“Inclusive Growth towards Economic Transformation”
The Department of Business Economics, Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce, University of Sri Jayewardenepura took up the Secretariat of the Sri Lanka Forum of University Economists (SLFUE) for the year 2015. The Sri Lanka Forum of University Economists (SLFUE) is a network of all Departments and Units of Economics within the Sri Lankan state university system which was initiated in 2012. It conducts quarterly meetings at different universities and the Secretariat organizes an annual conference. Furthermore a bi-annual journal, Sri Lanka Journal of Economic Research (SLJER) inclusive of research work is presented and debated upon at the conference is published every year.
This year’s conference was held on the 20th and 21st of November 2015 at the Hotel Janaki, Colombo 05. A timely theme was set for the conference; “Inclusive Growth towards Economic Transformation”. The two day conference began with an Inauguration Ceremony graced by Prof. P.S.M. Gunaratne; Vice Chairman of the University grants Commission, Prof. Sampath Amarathunge; Vice Chancellor of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura who was also the Guest of Honor, Dr. Saman Kelegama; Executive Director, Institute of policy Studies as the Keynote speaker, Dr. U. Anura Kumara; Dean, Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce. The Inauguration Ceremony was followed by an Economic Forum which was the lime light of the evening.
The Economic Forum featured heads and representatives of the Government, International and national organizations, and it was a unique segment of the conference. The well-known Economist, Dr. Harsha De Silva, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs represented the government. The International representation at the panel was done by a Senior Economist from World Bank and the Residential Representative of International Monetary Fund (IMF). At the same time an Assistant Governor represented the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. Furthermore, former Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce represented the commercial sector of the country while poverty and rural development issues were covered by a Senior Economist of the Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA). This Economic forum was moderated by Prof. Sampath Amarathunge, Vice Chancellor, University of Sri Jayewardenepura. The Forum was followed by a question and answer session where timely and critical questions were posed by the audience to the panelists.
Turning into research outcome of the conference, extended abstracts were received from local as well as international authors. Initially 85 extended abstracts were received, out of which 36 papers were selected for the Proceedings book of the conference. This Proceedings book was launched at the Inauguration Ceremony.
The second day of the conference began with a plenary session which was conducted by the Senior Country Economist of Asian Development Bank; Mr. Tadateru Hayashi and it was followed by paper presentation sessions. Authors representing different universities and countries actively took part in the paper presentation sessions. The paper presentation sessions were conducted under eight themes; Contemporary Studies, Labour Mobility, Agro-Business Management, Agriculture Efficiency, Entrepreneurship & Knowledge Economy, Development & Sustainability Studies, International Trade and Finance and Monetary Policy Analysis. The conference was concluded on the 21st of November evening with much praise given by the participants of the conference.