'Momentum' - Asia's largest synchronized forum for professionals which was kicked off in December with simultaneous forums at four locations in Colombo, concluded its second event at Tilko City Hotel in Jaffna with the overwhelming participation of eminent business leaders, professionals and academics from the north.
Addressing the gathering, President Mahinda Rajapaksa stressed on the extent of post-war development in the North, and pledged to make Jaffna a knowledge hub. He assured the intellectuals that his government would take all possible steps to empower the people of the north in their journey to restore the pride and glory of the northern region. He encouraged the business leaders, professionals and academics of the north to make Jaffna a model region with their vast talent, and also urged them to integrate their businesses with other regions to make full use of the opportunities presented by the country's economic growth.
The forum attracted the créme de la créme of the private and public sector intellectuals from various parts of the northern region who were united in their common goal of stability and sustained economic growth.
Further, the forum was addressed by Lalith Weeratunga - Secretary to the President and Prof P. Balasundarampillai - Former Vice Chancellor of the University of Jaffna. The panelists at the event included Lalith Weeratunge - Secretary to the President, Prof P. Balasundarampillai - Former Vice Chancellor of the University of Jaffna, Prof G. Mikuthan - Professor in Agricultural Biology at the University of Jaffna, Dr. K. T. Iraivan - Deputy Director Medical Services at Lanka Hospitals and V. K. Vignesh - the Chairman of the Yaal Paanam Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
Reinforcing the view of the gathering, the panelists also spoke about the pivotal role business leaders, professionals and academics play in uplifting the living standards of the people of the Northern provinces in equilibrium with other parts of Sri Lanka. The panelists highlighted the important role the Northern Province plays in Sri Lanka's drive towards a per-capita income of over US$ 4000 in the year 2015, and were unanimous in their calls for the professional community of the North to capitalize on their own networks to obtain capital and technology. They outlined the requirements for transforming Jaffna into a knowledge hub, including the need to identify and fill technology and knowledge gaps. A culture of innovation was promoted as a key factor that could provide Jaffna with a clear competitive advantage within the country as well as in the region.
During their comments, each panelist spoke of the vision to anchor Sri Lanka among the 'high income' countries of the world. Creating job opportunities, enhancing knowledge and commitment towards internationally standardized education for the young were among the factors they pointed out as necessary tools to alleviate poverty and uplift the living conditions of people across the country.
'Momentum' organized by 'Professionals for a Progressive North' together with 'Professionals for a Stable Sri Lanka' has created the opportunity for many business leaders, professionals and academics to speak on one platform to evaluate the development of Sri Lanka over the past decade and share their views on shaping the future of the country.