Organizing Committee

Anoka TEDxKandy bio pic
Organizer

Anoka Abeyrathne is an environmental conservationist, eco-social entrepreneur and sustainable development policy advocate. She is the youngest female recipient of the Commonwealth Youth Award for Excellence in Development, is a Global Youth Ambassador with Office of the UN Special Envoy on Global Education, and the Office of Sarah and Gordon Brown.

She is one of the first and youngest World Economic Forum Global Shapers and New Champion in Sri Lanka, Commonwealth Youth Gender and Equality Network co-founder and Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society. She is the youngest of the 18 Shapers on the United Nations -World Economic Forum Sustainable Development Council working on mainstreaming sustainability and is the Deputy Focal point of the Commonwealth Students Association in Sri Lanka. She is the first Sri Lankan to be elected as the Asia-Pacific Representative to the UN-Habitat YAB.

Anoka holds a LLB(Hons) from the University of London, a Masters in Development from the University of Colombo and is a proficient linguist and pianist.

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Co-Organizer

Heshika Deegahawathura is a business strategist and policy advocate. Heshika graduated with honours in Political Science with a concentration in international relations from Yale University. He is involved in formulating strategy for the Mahindra Group of India with a focus on South Asian markets, especially Sri Lanka, to create new initiatives in renewable energy, auto-motives and farm related industries. He has worked with the Bureau of the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation in Sri Lanka as a rehabilitation officer involved with rehabilitating and reintegrating former rebels and with the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs as a Coordinating Secretary. He has also worked with MAS Holding in Sri Lanka. As a researcher for the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale University he studied and researched on social enterprises in developing economies with a focus on Laos. At Yale, he won best delegate awards at Harvard National Model United Nations and the All American Mock Trial Association. Heshika schooled at Trinity College, Kandy where he was Head Prefect in 2008. His interests are in international relations, entrepreneurship, South Asian politics, education and renewable energy. Through these he wants to work towards creating an eco-system in Sri Lanka in which business and policy are aligned to create sustainable impact for improving livelihoods and for developing the country.

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Co-Organizer

Chanaka Herath is a Junior Project Coordinator (Labour Migration – Regional) for the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Prior to joining the IOM, he worked as a Programme Officer for the Regional Centre for Strategic Studies, a South Asian Think-Tank focusing on traditional and non-traditional security issues in South Asia, where he assisted in initiating, organizing and coordinating regional book projects, worshops, dialogues and conferences. He has also worked as Graduate Trainee at the Economic Research Department of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and as an Intern at the Securities and Exchange Commission on Sri Lanka (SEC).

Chanaka has a Honours Degree in Economics from the Monash University, Australia where his final year research focused on price effects on poverty indicators. He is currently studying for a Master of Development Practice at the University of Peradeniya. His research interests include development and poverty dynamics

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Co-Organizer

Ashraf Deen is a Project Manager at MillenniumIT with a specialization in Information Technology (IT) /Telecommunications. Born and raised in the hill capital of Kandy, Sri Lanka, Ashraf received his secondary education at Trinity College.

His profound interests towards IT lead him to pursue his higher education in Digital Communications and Electronics at the University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom (UK), where he also completed his research in “Metro Access Network Consolidation”. Furthermore, Ashraf is a licensed member of The Institution of Engineering Technology, UK.

Ashraf gained his preliminary exposure in engineering at Sri Lanka’s leaders of telecommunication, Sri Lanka Telecom Plc.,  and was involved in high-end projects such as, MSAN’s implementation, fiber optic network design and implementation, SEA-ME-WE 4 submarine cable system monitoring.

His career transition to MillenniumIT, a premier technology solutions provider and a subsidiary of London Stock Exchange Group involves in providing cutting edge solutions to divers industries across Europe, Africa and Asia took place in 2015. At Millennium-IT, Ashraf assists to lead and manage multidisciplinary design teams to deliver effective and efficient systems to his clients. One of his recent projects delivered was to a leading bank in Sri Lanka, where Ashraf with his team successfully deployed the system infrastructure to cater e-banking, mobile banking and alerts systems.

His leisure activity includes travelling, camping, and social work, in addition to laid-back Sundays with family and friends, the moments he truly treasure and relates to as the real assets of his life.