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Govt. keen to receive Canadian assistance despite ‘diplomatic issue’

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Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and Canadian HC Eric Walsh arriving at the inauguration of the two-day symposium conducted at Galle Face Hotel (pic courtesy PM’s Office)

In spite of the diplomatic issue caused by Canadian declaration of genocide and imposition of travel ban on former Presidents, Mahinda Rajapaksa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the two countries on Tuesday (11) declared their intention to explore ways and means of continuing with high profile Canadian-funded post-war reconciliation project meant to encourage the implementation of the official language policy.

Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and Canadian High Commissioner here, Eric Walsh, commented on the possibility of the continuation of the Canadian support in this regard at the inauguration of a two-day symposium to mark the completion of the National Languages Equality Advancement Project (NLEAP) at the Galle Face Hotel.

Delivering a brief welcome speech, Project Director Michael Emblem explained how the NLEAP, based on the Canadian experience, helped post-war Sri Lanka to achieve success in the implementation of the official languages policy. Emblem declared that the project was meant to achieve post-war peace and reconciliation.

Alinea International implemented the project. The gathering was told how the project enhanced the capacity of Official Languages Department, the national Institute of Language Education and Training and Official Languages Commission. In line with the overall objectives, NLEAP has shared the Canadian model through the University Grants Commission (UGC) to the Universities of Jaffna, Kelaniya, Sabaragamuwa and Eastern.

Among the issues that were stressed at the symposium were that Tamil shall be the language of administration and courts in the Northern and Eastern Provinces and every citizen has the freedom to use his/her own language (SF)

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