Former Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, visits MIT's Center for International Studies

April 10, 2006

CAMBRIDGE, MA—Ranil Wickremesinghe, a lawyer who was Sri Lanka's Prime Minister from 1993-1994 and 2001-2004, has begun a several-week residency at MIT's Center for International Studies (CIS). Mr. Wickremesinghe, who will have an office at CIS until early May, will likely meet with MIT students about the resolution of civil conflicts, a subject with additional saliency given the ongoing strife in Iraq.

In 2002, Mr. Wickremesinghe negotiated a ceasefire between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tiger rebels, in which the rebels dropped their demand for independence in favor of regional autonomy. The decades-old civil war resumed, however, when the Tamil Tigers withdrew from the peace process in 2003. Mr. Wickremasinghe's tenure was also marked by his attempt to liberalize Sri Lanka's economy.

Last December, after having been narrowly defeated in Sri Lanka's November 2005 presidential election, Mr. Wickremesinghe, head of the opposition United National Party, met with Sri Lanka's new president, Mahinda Rajapakse. The two leaders reached an agreement aimed at reviving the peace process.

The Center for International Studies (CIS) supports interna­tional research and education at MIT. It is the home of MIT’s Security Studies Program; the MIT International Science & Technology Initiative, its pioneering global education program; the Program on Emerging Technologies; and seminars and research on migration, South Asia politics, the Middle East, cybersecurity, nuclear weapons, and East Asia. The Center has traditionally been aligned with the social sciences while also working with MIT’s premier science and engineering scholars. CIS produces research that creatively addresses global issues while helping to educate the next generation of global citizens.