Sri Lankan mission establishes time frame for AIT center, training possibilities

Meeting on 27 July in Colombo, Sri Lanka, were Mr. Nihal Herath, technical advisor, SEMP; Mr. Sanjeev Jayasinghe, Head, External Relations and Communications Office, AIT President Said Irandoust, Sri Lankan Minister of Education the Hon. Susil Premajayanta and Mr. Amura Dissanayake, director, SEMP.

Sri Lankan mission establishes time frame for AIT center, training possibilities

An AIT delegation made a late July visit to Colombo, Sri Lanka, to discuss funding for 10 master's scholarships at the AIT Center Sri Lanka and training programs for public administrators.

AIT President Said Irandoust and Mr. Sanjeev Jayasinghe, head, External Relations and Communications Office met with the minister of Education the minister of Home Affairs and Public Administration, among other Sri Lankan officials, on 27 July 2006.

With Minister of Education Mr. Susil Premajayantha, they discussed proposed funding for AIT Center Sri Lanka, which will initially focus on master's degree students in Applied Biotechnology.

Since the invitation to establish a center came from the Ministry of Education in September 2005. Prof. Irandoust discussed the possibility of the ministry providing 10 full scholarships a year for three years for qualified Sri Lankans. The minister was receptive to the president's request and suggested that AIT send him the total cost of the scholarships. The minister will then personally submit a cabinet paper on AIT's request and seek the approval of the Sri Lankan cabinet for the allocation of funds to AIT Center Sri Lanka.

In the meantime, the vice chancellor of the University of Colombo – which will house the AIT center at its Institute of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology – and the university senate has approved the center. Minutes of the approval were sent to the chairman of the University Grants Commission, which has also approved the establishment of the AIT center.

Once the cabinet approves the allocation of funds for the first three years of operation, the center will be in a position to open by early 2007.

Prof. Irandoust and Mr. Jayasinghe were able to arrange a meeting with Minister of Home Affairs and Public Administration Dr. Sarath Amunugama through the assistance of H.E. Mr. J.D.A. Wijewardena, ambassador of Sri Lanka to Thailand.

During the discussion, Dr. Amunugama mentioned that in his ministry there is a well-established training center called the Sri Lanka Institute for Development Administration, which has provided training in management to public servants for the last 20 years. Prof. Irandoust made a visit to the institute's director on the same day.

As a result, on 7 August, the External Relations and Communications Office received a formal letter from the institute requesting AIT to prepare a program for a study tour of public administrators to AIT Extension, as well as to discuss the Sri Lankan institute's future training requirements.

The AIT delegation also met with H.E. Sachaphand Atthakor, Thailand's ambassador to Sri Lanka, who was supportive of AIT's proposed activities with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Public Administration.

From left: AIT President Said Irandoust, Minister for Home Affairs & Public Administration the Hon. Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Thailand Ambassador to Sri Lanka H.E. Sachaphand Atthakor and Mr. Sanjeev Jayasinghe, head, External Relations and Communications Office, meet in Colombo, Sri Lanka.