Address by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera at the International Institute for Middle-East and Balkan Studies
Address by Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, MP.,
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka
International Institute for Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES)
Slovenia, 7 September 2016
Democracy, Reconciliation and Development: Vision for a New Sri Lanka
Prof. Dr. Ernest Petrič
Vice President of the Advisory Board of the International Institute for
Middle-East and Balkan Studies, and Members of the Institute
Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka in Slovenia,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honour for me to be here today, at the invitation of the International Institute for Middle-East and Balkan Studies, to speak to you about the changes that are taking place in my country.
Although Sri Lanka is situated far away from where we stand here this afternoon in geographical terms, this region of the Balkans and the region where we are situated in South Asia, are both inheritors of ancient civilisations and rich histories.
In classical times, the Balkans lay at the heart of the Greco-Roman civilisation, and was also influenced by Christianity and Islam. Today, this region is home to a diverse ethno-linguistic people, not very different from the region of South Asia that constitutes one-fifth of the world’s population comprising diverse ethnic, religious and linguistic groups. Today, South Asia is a mix of the ancient and the modern – with the influence of western colonisation having left its mark as well, on language, religion, attire, food, architecture, culture, literature and every conceivable aspect of social life.
Each of the nations in South Asia, including Sri Lanka, continues to grapple with issues of nation building in the post-independent modern era while adjusting to the rapidly evolving modern technological advancements, globalisation, and dealing with challenges posed by climate change, migration, urbanisation, terrorism and violent extremism, and taking steps to achieve equitable and sustainable development, and economic growth.