GL lauds Aussie awards programme


Prof. Peiris addresses the gathering, while Australian HC in Colombo Robyn Mudie looks on.

Minister of External Affairs Prof. G. L. Peiris, on Thursday, paid a tribute to the Australian government for the Australia Awards (AA) international scholarships and fellowships programme.

Speaking as Chief Guest at the Australia Awards Ceremony at the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel the Minister appreciated the Awards programme that had provided substantial benefits to Sri Lanka by offering opportunities for students to undertake postgraduate studies in Australia.

Prof. Peiris noted that people to people contact stood out as one of the many benefits of the relations between the two countries. He mentioned programmes such as the Colombo Plan which had rendered yeomen service to the country.

The two countries, Minister Peiris said, had a "rich and a deep relationship that straddled so many different sectors" and there was a exciting relationship in the business sector between Australian and Sri Lankan companies. He said at recently concluded CHOGM Business Forum, there was significant presence of Australian companies and entrepreneurs and Sri Lanka. He noted the extensive cooperation with regard to security, navy and monitoring of sea- lanes in the Indian Ocean and the vigorous engagement at the recent Galle Dialogue.

Prof. Peiris said he was pleased to note that 38 Sri Lankan students would have the opportunity to study in Australia in 2014 and that since the programme’s inception, 1,000 Sri Lankan students had benefited from the programme. He acknowledged that many of these Sri Lankans had continued to contribute as teachers, academics and professors in Australia.

Australia’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Robyn Mudie said that education was the flagship of the Australian government development corporation programme across the world. The High Commissioner highlighted various benefits offered through the awards programme

The High Commissioner said Sri Lanka’s distinguished alumni ranged from Cabinet secretaries, secretaries of ministries and professionals from both public and private sectors.

Indrani Sugathadasa, Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Insurance Board, one of the Australia Awards alumni, spoke on behalf of the Australian Awards Alumni Association and gave an overview of the activities of and planned work of the Association.

Edward Archibald, Counsellor of AusAID and Peter Nolan, Counsellor of Education and Science of the Australian High Commission in New Delhi also spoke.

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