The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) was formed in the firm belief that there is an urgent need to strengthen institution and capacity-building for good governance and conflict transformation in Sri Lanka and that non-partisan civil society groups have an important and constructive contribution to make to this process. The primary role envisaged for the Centre in the field of public policy is a pro-active and interventionary one, aimed at the dissemination and advocacy of policy alternatives for non-violent conflict resolution and democratic governance. Accordingly, the work of the Centre involves a major research component through which the policy alternatives advocated are identified and developed.
A liberal democratic Sri Lanka.
To strengthen the civil society contribution to public policy making through programmes of research and advocacy in the areas of democratic governance and peace with human rights as an overarching priority.
The objectives of the Centre are:
- To contribute to public accountability in governance through the strengthening of the awareness in society of all aspects of public policy and policy implementation.
- To make inputs into the public policy-making and implementation process in the constitutional, legislative and administrative spheres to ensure responsible and good governance.
- To propose to the government and parliament and all other policy-making bodies and institutions, constructive policy alternatives aimed at strengthening and safeguarding democracy, pluralism, the Rule of Law, human rights and social justice.
- To focus attention on the social and political consequences of development.
- To contribute towards the conflict resolution process in Sri Lanka and the South Asian region, so as to strengthen institution and capacity-building for democratic governance in multi-ethnic and pluralist societies.
In the pursuit of the above objectives, CPA carries out the following activities:
- Programmes of research and study of public policy.
- Dissemination of research and study through seminars, conferences, the publication and exchange of ideas, including full use of the print and electronic media.
- Advocacy of constructive policy alternatives, lobbying of decision-makers and the shaping of public opinion.
- Monitoring of the executive, legislature, judiciary, media and other public institutions.
- Provision of consultancy services to political parties and other organisations involved in the field of public policy and engaging them in dialogue on the issues identified above.
- Forging linkages with local and foreign institutions with similar aims and objectives.
Board of Directors
Ms. Jeanne Samuel – Director
Jeanne has in the past 30 years worked in the humanitarian aid and development sector in Sri Lanka and Vietnam where she held senior management positions with local and international NGOs, bilateral aid agency and the United Nations. She has managed and directed programs and projects in varied fields. She graduated at the London South Bank University, UK in Applied Biology and has a Master’s degree in conflict, security and development from the University of Bradford, UK. She has spent her working life with the physically challenged, children, education, people affected by armed conflict, internally displaced persons, women headed-households in addition to community development, livelihood initiatives and building capacities of local grassroots organizations. She has worked as Consultant to the Asia Foundation on the implementation of the Language Policy in Sri Lanka and also served as a Consultant to the USAID funded SPICE Project. She is presently a Consultant to the Centre for the Handicapped in Kandy and a Trustee on The Board of Trustees of the Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust.
Mr. Chandraguptha Thenuwara (Senior Lecturer, Department of History & Art Theory, Faculty of Visual Art, Sri Lanka)
Chandraguptha Thenuwara (BFA/MFA/MPhil) was born in 1960, Sri Lanka. He is a senior lecturer and head of the department of History and Art Theory at the University of the Visual and Performing Arts Colombo. In 1993, He founded the Vibhavi Academy of Fine Arts(VAFA), an artist-run Alternative art school. He studied painting at the Institute of Aesthetic Studies, University of Kelaniya (1978-1981) and Surikov State Art Institute, Moscow, Russia (1985-1992);MPhil at the Post Graduate Institute of Archeology (PGIAR),Kelaniya University(2006). Since 1978 he has exhibited widely in Sri Lanka and Abroad. His works are also included in the collections of the Queensland Art Gallery Australia, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum Japan, John Moore’s University Art Collection Liverpool and Fine Arts Museum of Udmurtia, Izhevsk, Russia. His public monuments include the Seeduwa monument to the Disappeared and Monument to Neelan Thiruchelvam at Kinsey Terrace Colombo. Chandraguptha Thenuwara is a leading Sri Lankan Artist and Activist whose work focuses on issues surrounding the impact of war and current politics in Sri Lanka. In response to overwhelming crisis Thenuwara has devised his own stylistic formulation in 1997, which he has called “Barrelism”. Among his recent works there were drawing and painting series such as ‘This is not a White Van’, ‘This is not a White Flag’ and ‘Thorns’. His solo exhibitions Neo-Barrelism (2007), ‘Wall’ (2011), ‘Beautification’ (2013) and Monotony (2014), transformed the exhibition culture in Sri Lanka to new dimensions.
Professor Jayadeva Uyangoda (Retired Professor)
Jayadeva Uyangoda recently retired as Senior Professor of Political Science, University of Colombo. During August 2016-July 2017, he held the Rajni Kothari Chair in Democracy at the Center for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi. He is currently Emeritus Professor at the University of Colombo.
Professor Uyangoda is a leading researcher and commentator on contemporary Sri Lankan politics. Some of his major writings have been on themes relating to Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict and peace processes. He has also been a lead researcher in the research program “The State of Democracy in South Asia”, coordinated by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi.
His new book, an anthology co-edited with Amita Shastri, is being published by the Oxford University Press, India. He is currently working on a book titled “Modern Buddhist Movements in India and Sri Lanka and the Question of Democracy.” He is also researching into intellectual history of Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese society during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Professor Uyangoda has also been associated with the Social Scientists’ Association (SSA), Colombo, since the early 1980s. Besides being its secretary, Treasurer and member of the Council of Management, he co-founded with Charles Abeysekera and Kumari Jayawardena the journals Pravada, Polityand Pirivadam. He has also directed SSA’s research and education programs.
A founder member of CPA.
Mr. Aritha Wickremasinghe (Lawyer)
Aritha is an international banking lawyer, a founding trustee of the global education initiative Think Equal and Equality Director at iProbono. Formerly a lawyer at prestigious international firms Clifford Chance and K&L Gates in London, he has advised on over 100 financial transactions, including multi-billion dollar projects involving the world’s largest banking institutions in multiple jurisdictions. Prior to joining Clifford Chance in 2010, Aritha worked in the Chambers at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Tanzania, where he worked on the Military 1 and Karera cases.
Aritha moved back to Sri Lanka in 2016 to set up Think Equal’s Sri Lanka operations and iProbono’s Equality Law division. He continues to advise on commercial matters and is a legal consultant for the Colombo International Financial Centre project.
Aritha is very active in the field of diversity and inclusion and has spearheaded various initiatives promoting equality and human rights. He has advised various Governments and UN agencies on education and economic reform and human rights. He has advised the British Government on how to use British business to promote human rights abroad and has challenged the British Government to recognise the identity of non-gendered persons. He was instrumental in lobbying for the setting up of the Transgender Equality Inquiry by the Women and Equalities Committee at the British Parliament where all his submissions on behalf of his client on the recognition of non-gendered identity were accepted by the Parliamentary Committee and included in its recommendations to the British Government.
A passionate and strategic campaigner for social reform, Aritha has successfully used his position in business to promote positive change for underrepresented groups and victims of injustice. He has been a guest speaker at the University of Oxford, London Business School, Kings College, London and the London School of Economics and Political Science where he has shared his experiences in law, campaigning and social reform. For his work, Aritha was ranked No.1 Future Leader by the Financial Times in their 2015 OUTstanding List alongside Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Lloyds CEO, Inga Beale.
Aritha received a First Class Honours, BA in Political Science with Sociology from the University of Birmingham, U.K. in 2005 and a Commendation (Ranking 1) in the Graduate Diploma in Law from the University of Birmingham, U.K. in 2006. He also received a Master of Laws (LLM) from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), University of London in 2008 and is an English law qualified, practising Solicitor.
Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu – Executive Director
Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu is the founder Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), a member of the Foreign Policy Advisory Group and of the Board of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International and Strategic Studies. He has presented papers on governance and peace in Sri Lanka at a number of international conferences and is widely quoted in the international and local
In 2010, Dr.Saravanamuttu was awarded the inaugural Citizens Peace Award by the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka and in September 2013, he was invited by President Obama to attend his “High Level Event On Civil Society“, in New York. In 2016, he was appointed, Secretary of the Task Force on Consultations on Mechanisms for Reconciliation and in 2017, short-listed for the Peace Prize awarded by the city of Ypres, Belgium. He is also a member of the Regional Advisory Group of Amnesty International for Asia.
Dr Saravanamuttu is a founder director of the Sri Lanka Chapter of Transparency International and a founding Co- Convener of the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV), which has monitored all the major elections in Sri Lanka since 1997 and the civil society alliance the Platform for Freedom. In 2004 he was an Eisenhower Fellow (2004) and is currently Chairperson of the Eisenhower Fellows, Sri Lanka and a Member of the Gratiaen Trust.
Dr. Saravanamuttu received a Bsc Econ, Upper Second Class Honours degree and Ph. D in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), University of London, in 1979 and 1986, respectively. He lectured in International Politics at the University of Southampton, UK, from 1984 – 92.
Information Officer – RTI
Mr. Pasan Jayasinghe