The Executive Director COMSATS, Dr. I.E. Qureshi held a meeting with the outgoing Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Pakistan, H.E. Air Chief Marshal (R) Jayalath Weerakkody, on 27th February 2015, at the latter’s office in Islamabad. The Executive Director was accompanied by the following senior officials of COMSATS Headquarters: Mr. Tajammul Hussain, Advisor (Programmes); Dr. Majid Khan, Director (International Affairs); and Mr. Farhan Ansari, Sr. Assistant Director (Programmes). The primary objective of the meeting was to brief the honourable High Commissioner about the forthcoming 18th Meeting of COMSATS Coordinating Council to be hosted by the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI), in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 12-13 May 2015.
The Executive Director informed the High Commissioner that the annual meetings of COMSATS Coordinating Council provide an excellent platform for scientist-to-scientist level interactions, as it is comprised of Heads of nineteen renowned R&D institutions in developing countries affiliated with COMSATS as its Centres of Excellence. The High Commissioner was acquainted with the key issues to be deliberated upon during the Council meeting. The Executive Director informed that the participating Council members will visit different laboratories of ITI, which will facilitate its collaboration with other Centres of Excellence. The High Commissioner was also informed that COMSATS and ITI will jointly organize the International Symposium on ‘Impacts of Atmospheric Extreme Events on Geo-surface in a Changing Climate’ (14-15 May 2015) and the 4th Meeting of COMSATS’ International Thematic Research Group (ITRG) on ‘Climate Change and Environmental Protection’ in conjunction with the Council meeting, which will be attended by some Council members.
While discussing COMSATS’ programmes in Member States, Dr. Qureshi highlighted the activities of COMSATS’ ITRGs, which have been established to undertake joint research projects in areas of common interest with participation of researchers from different Member States. The honourable High Commissioner was informed that the Industrial Technology Institute (Sri Lanka) is a member of ITRGs on ‘Climate Change and Environmental Protection’ and ‘Mathematical Modeling’, whereas the Institute of Fundamental Studies (Sri Lanka) is a member of ITRG on ‘Natural Products Sciences’. While discussing matters related to the participation of Sri Lankan scientists and S&T organizations in COMSATS’ programmes, the Executive Director informed that over the years COMSATS has provided travel grant to 30 Sri Lankan scientists, in order to facilitate their participation in various capacity building meetings and activities. He also informed the High Commissioner regarding COMSATS’ capacity building events scheduled for 2015, and welcomed the participation of Sri Lankan scientists and researchers in the same. The Executive Director also reiterated the offer of postgraduate scholarships by COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) to students/researchers from COMSATS Member Countries, including Sri Lanka.
The honourable High Commissioner appreciated COMSATS’ programmes aimed at South-South cooperation and scientific capacity building of its Member States. He took keen interest in the offer of postgraduate scholarships by CIIT, and pledged to approach the Sri Lankan Ministry of Higher Education with a view to identifying suitable students for availing these scholarships. He wished success to the forthcoming Coordinating Council meeting. The High Commissioner also informed COMSATS’ officials regarding the current political changes taking place in Sri Lanka with reference to the management of S&T sector in the country, and pledged to brief his successor regarding COMSATS’ programmes and activities in the Member States.