The ‘Colombo Defence Seminar’, which was initiated as an annual forum in the year 2011 by the Sri Lanka Army, has grown into an internationally accepted round-table for interaction on matters pertaining to national, regional and international security. Since its inception, the Seminar has grown immensely in all aspects of organization, conceptualisation and execution, which reflects the commitment, intellectual capacity and professionalism of the Sri Lanka Army. The inaugural seminar, organized by the Sri Lanka Army, started off with over 160 delegates from 60 nations. The sheer professionalism of the Army and its prowess in merging civil-military cooperation was reflected in organizing an international event of this magnitude bringing a gathering of over 100 delegates from over 70 nations in 2015.
This year’s conference, ‘Colombo Defence Seminar - 2016’ on the theme ‘Soft Power and Its Influence on Global Issues’ will be conducted as a 02- day seminar on 01 and 02 September 2016 to provide a platform to identify and discuss means of achieving foreign policy goals without using coercion in global affairs. The world order, as it is understood today, is characterized by the continually evolving nature of military strength, economic power, social, cultural, political values and foreign policy of Nation States. In this context, the traditional approach of projecting ‘Hard Power’ is gradually being replaced by the use of ‘Soft Power’ in enhancing State’s security. This change acknowledges the need for peaceful co-existence, strengthening of diplomatic ties, and sharing knowledge and expertise. Moreover, it has led to a change in world affairs whilst addressing its geopolitical concerns. Soft power, which is wielded by major powers in the world, has the capacity to reduce the need for arms and the number of physical conflicts in the contemporary world. Hence, it is imperative that the concepts of power and influence be discussed in relation to global issues at a common platform.