The Citra Fellowship Equips Sri Lanka’s Public Sector Officials for Sustainable Development Goals
Colombo, November 21 – The Citra Social Innovation Lab, in collaboration with the Presidential Secretariat and UNDP Sri Lanka, has successfully concluded the Citra Fellowship – Executive Programme. The program aimed to equip senior public sector officials with innovative tools to contribute to Sri Lanka’s sustainable development goals.
Recognizing the vital role of a strong public sector in achieving the nation’s development objectives, Citra, a pioneering Social Innovation Lab established by the Prime Minister’s Office and UNDP Sri Lanka, organized the Citra Fellowship on Public Service Excellence. This unique program offered experiential learning opportunities designed to fortify and invigorate the nation’s public sector.
The Citra Fellowship – Executive Programme specifically targeted senior government officials, including Additional Secretaries and Senior Assistant Secretaries from various Ministries. Over the course of a week, these officials, considered to be the next generation of public sector leaders, engaged in a comprehensive learning experience facilitated by Citra Lab, with support from UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Asia and Pacific.
The program aimed to equip participants with strategic foresight, citizen-centric innovation, and Anticipatory, Adaptive, and Agile Governance (AAAG) approaches and tools necessary to address Sri Lanka’s ambitious development targets.
Mr. Anura Dissanayake, speaking about the importance of innovative thinking in the public sector, highlighted the role of strategic foresight and innovation in shaping governance mechanisms. He emphasized the need for continuous adaptation and evolution to meet the changing needs of the Sri Lankan people. Through programs like the Citra Fellowship, senior officials can acquire the necessary tools and mindset to become catalysts for positive change and innovation within the public sector.
Ms. Chandima Wickramasinghe, Additional Secretary to the President, stressed the significance of instilling values such as agility, adaptability, and anticipatory thinking in upcoming public sector leaders. She mentioned that the participation of senior officers in this program is crucial for ensuring future-fit skills and vision among the next generation of leaders.
Ms. Azusa Kubota, Resident Representative of UNDP in Sri Lanka, expressed the timeliness of such programs. Given the series of crises Sri Lanka has faced in recent years, public institutions must be agile and adaptable to effectively respond to evolving needs. Innovation goes beyond embracing new technology and requires a different mindset and new problem-solving approaches.
The transformative journey of the fellowship program allowed officials to gain exposure to cutting-edge development planning, strategic foresight, and innovative methodologies. The curriculum covered topics such as Human-Centered Design, Collective Intelligence, and AAAG principles to enable officials to align seamlessly with Sri Lanka’s development aspirations.
In addition to acquiring new skills and knowledge, the program aimed to change mindsets and inspire participants to become champions of innovation in Sri Lanka. The ‘Fireside Chat’ segment provided an opportunity for close interaction between participants and noteworthy individuals from various sectors. The discussions focused on State of the Economy, Climate and Energy, Digital Transformation and Artificial Intelligence, and Transparent and Accountable Governance.
The Citra Fellowship – Executive Programme aimed to equip senior public sector officials in Sri Lanka with the necessary tools and mindset to drive sustainable development goals. Through this unique learning experience, officials gained innovative approaches and strategic foresight, enabling them to tackle the complex challenges of the current poly-crisis and contribute to a forward-thinking public sector.