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Dr. Dinusha Panditaratne, Executive Director of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute (LKI), recently participated in The Asia Foundation’s Strategy Planning Meeting 2017-2020.
The Asia Foundation (TAF) is a nonprofit international development organisation, whose work across Asia addresses five main goals: to strengthen governance, empower women, expand economic opportunity, increase environmental resilience, and promote regional cooperation. Headquartered in San Francisco, TAF works through a network of offices in Washington DC and 18 Asian countries, including Sri Lanka.
TAF’s work has included strengthening regional institutions like ASEAN and APEC, and facilitating multi-country dialogues on critical regional issues. The TAF2020 plan aims to strengthen the organisation’s ability to address key issues facing Asia in the coming five years.
At a thematic session on 20 July 2017, Dr. Panditaratne shared her views on “Promoting International Cooperation” and the potential role TAF could play in this. Dr. Panditaratne’s presentation drew on the themes and ideas discussed at LKI’s recent foreign policy conference held on 28-29 June 2017, on making ‘Choices in a Changing World’.
Dr. Panditaratne discussed (i) the Sri Lankan government’s vision of Sri Lanka becoming a centre of the Indian Ocean and a gateway to the subcontinent, in view of geoeconomic trends, (ii) the main challenges to realising that vision, and (iii) ways to potentially address those challenges, with the assistance of international organisations like TAF and local actors.
The session was moderated by Dinesha de Silva, TAF’s Country Representative in Sri Lanka. It was attended by the TAF Sri Lanka program team, as well visiting TAF personnel from overseas, including Senior Vice President for Programs, Gordon Hein, Senior Adviser for Program Strategy, Bill Cole, and the Country Representative for India, Sagar Prasai.