Unfortunately, the virtual Investor forum – Melbourne (Webinar) scheduled for 3rd May 2024, @ 7PM has to be postponed until further notice. OOSLA will reschedule the Investor forum – Melbourne (Webinar) shortly and the new date and time will be shared in due course.

Office for Overseas Sri Lankan Affairs in collaboration with Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC), Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) and SLCG/Melbourne. Invite all OSLs to join, 𝟕 𝐏𝐦 𝐌𝐞𝐥𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐧𝐞 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞 𝐨𝐧 𝟑𝐫𝐝 𝐌𝐚𝐲 for a webinar, to get updated on investment potentials in the CSE and on the current developments.
𝐂𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐤 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐤 𝐭𝐨 𝐫𝐞𝐠𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫: https://forms.office.com/r/Zh3zccpG4b

Facility for online reservation of train seats is made available by the railway department wef 2014.03.14. Visit www.seatreservation.railway.gov.lk to access the service.

කල්තියා වෙන්කර ගත හැකි දුම්රිය ආසන වෙන් කිරිම 2024.03.14 සවස සිට මුළුමනින්ම මාර්ග ගතව සිදුකිරිමට දුම්රිය දෙපාර්තමේන්තුව විසින් පහසුකම් සලසා දී ඇත. ඒ අනුව, www.seatreservation.railway.gov.lk මගින් මෙම සේවාව ලබා ගත හැක.

www.seatreservation.railway.gov.lk என்ற இணையத்தளத்தின் ஊடாக புகையிரத ஆசன முன்பதிவுகளை முழுமையாக மேற்கொள்ளும் வசதியை 2024.03.14 ஆம் திகதி முதல் புகையிரத திணைக்களம் அறிமுகப்படுத்தியுள்ளது.

The Office for Overseas Sri Lankan Affairs (OOSLA) has initiated the philanthropic project ‘Hope’ as part of its mandate, facilitating the donation of school materials to 271 needy students in the Malimbada Divisional Secretariat in the Mathara District. OOSLA hosted and coordinated a series of physical and virtual discussions with the Sri Lanka Buddhist Cultural Centre in Hong Kong (SLBCC_HK) – the donor, the Malimbada Divisional Secretariat that identified the needy students, and the Ministry of Home Affairs, which introduced five philanthropic projects covering the whole country. The project in Malimbada is the first among the five projects that was successfully implemented recently.

Virtually joining the brief event hosted by the Divisional Secretariat, Ven. Sigiriye Summiththa Thero – the Founder of SLBCC-HK, expressed pleasure in accepting OOSLA’s proposal to support the needy students through a moderate contribution. This marks the Association’s first involvement in the deep South, specifically Malimbada. Thero encouraged the students to make their best efforts in achieving success in education despite the challenges and assured further support from the Association. Divisional Secretary Ms. Imesha Matharage explained the process followed by her team of officers in selecting the students who received the school items and appreciated the dedicated support given by OOSLA in coordinating with the donor and the Divisional Secretariat to help the students who are from underprivileged families. Officials of OOSLA who coordinated the project also joined the event and explained the objectives of OOSLA and its ‘Hope Project.’

Established following the Cabinet of Ministers’ decision post the 2022 interim Budget proposals, OOSLA functions as the central coordination point in engaging with Overseas Sri Lankans. It facilitates connecting OSLs as philanthropists, investors, knowledge, and skill contributors to ensure ‘brain gain’ and to promote dialogue among communities.

The newly established office for coordinating engagement with the Sri Lankans living overseas debuts its work as the central agency to connect with the Overseas Sri Lankans (OSLs) with their home country with an event hosted on 18 December, combining celebration and intellectual discourse.

Director General of OOSLA:
Mr. Krishnamoorthy

Choosing the International Migrants Day to launch OOSLA is a deliberate choice in recognition of the services and contributions by Sri Lanka’s migrant population, and the priority attached by the Government to engage with them”, said the Director General of OOSLA, Mr. Krishnamoorthy welcoming the gathering present at the Office of the President.

Director General highlighted that it was based on the vision of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, that the office was established, and it commenced operations in January 2023. Mr. Krishnamoorthy further noted that over 3 million Overseas Sri Lankans, who have emigrated for diverse reasons, has significantly influenced and contributed to the country’s socio-economic development. Having set up the office with firm institutional and policy backing signifies OOSLA from the many previous efforts made in engaging the expatriate community in the past.

 

The event was hosted under the patronage of Hon. President Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe, and the Chief of Staff and the Senior Advisor to the President on National Security, Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka, graced the occasion and together with the Hon. Foreign Minister Mr. Ali Sabry, joined in launching the OOSLA website (www.oosla.lk), and also presenting a memento to the Key Note Speaker of the event, Professor Emeritus Lakshman Samaranayake of Hong Kong University, in recognition of the exemplary services rendered by him to Sri Lanka, and to acknowledge his collaborations with the Office for Overseas Sri Lankan Affairs.

Senior Advisor to the President:
Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka

Hon. Foreign Minister:
Mr. Ali Sabry

Key Note Speech: Professor Emeritus Lakshman Samaranayake

Addressing the gathering, the Chief of Staff Mr. Ratnayaka emphasized that being part of the diaspora does not make someone an extremist or anti-Sri Lankan, and irrespective of ethnicity or religion, all Sri Lankans living outside the country to be considered as part of the diaspora. Acknowledging the historical events in Sri Lanka that have created distance between the country and its diaspora, said they face challenges when they want to contribute to the country’s development. He emphasized the importance of engaging the diaspora and creating an environment that encourages their return and investment.

Emphasizing on the significance of International Migrants Day, and highlighting the challenges and opportunities associated with migration, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Sabry, underscored the need for proactively engaging with the Overseas Sri Lankans, both permanent migrants and temporary workers abroad. He emphasized the challenges faced by those who have migrated and expressed the importance of engaging the OSLs with respect, dignity, and a sense of belonging, in line with the principles outlined in the country’s constitution. He said establishing the Office of Overseas Sri Lankans (OOSLA) was a significant step towards addressing the concerns and needs of the diaspora.

 

Panel Discussion: “Celebrating for a Better Sri Lanka: Unlocking the Potentials”

The Chief of Mission for International Organization for Migration (IOM) Sri Lanka, Mr. Sarat Dash, expressing the full support of the IOM to OOSLA, recalled the international commitments through the Global Compact on Migration (GCM), and also through the Sustainable Development Goals, that Member States have ‘prioritized diaspora engagement for development in countries of origin, transit and residence’. He further said “Overseas Sri Lankans are a key stakeholder in the social cohesion and reconciliation journey of the country as well” and suggested to realize it through a mutually benefiting dialogue, addressing the needs of overseas Sri Lankans and that of Sri Lanka –the country of origin.

The day’s proceedings also included a substantive thematic discussion on ‘Celebrating for a Better Sri Lanka: Unlocking the Potentials”, bringing in a rich dialogue on four interconnected areas, presented by four distinguish panelists, and ably moderated by Senior Lecturer of Faculty of Arts of the University of Colombo, Dr Pavithra Jayawardane.

Launch of the official website of OOSLA

Bringing in the views of political and institutional dimensions of diaspora engagements and assessing the previous efforts, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, the Executive Director of Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute (LKI), shared his views. Looking beyond the remittances of migrants, Dr. Bilesha Weeraratne, Research Fellow, Head of Migration and Urbanization Research of the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) unravels the facts and fictions on the economic aspects associated with Overseas Sri Lankans. Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam, who also currently serves as a member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Migrant Workers and the Welfare of their families (CMW) drew the attention to the importance of a human-centric approach to migrants and migration journey from an overly state and security centric approach.  A distinguished Overseas Sri Lankan, who is a green architect and the past President of the American Architects Association spoke about the challenges and perspectives of Sri Lankans overseas in engaging with their home country, and aspects that needs to be addressed to encourage their involvement in the development of the country.

Presenting the votes of thanks and highlighting the way forward for OOLSA in achieving its mandate, Ambassador Esala Weerakoon, the Senior Additional Secretary to the Hon. President presented three salient points, namely, operationalize OOSLA with a dynamic, problem solving, and result oriented business approach, Legalize OOSLA to make it a lasting institution with a significant impact to both OSLs and Sri Lanka, and Change ideals to value OLSs and their abiding, familial, and sentimental links with Sri Lanka, such that they are treated as an asset to the country.

The event conducted in hybrid mode had participants, including Ambassadors, High Commissioners, and Secretaries of Ministries representing foreign countries, and a substantial number of Sri Lankans residing abroad engaged through online technology.

We recently hosted a meeting with the Chairperson & representatives of the National Science Foundation to promote strengthening the ‘Global Digital Platform’ developed and maintained by NSF, which links renowned OSL experts, scientists, academicians, and prominent professionals in respective fields throughout the world. The network opens the door for improving cooperative interactions with local interlocutors. Sign up now: https://gdp.nsf.gov.lk.

In order to solicit cooperation from interested OSLs for boosting tea and ecotourism investments in their estates located around Galle District, a delegation of members from the Tea Estate Holders Association met with OOSLA. Their efforts to help tea estate owners develop their business skills provide a variety of investment prospects, such as ecotourism with a variety of tea-based activities and locating foreign markets for specially crafted artisan teas. The Association has also piloted ‘smart tea instructors’ project’ to draw the youth into the plantation sector. OSLs interested in getting connected can contact OOSLA.

President proposes to the Parliament on setting up of an Office for handling matters related to Overseas Sri Lankans

By establishing an Office for Overseas Sri Lankans, the reach to these people across all groups and generations will be increased, enabling greater active engagement.

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