journeys made by the famous traveller Ibn Battuta.

Dr. Rajapakse explained how Ibn Battuta , a Judge  and a native of Tangier in Morocco had been received at various realms from the West to the East during his journeys as well as techniques he used to convince rulers to permit him to travel through areas under their jurisdiction.

She revealed the significance of the records of Battuta’s accounts which focused more on the people than on the places he visited and explained the great insights into the cultural practices along the way. She explained that those records show a greater cultural harmony than most mainstream history lessons have shown.

Dr. Rajapakse explained that the narrative of Battuta relevant to the Holy Kaaba where paintings of three angles existed.  Further, the practice of the Mongolian court as well as existence of Christianity in the East. Referring to the Gandhara civilization she said that it was a mix of Greek culture and Buddhist thinking.

During the presentation, she described that the Silk Road provides proof that culture transcends borders and that borders themselves have been mostly porous and blurred. She pointed out that by looking at historical narrative of travel along the Silk roads, people get a sense of the ease or the difficulty of travel, the welcome or rejections travelers face, the way travelers and their cultures are integrated, assimilated in new places.

The talk given by Dr. Nadeera Rajapakse was under the Special Guest Lecture series conducted by the BIDTI.   It was attended by distinguished persons including former Foreign Secretaries, Ambassadors, Academics and former participants of the programmes of the Institute.

Egyptian Ambassador visits the BIDTI

The Egyptian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, H. E. Maged Mosleh accompanied by Counsellor Mohamed Mady visited the BIDTI on Tuesday, 4th July 2023.

He held discussions with Director General regarding the possible collaboration between diplomatic training institutes of the two countries. Further, they spoke of the longstanding diplomatic relationship Sri Lanka has had with Egypt and emphasized on strengthening this historic relationship to face global dynamics of today.

Showcase of Presentation Skills

Participants of the Diploma in Diplomacy and World Affairs Programme had the opportunity to showcase their presentation skills recently.

Participants attending the first module on Diplomatic Skills and Practice had their first assignment on 27th June 2023 which enabled them to showcase their presentation skills.

All participants divided into eight groups made presentations exhibiting their talents, under themes Gastro Diplomacy, BRICS Currency, the Singapore-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement, Bilateral Negotiations, Cultural Diplomacy for Drug Prevention, ICRC Diplomacy and How Tiktok tweaked the tale of USA and China.

Their abilities were demonstrated in various forms such as role-playing performances, panel discussions and narrating. This assignment of the Diploma Course gives an opportunity for participants to explore their hidden skills in order to pursue in a real world setting.

Foreign Minister visits the BIDTI

The Hon. Foreign Minister Ali Sabry who was the chief guest at the second day opening of the National Industry Exhibition held at the BMICH on the 23rd of June 2023, visited the BIDTI at the invitation of the Director General. Despite Minister’s busy schedule, his visit at a short notice was welcomed by the staff.

Foreign Minister who was instrumental in relocating the BIDTI to its original venue at the BMICH was pleased to see the institute in its present conditions.

Training Programme on Diplomatic Skills for Academics

The BIDTI conducted a 2- day training programme on diplomatic skills for the academics of the Open University of Sri Lanka on 6th and 7th June 2023. The programme was the first of its kind and was organised at the request of the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) who felt the need of diplomatic skills for engaging with their peers internationally.

At the inauguration of the programme, the Director General of the BIDTI stated that the programme would provide an insight into a number of important aspects on diplomacy which would be useful for the participants in their academic careers. Dr. Prasad Senadeera, Director, International Relations of the OUSL and the coordinator of the programme spoke about how academics are involved in the international arena without having the skills needed to navigate it effectively. He mentioned that he felt the need for such a programme when he was at the International Research Institute where he had to deal with representatives from many countries and witness how individuals from different nations interact with each other.

The programme focused on introduction to diplomacy, diplomatic protocol, etiquette and correspondence, communication skills and negotiating skills in bilateral and multilateral settings, organizing and attending conferences and techniques in developing partnerships.

The two day programme was attended by heads of departments, senior professors and senior lecturers of the Open University of Sri Lanka and Universities of Kelaniya, Moratuwa, Wayamba and Sri Jayawardenapura.

The BIDTI is pleased to acknowledge the expertise provided by the Initiator of Awarelogue Initiative Dr. George I. H. Cooke, Director General of Ocean Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and longest serving chief of Protocol Ambassador M. R. Hussen, Deputy Solicitor General Mr. Rajiv Goonetilleke, Former Legal Adviser Ministry of Foreign affairs Mr. Thusantha Wijemanna, Ambassador A. L. A. Azeez and Corporate Leader Dr. Nuwan Wimalana to conduct the programme.

Training Programme for the Staff of the Parliament of Sri Lanka

The Bandaranaike International Diplomatic Training Institute (BIDTI) conducted a training programme for the staff of the Parliament of Sri Lanka on the formalities to adhere when receiving and attending to dignitaries and organizing conferences. The programme, held on 30th May 2023 at the Parliament was attended by approximately 100 participants.

The programme begun with an introduction to diplomacy and a session on Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities followed by training on receiving dignitaries at various levels. Further, with regard to the formalities and arrangements for Heads of States/ Govts., to address the Parliament as well as formalities involving diplomatic corps and visiting dignitaries calling on the Hon. Speaker. Correct form of addressing dignitaries and display of flags at various bilateral and multilateral events were explained. A final session was conducted on exchanging gifts with dignitaries.

Former Legal Adviser of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thusantha Wijemanna, Director General, Ocean Affairs – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and longest serving Chief of Protocol, M. R. Hassen contributed to the programme while introductory remarks made by Sergent-at-arms of the Parliament, Narendra Fernando and Director General of the BIDTI.