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LankaCorps Fellows

LankaCorps is a unique opportunity for young leaders of Sri Lankan heritage to professionally engage in social, cultural, and economic development activities in Sri Lanka. The program aims to foster the involvement and understanding of young members of the expatriate Sri Lankan community who have limited in-depth experience with the country of their heritage. Each year, The Asia Foundation selects an outstanding group of LankaCorps Fellows to live and work for six months in Sri Lanka, granting them the unique chance to "explore their roots while giving back."

2014 LankaCorps Fellows

2013 LankaCorps Fellows

2012 LankaCorps Fellows

LankaCorps Fellows are young, talented professionals of Sri Lankan heritage interested in contributing to the development of post-war Sri Lankan society. Completion of the program is a testament to their outstanding leadership potential and dynamic professional skills. The Asia Foundation is honored to have had the below individuals serve as LankaCorps Fellows:

LankaCorps 2014 Fellows

The 2014 LankaCorps Fellows, left to right: Melanie Wathugala (USA), Angeli Jeyarajah (USA/UK), Madushi Seneviratne (Canada), Mira Philips (Canada), Nayantara Premakumar (USA), Suruthi Ragulan (Canada)

The third class of LankaCorps Fellows and their July - December 2014 placements:

Ms. Angeli Jeyarajah, Verite Research Pvt Ltd

Ms. Jeyarajah was involved in an initiative to support female politicians in Sri Lanka. Her work included liaising directly with MPs and parliamentary staff, providing research on areas directly concerning women such as domestic abuse and foreign employment, conducting literature reviews, as well as drafting written proposals for different research projects. Angeli also conducted an independent study on language dynamics in Sri Lanka, the findings of which she presented at an internal seminar in December 2014.

Ms. Mira Philips, Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA)

Ms. Philips' responsibilities included carrying out research on CEPA's Post-war theme, writing literature reviews and blogs, helping to organize CEPA's annual symposium on Post Conflict Development in Asia and Africa, and following up on papers and presentations. She also carried out research and advocacy programs for CEPA on women's issues and other post-conflict related topics.

Ms. Nayantara Premakumar, REDLIME: A Research and Design Firm

Ms. Premakumar's work at REDLIME included producing documentary films on social advocacy work, research on various forms of cultural performances in Sri Lanka, and project-managing campaigns to promote social awareness. She also supported their private sector work, including the conception and design of product and media advertisements.

Ms. Suruthi Ragulan, Family Planning Association (FPA) and The Good Practices Group

Ms. Ragulan was based at two organizations. At the head office of the Family Planning Association in Colombo, she regularly traveled to the east of the country and led the development of a national NGO network on sexual and reproductive health issues island-wide. Her responsibilities also included developing media pieces and helping to develop training sessions for community based organizations to use an intersectional framework to better understand how concepts like gender, sexual orientation and culture inform HIV risk. At The Good Practice Group, she performed knowledge synthesis and translation for policy and practice in the field of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support, developed communication products related to key research findings, and conducted capacity building programs within the organization.

Ms. Madushi Seneviratne, Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS)

Ms. Seneviratne's responsibilities at IPS included literature review around the themes of developing case studies of other countries/initiatives on harnessing diaspora value in economic development and providing an understanding of aspects relevant for Sri Lanka. This involved developing an article for the IPS 'Talking Economics' blog, distribution of a global survey she developed to collect data on Sri Lanka's diaspora and other policy and communications content to accompany the Working Paper with policy recommendations. She joined the supervisor in making targeted advocacy presentations to stakeholder groups in the private sector, government, etc., supported ongoing dissemination activities and research seminars, and participated in IPS in-house seminars and roundtable discussions.

Ms. Melanie Wathugala, Family Planning Association (FPA) and Genetech Research Institute

Ms. Wathugala coordinated a project funded by the International Labour Organization to provide VCT (voluntary counselling and testing) in the workplace. She conducted programs that educated people, mostly in the free trade zone and leisure/hotel industries, about HIV and provided testing opportunities at mobile clinics and health camps. At Genetech, she analyzed data from dengue samples, worked on the wet lab research projects, supported the compilation of the final report for the National Biotechnology Conference, and worked on other projects under development at the institute.

LankaCorps 2013 Fellows

The 2013 LankaCorps Fellows, left to right: Kaitlin Emmanuel (USA), Natale Dankotuwage (Canada), Tara de Silva (USA), Harshi Hettige (USA), Chethana Perera (USA), Charles Aruliah (Canada). Not pictured: Anthony Obeyesekere (Australia).

The second class of LankaCorps Fellows and their July - December 2013 placements:

Mr. Charles Aruliah, Regional Center for Strategic Studies
Mr. Aruliah was primarily engaged with the RCSS’s South-East Asia Department. In this capacity he was responsible for conducting research, drafting and editing policy papers, and assisting with various ongoing projects pertaining to Sri Lanka’s relationship with China and Southeast Asia.

Ms. Natale Dankotuwage, Sri Lanka Unites
Ms. Dankotuwage was based in SLU’s Colombo office where she was involved with their Reconciliation Center. There she was drafting reports on employment initiatives, updating blogs, authoring articles, and assisting the Business Entrepreneurship Program.

Ms. Tara de Silva, Federation of Environmental Organizations
Ms. de Silva’s main task at FEO was to undertake a documentary film project on environmental awareness. Her travels across the island involved environmental sustainability advocacy and outreach work, as well as contributions to critical environmental research.

Ms. Kaitlin Emmanuel, Raking Leaves
Raking Leaves is an independent publishing organization that commissions and publishes contemporary art projects. During her fellowship, Ms. Emmanuel was involved with the production of a new Raking Leaves book project featuring 9 contemporary Sri Lankan artists. She also helped launch Raking Leaves’ new initiative the Sri Lanka Archive of Contemporary Art, Architecture & Design in Jaffna, a public space dedicated to collecting materials about the development and study of visual culture in Sri Lanka. Ms. Emmanuel continued to work for Raking Leaves as a Project Manager past the end of her fellowship.

Ms. Harshi Hettige, Foundation of Goodness
Ms. Hettige was involved with FOG’s Income Generation Initiative. In this role, she worked on ongoing projects in North and South Sri Lanka that aim to promote the development of sustainability and livelihood programs, as well as infrastructure and community building initiatives.

Mr. Anthony Obeyesekere, Central Bank of Sri Lanka
Mr. Obeyesekere was based with the Central Bank’s Economic Research Department in the Policy Studies and Research Division. Though he rotated through various units, his primary role was to conduct research for the Money and Banking section conducting research and analysis, and drafting policy papers and reports.

Ms. Chethana Perera, Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies
Ms. Perera’s primary role was to conduct research on reconciliation, especially on women in trauma, and projects on women’s social entrepreneurship. She also helped coordinate conferences, discussion forums, and lectures pertaining to women and reconciliation.

LankaCorps 2012 Fellows

The 2012 LankaCorps Fellows, left to right: Sabina Martyn (Canada), Seshma Kumararatne (USA), Sahani Chandraratna (USA), Sivashankar Krishnakumar (USA), Ann Selvadurai (USA).

The inaugural class of LankaCorps Fellows and their July - December 2012 placements:

Ms. Sahani Chandraratna, MAS Holdings
Ms. Chandraratna was based in the Ratmalana office working on the Women Go Beyond Initiative, and in various projects carried out by the host organization under the Social Sustainability Initiative.

Mr. Sivashankar Krishnakumar, Foundation of Goodness
Mr. Krishnakumar was involved with the Northern Development Initiative, the Murali Cup, the Seenigama project in the South and with projects at the Foundation for Goodness head office in Colombo.

Ms. Seshma Kumararatne, Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies
Ms. Kumararatne was based in Colombo, working as a research analyst on various research projects, policy papers, and conferences regarding Sri Lanka's foreign relations and engagement with the diaspora.

Ms. Sabina Martyn, National Water Supply and Drainage Board
Ms. Martyn was based in the Ratmalana office, working in the Policy and Planning Department to expand the framework for public-private partnerships in water supply and sewerage projects. She also participated in other projects carried out by the Board.

Ms. Ann Selvadurai, Women In Need
Ms. Selvadurai was based in the head office in Colombo, with regular travel to the North and South, and was involved in various projects carried out by Women in Need, shadowing counselors, visiting hospitals, organizing workshops and awareness programs and undertaking case studies.

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