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Speech by H.E. Ambassador Cheng Xueyuan at the Award Ceremony of the Chinese Government Scholarship 2019/2020

(Chinese Embassy, 8th August 2019)

Hon. Lucky Jayawardana, State Minister of the City Planning, Water Supply and Higher Education,

Mr. Madhawa Dewasurendra, Additional Secretary for Development, Ministry of City Planning, Water Supply and Higher Education,

Mr. Selvaraj, Additional Secretary for Bilateral Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Mrs. Damayanthi Rajapakshe, Director General, East Asia and the Pacific Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Winners of the Scholarship and family members,

Officials from the Ministry of Higher Education,

Friends from media and press,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning!

First, I would like to welcome all of you to the Embassy to attend the ceremony! Especially, I wish to congratulate all the winners of the Chinese Government Scholarship from Sri Lanka for the year 2019/2020 as today is a big day for you!

As you may know, each year Chinese central government, local government and some universities provides over 200 Chinese scholarships to Sri Lanka, among which 80 are under Bilateral Chinese Government Scholarship scheme, which were jointly nominated by our embassy and the Ministry of Higher Education of Sri Lanka. Currently, 56 students are studying in China under this scheme. Therefore, this year we have 24 new winners of the scholarship who are going to China to pursue their further education. The full scholarship will cover the tuition, lodging, living allowance and medical insurance throughout the whole academic years, which values up to Rs. 2,500,000 annually. I wish all the winners of the scholarship would cherish this opportunity and succeed in your learning journey. You will be the needful talents for the national development of Sri Lanka and the natural friendship envoys for both China and Sri Lanka.

The world is undergoing complex and profound changes in a century and China has also entered the New Era. The Chinese people are striving to build a moderately prosperous society in all aspects and realize the dream of great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. I believe that your learning experience in China at the this historic moment would have a great impact on your life.

China and Sri Lanka are good neighbors, good friends and good partners. Our friendship can be dated back two thousand years ago. Over the past six decades, we have been supporting each other's choice of development road and collaborating in international arenas. Our friendship is built on the profound and broad popular basis. Today, China is aligning its One Belt and One Road Initiative with Sri Lankan national development strategy to reach common development. China will never pursue development at the expenses of Sri Lanka. We are confident that the increasingly deepening win-win cooperation in many fields between our two countries would bring tangible benefits to our two peoples.

I wish to take this occasion to announce another annual "Chinese Ambassador's Scholarship Scheme", which was launched in 2016 by the Embassy in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education, which aims to reward those academically excellent undergraduate students in Sri Lanka Universities. So far, 230 students have been awarded. The Embassy decides to continue this program for the fourth consecutive year by increasing the donation to Rs. 5, 305,000.00 which could award 106 students with Rs. 50,000 each. I wish this award could help those students a bit on their way to fulfill their dreams.

I'd also like to avail of the opportunity to show my gratitude to the Ministry of City Planning, Water Supply and Higher Education for the cooperation, high efficiency and hard work of their staff. It's been a great pleasure to work with your esteemed Ministry.

Finally, congratulations again to all the winners! I wish you all have a pleasant and fruitful stay in China for the next few years!

Thank you!

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