Published on: January 31, 2024

Fostering an Informed and Civilized Society: Key to Economic Development in a Nation

The President said at the opening of the new building complex of the University of Kelaniya Postgraduate Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies.

  • President Ranil Wickremesinghe aspired for a golden era of education in the country, demonstrating relentless dedication – Senior Professor Ven. Medavachchiye Dhammajothi Thera.
  • Universities are not restricted areas and should be accessible to all – Professor Ven. Rulawe Padmasiri Thera.
  • President’s decision to provide dormitories for foreign students, enhancing Sri Lanka’s position as a centre of Theravada Buddhism is commendable – Ven. Passaramulle Dayawansa Thera.
  • President Ranil Wickremesinghe is a product of the country’s National University – Senior Professor Sampath Amaratunga.
  • I extend my appreciation to President Wickremesinghe for visiting this independent institution and encouraging contributions to its development – Senior Assistant Registrar Mr. Sumith Jayasekara.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized that the foundation of a nation’s economy lies in fostering an enlightened and cultured society. He made these remarks during the inauguration of the new building complex at the Kelaniya University Postgraduate Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies this morning (31).

The President underscored Sri Lanka’s pivotal role as the heart of Theravada Buddhism, expressing the nation’s duty to delve deeper into the Dharma and share its wisdom globally. Highlighting plans for the future, he announced the intention to establish a research institute dedicated to Theravada Buddhism, recognizing the potential of such institutions to propagate the teachings and strengthen ties between Buddhist nations.

In addressing the evolving technological landscape, President Ranil Wickremesinghe affirmed the commitment to enhance Sri Lanka’s education system in line with the demands of the digital age. He further revealed plans to introduce artificial intelligence courses across all universities.

The President also said that he is ready to provide the land and government support to build a student hostel at the Post Graduate Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies as requested by the students.

As a gesture of gratitude, President Ranil Wickremesinghe presented commemorative gifts to foreign donors who contributed to the construction of the new building complex.

Expressing his views further President Wickremesinghe said,

In 2019, I assumed the role of Prime Minister to lay the foundation stone for the construction of this building. Today, as the President I inaugurate this structure, in which its progress was hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ven. Ratanasara Thera’s initiative to establish the Pali and Buddhist Institute at Vidyalankara University is commendable, and Ven. Rahula Anunayake of Kotapitiya played a significant role in the building’s construction.

The teachings of Buddha, crucial for navigating life’s challenges, hold immense importance. This institute has the potential to delve into these teachings deeply and disseminate them globally. Nearly fifty years have passed since the institution’s inception, marking a milestone.

Beyond benefiting Buddhist nations, this institute can contribute to fostering understanding of Theravada Buddhism in other countries, fostering stronger ties among Theravada nations. Excavations for the grand temple have commenced, led by the Maya Devi excavation team from Lumbini. Plans for a research institute to further study Buddhism are underway, with a comprehensive report expected by year-end.

As a government, our efforts are focused on promoting Theravada Buddhism globally. This institution plays a crucial role in fostering relationships among international Buddhist nations.

Furthermore, the upcoming free trade agreement with the Prime Minister of Thailand is anticipated to enhance the bonds between Sri Lanka and Thailand, both being Buddhist countries.

In tandem with technological advancements, we aim to create an environment that allows technology to explore Buddhist teachings. Artificial intelligence plays a vital role in this endeavour. Collaborating with the Minister of Education, we are actively pursuing the introduction of artificial intelligence courses in every university. The rapid evolution of technology demands a responsive education system, and we aspire to fortify Sri Lanka’s educational landscape accordingly.

Recognizing that the country’s progress is intricately linked to knowledge and a cultured society, we remain committed to strengthening the education system to meet the demands of the technology era, ultimately contributing to the bolstering of the nation’s economy.

Ven. Senior Professor Medavachchiye Dhammajothi Thera – Director, Postgraduate Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies, University of Kelaniya,

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, during his tenure as the Minister of Education, made significant strides in the field by initiating the establishment of colleges. His economic vision, emphasizing the inflow of foreign funds, deserves commendation. The introduction of this post-graduate institution not only reinforces the program for attracting foreign investments to Sri Lanka but also hosts a substantial number of international students. Today marks a golden opportunity within this educational institution.

Professor Miriswatte Wimalagnana Thera, Head of the Department of Buddhist Culture,

The Post Graduate Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies stands as an outstanding educational institution in Sri Lanka. Today holds immense significance, marking a day of great joy. It can be rightfully proclaimed as the most pivotal day in the history of this institution. For over 50 years, the institute operated in various parts of Sri Lanka. However, today signifies a historic moment as, for the first time, it has found a permanent home with the support of foreign investors and the government. Notably, it boasts the highest number of foreign students and generates substantial foreign income from education. With the potential for significant future earnings, we express gratitude for the government’s support, particularly from the President, in making this achievement possible.

Venerable Raluwe Padmasiri Thera – Professor of the Department of Buddhist Thought,

It’s been 49 years since the inception of this this institution, serving as the sole government institute for Pali and Buddhist postgraduate studies. Through the support of the Sri Lankan government and foreign assistance, the institution proudly unveils a new four-storey building today. The President of the country extends blessings for the inauguration of this remarkable structure.

It is emphasized that leaders and politicians should have the opportunity to pursue admission to a university, as universities are not confined spaces. The Buddhist and Pali Postgraduate Institute welcome individuals from all backgrounds, transcending party affiliations. This institution, like the teachings of Dharma, remains impartial. Its mission extends beyond borders, providing a profound understanding of Dharma to both Sri Lanka and the international community.

Emeritus Professor K.L. Dhamma Jyoti Thera from Hong Kong,

I am currently pursuing my studies overseas at this institution. Remarkable progress has occurred in this academic setting since our earlier years of study. While we used to engage in educational activities from various locations back then, there is now a dedicated campus that serves as a centralized hub for all educational endeavours and the propagation of Buddhism. The commitment of the doctors and professors has significantly contributed to the development of the Pali and Buddhist Postgraduate Institute, elevating it to a noteworthy platform for advancing Buddhist education on the international stage.

Ven. Passaramulle Dayawansa Thera, Post Graduate Student of the Pali and Buddhist Postgraduate Institute;

The inauguration of the Pali and Buddhist Postgraduate Institute marks a significant stride towards elevating Buddhist education to an international standard. This newly unveiled institution is poised to cater to the educational needs of both local and international students. Noteworthy is the President’s commitment to constructing a dormitory for foreign students, a pledge that, if fulfilled, has the potential to transform Sri Lanka into a prominent educational hub for Theravada Buddhism.

Senior Professor Sampath Amaratunge – Chairman of the University Grants Commission,

The inauguration today holds a special significance for the nation. Among the 17 universities with 19 functioning institutes, nine are postgraduate institutes, including the Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies at Kelaniya University. The unveiling of this building complex, achieved through the dedication of a substantial team and considerable foreign investment, is a momentous occasion for our country, order, and the global community. Our aim is to disseminate the teachings of Theravada Buddhism worldwide.

Despite recent tensions around the University of Kelaniya, today’s atmosphere is remarkably peaceful. The execution of this endeavour has been exceptionally well-done. Notably, President Ranil Wickremesinghe is a product of our national university system, highlighting the significance of this achievement. Therefore, my gratitude extends to the University of Kelaniya and its students for their assistance in effortlessly conveying this message to the world.

Dr. P.R.W. Priyadarshana – Professor, Department of Buddhist Culture,

We are delighted that the foundation stone of the postgraduate institution building premises, was laid during President Wickremesinghe’s tenure as Prime Minister and he is inaugurating it today during his presidency. The institute is actively engaged in elevating Theravada Buddhism to an international level and serves as a valuable asset to the country. Open to individuals worldwide, this postgraduate institution holds the potential to disseminate the Dhamma message globally as a centre for Theravada teachings.

Senior Assistant Registrar – Mr. L.A. Sumith Jayasekara,

For nearly five decades, the Pali and Buddhist Postgraduate Institute has been dedicated to educating both local and international monks and laypeople. Within Buddhism lie numerous languages that offer solutions to diverse global issues, and this institution provides a significant platform for such exploration. Recognizing the importance of this endeavour, I express gratitude to the President, the head of the country, for gracing us with his presence and contributing to the progress of this independent institution.

As a leader with a wealth of knowledge, he has consistently shown dedication to the education of the country’s children over the years. Despite initial concerns about his participation in today’s event, we are thankful for his presence and encouragement.

The occasion was graced by the presence of the Maha Sangha led by Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagri Maha Sangha Sabha Anunayake, Prof. Ven. Rahula Anunayake Thera of Kotapitiya and other esteemed attendees included Minister of Education Dr. Susil Premajayantha, Minister of State for Education Dr. Suresh Raghavan, Chairman of the University Grants Commission Senior Professor Sampath Amaratunga and the Vice Chancellor of the Kelaniya University Senior Professor Nilanthi De Silva and other distinguished professors.

Mission

The Presidential Media Division is fully responsible for socializing the views, actions, decisions and statements of His Excellency the President through the media. Electronic, print and new media will contribute to this through a credible and engaging approach.

The media department works as a source of information on the subject of the President’s vision and mission by maintaining good coordination with public and private media organizations and journalists.

National policies, plans and measures are explained to the people through the use of high quality media. Identify the fallacies and reveal the truth.