Michelle Nhuch


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.

MIT's Center for International Studies, a dynamic international affairs research center, is home to a variety of research, education, and outreach programs. It seeks to bridge the worlds of the scholar and the policymaker by offering each a place to exchange perspectives, and by encouraging academics to work on policy-relevant problems. Center scholars, and the students they helped educate, have served at senior levels in every administration since the Kennedy years. They are today among the nation's most distinguished analysts and executives in government and the private sector.