Guest Speakers

Students studying the environment

Keynote Ranil Senanayake
Sarath Kotagama
Video Address Justice CG Weeramantry
Breakout Session Sarath Abeysinghe
Renuka Bandaranayaka
Subra Eassuwaren
Neshan Gunasekera
Nalaka Gunawardene
Amanda Kiessel
Ajantha Perera
Hemanthi Ranasinghe
Vimukthi Weeratunga
Chathura Welivitiya
Deepthi Wickramasinghe
Hemantha Withanage

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Ranil Senanayake

Chairman of Rainforest Rescue International

Ranil Senanayake Dr. F. Ranil Senanayake comes from an old, respected family in Sri Lanka. His grandfather F.R.Senanayake was the freedom fighter accredited with securing the independence of Sri Lanka and initiator of the Temperance Movement, his granduncle D.S.Senanayake the first Prime Minister and his father C.U.Senanayake was instrumental in developing the Sarvodaya movement and the National Heritage movements of Sri Lanka.

Dr. Senanayake, is a systems Ecologist trained at the University of California at Davis and has held many international positions. Currently he is Chairman of Rainforest Rescue International, but he has also served as the Executive Director of the Environmental Liaison Centre International (ELCI) in Kenya, the Senior Scientist of Counterpart International in Washington D.C. and senior lecturer at Melbourne and Monash universities in Australia.

In addition to numerous research articles and books Dr.Senanayake is the creator of the Environmental restoration system known as 'Analog Forestry' He has served on UNEP's committee for the production of the 'Global Biodiversity Assessment' and served as a consultant to the World Bank and UNDP.

Dr. Senanayake has functioned as inspector for Organic Production and has developed standards for the certification of Responsibly Mined Gold in Colombia as well as for Forest Garden Products (FGP) for the International Network for Analog Forestry (IAFN). He is a diver with interests in marine archaeology, an Ichthyologist and a Herpetologist.

Sarath Kotagama

Head of the Department of Zoology, University of Colombo

Sarath Kotagama Sarath Kotagama is a professor of Environmental Science at the Department of Zoology, University of Colombo and has done extraordinary service to Sri Lanka as an ornithologist and environmentalist. He was awarded the "2003 Distinguished Service Award for Environment Education and Journalism" by the International Society for Conservation Biology (SCB). The SCB, with a membership of over 6,000 science experts in 90 countries, is the premier professional society for those seeking to conserve biological diversity and represent the highest recognition that the Society bestows upon colleagues in the struggle to study, protect, sustain, and restore that diversity. Dr. Kotagama is the third Asian and first Sri Lankan to receive the award.

As the first professional ornithologist in Sri Lanka, Kotagama has conducted several scientific studies and rendered his services to several government and non-governmental institutions as a zoologist, biologist, environmental scientist, and conservationist. He serves as a board member on the Central Environmental Authority and the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute.

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VIDEO ADDRESS

Honourable Justice Christopher Weeramantry

Former Vice-President, International Court of Justice

Hemantha WithanageJudge C.G. Weeramantry, Former Vice-President of the International Court of Justice in the course of his professional career of over six decades as lawyer, legal educator, domestic judge, international judge, author, lecturer, has touched on a wide variety of topics essential to international rule of law, cross-cultural understanding and peace education. He has written over 250 articles which have been published in various international journals and is the author of over 20 books and lectured extensively on these topics and related subjects in over 50 countries. His work contains a philosophy as well as a programme of action to achieve these purposes. The Weeramantry International Centre for Peace Education and Research (WICPER) was founded by him in 2001, has a vast corpus of research and writing as an information base from which to develop it programmes. Judge Weeramantry recently received the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education 2006, the Right Livelihood (Alternative Nobel) Award 2007 and the Life-Time Achievement Award 2008 by Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. These were bestowed upon him in recognition of his unstinted commitment and concrete undertakings in support of the concept and culture of peace through his long and fruitful career.

He continues to serve humankind by undertaking several appointments as Patron and Advisor to numerous international bodies all over the world, some of these include, his function as the President of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA), Patron of the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL) and Advisor to the Asian Society of International Law. Judge C.G. Weeramantry, Former Vice-President of the International Court of Justice in the course of his professional career of over six decades as lawyer, legal educator, domestic judge, international judge, author, lecturer, has touched on a wide variety of topics essential to international rule of law, cross-cultural understanding and peace education.

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BREAKOUT SESSION SPEAKERS

Sarath Abeysinghe

Director, Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka

Dr. I. Sarath B. AbeysingheAbeysinghe is a scientist and administrator at the Tea Research Institute (TRI) of Sri Lanka, which is located in St. Coomb Estate, Talawakelle. TRI was established in 1925 by government ordinance and from 1925 to 1957, it was an arm of the Planter's Association of Ceylon. Since 1957 it has been a Government institution. The objective of TRI is to improve the productivity of tea small holdings, estates and factories through scientific research and recommending appropriate technologies.

Renuka Bandaranayaka

Assistant Director, Department of National Zoological Gardens

Renuka Bandaranayake is the Senior Assistant Director of the Department of National Zoological Gardens. She specializes in captive animal keeping and zoo management. Her focused field of study is Fishery Biology and Conservation of endangered species. The vision of the National Zoological Gardens, otherwise known as the Colombo Zoo, is to create one of the world's outstanding zoological institutions, that is a centre of excellence for conservation, research and education. Their mission is resourceful conservation of animals by means of learning, achieved through the exhibition of species which were adopted with loving care.

Subra Eassuwaren

Director of Eswaren Brothers and Director of the Conservation Carbon Company

Subra EassuwarenAs director of Eswaren Brothers and the Conservation Carbon Company, Mr. Subra Eassuwaren is very committed to environmental sustainability and has done a lot of work to develop ethically produced tea brands and carbon offsetting projects. Eswaren Brothers, who have been trading tea since 1943, focus their activities on minimizing their environmental impact and ensure that good, sustainable practices are promoted. The Conservation Carbon Company is dedicated to value-added carbon capture and sequestration through the principles of Analog Forestry.

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Neshan Gunasekera

Weeramantry International Centre for Peace Education and Research

Neshan Gunasekera Neshan Gunasekera is a lawyer and Project Director of the Weeramantry International Centre for Peace Education and Research (WICPER) and the Director, South Asia Office of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Weapons (IALANA). Since 2008 he has directed a series of annual workshops titled TRAINING FOR TRUSTEESHIP which focuses on the responsibilities of current generations toward future generations and this training contains both a philosophical basis and a practical framework of action.

His area of expertise lies in conflict resolution, mediation, peace studies, international law, international relations, environmental law, human rights. He is involved in numerous initiatives that facilitate dialogue amongst different cultural, religious and ethnic groups. The WICPER, founded in 2001, is based upon the three pillars of Peace Education, Cross Cultural Understanding and International Law as an instrument of peace. The objectives of WICPER are focused on carrying out practical, educational and research projects with an aim of achieving universal understanding towards building a culture of peace.

Nalaka Gunawardene

Head of Television for Education - Asia Pacific

Nalaka Gunawardene Nalaka Gunawardene is a science writer, journalist and broadcaster with 25 years of professional experience. As Director and Chief Executive Officer of TVE Asia Pacific, this non-profit media organization works across the Asia Pacific region, communicating sustainable development issues through TV, video and web. During the past decade, Nalaka has commissioned and/or executive produced a large number of programmes on a wide range of topics and themes ranging from health, human rights, peace and environment to ICTs, disaster management, clean energy and poverty reduction. TVEAP's television output, made to international broadcast standards, is regularly aired on over 40 TV channels in the Asia Pacific. Since 2001, Nalaka has been working with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in regional communication activities related to saving the ozone layer and climate change. Nalaka has travelled widely on work, and is a frequent speaker, presenter or panellist at international conferences on public communication of science and technology, development journalism and public interest broadcasting. Nalaka serves on the Boards of Panos South Asia and Science and Development Network in the UK.

Amanda Kiessel

Program Director, Sewalanka

Amanda Kiessel Dr. Amanda Kiessel is Program Director at Sewalanka Foundation, a Sri Lankan non-profit development organization that focuses on increasing the capacity of rural communities to identify and address their own needs. Sewalanka works with its sister organizations, Sewa Finance and SEDCO, to provide integrated livelihood services for small-scale producers. Amanda has a PhD in Environmental Studies and a background in sustainable agriculture and organizational development.

Ajantha Perera

Founder of the National Program on Recycling of Solid Waste and Ashoka Fellow

Ajantha Perera Ajantha Perera received her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Physiology from the University of Sheffield, England and then both her Master of Science in Environmental Sciences and PhD in Environmental Science from the University of Munich, Germany. After completing her degree work in Germany, Perera returned to Sri Lanka. She then began visiting waste dump sites which inspired her to develop the National Program on Recycling of Solid Waste. She also serves as an Advisor to the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Health and is a Former Director of the Consumer Affairs Authority. Perera is an advocate for a profitable recycling and composting program of solid waste. She works with local and national authorities to develop the recycling industry and professionalize the activities of the garbage workers.

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Hemanthi Ranasinghe

Department of Forestry and Environment Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura

Hemanthi Ranasinghe Hemanthi Ranasinghe obtained her Ph.D. in Forestry from the University of Wales, Bangor, U.K. in 1989. She also goes on record as the first professionally qualified woman in forestry in Sri Lanka. In addition to serving as a lead professor in the department of Forestry and Environment Sciences at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, she holds the positions of Director/Staff Development and Director/Sri Lanka Resource Centre for Indigenous Knowledge. Ranasinghe has also been very active in professional societies and other related organizations such as President of the Institute of Biology, Chairperson of the Environmental Committee & Council Member of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science (SLAAS), and Chairperson of the Forestry Research Committee of the National Science Foundation. She is an ardent researcher having more than 40 publications in both international and national journals and communications. Ranasinghe has contributed to the national development by carrying out environmental assessments for development projects.

Vimukthi Weeratunga

Operation Director, Environmental Foundation Limited

Vimukthi WeeratungaVimukthi Weeratunga has completed nearly 20 years of work relating to environmental conservation as a researcher and project coordinator. He currently works for Environmental Foundation Limited (EFL) which is a non profit, public interest organization working for the conservation of Sri Lanka's environment and natural resources. It is one of the oldest public interest organisations serving the nation on matters of environmental justice for the past 28 years. EFL has the goal of protecting and conserving the environment for the future generations through sustainable development, transparent and participatory decision-making, protection of environmental rights, justice and environmental peace, and equal rights in the consumption of natural resources.

Chathura Welivitiya

Chairman and Chief Executive of HELP-O

Chathura WelivitiyaAs Chairman and Chief Executive of Human and Environmental Links Progressive Organization (HELP-O), Mr. Chathura Welivitiya leads an organization which works to support vulnerable communities in Sri Lanka to identify their needs and develop solutions through partnerships with stakeholders. HELP-O's goals include more sustainable small businesses, stronger community networks, better physical environments, and more sustainble funds for ongoing community development for vulnerable communities. Their environmental initiatives involve biogas and waste management programs.

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Deepthi Wickramasinghe

Senior Lecturer, Department of Zoology, University of Colombo

Deepthi Wickramasinghe Deepthi Wickramasinghe received her Ph.D. in Herpetology and Conservation Biology from the University of Colombo in collaboration with Dalhousie University. A member of the Institute of Biology, Sri Lanka, her fields of expertise are amphibian biology and ecology, conservation of biodiversity, and management of solid wastes and aquatic pollution.


Hemantha Withanage

Executive Director of Centre for Environmental Justice

Hemantha WithanageHemantha Withanage is the Executive Director and a Senior Scientist for the Centre for Environmental Justice. He writes articles and blogs on environment, justice, climate and related matters. The Centre for Environmental Justice is a new initiative to protect the environment, to ensure equal environmental rights for all people and to promote ecological sustainability by supporting environmentally sound community activities.

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