LankaCorps Fellowship

Wednesday, July 14th, 2021

Supporting a six-month residential fellowship program to enable young leaders of Sri Lankan heritage to live and work in Sri Lanka and participate in social, cultural, and economic development activities through customized professional placements in Sri Lankan government, private sector and non-governmental institutions. 

Introducing the 2019 Class of LankaCorps Fellows

Friday, January 10th, 2020

The LankaCorps Fellowship provides 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.” Meet the 2019 fellows.

Donate to the LankaCorps Program

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

LankaCorps

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

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.”

Meet the 2018 LankaCorps Fellows

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

The LankaCorps Fellowship provides 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.” Aisha Rupasingha (U.S.A.) recently graduated from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York with a bachelor’s degree in English. Aisha has a strong interest in storytelling and written and visual media, particularly for younger audiences. She has spent time working at The Walt Disney Company for Disney Junior and intends to return to the entertainment industry to pursue a career as a writer focused on diverse narratives. At Disney, she engaged in all aspects of the television production process—from script development to casting to production and post-production. Coupled with her passion for film and TV, Aisha has a keen interest in community-based work. She led job readiness training for newly arrived refugees in the US at her placement at a refugee resettlement agency in Washington, DC. Her hope is to pursue entertainment and refugee aid work concurrently in the future. Aisha is a student of Sinhala, Arabic, and French and comes from a Sinhala-Muslim background. She has previously visited family in Sri Lanka, but this will be her first time staying there long-term in a professional capacity. Fredrick Martyn (Canada) is currently a medical student at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, DC. He has a bachelor’s degree in Biology from St. Bonaventure University in New York. Fredrick has performed research in juvenile epilepsy at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, and in adolescent sexual health at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He is also a director for his medical school’s annual comedy show and writes and performs his own poetry…. Read more

Promoting Diaspora Engagement One LankaCorps Fellow at a Time

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Every year at this time, I get excited about meeting the new pool of young people of Sri Lankan heritage who are applying for The Asia Foundation’s LankaCorps Fellowship Program. Coming from dramatically different backgrounds, what they have in common is that they all spent their formative years growing up overseas and have a burning curiosity and passion to learn more about the country of their heritage. I love talking to the applicants and learning about their upbringing, their fragile links to the country, fleeting visits to Sri Lanka, if any, and most of all, discussing how they wish to form their own special connection to their parent’s homeland through the fellowship. Each year, as we narrow down the applicants through a competitive interview process, I realize what a valuable opportunity we have created. We now have a group of 30 alumnae, 26 women and four men, who are roving ambassadors for the program, as well as international champions for Sri Lanka and its people based on their own first-hand experiences and understanding. “Growing up, I always associated the descriptions about Jaffna as representing the whole of Sri Lanka. After living and working in Sri Lanka, I was able to see how different Jaffna is from the rest of the country. Now when someone talks about Sri Lanka, it feels more personal and real,” said Jessica Uthayakumaran, a 2015 fellow and Canadian citizen, who leveraged her background in public health in her placement at the Family Rehabilitation Centre. The Asia Foundation launched the LankaCorps Fellowship Program in 2011 to enable young professionals of Sri Lankan heritage to engage in social, cultural, and economic development activities in Sri Lanka for a period of six months. The fellowship, now completing its fifth year, provides young people of Sri Lankan heritage with the opportunity to experience Sri Lanka on their own terms through individually tailored placements that optimize their unique combinations of experience, knowledge, and skills. The fellowship provides return economy airfare, accommodation, monthly stipends, and health insurance. Upon arrival in Sri Lanka, fellows are supported through their initial transition. We arrange a… Read more

LankaCorps Fellowship Program

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

Introducing the 2016 Class of LankaCorps Fellows

Monday, July 25th, 2016

July 25, 2016 — The LankaCorps Fellowship Program provides 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.” The 2016 class of LankaCorps Fellows Ms. Heima Sritharan (U.S.A.) has a Post- Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Certificate from Mills College in Oakland, California and a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese and Political Science from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Sritharan has worked as a Program Associate with Give2Asia and was previously Director of College Counseling and an English teacher in China for two years. Prior to that she worked as patient advocate and volunteer interpreter at an Asian Women’s Shelter. Sritharan plans to pursue a career working with women survivors of domestic violence in a non-profit setting, providing direct service and community-based advocacy. She is proficient in Mandarin Chinese and Tamil and is a Classical Pianist and Carnatic Musician. Fellowship Placement: Foundation of Goodness Ms. Melinda Yogendran (Canada) has a bachelor’s degree in Ecology with a minor in Environment Science from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia. Yogendran worked as an Academic Assistant at the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems in Vancouver and as a Facilitator at Vancouver Youth Food Policy Council. Prior to that she was a Research Assistant at the Land Use and Global Environment Lab. She also spent time on a field study in Africa, in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania studying bio-indicators of ecosystems health. Yogendran’s career objective is to work for an organization that has a focus on sustainability development via agricultural systems, educational awareness and nutrition programs for women and children. Fellowship Placement: Carbon Consulting Group (Pvt) Ltd. Ms. Nina Marie Fernando (U.S.A.) has an M.A…. Read more

Sri Lankan Ambassador to U.S. Speaks on How LankaCorps Can Aid Post-Conflict Reconciliation

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

On May 18, The Asia Foundation held a reception at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington, hosted by Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the U.S., Prasad Kariyawasam, as an opportunity for members of the area’s Sri Lankan diaspora and policy community to learn about the Foundation’s LankaCorps program. Over the past four years, 25 young professionals have served as LankaCorps Fellows, a unique opportunity developed by The Asia Foundation for young people of Sri Lankan heritage to live and work in Sri Lanka and contribute to the dynamic, multi-ethnic nation’s post-war recovery through six-month fellowships. Senior program officer Diana Kelly Alvord spoke to Ambassador Kariyawasam after the event. Sri Lanka lost significant economic ground and many of its most skilled and educated leaders during the war. It is now on a path to rebuilding and healing social divides – both in-country and among its diaspora. What do you see as the most significant areas of progress since the war ended, and where do you see the biggest challenges ahead? With the end of the conflict, the then-government of Sri Lanka focused on reconstruction and rehabilitation of the affected provinces of the North and East, including the rehabilitation and the reintegration into society of former Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) child soldiers and combatants. A massive infrastructure development drive was launched to rebuild houses, roads, bridges, schools, and medical facilities in these areas, as well as clearing of large tracts of land from landmines to allow the return of IDP’s to their homes. However, six years after the end of the armed conflict, there remained a sense that Sri Lanka had not succeeded in winning peace and harmony. A new government was elected in January 2015, which adopted the two-pronged policy of reconciliation and development, conscious that one without the other would not lead to genuine reconciliation among the diverse communities that make up Sri Lanka. The new government committed itself to a holistic and ambitious post-conflict reconciliation approach. This was clearly manifested in September 2015, when Sri Lanka co-sponsored – with the United States and several other countries – a Resolution in the… Read more

2015 LankaCorps Fellows

Saturday, November 28th, 2015

November 28, 2015 — 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.” Nithya Thiru Ms. Nithya Thiru is a US citizen from Alaska. She has a bachelor’s degree in History with 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. Sanjay Pathmanathan 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 the 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. Ruvani Fonseka Ms. Ruvani Fonseka is a US citizen. Fonseka graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in… Read more