he stated that opening of this Chair would provide more opportunities to the Heidelberg University to enhance its academic, research cooperation as well as student exchange between Sri Lanka and the Heidelberg University.
The proposal of creating a Sri Lankan Chair at this prestigious Institute was proposed by Ambassador Amunugama, during his visit to the Heidelberg University and it was realized through the MoU that was signed between the Ministry of Higher Education of Sri Lanka and Heidelberg University during the visit of His Excellency the President to Germany in February 2016.
Professor Siri Hettige, one of the most senior scholars in Sri Lanka has being appointed as the first Chair holder for Sri Lankan Studies for the winter term 2016/2017. He would be engaged in teaching and conducting research at the Institute in Heidelberg and would also be involved in developing concepts for further research on and with Sri Lanka. At his inauguration lecture, Professor Hettige presented his views under the topic of ‘Achieving Sustainable Development Goals in Sri Lanka, Prospects and Challenges’.
Heidelberg University, founded in 1386 is regarded as Germany’s oldest university and one of the most prestigious universities in Europe. Throughout these years, the university has been successful in maintaining its reputation as a high quality research university of international standards with a strong international orientation.
The South Asia Institute at Heidelberg University was established in 1962 and in addition to its branch offices and regional representatives in India, Nepal and Pakistan, the SAI opened a branch office in Colombo in 1995 which has been able to provide high quality collaborative research, publications, MAs and PhDs. After a lapse of a number of years, the Colombo branch office has been re-opened in February 2014 and has started continuing its work and activities and fosters academic interaction and cooperation with universities and academic institutions all over Sri Lanka.,
The Institute also cooperates closely with other Departments and Institutes at Heidelberg University that have a focus on South Asia, especially with the Chairs of Global Art History, Visual and Media Anthropology and Buddhist studies.
Delivering a speech at the opening ceremony of the Sri Lanka Chair, Ambassador Amunugama appreciated the support Sri Lanka has received from the Federal Foreign Ministry for the quick implementation of the MoU and highlighted the Importance of initiatives as such which would help further enhance our solid bilateral relations with Germany.
It is expected that this newly founded collaboration with the Heidelberg University will pave the way for expanding of other areas of academic research to strengthen closer cooperation between Sri Lanka and Germany for the betterment of the future generations.