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Expert Resource Panel

The BALPP has assembled a distinguished group of academics and professionals across diverse fields of study in the areas of leadership & Public Policy. Delve into the people who shape our academic excellence and elevate your educational experience.

DPhil (Oxon), Diplome d’Etudes
Approfondies, Université de Paris IV-Sorbonne.

Prof. Nira Wickramasinghe is the Professor of Modern South Asian Studies at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, in the Netherlands. Her primary interests are identity politics, everyday life under colonialism and the relationship between state and society in modern South Asia

DPhil – History (Oxon), MSc (LSE), BSc (LSE)

Dr. Shamara Wettimuny is the incoming Junior Research Fellow (October 2023) in History at Queen’s College, University of Oxford. She completed a D.Phil in History from Brasenose College, University of Oxford, where she was a Beit Scholar in Commonwealth and Imperial History.

AI (Oxon), Clarendon Scholar,
BSc (University of Peradeniya)

Dr Romesh Ranawana is CEO and Founder of Enterprise Machine Learning (Pvt) Ltd. Enterprise Machine Learning advises and consults several multi-national organizations on scaling their AI and Machine Learning capabilities

MSc (University of Warwick), BSc (University of Colombo)

Umesh Moramudali is a lecturer of economics at the University of Colombo whose research focuses on public debt, public finance, economic development, political economy, and taxation. He is also a Chevening scholar.

MA (Cambridge)

Andrew Fowler-Watt was born and educated in the UK. He won scholarships to Eton and Cambridge, where he studied English and was a Choral Scholar at St John’s College. .he served as the Principal of Colombo International School and The British School and the principal of Trinity College, Sri Lanka, one of the largest and most prestigious schools in the country.

 MSc (Birmingham), BSc

Professor Lakshman L. Ratnayake who is the current Chairman/Chancellor of Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) is a Senior Professor of Civil Engineering as well in the Institute. He is an Emeritus Professor at University of Moratuwa. He was a Professor and Senior Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Moratuwa.

MBA (Boston), BA (New York)

Mr. David Boehm is a committed educator, technologist, and social entrepreneur. He currently works as the Director of Technology at British School in Colombo and Board Chair, Teach First Sri Lanka. Co-founded public charter school (Inwood Academy) in 2010, serving as CFO/COO/CTO

MPhil (Trinity College Dublin) and LLM (University of Bristol), MA, BA (Wichita State University)

Ms. Gayanthi Ranatunga is a Political Science Research Consultant and Lawyer whose research focuses on politics and governance. She has worked as a Research Consultant for the Center for Policy Alternatives, the INFORM Human Rights Documentation Center and the Human Rights Center. She was the recipient of the Rotary Peace Fellowship 2021.

MA (Harvard), BSc (University of Peradeniya)

Professor Goonasekara is one of the most eminent jurists in Sri Lanka and a social activist. She has done outstanding research on gender studies and human rights in South Asia. She was the first female Professor of Law to be appointed at the Open University of Sri Lanka in 1983. She worked as the first female Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo from 1999 until 2002

 PhD (Leeds), MA (Canada), BA (Colombo)

Professor Nayani Melegoda is the senior professor of international relations at the University of Colombo. She serves as the Executive Director of the Regional Centre for Strategic Studies in Sri Lanka.

DPhil (Oxon), LLM (Harvard), MSc (Oxon), LLB (Colombo)

Dr. Gehan Goonathilaka is a lawyer specialising in Sri Lankan law, and international law, and a founding partner at LexAG, a Colombo-based law firm specialising in corporate, commercial, and intellectual property law. He was a former advisor to Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2015- 2018). He’s a Junior Research Fellow, Pembroke College,Oxford.

PhD (Purdue), BSc (Kent), MSc (Kent)

Sanjiva Weerawarana is a CEO, software developer and open-source software evangelist. He is known for his work on Web Services standards including WSDL, BPEL, and WS-Addressing. He is the founder, chairman and CEO of WSO2, an open-source middleware company, and creator of the Ballerina programming language.


Mr. Vijitha Nanayakkara is a market researcher who is also the CEO of Aavya Research. He also heads the RISE UP School Nutrition program. He is a fully qualified member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

MSc (LSE), BSc (Bristol)

Sarah is a researcher and author who specialises in the areas of peace building and reconciliation. She has worked amidst a range of complex cultural contexts with diverse organisations. Currently Sarah is leading a documentary project that will explore and highlight critical moments in Sri Lanka’s post-independence history that have been largely overlooked in the mainstream or education curriculum.

PhD (Arizona), BSc (University of Colombo)

Dr. Chandanamali Punchihewa is a scientist with extensive experience in Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Drug Discovery. Founded Genelabs Medical (Pvt) Ltd in order to perform highcomplexity genetic tests that have not been available in Sri Lanka

MPhil (University of Sussex), BSc (University of London),

Dr. Rohan Pethiyagoda was responsible for the discovery and/or description of almost 100 new species of vertebrates from Sri Lanka, has a number of fish and amphibians named after him, has penned a number of books, is a Rolex laureate, and most recently, the recipient of the prestigious Linnean Medal for Zoology 2022

Ph.D (University of Wales), M.Sc (University of Wales), B.Sc (University of Colombo)

Dr. Ruvan Weerasinghe is Head of Data Science at Informatics Institute of Technology (IIT) He is involved in education reform through exploring innovative delivery of content; researcher in human language processing with a view to increasing accessibility to information for all – and particularly in machine translation as a contribution to breaking down barriers.

PhD (MIT), MSc (Harvard), BSc (Imperial
College UK)

Nalin Kulatilaka, Associate Director at the Boston University Institute for Global Sustainability (IGS), is the Wing Tat Lee Family, Professor of Management and Professor of Finance at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business, Director of the Impact Measurement & Allocation Program, and serves as the Co-Director of the Susilo Institute for Ethics in the Global Economy. He has published over 75 papers in top academic journals as well as influential managerial publications.

 PhD (York University), MA (Oxon), MA (LSE)

Dr. Studin was a professor and program director at the School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto from 2009 until 2014, Studin was a visiting professor at leading schools of public policy in North America, Europe and Asia. He was a member of the small team that wrote Canada’s first-ever national security policy in 2004. Irvin Studin is Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Global Brief magazine, and President of The Institute for 21st Century Questions. He is also the Chair of the Worldwide Commission to Educate All Kids (Post-Pandemic).


Prof Vickers serves as the UNESCO Chair on Education for Peace, Social Justice and Global
Citizenship. After almost a decade at the Institute of Education in London (now part of UCL), he
moved to Kyushu University in 2012. He is the author and editor of many books on the history and
politics of education in contemporary Asia.


Izhar Oplatka is a professor of Educational Administration and Leadership at The School of
Education, Tel Aviv University, Israel. Prof. Oplatka’s research focuses on the lives and career
of school teachers and educational leaders, educational marketing, emotions, and the
foundations of educational administration as a field of study.

Dr. Shantayanan Devarajan is a Professor of International Development at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He has extensive experience, including a 28-year tenure at the World Bank, where he held various key roles, including Chief Economist. He advises governments in Sri Lanka, Maldives, and the Ebony Center in South Sudan. Shanta has authored over 150 publications, covering topics like public economics, trade policy, natural resources, and more. He earned his Ph.D. in economics from UC Berkeley.

M.Agr. and D.Agr. (Hiroshima Univ of Japan) B.Sc (Peradeniya)

He has more than 36 years of experience as an academic attached to the Department of Crop Science of Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Prof. Marambe has won the prestigious “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the International Weed Science Society (IWSS) in 2022 for the contribution made to field of Weed Science. His research interests include weed science, climate change adaptation, and food security.


PhD (Colombo), BSc (Colombo)

Dr. Iroja Caldera is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Plant Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Colombo. Her area of expertise is on the anatomical and physiological responses of plants to environmental changes in the context of climate change. An attorney-at-law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, she also teaches environmental law and has undertaken studies on the implementation of the SDGs. Her interests include climate resilience & sustainability.

PhD & BSc (Harvard)

Dr. Sharmini Coorey is a member of the Presidential Advisory Group on Multilateral Engagement and Debt Sustainability advising the Government of Sri Lanka and a former Department Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Her 35 year experience at the IMF includes surveillance and program work in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Western Hemisphere as well as Fund policy work.

BA (PPE-Oxford University), MSc (London School of Economics)

Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance. He was also a member of the National Trade Negotiation Committee where he led negotiations on trade in services, completing Sri Lanka’s first bilateral trade in services agreement with Singapore. Formerly, Senior Economist – Hayley’s group & Commissioner – Securities & Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka.

MBBS, MSc (Cambridge)

A Fellow and Executive Director of the Institute for Health Policy. He is a physician and economist with degrees in Political Science and Medicine from the University of Cambridge and doctoral training in Health Economics from Harvard University.

BA (Wellesley College, USA), MA (Stanford University).

A Sri Lankan community development and youth activist. she co -founded without borders, an initiative which is a grassroots effort to improve capacity building, language skills, and personal development opportunities for youth living in areas of high unemployment.

PhD (International Centre For Genetic Engineering And Biotechnology), MSc (University of Peradeniya).

Senior Lecturer at University of Moratuwa in the Department of Chemical & Process Engineering. Was awarded the President’s award for the scientific publications in 2019 by the National Research Council, Sri Lanka. Her research interests include Microalgal biotechnology, Bioenergy and carbon capture and Waste to value-added products

MBBS, MD (University of Colombo)

Saroj Jayasinghe is an Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of Colombo and a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka. His research interests cover a wide range of disciplines and fields, including education, clinical medicine, mathematical modeling, humanities, device development, population health, and ethics.

These diverse fields of interest form parts of a wider canvas that he links using a systems approach. He was a member of the Science Committee on Urban Health and Wellbeing: A Systems Approach of the International Science Council and has co-authored several key publications on systems thinking. He has won many national and international awards and achievements. These include the Presidential Awards for research, and being among a group of scientists who reached the top 2% of a global ranking based on citations. He is a strong advocate for developing a more structured approach to science advice in Sri Lanka and the ethical dimensions in science diplomacy

University of Colombo (LL.B. (Hons.) and LL.M. Degrees)  University of California at Berkeley, USA (LL.M. and Doctor of Juridical Science (JSD) Degrees in international human rights law).

Prof. Nelum Deepika Udagama— is currently the Chair Professor of Law and Head, Department of Law, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.  In 1991 she founded the  Centre for the Study of Human Rights (CSHR) at the University of Colombo through which she did pioneering work on human rights education within the public university system and for the larger community.

She served as the Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (October, 2015 – August, 2020)

B.A. English (Hons) from Delhi University, Master of International Studies (MIS) from The University of Queensland, Doctor of Philosophy – PhD from the University of Otago

He is currently the Research Director of the Disinformation Project in New Zealand. Awarded fellowships by the Ashoka and Rotary World Peace Foundation, he was the first TED Fellow from Sri Lanka. Since 2001, he has been at the forefront of pioneering the integration of technology into peacebuilding initiatives. In 2007, he founded and curated Groundviews, Sri Lanka’s first citizen journalism website, until June 2020. His expertise extends beyond Sri Lanka and South Asia, covering extensive work in five continents over two decades. He has worked on civic media, information disorders, new media literacy, web activism, digital security, and online advocacy.


An accomplished professional, CEO of the software product engineering Company, CEYNOCTA since 2009, and co-founder of the data science company DAYTA iQube. They are a computer engineer with 23 years of experience and a strong technical background, having received their B.Sc degree in IT and Computer Engineering from Moscow State University of Railway Engineering (Russian University of Transport – MIIT), Russia in 2000 and an MBA from Open University of Malaysia in 2016. Holding professional memberships from the Computer Society of Sri Lanka (CSSL), British Computer Society (BCS), Project Management Institute (PMI), and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), they have served in several government institutions such as the Ministry of Education, University of Colombo, Faculty of Education, and have been involved in several national research projects in Sri Lanka. They also served at the Information & Communication Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) as a Consultant/Internet Technology Specialist for the telecenter project “Nenasala” in 2003, and Greater Colombo Urban Transport Development Project (OCH Project), Township Development Component, Ministry of Megapolis & Western Development as a Consultant/System Integration Specialist. A member of the visiting faculty of the Edith Cowan University (ECU) Sri Lanka Campus since 2012, they also volunteer as the Executive Vice President/Board Director of PMI Sri Lanka Chapter and as the Secretary of the Association of Sri Lankan Graduates from Socialist Countries (ASLGSC).

Subha Fernando is an AI Scientist with expertise in Deep Learning and Agent-based Optimization. Currently holding the role of Senior Principal Scientist- AI and DATA at the Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC, she also serves as a Consultant in Artificial Intelligence for several companies. Dr. Fernando’s academic journey exemplifies her dedication to excellence, as she holds both a Doctor of Engineering and a Master of Engineering degree in Computational Intelligence from Nagaoka University of Technology. In addition to her engineering qualifications, she is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree in Finance from Edinburgh Napier University. Within the academic domain, she makes significant contributions as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Moratuwa and as a Visiting Lecturer at various private institutions. Subha has earned esteemed accolades, including Best Paper Awards and Research Excellence Awards, in recognition of her exceptional contributions. She maintains an active role in the Sri Lanka Association for Artificial Intelligence, having previously held the position of President, and continues to be a driving force in advancing AI in both academic and industrial realms.

Mr. Deepal Sooriyaarachchi is a forward-thinking leader with a successful background in corporate management. He has made significant contributions to the advancement of the marketing field and broader national issues. Mr. Sooriyaarachchi is a respected figure in management, known for his expertise as an author, speaker, trainer, and consultant, particularly in Marketing, Strategy, and Human Resource Development. With over thirty years of experience encompassing Sales, Advertising, Marketing, Human Resource Management, and General Management, he has spent more than fifteen years in senior management roles, gaining valuable local and international experience.

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