Vice Chancellor E. A. Weerasinghe (third from left) leading the visit to Frescati (Minister Samarasinghe was unable to attend).

Henrik Hansson, Associate Professor at the Department of Computer and Systems Sciences (DSV) at Stockholm University, has worked in cooperation with the Sri Lankan university for many years. Now, a new partnership is being formed with the National Institute of Business Management (NSBM) in Colombo. Doctoral student with World Bank financing at DSV, Ranil Peris, comes from Sri Lanka and began the initial contact. It’s a capacity-building project for doctoral education at NSBM with Stockholm University providing guidance. Because the doctoral students will do most of their work in Sri Lanka, remote guidance will be key. All of the prospective Ph.D.s are teachers at NSBM.

Newly established "green" university

Mahinde Samarasinghe, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training, decided to visit DSV and Stockholm University July 29th, in conjunction with his European visit. The delegation included E.A. Weerasinghe and Susantha Fernando, the vice chancellor and the chairperson of the board for NSBM, respectively. The university is newly established in the capital Colombo, with 30,000 students primarily in business and engineering. An important objective of the university is to overcome the tensions between different ethnic groups in Sri Lanka. The university also focuses on sustainability and calls itself a “green university.”

Future partnerships

One challenge for NSBM is to recruit teachers and researchers and to raise the numbers of Ph.D. holders that could eventually be colleagues. One purpose of the visit to Stockholm was to learn more about doctoral education as well as recruiting and the training of workers. The aim is also to create a partnership with DSV for the financing and education of a number of doctoral students from Sri Lanka.

During the morning they discussed the possibility for future partnerships at DSV in Kista. In the afternoon they took a tour of the university campus in Frescati. A dinner of the the Sri Lankan embassy concluded the day. Ambassador Damayanthie Rajapakse, Mahinda Samarasinghe and E.A. Weerasinghe all emphasised the importance of a robust partnership that could become a model for other Sri Lankan universities. They are currently working on an agreement for doctoral education with the support of DSV and Henrik Hansson is invited to the opening of NSBM’s new campus in October.