Former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka joins MIT

April 7, 2014

CAMBRIDGE, MA—The Center for International Studies at MIT announces today today that Ranil Wickremesinghe has been named a Robert E. Wilhelm fellow. The Sri Lankan politician and current leader of the Opposition in the Sri Lankan parliament will be at CIS for one month beginning April 8, 2014.

Wickremesinghe was prime minister of Sri Lanka twice, from May 7, 1993, to August 19, 1994, and from December 9, 2001, to April 6, 2004. A member of the United National Party, he was appointed party leader in November 1994.

During his time at MIT, Wickremesinghe will study how to formulate a constitution sans an executive presidency. He also will work with faculty and students interested in Asian regional issues.

CIS director Richard Samuels, a specialist on Japan, where prime ministers have struggled to consolidate executive powers, has expressed his welcome to Wickremesinghe: "My colleagues and I are delighted that the former prime minister has accepted our invitation to return to MIT. We look forward to exploring Asian regional issues with him."

A generous gift from Robert E. Wilhelm supports the Center's Wilhelm fellowship. The fellowship is awarded to individuals who have held senior positions in public life and is open, for example, to heads of non-profit agencies, senior officials at the State Department or other government agencies, including ambassadors, or senior officials from the UN or other multilateral agencies. Previous Wilhelm fellows include: Ambassador Barbara Bodine, Ambassador Frances Deng, Admiral William Fallon, and Yukio Okamoto, a former special advisor to the prime minister of Japan.

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.