The BIDTI had the privilege of associating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to organize the training programme on ‘Effective Leadership and Negotiation in Multilateral Diplomacy’ in collaboration with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). The four day programme was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the 27th to the 30th November 2019.
The four day programme was attended by the mid and junior level officers of the Sri Lanka Foreign Service, along with representatives invited from line Ministries. The especially designed programme consisting of two components, was aimed at strengthening skills and knowledge in negotiation and effective leadership. Negotiation Skills Expert and Director of the Multilateral Diplomacy Division Rabih El Haddad, and Senior Consultant and Leadership Skills Expert Jerome l’Host, assigned by UNITAR conducted the sessions.
Certificate awarding ceremony for the participants of the English Language Proficiency Development Programme conducted for the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Relations in 2019 was held on 24th January, 2020 at the Ministry of Foreign Relations.
54 participants who successfully completed the Phase I of the programme received their certificates from the Additional Secretary (Bilateral Affairs, West and Legal) Ambassador A.M.J. Sadiq.
Ambassador Sadiq highlighted the importance of learning languages other than mother tongue. Further, he emphasised learning languages would facilitate conduct of activities as well as conduce with environment for cooperation.
Since the emergence of the migrant crisis in 2015, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has taken a prominent role in world affairs said Sarah Carl, Program Officer (Social Cohesion and Reconciliation) of the IOM, delivering a guest lecture on 3rd September 2019 at the BIDTI.
Introducing the guest speaker, the Director General of the BIDTI stated that the IOM played a crucial role during the Kuwait Invasion in 1990 by repatriating migrant workers from the Middle East. A large number of Sri Lankans working in Kuwait and subsequently stranded in Jordan were safely returned to Sri Lanka through special flights organised by the IOM.
Shedding light on the agency, Carl mentioned that it has an increased presence in the world as a specialised agency for migration, which ensures safe, orderly and humane management of migration by providing guidance and assistance to governments and migrants. Founded in 1951, the Inter-governmental Organisation became a member of the United Nations in 2016.
Under the guidance of the IOM constitution, it works to guarantee that people affected by natural disasters or man-made disasters have access to protection and assistance. Thus, protecting vulnerable migrants from neglect, abuse, and exploitation is crucial.
The IOM plays an active role in promoting international cooperation on migration issues and helps in the search for practical solutions to migration problems. It provides humanitarian assistance to migrants in need including refugees and Internally Displaced Persons. The agency works in four areas of migration management: migration and development, facilitating migration, regulating migration and forced migration.
In Sri Lanka, the agency works with the government to strengthen policies that ensure safe and orderly migration. In addition, it assists in refugee resettlement and provide support to stranded migrants in their return home and providing shelter, food, and sanitation. Other works include support for immigration and border control; detecting human trafficking and terrorist infiltration along with migrant assistance, regarding visa and health assessments. The IOM puts extensive effort into policy and research to determine migration patterns, thus enabling relevant and effective policies.
Ms. Carl also commended Sri Lanka for recently implementing health screening for migrants after migrating into Sri Lanka. It is very “Revolutionary” and “Forward-thinking” when considering the human dignity of the migrants within the country. In addition, it is an effective way of safeguarding both migrants and the citizens of the country from harmful and eradicated diseases.
The 23rd Convocation of the Bandaranaike International Diplomatic Training Institute was held on 13th August 2019 conferring Diplomas and Post Graduate Diplomas in Diplomacy and World Affairs with the presence of the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe gracing the event as the Chief Guest.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Board Management of the BIDTI, Tilak Marapana and the Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinhe joined the Prime Minister in the ceremony held at the BMICH. Alongside a distinguished gathering comprised of diplomatic corps, members of International organisations and visiting lecturers. Some of which have contributed to imparting their invaluable knowledge and experience to the students during their course of study.
Delivering the inaugural speech Minister Marapana congratulated all the awardees and acknowledged that courses offered at the BIDTI offer invaluable skills and knowledge crucial for engagement worldwide. He expressed his gratitude to all the lecturers including professionals, academics, and military personnel for their efforts as well to foreign institutions for collaborating with the BIDTI in conducting training programmes.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe in his keynote address commended the BIDTI for its tireless efforts in enhancing public understanding of global affairs. He also envisioned Sri Lanka’s role in the international arena in the future, where Sri Lanka must leverage its position in the Indian Ocean and look beyond its coastline. Further, enhancing global trade by ensuring freedom of navigation in the Indian Ocean. He emphasised that Si Lanka should become a key participant in the Blue economy. The Prime Minister stressed the importance of cultural and economic cooperation with all States in order for Sri Lanka to achieve its optimum goals.
Prime Minister along with the Minister and Secretary presented awards and certificates to the prospective recipients of the Diploma and Post Graduate Diploma courses of the academic year 2018/2019.
The ceremony concluded with a vote of thanks delivered by the recipients of the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Memorial Prize Maharage Isuru Anushka Perera and the Vernon Mendis Memorial Prize Kushendri Edirisinghe. The awardees evoked a positive learning experience at the BIDTI. From being exposed to a diverse student body to receiving knowledge from highly experienced personnel, resulted in their learning experience at the BIDTI to be an interactive, multifaceted one that enhanced their passion for diplomacy and global affairs.
The BIDTI congratulates all awardees of 2018/2019 and wishes them all the success in their future endeavours!
“Our foreign policy led us to enhance the importance of the Indian Ocean Globally… We should leverage our position in the Indian Ocean to ensure that Sri Lanka would get the maximum benefit”, these remarks were made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who was the keynote speaker at the 23rd Convocation of the Bandaranaike International Diplomatic Training Institute (BIDTI) held on 13th August 2019.
Highlighting the geopolitics of the Indian Ocean Prime Minister identified how Sri Lanka could benefit economically. As Sri Lanka marches forward into a more globalized world, the country will be prone to more challenges. As it is moving past a Civil war era, the country needs to formulate a foreign policy focused on its long term goals
Referring to Sri Lanka Foreign relations, the Prime Minister mentioned that we must look beyond our coastline and aim to be one of the main parties in the blue economy and promote freedom of navigation in the Indian Ocean. Therefore, holding no military alliances with any State but enhancing cultural and economic cooperation with all States. He also emphasised the dangers of the effects of climate change and the need for Sri Lanka to use its resources particularly the Navy and Air Force to protect the Indian Ocean while safeguarding the national security.
He stressed the fact that the Indian Ocean has become more prominent in global affairs as Asia has become the epicenter for world economic and military activity. Hence, Sri Lanka lies in an advantageous position having the potential to become a hub of economic activity working alongside China and India. These two countries are forecasted to be the largest contributors to the world economy in a few years.
The prime minister commended the BIDTI for its significant contribution in enhancing public understanding of global affairs and mentioned that there was an increased contribution by public in the media addressing social, political and economic affairs of the country which affects us all.
Ambassador of Federal Republic of Germany Jörn Rhode speaking about its non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for 2019 /2020 mentioned that Germany’s foreign relations is comprised of “Soft power and hard money, that helps to make soft power successful.” He emphasised that Germany is a middle power which firmly follows multilateralism and a rules based order. Hence Germany aims to make the best use of its membership in the Security Council and “increase influence in Foreign policy decision making”. He made these remarks delivering a special guest lecture on 19th August 2019 at the BIDTI.
The Ambassador added that Germany has keen interest in bringing up thematic areas of ‘Women, Peace and Security’, ‘application of International Humanitarian Law’, ‘Nuclear Disarmament’ as well as ‘Climate Change’ which is a potential threat to us all.
He also stressed the need for reform in the UNSC, and that it is an issue that is yet to be resolved. “We want reform to preserve authority and legitimacy ……to appropriate representation to ensure that the global south is more represented”. “We want to adopt a council to the realities of the 21st century…The Security Council does not represent the current geopolitical realities.”
Germany, with membership in the UN for over two decades is now the fourth largest contributor to the UN, the second largest donor to development and assistance and a significant contributor to the UN Peacekeeping missions. yet it is not represented. The Ambassador concluded stating that Germany is very committed to its SC membership, and have allocated more resources to increase their influence in foreign policy decision making.
Foreign minister of Germany Heiko Maas speaking on the 1st January upon gaining their membership of the UNSC stated that “The Security Council is the most important organ of the United Nations for guaranteeing peace and security worldwide. Germany is taking up a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the sixth time – but the expectations placed in us have never been higher. We are well prepared and keen to take on this challenge.”
The UN Resident Representative Hanaa Singer states that the beauty of the UN lies in working on the ground for the community level and the satisfaction gained from working for people was unimaginable.
Addressing the Diploma participants at the BIDTI, Hanaa Singer mentioned that due to the influence of 4th industrial revolution, global challenges have changed thus practices too. Participants had the privilege to witness the reform agenda of the UN which includes repositioning the UN development system, restructuring the peace and security architecture, reorganizing of the management system and structure and ensuring these plans match the new global challenges together with solutions such as the sustainable development framework. Hanaa grabbed the audience with a game that kept everyone engaged during the talk about Roles and Functions of the United Nations.