With the aim of advancing professional diplomacy, new certificate courses on international relations and diplomacy will be inaugurated on November 1 at the Bandaranaike International Diplomatic Training Institute. In response to the number of recent media articles underlining the need for a professional foreign service, it may be timely to remind of the establishment of the BIDTI and the training programmes conducted over the years.
The BIDTI was founded in 1994 on the initiative of the then Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike who had attached great importance to Sri Lanka's diplomatic representation.
The establishment of the BIDTI was made possible by the leadership given to the initiative by the late Dr. Vernon Mendis, the very first officer recruited to the Ceylon Overseas Service, a distinguished historian and scholar in his own right as well as rising to the top of the career service. With the support of the Bandaranaike Foundation, premises were found in the BMICH on special terms.
While a prime function of the BIDTI is to train appointees to the Sri Lanka Foreign Service, as well as those appointed to carry out diplomatic functions, a decision was made to give a national character to the institute with a view to promoting knowledge of diplomacy and international relations to the nation at large. It is against this background that the BIDTI began to offer special courses designed for the general public in the form of a nine-month diploma course and a four-month certificate course. Through the years, these courses have proved to be immensely popular and certificates are awarded under the auspices of the Prime Minister and the Minister of External Affairs.