Sri Lanka: Diversity milestone

The Asia Shipping Conference in Colombo is a milestone, not only for the maritime community of Sri Lanka, but for their entire business community. The first conference to be organized in partnership by Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents, WISTA Sri Lanka and Young Shipping Professionals – not to mention the first to ensure equal level of male and female speakers. A milestone for diversity – bridging both the generation and age gap. It’s extremely inspirational to be here and support this change! McLaren’s Director Shehara and her board never quit to amaze me.

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs emphasized the importance of free trade and referred to a recent conversation with the Swedish minister of foreign affairs inspiring him to see the potentials and opportunities that feminine foreign policy represents in resolving regional conflicts. Being the only Scandinavian in the room, this is such a reminder on how mindsets and drivers for change travel from the small corner of Northern Europe, through global trade and diplomacy. 

Anil Singh, the SVP & MD of DP World Subcontinent, held the opening speech about trends & challenges in Asia. It was intriguing to see his heavy focus on sustainable development, calling for action in improving gender diversity, and sharing insights on facilitating work-life balance in a profits perspective, with specific examples from ports in the Emirates.

The level of speakers and engaging presentations has been great, and provided me with some new insights on the development in this exciting region.

Sri Lanka’s ambitions to become a hub for the region are high, and though there are many hinders and practical challenges to deal with, I’m certain that the engagement and level of female leaders here will make a significant impact towards that goal. That’s also an area where the Norwegian maritime industry should ensure playing an active role – as the level of shaping innovative technology and capacity building both on physical infrastructure and competence our players bring to the table should provide some win-win business opportunities ahead. 


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