On December 12th, the Russian Foreign Ministry organized for a large group of high ranking diplomats a remarkable visit to and a tour of Skolkovo, the fast growing ecosystem of high-end technology solutions. Skolkovo is an emerging R&D Centre just outside of Moscow's city border, founded 9 years ago as a platform for research and development projects. The place has grown from ground zero in the field of sand into a glass-and-steel techno park, which is now second in Europe by size, with its cosmic interiors sheltering hundreds of start-ups, cosy coworking spots, and a number of research enterprises in such areas as the IT; biotechnology with both medical and agricultural applications; advanced industrial technologies; energy development and hydrocarbons recovery technologies; space research, and others.

The Director of the MFA State Protocol Department opened the event by noting that just as the mission of diplomacy would be to work on establishing ties for the benefit of countries and peoples, the new initiative of his Department is aimed at linking diplomacy, governance, and real economy, of which Skolkovo is an excellent example.

Dulmith Waruna, First Secretary of the Embassy, along with other foreign diplomats in Moscow had an opportunity to meet the leading members of the Skolkovo Foundation Board, closely associated with the Russian government and business elite. Among them was Mr. Arkady Dvorkovich, a renowned expert in macroeconomics, co-author of Russia's economic strategy for the XXI century and an advisor to the former Russian President, now Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's Sherpa at the time of the G8 summits, Deputy Prime Minister in 2012 and, since 2018, the President of FIDE — the World Chess Federation.

Mr. Victor Vexelberg, President of the Skolkovo Foundation, a billionaire, metallurgy, oil & gas tycoon and fine arts collector, addressed the audience by encouraging foreign diplomatic missions' representatives to disseminate information on the vast opportunities opening at Skolkovo, for exchanging and monetizing ideas and starting joint projects. Mr. Vexelberg said that he would rely on the diplomats' help to transmit the message to their respective countries, encouraging the experienced researchers, as well as young people and students, particularly to enrol in SkolTech, the major school of this innovation centre, which offers English-language graduate and post graduate programs, with vast research and development application opportunities at Skolkovo and beyond, "for the benefit of safe and peaceful development of our common future", Mr. Vexelberg concluded.

The Embassy of Sri Lanka will continue to collaborate with the Skolkovo Foundation for the benefit of Sri Lanka in science, technology and innovation spheres.