In collaboration with the Faculty of Arts at the University of Colombo, the Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management Sri Lanka presented a highly anticipated panel discussion entitled “Climate Action: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach.” Professor Chaminda Padmakumara, Head of the Department of International Relations, University of Colombo, facilitated the event, which brought together undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as esteemed faculty members, to engage in a meaningful dialogue on addressing climate challenges through a collaborative lens.
Through ancillary collaboration, Senior Professor (Chair) H.D. Karunaratne, Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo, and Senior Professor L. Manawadu, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, encouraged this initiative as an initial step toward incorporating Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) as a module into the curriculum of the Department of International Relations, Faculty of Arts, University of Colombo. This effort aims at equipping students with the expertise and abilities they need to comprehend and cope with disaster-related challenges. A-PAD is actively preparing future policymakers to respond to and minimize the effects of catastrophes on a national and international level by integrating disaster risk reduction into the learning system.
The discussion encompassed a wide range of topics, including sustainable energy solutions, community resilience, and the role of education in promoting environmental consciousness. Six notable panelists from diverse organizations participated in the panel discussion and delivered compelling insights and experiences in addressing climate challenges from different vantage points. Mr. Chevaan Daniel, Group Director, Capital Maharaja Group; Ms. Yasangi Randeni, General Manager, Group Business Development and Sustainability, Aitken Spence PLC; Dr. Sajith Edirisinghe, Honorary Secretary, Sri Lanka Medical Association; Mr. Firzan Hashim, Country Director, Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management Sri Lanka; Ms. Vajini Herat, Independent Analyst; and Mr. Samantha Kumarasena, CEO, National Cleaner Production Centre, Sri Lanka. The discussion was moderated by the renowned diplomatic historian, Dr. George Cooke, Senior Lecturer, University of Colombo, and Founder of the Awarelogue Initiative.
In his speech, Mr. Chevaan Daniel emphasized the significance of the role that the media plays in promoting sustainable change. The importance of corporate responsibility was highlighted by Ms. Yasangi Randeni. Dr. Sajith Edirisinghe offered insightful explanations on the scientific background of microplastics and how they pertain to climate change. Ms. Vajini Herat highlighted the geopolitical initiatives generated toward climate action; Mr. Samantha Kumarasena emphasized the role of the National Cleaner Production Centre, Sri Lanka, toward supporting multi-industry sectors within the road towards climate action; and Mr. Firzan Hashim discussed innovative strategies for integrating students at the University of Colombo towards the process of climate action through collaboration and partnerships. The panel discussion proved to be an inspirational and enlightening experience for all those in attendance. The interdisciplinary nature of the discussion emphasized the importance of collaboration and the integration of diverse perspectives in addressing complex climate issues.
The Asia-Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management in Sri Lanka express profound gratitude to the panelists for their valuable contributions. Heartfelt gratitude to the people of Japan and the Office of Development Assistance (ODA) at the Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka for their invaluable support in successfully implementing this initiative.