University of Kelaniya Orchestrates Research Excellence: International Conference on Business and Information (ICBI) 2023 Promises Insightful Discourse

Tuesday, 21st of November 2023

Being one of the youngest faculties in the University of Kelaniya, the Faculty of Commerce and Management Studies (FCMS) has been displaying a remarkable ability of academic excellence in various dimensions. The International Conference of Business and Information (ICBI) is one such avenue that the faculty excels at in achieving this motivation. Its 14th chapter unfolded on the 09th and 10th of November at the Pegasus Reef Hotel, Wattala. The theme of this year’s conference was " Advancing Digital Transformation, Well-being, and Sustainability in Business”. The event was graced by their presence, Senior Professor Nilanthi De Silva, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Kelaniya as the Chief Guest and Professor Bandara Wanninayake, the Dean of the Faculty of Commerce and Management Studies as the Guest of Honor of the conference.

This flagship activity was headed by Dr. Saroja Wanigasekara, the Chair, and Dr. Chathuni Jayasinghe, the secretary of the conference. The first day included the Sustainability Development Goals (SDG) Youth Summit. The main conference along with the Technical Forum and Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition were held on the second day. For the second consecutive time, the SDG Youth Summit aimed at equipping and inspiring the younger generation to pursue Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) steadfastly. The overarching objectives of the SDG Youth Summit were multifaceted.

Primarily, the summit sought to elevate awareness and knowledge among the young participants regarding the SDGs and their pivotal roles in the implementation, review, and accountability processes. Dr. Rohan Fernando, the Executive Director of Plantation and Development at Aitken Spence PLC, graced the event as the keynote speaker who brought his expertise in sustainability and branding to the forefront, delivering an insightful address that set the tone for the summit. The summit was also colored by 19 poster presentations showcasing various dynamics of SDGs.

The event resonated not only at a national level but drew participation from international delegates, fostering a global perspective on the sustainable development agenda. The notable contributor to the SDG Youth Summit was Lanka IOC PLC, which served as a key sponsor. Their support underscored the commitment of corporate entities to aligning the aspirations and initiatives aimed at fostering a sustainable and inclusive future. The SDG Youth Summit 2023 thus stands as evidence of the University of Kelaniya's dedication to nurturing future leaders committed to sustainable development.

In fostering an ambiance of intellectual exchange, the Doctoral Colloquium held in conjunction with the International Conference on Business and Information (ICBI) proved to be a pivotal platform for both local and international doctoral students. This event not only provided them with an avenue to present their research but also facilitated meaningful interactions with peers and faculty members. Participants had the opportunity to exchange knowledge, expand their networks, and engage in conversations with leading scholars in business management. The esteemed keynote speaker of the event was Professor Arosha S. Adikaram from the Department of Human Resources Management at the Faculty of Management and Finance, University of Colombo.

Professor Adikaram addressed the audience on "Dos and Don'ts for Doctoral Students," offering invaluable insights for doctoral students which aided in nurturing the next generation of scholars for better learning and knowledge dissemination. Under the theme of Advancing Digital Transformation, Well-being, and Sustainability in Business, the main conference provided a gateway to delve into dynamic management-related areas, namely - Accounting, Finance and Business Economics; Business Technology and Digitalization of Business Processes; Entrepreneurship, Small Business Management, Innovation, and Business Development; Marketing, International Business, and Strategy; Human Resource Management, Organizational Behaviour, and Inclusive workplace; Logistics and Supply Chain Management and Multidisciplinary areas.

The conference showcased a multitude of high-quality local and international research projects, contributing to the resounding success of ICBI 2023. The Technical Forum was a key event of ICBI 2023, and the primary objective of this forum was to gain insights, engage in discussions, and explore developments on the theme of the conference drawing on the expertise experience, and tacit knowledge of professionals hailing from diverse industries across the region. Dr. Dhushy Thillaivasan – Founder/CEO, DH3 Solutions Pvt Ltd, and Silverleap Technology Pvt Ltd, Mr. Indika De Zoysa – Strategic Adviser / Vice President, Huawei Technologies Lanka Co (Pvt) Ltd, Vice Chairman, ICT skills council of Sri Lanka and Mr. Azim Pawanchik – Innovation Strategist, Alpha Catalyst Consulting (Malaysia) & Future Agenda (UK) participated as the panelists of the forum, and the session was moderated by Professor Nalaka Wickramasinghe, a senior lecturer at the Department of Commerce and Financial Management.

The panelists of the Technical Forum discussed digital transformation on well-being and sustainability in Sri Lanka. Their central ideology in this regard included broadening the knowledge of the audience highlighting the fact that digital transformation in Sri Lanka is not only limited to technology, it is about having the right strategy, capability, and culture to become better, efficient, and effective. Panelists evinced that we are living through the fourth industrial revolution which talks about the digital economy and the global digital economy is moving faster than the traditional GDP. Mr. Indika highlighted that we are far behind from the digital economy point of view thus strategic plans and policies as a country for a digital economy are needed.

Dr. Dhushy brought attention to the necessity of fostering entrepreneurs capable of value creation, a facet currently lacking in Sri Lanka's landscape. He emphasized the need to move beyond producing skilled laborers for external factories and he highlighted that we require money for digital optimization. Mr. Azim discussed how exponential thinking is required for digital transformation. He stressed the importance of cultivating entrepreneurial thinking as a skill and promoting the internationalization of higher education to meet the demands of the evolving digital landscape. The 3MT competition proved to be an exhilarating activity that added a significant vibrancy to the conference.

Mr. Sandrasekeran Chandramohan carried the glory of the competition while Mr. Chandana Aluthgama triumphed in the awards - the Runner-up and People’s Choice. The winners of the 3MT competition were awarded cash prizes sponsored by Doctor of Business Administration Alumni of Kelaniya University (DBAAKU) and Lanka Tiles as the silver sponsors while ProMate World Stationer and Sunshine Holdings contributed as bronze sponsors. To sum up, the ICBI 2023 served as a platform to share academic scholars' and practitioners' research findings, insights, and experiences and enhance academic and industry collaboration.

Further, ICBI 2023 encapsulated the University of Kelaniya's dedication to academic excellence, innovative thinking, and the pursuit of solutions to contemporary challenges. As we reflect on the insightful discussions, collaborative endeavors, and knowledge-sharing that unfolded during this conference, it is evident that the Faculty of Commerce and Management Studies, University of Kelaniya continues to be a beacon of intellectual engagement, contributing significantly to the advancement of knowledge and the preparation of future leaders in the ever-evolving landscape of business and information.