CBB will play crucial role

The Council for Business with Britain (CBB) recently hosted its Annual General Meeting at the British High Commission with over 60 members in attendance to review the year and elect their Council.

Welcoming the guests to the event, Chief Guest, British High Commissioner Dr. Peter Hayes said, “As patron of the CBB, I am pleased to support this group in their ongoing efforts to promote bilateral business relations between the UK and Sri Lanka. Now that Sri Lanka is no longer held back by war the CBB will play a crucial role in developing partnerships between businesses in Sri Lanka and the UK.”

CBB Chairman Anil Wijesinghe of the AWS Institute of Education was re-elected.

“Locally, the most significant development was the conclusion of the north-east war. Vast opportunities loom on the horizon with new markets opening up. However, the lingering ravages of the war remain a grave responsibility at an individual and corporate level”. He thanked the general membership for their goodwill and support.

The Council for Business with Britain has a diverse membership of over 130 companies making it one of Colombo’s most prestigious networking business associations. The Council organizes a series of events throughout the year for the benefit of its membership including monthly business briefings, lunches and visits to places of commercial interest. This year members have taken a private tour of the parliament hosted by the Speaker WJM Lokubandara, and the new British High Commission building to see the international award nominated architecture.

Last year also saw the continuing success of the CBB website. Under the stewardship of Managing Director Brand Partners Philip Goodstein the website proved successful in reaching companies both here and in the UK, promoting the CBB and its events as well as attracting new sponsors to the English Language Teacher Training Program.

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The Council has continued to support the English Language Teacher Training program, now in its fifth year and run on their behalf by the British Council with the National Institute of Education and the Ministry of Education.

Aimed at improving the English language skills of pupils in schools, the program concentrates on building the capacity of English language teachers so they can deliver lessons more effectively. The program runs nationwide and has so far worked directly with over 400 teachers, benefiting 24,000 pupils (June 9 estimate).

Vice Chairman of the CBB and CEO of HSBC Nick Nicolaou said, “The HSBC Group’s global Corporate Sustainability program gives education a high priority especially English language training for underprivileged children. We seek to open doors of opportunity for young people by helping to raise their academic achievement and improve their life skills with formal and informal learning. Hence the CBB ELT project was a natural fit to achieve our goals in Sri Lanka, and merit HSBC’s support, and we are pleased to be the main sponsor of this program”.

CBB members have the opportunity to sponsor individual teachers in an area of their choosing and have the opportunity to share in that individual teacher’s progress.

Looking to the future the Council hopes to build on its continuing success. Ambitious plans for a “Sri Lanka-Britain business week” in early 2010 hopes to bring together companies from Sri Lanka and the UK to forge ongoing trade and investment partnerships. The annual cricket sixes, an ongoing business lunch program and plans for a charity ball in October will be held in the near future.

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