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
Professor Chandraguptha Thenuwara, Senior Lecturer: Department of History & Art Theory, Faculty of Visual Arts, Colombo – Chairman
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.
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.
Mr. Chandana L. de Silva (Consultant)
Chandana de Silva held financial and management positions in the U.K. including that of Chief Financial Officer for Level (3) Communications in Europe a NASDAQ quoted company and Head of Financial Planning for British Telecoms PLC, while working in the UK for over twenty years.
Since moving back to Sri Lanka in 2002 he worked at MAS Holdings in a variety of roles and established the group’s Supply Chain Management function, coordinated the group’s strategy development in 2005-06, set up the MAS training Centre and was the Chief Executive Officer of MAS’ Investment Division until December 2011.
He presently serves as a consultant and adviser to clients in investment management, property development and the technology sector.
In addition, he is a non-executive Director on the Boards of Eureka Technologies (Private) Limited, 24/7 Techies (Pvt) Ltd, Dunamis Capital PLC, Kelsey Developments PLC, First Capital Holdings PLC and its subsidiaries, Bairaha Farms PLC and the Executive Director of Sea-Change Partners Lanka (Private) Limited, which provides consulting and training in Negotiating and Influencing strategically.
He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (in England & Wales as well as in Sri Lanka) and has a BSc. in Mathematics and Management from the University of London.
Ms. Minoli De Soysa (Editor/Writer)
Minoli de Soysa is an experienced journalist, writer and editor who has worked at several national and international publications and NGOs. She started her career as a reporter for the Sun and the Island newspapers. She later joined the Reuters news agency as a Sri Lanka correspondent, where she covered political and economic issues as well as features and human interest stories. Before going overseas, Minoli worked for two years at the US embassy in Colombo as a political specialist. During her time abroad, she worked and volunteered with NGOs and organisations dealing with women’s and children’s issues. She also worked for two years as Asian Regional Communications Manager for Muslim Aid Sri Lanka. She is currently a freelance editor and writer at the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka.
Minoli serves on the boards of Protecting Environment and Children Everywhere (PEaCE) Sri Lanka and the Ceylon Fellowship of Service Prithipura Home. She received a Master’s degree in English and Journalism from New York University and a Bachelor’s degree in English from the Western Australian Institute of Technology. She also has a diploma in Conflict and Peace Studies from the University of Colombo.
Dr. Dinusha Panditaratne (Lawyer)
Dinusha Panditaratne is a specialist in foreign policy and international law. She is a Nonresident Fellow of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKI) and previously served as LKI’s Executive Director for three years.
Prior to her appointment at LKI, Dr. Panditaratne was an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Hong Kong. She is an attorney admitted to practice in the State of New York and previously worked at Milbank LLP, a law firm on Wall Street.
Dr. Panditaratne is a member of the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (APLN) headquartered in Seoul, an Advisor to Verité Research, and an Independent Non-Executive Director of NDB, a leading bank in Sri Lanka. She has served several nonprofit institutions, including as a member of the International Advisory Board of the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh.
Dr. Panditaratne received her initial degree in law with first-class honours from the University of Oxford, where she was a Markby Scholar at Balliol College. She received her master’s and doctorate from Yale Law School, where her doctoral thesis focused on international human rights law.
Dr. Sukanya Devarajan (Former International Civil Servant)
Sukanya Devarajan is a former International Civil Servant, who is a senior institutional and organisational management specialist with over 38 years of experience in successfully designing and managing scientifically/technically-oriented development assistance programmes for international and national organisations; and in policy development and negotiations in a multi-stakeholder context. Extensive experience in inter-organisational cooperation, negotiation and in strategic engagement with the UN family, representational delegations, civil society organisations, private sector and the academic community. MA, Harvard University; PhD University of Sussex
Dr. Zameer Careem (Medical Doctor)
Dr. Zameer Careem (b. 1992) is a medical doctor-historian, a guest lecturer at local and international universities, an ethnologist, a published author, a freelance journalist, and a television broadcaster. He is currently working as a Consultant (Humanities) for MTV Channels (PVT) Ltd while pursuing his MPhil in Medical History at the University of Colombo. He also serves as a resource-person for the Television series “Lost and Forgotten”. His books are available at Stanford University, the University of Chicago, the New York Public Library, the National Libraries of Australia, Singapore, and Sri Lanka, as well as the National Archives of Indonesia. His commemorative poem for HM Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee was recited at the Jubilee service held at St Mary’s Church, United Kingdom. He is committed to raising awareness about ethnic minorities, promoting diversity, equity, reconciliation, and tolerance, as well as preserving history and heritage for posterity.
Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu – Executive Director
Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu is the founder Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA). He was a member of the Foreign Policy Advisory Group and 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.