The British Council together with Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science and National Science Foundation hosts inaugural Alumni UK forum with ‘Transdisciplinary Approach for Sustainable Development’ theme

The British Council in Sri Lanka -under its Alumni UK Programme – together with The Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science (SLAAS) and The National Science Foundation (NSF), held the programme’s inaugural forum on Tuesday the 24 October. The enlightening symposium brought together a distinguished gathering of well-established scholars, researchers, and professionals (SRPs) from both Sri Lanka and abroad to address key national issues under the theme ‘Transdisciplinary Approach for Sustainable Development.’

The British Council -the most established primary provider of English language education and resources in Sri Lanka- is dedicated also to building connections and knowledge sharing to help foster a more sustainable, inclusive, and prosperous future for the country. In this vein, the British Council’s Alumni UK online platform was initiated to nurture the spirit of a global networking community; connecting alumni of various UK education institutions, facilitating the exchange of information, and creating opportunities for learning and collaboration. This inaugural forum was organised with the aim to harness the collective expertise of the scientific community to contribute towards Sri Lanka’s sustainable development and future.

UK High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, His Excellency Mr. Andrew Patrick, opened the event underscoring the importance of strong and accessible education links between Sri Lanka and the UK.

Country Director of the British Council, Orlando Edwards, in his opening address, concurred with the theme of the forum and further emphasised the critical role UK alumni play in driving forward solutions to national challenges.

Next Prof. Ranjith Senaratne, General President of SLAAS and Chairman of NSF, spoke of how collaborations such as this only serve to enhance the global academic climate. “Today the world must come to grips with a myriad of formidable challenges such as climate change, he said. “These require interdisciplinary solutions through corporation with specialists from diverse backgrounds and across territorial boundaries.”

Prof. Prasad M. Jayaweera, Secretary – International Relations at SLAAS, introduced attendees to the scope and objectives of the Sri Lanka UK Alumni Forum, outlining the sessions of the day.

Prof. Eran Edirisinghe, Pro Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation University of Keele, UK -who was present with his visiting delegation- spoke of the award-winning university as a case study for the successful incorporation of ‘Leading a nation towards net zero’ with its groundbreaking sustainability initiatives.

The highlight of the event however, was the presentation by Prof. Saroj Jayasinghe, Former Chair Professor of Medicine, University of Colombo on ‘Advancing trans disciplinarity: Is there a role for collective intelligence?’ Here he addressed the overarching national challenge of substantial migration of Sri Lankan professionals from the country as a cause for concern, but also stressed on the importance of leaving the doors open for returnees with newly acquired skills and learning.

Following Prof. Jayasinghe’s presentation, attendees participated in three special interest group (SIG) discussions each addressing pertinent subjects related to the larger theme- chaired by  Prof. Ajith De Alwis, Prof. Ruchira Cumaranatunga, and Prof. P. Ravirajan.

On the whole, the forum was lauded for making important parallels between the recommendations and the feasibility of actioning the sustainable development goals that address Sri Lanka’s current challenge, while also serving as testament to the many benefits that come with the British Council’s Alumni UK platform membership.

About Alumni UK

The British Council’s Alumni UK online platform, at its core, strives to provide the necessary resources for alumni to foster collaboration, share their experiences, and expand their professional networks. This platform transcends being a mere website; it acts as a bridge, linking UK alumni to a world of opportunities, partnerships, and ongoing education.

For those UK alumni in Sri Lanka who have not registered yet for this amazing platform, please click here: Alumni UK | British Council

This is your opportunity to embark on a journey of perpetual growth and collaboration.


British Council 1: Professor Ranjith Senaratne, Orlando Edwards, Country Director, British Council in Sri Lanka and HE Andrew Patrick, The British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka 

British Council 2: Professor Eran Edirisinghe, Pro Vice Chancellor, Research and Innovation, Keele University 

British Council 3: Professor Saroj Jayasinghe, Former Chair Professor of Medicine, University of Colombo

British Council 4: Professor Ajith de Alwis led SIG1 on Circular production and zero-waste society

British Council 5: Professor Ruchira Cumaranatunga led SIG2 on Blue economy and national development

British Council 6: Professor P Ravirajan led SIG3 on Green energy and mitigation of climate change

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