Lanka, Lithuania bilateral relations yield immense mutual gains - Lithuanian Ambassador | Daily News


Lanka, Lithuania bilateral relations yield immense mutual gains - Lithuanian Ambassador

National Seminary in Ampitiya
National Seminary in Ampitiya

Bilateral relationships between Sri Lanka and Lithuania will be further strengthened in terms of trade, education, investments, science and technology remarked Lithuanian Ambassador Julius Pranevičius.

“During my visit to Sri Lanka recently, I could observe the interest of Sri Lankan business community in establishing economic ties with Lithuania and Lithuanian business community too shows the same interest. I view this as a mutually beneficial venture for both the countries in enhancing trade and commerce engagement”, he said.

Ambassador Pranevičius states that one of the most opted for method of promoting active economic cooperation is by encouraging the exchange of business delegations, by actively taking part in international trade fairs and by establishing B2B contacts to spread the message of the possibilities of new cooperation projects.

“In Lithuania, Life Science is a dynamic sector with an annual growth of 25%. The International Forum, Life Science Baltics is held in Vilnius, the Capital of Lithuania biannually. This event attracts over 1,200 science and industry trendsetters from over 40 countries. I would like to welcome scientists and business people from Sri Lanka to take part in the next event to be held in 2020 and be benefitted”, said the Ambassador.

Apart from that, Lithuanian higher education sector provides high quality, modern and innovative studies to students.

“A slew of foreign students apply for universities and higher education institutes in Lithuania in the fields of medicine, mechanical engineering and economic studies. Exchange programs between universities of Lithuania and Sri Lanka would be highly viable to activate conductive bilateral cooperation in education sector”.

“Sri Lanka is a dynamic and developing economy and we want to look for possibilities in further cooperation between our business communities.”

Lithuania is a member state of European Union. “Hence, the international market possibilities are enormous for us now. So we invite Sri Lankan companies to start discovering Lithuania as a gateway to entering the European market”, he said.

Extending a friendly hand and affliction to Sri Lanka’s tourism industry during the times of hardship after the Easter Sunday Blasts, Lithuanian Embassy plans to promote Sri Lanka as a preferred tourism destination in South Asia for Lithuanian tourists.

The Ambassador noted that Sri Lanka is increasingly becoming a highly preferred tourism destination in South Asia for Lithuanian tourists and the number of Lithuanian tourists travelling to Sri Lanka has seen a steady rise of about thirty% annually, giving a ray of hope for Sri Lanka’s tourism industry.

However, in connection with Lithuanian nationals travelling in Sri Lanka may it be for pleasure or on other purposes, it should be mentioned that Msgr. Zaleski, one of the ecclesiastic ancestors of Lithuanian people, not only made a journey to Sri Lanka, but also travelled extensively across the island, witnessing the natural beauty that the country is bestowed with and deriving a blissful gratification.

Hence, Sri Lanka should promote this factor among Lithuanians who can then follow their progenitor Msgr. Zaleski in Sri Lanka.

In many aspects, Lithuania bears resemblance to Sri Lanka. Lithuania is fondly known by the visitors as a ‘land full of surprises’ with glorious green cover and picturesque landscapes across the country, which is a similar source of pride for Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka also boasts of a century old historic relationship with Lithuania which dates back to 1800s.

The arrival of a Lithuanian ecclesiastic named Ladislaus Michael Zaleski to Sri Lanka and his stay in the central hills of the country and setting up of Sri Lanka’s first ever papal seminary in Ampitiya in Kandy for training and educating students on higher theological studies to prepare them for priesthood, is a remarkable testimony of Lithuanian influence and trace in Sri Lanka. The Ampitiya Seminary, which was founded by a Lithuanian Archbishop, is the alma mater for many high profile Catholic priests in Sri Lanka such as the present Cardinal of Sri Lanka, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Rev. Oswald Gomis and Rev. Rayappu Joseph.

Zaleski was a Lithuanian Catholic priest with ancestral links to Poland. He was born in Lithuania to a family of Polish nobility. Zaleski, being a fervent lover of nature, preferred the landscape in Ampitiya, which is a calm area with a picturesque, natural outlook.

He remained in Delegate’s residence and overlooked the activities of the Seminary. It is said that Zaleski looked upon the Seminary as his own creation and had closely supervised the daily activities of the Seminary.

Apart from these European languages that he was conversant in, he took pains in learning Sinhala and Tamil languages during his prolonged stay in Ampitiya Seminary for the purpose of establishing communicative links with the locals. He had written several books in English, French, Italian and Polish languages.

The Papal Seminary was inaugurated in 1893 and was empowered by Rome for conferring Ecclesiastical Degrees in Philosophy and Theology.

The conferring of Degree programs at the Kandy Seminary was contemporary to that of the prestigious University of Colombo, making the Kandy Seminary one of the oldest degree awarding institutions of Sri Lanka.

After the shift of the Papal Seminary to Pune, the Kandy Seminary came to be known as the National Seminary.

Recently, Lithuanian Ambassador Pranevičius visited the National Seminary in Ampitiya and discovered the historic and the cultural links between Sri Lanka and Lithuania that were established through the Ampitiya Seminary and its Lithuanian-born founder Zalaski. The ninth rector of the National Seminary, Rev. Fr. J. D. Anthony Jayakody, said, “I see a great possibility and an advantage of exchanging scholars between our Ampitiya Seminary and the seminaries in Lithuania to revitalize the historic and religious links between the two countries.” There is tourism value in National Seminary in Ampitiya and it should be included as a must place to visit for Lithuanian tourist travelling in Sri Lanka. 

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