International Research Symposium (DemARS 2020)
The First International Research Conference of the Department of Demography, University of Colombo took place virtually on the 24th of November 2020 via Zoom. This was also the inaugural international edition of the 7th Annual Research Symposium of the Department of Demography under the theme of “Population and Sustainable Development” with a number of national as well as international participants. Dr. Manori K. Weerathunga, Head of the Department of Demography, and the Conference Chair welcomed the gathering whilst introducing the theme for the day and its importance. There were about 45 presentations from national international colleagues.
Senior Professor Premakumara de Silva – Dean, Faculty of Arts said that this event is a good opportunity for the researchers as it facilitates the exchange of ideas, the establishment of interdisciplinary links, build dialogues both nationally and internationally and explore new possibilities for future research. During the address by Senior Professor Chandrika N Wijeyaratne, Vice-Chancellor, University of Colombo, she mentioned that the whole university aims at addressing the sustainable development goals and the Department of Demography is the focal point and a huge resource which everyone else look upon for value addition.
The Guest of Honour of the event was Ms. Ritsu Naken, Country Representative of UNFPA. She addressed the gathering by giving a brief introduction to the UNFPA. She addressed the major shifts in population dynamics that Sri Lanka is currently experiencing. The Keynote Speaker for the inauguration ceremony was Emeritus Professor Peter Macdonald – School of Demography, Australian National University and an Honorary Professor of the University of Melbourne. Professor Macdonald’s paper which he presented at the conference was based on the research question “Should governments and countries where the total fertility rate is approaching 2.0 birth per woman take the immediate benefits of a larger demographic dividend due to very low fertility or should they be concerned more about the future prospect of population ageing.”