Sri Lanka International Buddhist Academy (SIBA) and Viet Nam Buddhist University (VBU) in Ho Chi Minh City, enters into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Buddhist Religious Education and Cultural Cooperation.

Initiated by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Viet Nam, Sri Lanka International Buddhist Academy (SIBA), Pallekele, Kandy and Viet Nam Buddhist University (VBU) in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam, on the 19June, 2021, entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a view to enhance cooperation in Buddhist religious education and culture, facilitate exchange of scholars and students, conduct annual Buddhist conferences and further consolidate relations between the Buddhist Sangha of Viet  Nam and the Sangha of Four Nikayas of Sri Lanka. The key element of the MoU is the conduction of an annual Buddhist Conference between the two institutions, which would be held alternatively in Viet Nam and Sri Lanka.

First Deputy Patriarch of Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha and Rector of the Viet Nam Buddhist University in Ho Chi Minh City His Holiness Thich Tri Quang, while delivering his opening remarks during the virtual signing ceremony, welcomed the initiative taken by the two Universities and expressed his firm belief that both universities would be able to achieve positive outcomes through the MoU. Rector His Holiness Quang stated that the existing cordial partnership, goodwill, clear goals and strong commitment to collaborate would help the two countries in further nourishing Buddhism and culture. He was confident that the signing of the MoU will not only strengthen the friendly relationship between the universities, but also promote existing collaboration between Vietnam and Sri Lanka in different aspects.

Rector of SIBA Dr. Upali Sedera, in his opening remarks said that the MoU and the activities outlined therein would be an important first step towards broader cooperation between the two countries. He emphasized that SIBA, with its resources and experience, would be able to fulfill the tasks ahead. Rector Dr. Sedera also fondly recalled his previous visits to VBU in 2018 and 2019, and his participation at the UN International Vesak Day in 2019 in Viet Nam.

Standing Vice Rector of VBU Most Ven. Dr. Thich Nhat Tu, recalled his visit to the SIBA to attend its inauguration ceremony. Vice Vector Ven. Dr. Tu appreciated the remarkable academic excellence achieved by SIBA during a short span of time. He expressed his value of SIBA’s contribution in educating and training Viet Nam Buddhist Monks over the years. Currently, 15 Vietnamese Monks are following degree programmes at SIBA. Vice Rector Ven. Dr. Tu also conveyed his firm confidence that once the COVID – 19 pandemic is eradicated, the two institutions will be able to implement work programmes under the MoU effectively.   

Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Viet Nam Prasanna Gamage, and Ambassador of Viet Nam to Sri Lanka Ho Thi Thanh Truc, reaffirmed the commitment of both countries to the enhancement of bilateral relations and recognized the historic Buddhist religious and cultural connectivity between Sri Lanka and Viet Nam. Both envoys pledged their unwavering support to the implementation of the activities envisaged in the MoU in the future.

Assistant Professor of SIBA Sarath Chandrasekara moderated the virtual signing ceremony and delivered the concluding remarks. He expressed appreciation for the initiative and thanked the professionals who were involved in the process, as well as the guidance and blessings of Diyawadana Nilame/ Chief Custodian of the Temple of the Tooth Relic and Chairman of SIBA Dr. Nilanga Dela, Vice Rector of VBU Most Ven. Thich Tam Duc made valedictory remarks on behalf of VBU.  

Head/Buddhist Studies Ven. (Dr.) P. Kusaladhamma, Lecturer, Buddhist Studies Ven. V. Pannaloka, Head/Quality Assurance Assistant Professor Hasanthy Dahanayake, and Head of Administration of SIBA Jagath Kulatunga were also in attendance during the signing ceremony.

The Vice Rector cum General Secretary Most Ven. Thich Quang Thanh, and the Deputy General Secretary Most Ven. Thich Giac Hoang of Vietnam Buddhist University in Ho Chi Minh city also represented the VBU at the event.

Source – Embassy of Sri Lanka / Ha Noi / 22 June,­­­­­­­­­ 2021