Dr. Vinya Shanthidas Ariyaratne
President, Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement. Chairman, Sarvodaya Institute of Higher Learning. Physician and Board-Certified Specialist in Community Medicine. Extensive experience with civil society peace and reconciliation initiatives in Sri Lanka.
Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne has vast experience working with governmental bodies, UN agencies, multilateral agencies such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, national and international non-governmental organizations as well as the private sector in matters related to national development and policies.
As President of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, Sri Lanka’s largest non-governmental grassroots development organization, he has been deeply involved in direct conflict resolution and reconciliation initiatives. As Executive Director he was responsible for the implementation of island-wide integrated community health, development and peacebuilding programs through a network of over 50 district centers and training institutions. Following the Tsunami disaster in 2004, he was responsible for the overall coordination of Sarvodaya’s emergency response and later the entire reconstruction program.
Vinya is a trained physician and Board-Certified Specialist in Community Medicine, as well as a professional facilitator for peace dialogues. He regularly engages in teaching assignments related to peacebuilding, conflict resolution and reconciliation.
Vinya has served as the independent Lead Facilitator for the Sri Lanka One Text Initiative (OTI), a backchannel multi-partypolitical dialogue that aims at building consensus amongst key political stakeholders towards meeting the aspirations of all communities living in Sri Lanka.
His work focuses on galvanizing local communities, directly addressing grassroots needs to promote a culture of democracy, good governance, reconciliation, and sustainable peace. He is dedicated to promoting economic empowerment for a sustainable livelihood, training in entrepreneurship and serving communities across ethnic and religious divides.
In 2014, Vinya was awarded the “Outstanding Social Entrepreneur” Award by the Schwab Foundation/World Economic Forum.
He has a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) Degree from De La Salle University in the Philippines, a Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) degree from the Johns Hopkins University U.S.A, an M.Sc. and Doctor of Medicine (MD) in Community Medicine from the Post-Graduate Institute of Medicine of the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. He serves in several senior governmental advisory committees.