DSC07105-1            DSC07093-3

Ambassador Mahinda Samarasinghe hosted a dialogue between visiting Sri Lankan State Minister of Technology, Kanaka Herath, and members of the Sri Lankan community drawn from the field of information technology (IT), entrepreneurs and professionals resident in the United States. The meeting was held on Friday, 08 March 2024 at the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington D.C. and was convened with the objectives of encouraging investment in IT-based industries in Sri Lanka by sharing the vision and progress towards developing the digital economy and society of Sri Lanka, engagement with Sri Lankans in the U.S. on the planned global summit on digital development in June 2024 under the aegis of “DIGIECON 2030” initiative and by receiving ideas and views of Sri Lankans in the U.S. on how they might contribute to the digital development of Sri Lanka.

The Ambassador, in his introductory remarks, placed digitalization of government and the economy in the context of economic revival, instilling efficiency and recovery from the challenges of the recent past. He welcomed the participation of nearly 60 participants in the dialogue most of whom joined the forum online. He stated that the presence of Minister of State Herath provided an ideal opportunity for those interested to learn of Sri Lanka’s efforts to develop the IT sector and to collaborate with Sri Lankan governmental institutions and the private sector in projects and initiatives to develop the field. Ambassador Samarasinghe also highlighted the economic progress taking place in Sri Lanka and mentioned that positive sentiments were being expressed from the United States government as well as multilateral financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank.

State Minister Kananake Herath made a detailed presentation on new initiatives in the digital development drive in Sri Lanka. He was joined by Sachindra Samararatne of the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka. The State Minister outlined the 6 main pillars of Sri Lanka’s policy and welcomed investment, cooperation and support from Sri Lankans in the United States.

Also making brief interventions were Charitha Yattogoda, Minister (Commercial), of the Embassy of Sri Lanka, Washington D.C., Professor Saman Amarasinghe, Principal Investigator, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT, who is also an entrepreneur in the IT sector. Mr. Pracash Thiyagarajaa, Global Managing Director, Accenture LLC., Ms. Lakmini Wijesundera Member, on behalf of the  Chair of the AI Policy Committee, Government of Sri Lanka.

A detailed question and answer session ensued, moderated by Ambassador Samarasinghe, during which the participants expressed their ideas and proposals that were taken note of by the State Minister and his team. The participants expressed their willingness to work with Sri Lanka and stated they appreciated the initiative of engaging with them to discuss this critical aspect of digital development.

Concluding the dialogue, the Ambassador expressed the hope that the State Minister and his office would follow up on the various ideas and proposals that arose during the dialogue with other government agencies to further the object of digital transformation in Sri Lanka. He assured the participants that the Embassy was fully committed to coordinating this process.

technology      DSC07077