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Sri Lanka to set up a new agro-technology university

The government is collaborating with the Californian university system to obtain assistance to modernize agriculture in Sri Lanka and to set up a new agro-technology university, said Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

He was addressing the 70th anniversary of the United States-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission Program in Colombo on Wednesday (16).

He said that the government discussed with a group of Singaporean investors on Tuesday (15) the supply of food for island nations and Middle East countries which lack their food resources.

He said that this was only the start and he issued instructions to find the land for it and modernize agriculture. He said that Fulbright alumni such as Prof Pradeepa Bandaranaike are vital assets in modernizing agriculture.

He added that the new agro-technology university will be combined with the Tea Research Institute (TRI), among others, to work with some of the American institutions on how to upgrade research in Sri Lanka.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe also said that the government is focusing on improving English language education within the next ten years.

He added that he hoped to obtain assistance for training teachers and trainers from the US counterparts for this ambitious project. The President assured the initiation of this project and said Sri Lanka will depend on the Fulbright scholarships and assistance to bring down counterparts from America.

President Wickremesinghe said that the foundation for the friendly relations between the two countries is the educational exchange program, especially the binational Fulbright exchange program between Sri Lanka and the United States.

“We have had about 3000 scholars from Sri Lanka and America who typified the exchange of knowledge and professional development that has benefitted both nations. And they have made a big impression on Sri Lanka. They have enriched our society and made our culture so much more vibrant.”

He said the two countries were celebrating 70 years of formal education exchanges in Sri Lanka. He added that the exchange goes back much further.

The first exchange was when the American missionaries came to Jaffna and the imprint is still there. The second was when Colonel Henry Olcott came to Sri Lanka.

That’s another imprint both in Sri Lanka and to a lesser extent in the USA. The next in the 20th century was when President Woodrow Wilson, declared the 14 points which also guaranteed independence to the colonial states, he said.

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