LankaCorps is a unique opportunity for young leaders of Sri Lankan heritage to professionally engage in social, cultural, and economic development activities in Sri Lanka. The program aims to foster the involvement and understanding of young members of the expatriate Sri Lankan community who have limited in-depth experience with the country of their heritage. Each year, The Asia Foundation selects an outstanding group of LankaCorps Fellows to live and work for six months in Sri Lanka, granting them the unique chance to "explore their roots while giving back." Learn more about past LankaCorps Fellows.
Application period for the 2016 LankaCorps Fellowship year is now closed as of February 1, 2016. Please check back later for updates on our next program.
LankaCorps is an exciting opportunity for North Americans of Sri Lankan background to "explore their roots while giving back" to the country of their heritage. The Asia Foundation is pleased to announce that a new group of young leaders will once again be selected to live and work for six months in Sri Lanka from July 1 to December 31, 2016.
Background and Purpose
Six years after the end of the civil war and following a year of transformational electoral change, Sri Lanka is turning its focus to rebuilding a cohesive state that restores critical institutions, promotes good governance and accountability and aspires to high levels of economic growth. The Asia Foundation's representative office, present in Sri Lanka since 1954, continues to be a vital partner in the rejuvenation of this dynamic and multi-ethnic nation. As part of this effort, the Foundation has created LankaCorps: (1) to help members of the expatriate Sri Lankan community engage with post-conflict Sri Lanka; and (2) to enhance understanding of contemporary Sri Lanka within the expatriate community and the broader public. The program's intent is to foster identification with Sri Lanka among the young members of the expatriate community who have limited in-depth experience with the country.
LankaCorps Fellows will be placed with host organizations identified by The Asia Foundation in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. These individual affiliations will be augmented by an orientation program, language training, and periodic activities with other young leaders. Asia Foundation staff will offer in-country advisory and logistical support for the Fellows during their six-month affiliation. Read more about previous Fellows and their placements.
The fellowship will provide roundtrip international airfare, in-country expenses (including a monthly stipend), and health insurance coverage.
Eligibility and Selection Criteria
- Be at least 21 years of age, and not over 30, on the projected start date;
- Have at least a bachelor's degree with high academic achievement;
- Have demonstrable leadership skills and civic engagement;
- Be in excellent physical health;
- Be of Sri Lankan heritage; and
- Have U.S. or Canadian citizenship.
Candidates in all fields will be considered; however, preference will be given to those whose background and interests are likely to contribute to Sri Lanka's development.
2015 LankaCorps Fellows
Ms. Nithya Thiru is a US citizen from Alaska. She has a bachelor's degree in History and Minors in Political Science and French from the University of Alaska. Thiru has a background working in media and journalism.
She is based at Verite Research Pvt Ltd and is part of the Communications and Media Team. Her duties and tasks include supporting awareness and dissemination of research in terms of converting written research into media releases and scripts for radio news, producing podcasts and short videos on key research. Thiru will assist and support research-based events and activities on history and politics, media and information and gender and justice.
Mr. Sanjay Pathmanathan is a Canadian citizen. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a bachelor's degree in Mental Health and Philosophy. He has a background in the public health sector and in mental health services.
Pathmanathan is based at Foundation of Goodness (FOG). His tasks and duties include conducting capacity building programs in the North and the South, relating to mental health, English, photography, IT, children’s activities, village heartbeat project, diving and swimming. He will work with FOG on project management, fundraising, leadership and event management related programs and contribute to the organizing of the annual FOG events such as the Murali Cup and the International Tuk Tuk Ride. Pathmanathan will carry out work related to the North Development Initiatives and the Sustainable Income Generation Initiatives within FOG.
Ms. Ruvani Fonseka is a US citizen. Fonseka graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor's degree in History and Science and has a Master of Public Health (MPH) and Master of Social Welfare (MSW) degree from University of California, Berkeley. She has experience working with social justice initiatives, mainly focusing on domestic violence. She is based at Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA) and at Women In Need (WIN), carrying out duties and tasks co-related to both organisations. Fonseka is supporting Post-war Development by designing a research project, writing literature reviews and reports.
She is also involved with Infrastructure by assisting and identifying, collating and reviewing literature on the equity and inclusivity dimensions of urban infrastructure development and writing a literature review that will be fed in to the CEPA background paper. She will also assist with CEPA's Annual symposium in terms of organizing, managing workshops, following up on papers and presentations and coordination of logistical requirements. Fonseka will carry out research and advocacy programs and publish articles for CEPA and WIN on gender equity-related topics and will work with WIN on report writing, case studies, project proposals and position write ups.
Ms. Jessica Uthayakumaran is a Canadian citizen. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a bachelor's degree in Psychology and Health Studies. She has a background working in the public health sector with clinical experience in social development and mental health. Uthayakumaran is based at the Family Rehabilitation Centre (FRC). She will assist with analyzing the progress of the clients of the FRC clinical database and provide support to the clinical team by developing training manuals.
Her work will include working with the psycho-social workers during monitoring visits to the Regional Centers, participating in workshops and providing practical training and awareness sessions on selective topics with the support of the clinical team. Uthayakumaran will also support the project staff with awareness programs planned in the North and the East, such as preventative programs, forum theaters, observation and report writing and will support the Colombo staff on day to day activities related to FRCs core services such as clinical supervision sessions and proposal writing, as FRC is presently going through a strategic change and will be incorporating sexual gender-based violence survivors into the target category.
Ms. Suram Edirisinghe is an American citizen. She graduated from Clark University with a bachelor's degree in International Development and Social Change with a concentration in Gender Studies. She has experience working in local community health based initiatives and field research. Edirisinghe has expressed an interest in pursuing a career in nursing.
She is based at Emerge Lanka. Her key tasks and duties include working on The Life Skills Curriculum Development program and to identify ways to enhance learning and streamline activities and to contribute to develop the next edition of the Life Skills curriculum based on a list of changes and updates that need to made as well as changes identified in person through workshop attendance and to develop an "Instructor’s Guide" to the Life Skills program. Edirisinghe will support with refining monitoring and evaluation systems and the "Community Fund" Project principles and work with the teams to oversee the translation of final curriculum translated into Tamil and the translation of workbook modifications into Sinhala and actively contribute to Emerge Lanka's public presence through strategic networking and community engagement.
Ms. Rapti Ratnayake is from South Africa. She has a Law degree from the University of Edinburgh. Ratnayake has experience working as a legal intern and assisting lawyers with social justice initiatives.
She is based at International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES). Her key tasks and duties include carrying out research and activism programs based on their ongoing post-war recovery, gender and justice projects, assisting with coordinating and managing the current projects on inter-religious harmony, women's livelihoods in the North, urban displacement and inequality, and transitional justice work. Ratnayake will be exploring research options on women and disability and domestic work and contribute to policy dialogue and reforms, initiatives on archiving and memory, develop a new intervention area for ICES and present a working paper on a related topic.
Make A Contribution
To donate to the LankaCorps Program and help ensure its continued success, please make a contribution here.
Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information and to learn how you can support the LankaCorps program, please contact Oliver Petzold at firstname.lastname@example.org.