South Asian Economics Students’Meet (SAESM) has become one of the most prestigious undergraduate events in the South Asian region. Since the start of SAESM preparations, the value and importance of this programme was quite clear to me. SAESM acts as a platform not only for undergraduates but also for faculty members in the discipline of Economics to network and cooperate. SAESM facilitates individuals to get together to share their ideas, knowledge and experience through various activities. The main objective of SAESM is to create an understanding of the value of regional cooperation in order to transform short term domestic political gains into greater regional cooperation.
It was a great honor for me to represent Sri Lanka at the SAESM 2016. The conference was held from 29th January to 3rd February 2017 at Kathmandu, Nepal. It was a life time experience for me, where each and every second was memorable.
I presented my research paper at the conference on the theme “FDI and Private Investment”. Prior to the conference, I spent a considerable amount of time conducting my research under the guidance given by my lecturers; Mr. Janaka Fernando, Mr. Ananda Rathnayake and Miss. Thilini Navaratne. Not to forget the efforts and the encouragement given by the lecturers at the Department of Economics at the University of Colombo. They held were the main organizers in Sri Lanka and conducted several practice and review sessions, before we left to Nepal. The preparations for SAESM began 7 to 8 months prior to the actual conference and the entire SAESM process has given me a holistic experience in the area of research, as a young undergraduate.
If I am to recollect some of my experience during the conference, we were highly recognized by the organizing committee. We got the opportunity to collaborate with the undergraduates of South Asian countries. We were given cross-country accommodation in order to build regional integration. My roommate was a Nepalese undergraduate. During the conference, I noticed that, undergraduates from other countries were very competitive, outspoken and outstanding. Also, one thing that I must mention is, our Sri Lankan team is very punctual and polite.
In the 3rd day of the conference, I presented my research paper at UniGlobal College Kathmandu. Budding Economists competition was held on the 4th day and it was a new experience for me.
We were taken on a retreat on the 5th day which was a cable car ride. Also we had the opportunity to visit monkey temple in Nepal. On that day itself, the awarding ceremony was held. Two undergraduates from the Sri Lankan team were able to win the “Best paper for the Theme” out of 6 themes. Also, Naveen Wickremeratne, an undergraduate from the Faculty of Arts of University of Colombo won the best research paper award named after two prestigious economists in South Asia, Mahbub Ul Haq and the Nobel prize winner Amartya Sen. This time was the very first time that Sri Lanka won this award. Hence, it is a great honor for me to represent the winning team at 13th SAESM.