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Sri Lanka

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka South Asia Colombo 21,866,445 inhabitants 65,610 sq km 333.28 inhabitants/sq km Sri Lankan rupees (LKR) population evolution

Famous people from Sri Lanka

Here is a list of famous people from Sri Lanka. Curious if anybody from Sri Lanka made it our most famous people in the world list? Read the aformentioned article in order to find out.

M. G. Ramachandran


Marudhur Gopalan Ramachandran, popularly known by his initials MGR, was an Indian film actor, director, producer, and politician who also served as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu successively for three terms. In his youth, MGR and his elder brother, M. G. Chakrapani became members of a drama troupe to support their family. Influenced by Gandhian ideals, MGR joined the Indian National Congress. After a few years of acting in plays, he made his film debut in the 1936 film Sathi Leelavathi in a supporting role. In the late 1940s he graduated to leading roles and for the next three decades dominated the Tamil film industry. He became a member of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and rose rapidly through its ranks. He successfully used his popularity as a film hero to build a large political base. In 1972, he left the DMK to form his own party the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. In 1977 he became the chief minister of Tamil Nadu - the first film actor in India to become the chief minister of a state. He remained as chief minister till his death in 1987.

Kumar Sangakkara

Cricket Bowler

Kumar Chokshanada Sangakkara is a Sri Lankan cricketer and a former captain of the Sri Lanka national cricket team, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen ever. He is a left-handed top-order batsman and the wicket-keeper in the One Day International and Twenty20 formats of the game. He captained the national team from 2009 to 2011, stepping down after the 2011 ICC World Cup final. The same year, he was named the ODI Cricketer of the Year at the ICC awards ceremony. In 2012, he was honoured as one of the top-five Wisden Cricketers of the Year. Sangakkara is described as one of the "most polished and prudent of batsmen" in cricket. Currently Kumar Sangakkara is placed at number 2 in ICC test rankings. With 8 double centuries, he is the third in the list of Test double century-makers, behind Donald Bradman and Brian Lara. He is also the first cricketer ever to score 150+ scores in four consecutive Test matches. As the wicket keeper, he has contributed to the 3rd highest number of dismissals in ODIs—382. It includes 81 stumpings, which is the highest for a wicket keeper in one-day international cricket.

Jacqueline Fernandez


Jacqueline Fernandez is a Sri Lankan actress, former model and beauty queen who won Miss Sri Lanka Universe in 2006. Fernandez marked her Bollywood debut in Sujoy Ghosh's Aladin, for which she won an International Indian Film Academy Award for Best Female Debut and Stardust Award for Lux Exciting New Face in 2010. She shot to fame with Mahesh Bhatt's blockbuster hit Murder 2 in which she grabbed a lot of attention due to her sex appeal. She subsequently featured in top-grossing films such as, Housefull 2 and Race 2 . Major Bollywood production Roy and Kick feature her in lead role. She also has bagged a lead role in According to Mathew, which is her Hollywood debut and approached to act in Prince of Malacca. Apart from doing full fledged roles in movies, she rose to prominence by featuring in songs including Dhanno, Lat Lag Gayee and Jadoo Ki Jhappi She thus established herself as a promising actress of Indian Cinema.

Muttiah Muralitharan

Cricket Bowler

Muttiah Muralitharan is a Sri Lankan cricketer who was rated the greatest Test match bowler ever by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack in 2002. He retired from Test cricket in 2010, registering his 800th and final wicket on 22 July 2010 from his final ball in his last Test match. Muralitharan took the wicket of Gautam Gambhir on 5 February 2009 in Colombo to surpass Wasim Akram's ODI record of 501 wickets. He became the highest wicket-taker in Test cricket when he overtook the previous record-holder Shane Warne on 3 December 2007. Muralitharan had previously held the record when he surpassed Courtney Walsh's 519 wickets in 2004, but he suffered a shoulder injury later that year and was then overtaken by Warne. Averaging over six wickets per Test, Muralitharan is one of the most successful bowlers in the game. Muralitharan held the number one spot in the International Cricket Council’s player rankings for Test bowlers for a record period of 1,711 days spanning 214 Test matches. Muralitharan's career was beset by controversy over his bowling action for much of his international career. Due to an unusual hyperextension of his congenitally bent arm during delivery, his bowling action was called into question on a number of occasions by umpires and sections of the cricket community. After biomechanical analysis under simulated playing conditions, Muralitharan's action was cleared by the International Cricket Council, first in 1996 and again in 1999. Former Australian Test player Bruce Yardley, who himself was an off spinner in his day, was assigned with the task of ensuring Muralitharan bowled all his deliveries with the same vigour as he would do so in match conditions when tested in 2004. Muralitharan had not commenced bowling the doosra at this time. The legality of his doosra was first called into question in 2004. This delivery was found to exceed the ICC elbow extension limit by nine degrees, five degrees being the limit for spinners at that time. Based on official studies into bowling actions, which revealed that 99% of bowlers whose actions were examined exceeded the elbow flexion limits, ICC revised the limits applying to all bowlers in 2005. The new limit of 15-degrees, one degree greater than Muralitharan was bowling his doosra, allowed him to continue without being called for throwing from then on.

Mahinda Rajapaksa


Percy Mahendra "Mahinda" Rajapaksa is the 6th President of Sri Lanka and Commander in Chief of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces. A lawyer by profession, Rajapaksa was first elected to the Parliament of Sri Lanka in 1970, and served as Prime Minister from 6 April 2004 until his victory in the 2005 Presidential election. He was sworn in for a six-year term as president on 19 November 2005. He was re-elected for a second term in office on 27 January 2010.

Mahela Jayawardene

Cricket Bowler

Denagamage Praboth Mahela de Silva Jayawardene, known as Mahela Jayawardene, is a former captain of the Sri Lankan cricket team. He is a specialist batsman. Jayawardene made his Test debut in 1997 and his One Day International debut the following season. In 2006 he made the highest ever score by a Sri Lankan in Test cricket, scoring 374 in the second Test of Sri Lanka's home series against South Africa. He has a Test average of over 50 and an ODI average in the 30s. He is the first player in the history of Sri Lankan cricket to score over 10,000 Test runs. Despite his relatively low ODI average, Jayawardene is considered to be one of the best batsmen produced by Sri Lanka and is generally held in high regard as a legend of the modern game along with team-mate Kumar Sangakkara. He is one of only three Sri Lankans—the others being Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara—to have scored more than 10,000 runs in ODIs. In 2006, Jayawardene was named by the International Cricket Council as the best international captain of the year and he was nominated in 2007 as the best Test cricket player of the year. He is also known for his fielding skills in the inner ring, with a report prepared by Cricinfo in late 2005 showing that since the 1999 Cricket World Cup, he had effected the most number of run-outs in ODI cricket of any fieldsman, with the fifth highest run-out/match ratio in ODI's. Statistics also reveal that c Jayawardene b Muttiah Muralitharan is the most common bowler-fielder combination in the history of Test cricket.

Michael Ondaatje


Philip Michael Ondaatje, OC, is a Sri Lankan-born Canadian novelist and poet. He won the Booker Prize for his novel The English Patient, which was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film.

Velupillai Prabhakaran

Organization member

Thiruvenkadam Velupillai Prabhakaran was the founder and leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a militant organization that sought to create an independent Tamil state in the north and east of Sri Lanka. For over 25 years, the LTTE waged a violent secessionist campaign in Sri Lanka that led to it being designated a terrorist organization by 32 countries. Prabhakaran was wanted by Interpol for terrorism, murder, organized crime and terrorism conspiracy. He also had arrest warrants against him in Sri Lanka and India. Founded in 1976, the LTTE rocketed to prominence in 1983 after they ambushed a patrol of the Sri Lanka Army outside Jaffna, resulting in the deaths of 13 soldiers. This ambush, along with the subsequent rioting which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Tamil civilians, is generally considered the start of the Sri Lankan Civil War. After years of fighting, including the unsuccessful intervention of the Indian Army, the conflict was halted after international mediation in 2001. By then, the Tamil Tigers controlled large swaths of land in the north and east of the country, running virtually a mini-state with Prabhakran serving as its unquestioned leader. Peace talks eventually broke down, and the Sri Lanka Army launched a military campaign to defeat the Tamil Tigers in 2006. Prabhakaran was killed in fighting with the Army on May 18, 2009. It was alleged that his 12-year old son was executed a short time later. His death brought an immediate end to the Civil War.

Lasith Malinga

Cricket Bowler

Separamadu Lasith Malinga is a Sri Lankan cricketer and present vice-captain of their T20 side. He is a specialist fast bowler with a unique round-arm action, sometimes referred to as a sling action, which leads to his nickname, "Slinga Malinga" and conversely, his bowling style being nicknamed the "Malinga Slinga" both terms still consistently being associated with him in street cricket and general cricketing society. He is well known for his ability to take consecutive wickets: he is the first and only bowler in the world to have two World Cup hat-tricks, the first and only bowler to have taken three hat-tricks in ODIs and he is also the first, and currently the only, player to have taken four wickets in four consecutive balls in any form of international cricket. On 22 April 2011, he announced his retirement from Test cricket. He bowls around a speed of 140 km/h. His fastest ball was clocked at 155.7 km/h in 2011. His ODI and T20 bowling average and economy rate are amongst the best in the game. He is known for his ability to bowl yorkers and slower bowls to restrict scoring in the later overs of games.

Tillakaratne Dilshan

Cricket Bowler

Tillakaratne Mudiyanselage Dilshan; born October 14, 1976 in Kalutara, Sri Lanka is a Sri Lankan cricketer and former captain of the Sri Lanka national cricket team. He has been a member of the team since November 1999, and was also known as Tuwan Mohammad Dilshan before his conversion to Buddhism. He is an aggressive right-hand batsman who invented a stroke, which has come to be known as a dilscoop, that pitches the ball over the wicketkeeper's head. He is also capable in spin bowling; his off breaks are mostly used in the one-day arena. Dilshan won the award of Twenty20 International Performance of the Year at the 2009 ICC Awards for his 96 off 57 balls against West Indies in the semi-final of the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 in England. He also won man of the series trophy for his individual batting performances in the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 tournament.

Sirimavo Bandaranaike


Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike was a Sri Lankan politician and the modern world's first female head of government. She served as Prime Minister of Ceylon and Sri Lanka three times, 1960–65, 1970–77 and 1994–2000, and was a long-time leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. Bandaranaike was the widow of a previous Sri Lankan prime minister, Solomon Bandaranaike, and the mother of Sri Lanka's fourth Executive President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, as well as Anura Bandaranaike, former speaker and cabinet minister.

Chaminda Vaas

Cricket Bowler

Warnakulasuriya Patabendige Ushantha Joseph Chaminda Vaas, usually known as Chaminda Vaas, is a former Sri Lankan cricketer regarded as the best fast bowler to have come out of the country. He has been described as the 'most penetrative and successful new-ball bowler Sri Lanka have produced'. In 2004 he gained international recognition when he was selected for the World Test and one-day XI at the inaugural ICC Awards. He was once again selected for the World Test XI at the 2005 awards.

Pooja Umashankar


Pooja Gauthami Umashankar, mononymously known as Pooja is an Indian-Sri Lankan actress, who has primarily appeared in Tamil films as well as Sinhala, Malayalam and amateur films. Following a series of successful commercial ventures, Bala's Naan Kadavul saw Pooja's performance as a blind beggar praised by the critics, securing major awards, including the South Filmfare and Tamil Nadu State Film Awards establishing herself as a leading contemporary actress in Tamil Cinema. She simultaneously appeared in several commercial successes in Sinhala Cinema like Anjalika, Asai Man Piyabanna, Suwanda Denuna Jeewithe and Kusa Pabha, thus establishing herself as one of the leading actresses of Sinhala cinema.

Balu Mahendra


Balanathan Benjamin Mahendran is an Indian filmmaker, screenwriter, and cinematographer. He is widely regarded as part of the first in a wave of directors and screenwriters from the Chennai film industry who revitalised Tamil cinema. Born and brought up in Sri Lanka, Mahendra developed an early interest in photography, after his father presented him with a camera. After completing an honours degree London University, he enrolled himself in a cinematography course at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. He passed out with a gold medal from the institute and started his film career as a cameraman for the Malayalam film Nellu in 1974. The film earned him the best cinematographer award from the Government of Kerala. Since then he has been chosen as the best cinematographer for many times in various Indian films. Mahendra was among the first to pioneer innovative camera style for colour in South India. Making his directional debut in 1977 through the Kannada fim Kokila, he went on to make over 20 films in Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Hindi. Mahendra has won five National Film Awards, three Filmfare Awards South and numerous state awards. He is considered as one of the few film makers in Tamil who can tell a story visually. Mahendra usually writes the script for his films, handles the camera and edits the film himself, thus retaining a firm control over his creative output.

Angelo Mathews

Cricket Bowler

Angelo Davis Mathews is a Sri Lankan cricketer and the present captain of their Test and ODI sides. Like Chaminda Vaas he had his formal education in St. Joseph's College, Colombo. Born in Colombo, to Burgher father Tyronne Mathews and Sinhalese mother Monica Mathews, he captained the Sri Lankan cricket team in the 2006 U-19 Cricket World Cup in Sri Lanka. He made his international debut in a One Day International against Zimbabwe in November 2008. In the Indian Premier League, he originally played for the Kolkata Knight Riders team. In the fourth season of the Indian Premier League, he was contracted by Sahara Pune Warriors for US$950,000. He was ruled out of IPL, for up to 8 weeks, due to injury sustained during the 2011 Cricket World Cup. In November 2010, he was named 'Personality of the Year' by Living Magazine in Sri Lanka. After Kumar Sangakkara stepped down as captain following the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, Mathews was widely tipped to be Sri Lanka's next captain. Mathews has been praised by Sangakarra to having good leadership qualities; Sangakarra had also tipped him to take over as captain after his resignation. Dilshan was later named as captain. However, Mathews was strangely overlooked as vice captain, with the selectors naming Thilina Kandamby, who had not played for Sri Lanka regularly or for a prolonged period as vice captain for Sri Lanka's 2011 ODI and T20 tour of England. But the move backfired on Duleep Mendis's selection panel, when Kandamby fared miserably with the bat, forcing them to drop the new vice captain. At the end of July 2011, Mathews was named as Dilshan's vice-captain. He was retained in the role after Dilshan resigned and was replaced by Mahela Jayawardene in January 2012.

John Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher

Military Person

Admiral of the Fleet John Arbuthnot "Jacky" Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher, GCB, OM, GCVO was a British admiral known for his efforts at naval reform. He had a huge influence on the Royal Navy in a career spanning more than 60 years, starting in a navy of wooden sailing ships armed with muzzle-loading cannon and ending in one of steel-hulled battlecruisers, submarines and the first aircraft carriers. The argumentative, energetic, reform-minded Fisher is often considered the second most important figure in British naval history, after Lord Nelson. Fisher is primarily celebrated as an innovator, strategist and developer of the navy rather than a seagoing admiral involved in major battles, although in his career he experienced all these things. When appointed First Sea Lord in 1904 he removed 150 ships then on active service which were no longer useful and set about constructing modern replacements, creating a modern fleet prepared to meet Germany during World War I. Fisher saw the need to improve the range, accuracy and firing rate of naval gunnery, and was an early proponent of the use of the torpedo, which he believed would supersede big guns for use against ships. As Controller, he introduced torpedo boat destroyers as a class of ship intended for defence against attack from torpedo boats or submarines. As First Sea Lord, he was responsible for the construction of HMS Dreadnought, the first all-big-gun battleship, but he also believed that submarines would become increasingly important and urged their development. He was involved with the introduction of turbine engines to replace reciprocating designs, and the introduction of oil fuelling to replace coal. He introduced daily baked bread on board ships, whereas when he entered the service it was customary to eat hard biscuits, frequently infested by weevils.

Chandrika Kumaratunga


Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga was the fifth President of Sri Lanka, who served from 12 November 1994 to 19 November 2005. The country's only female president to date, she is the daughter of two former prime ministers and also the leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party until the end of 2005.

Raj Rajaratnam


Raj Rajaratnam is a Sri Lankan American former hedge fund manager and billionaire founder of the Galleon Group, a New York-based hedge fund management firm. On October 16, 2009, he was arrested by the FBI on allegations of insider trading, which also caused the Galleon Group to close. He stood trial in U.S. v Rajaratnam in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and on May 11, 2011 was found guilty on all 14 counts of conspiracy and securities fraud. On October 13, 2011, Rajaratnam was sentenced to 11 years in prison and fined a criminal and civil penalty of over $150 million combined. As of January 14, 2013 Raj Rajaratnam is currently incarcerated at Federal Medical Center Devens in Ayer, Massachusetts, an administrative facility housing male offenders requiring specialized or long-term medical or mental health care. Rajaratnam's release date is 7/4/2021.

Tony Hoare

Computer Scientist

Sir Charles Antony Richard Hoare, commonly known as Tony Hoare or C. A. R. Hoare, is a British computer scientist. He developed the sorting algorithm Quicksort in 1960. He also developed Hoare logic for verifying program correctness, and the formal language Communicating Sequential Processes to specify the interactions of concurrent processes and the inspiration for the occam programming language.

Kumar Dharmasena

Cricket Bowler

Handunnettige Deepthi Priyantha Kumar Dharmasena, more commonly known as Kumar Dharmasena, is a Sri Lankan cricket umpire and former international player. He was a member of the Sri Lanka team that won the 1996 Cricket World Cup. He was a right-handed batsman and a right-arm off break bowler.

Aravinda de Silva

Cricket Bowler

Pinnaduwage Aravinda de Silva is a former Sri Lankan cricketer, who is considered one of the finest batsmen produced by the country. He is also regarded as one of the most elegant batsman in his generation, and to date is the only player to make a hundred and take 3 or more wickets in a World cup final. He was the head of the national selection committee briefly before stepping down after the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.



Sujatha was a popular South Indian actress who performed in Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi language films, and was best known for restraint and subtlety in portrayal of varied emotions. Sujatha was introduced to the Tamil film industry by veteran director K. Balachander as a protagonist in Aval Oru Thodar Kathai. She paired with Kamal Haasan in most of her films. She also acted with leading actors Sivaji Ganesan, Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth, Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Shobhan Babu and Krishna. She died of cardiac arrest in Chennai.

Upul Tharanga

Cricket Bowler

Warushavithana Upul Tharanga, commonly known as Upul Tharanga, is a Sri Lankan cricketer. He is a left-handed opening batsman and wicketkeeper.

George Alagiah


George Alagiah OBE is a British newsreader, journalist and television news presenter. Since 3 December 2007, he has been the sole presenter of the BBC News at Six and has also been the main presenter of GMT on BBC World News since its launch on 1 February 2010. He is also the main relief presenter for the BBC News at Ten and has held this role since its launch in 2000, making him the longest serving presenter of the flagship news programme.

Geoffrey Bawa


Deshamanya Geoffrey Manning Bawa, FRIBA was a Sri Lankan architect. He is the most renowned architect in Sri Lanka and was among the most influential Asian architects of his generation. He is the principal force behind what is today known globally as ‘tropical modernism’.

Arjuna Ranatunga

Cricket Bowler

Arjuna Ranatunga is a Sri Lankan politician, former international cricketer and cricket administrator. He served as the captain of the Sri Lankan cricket team for much of the 1990s, and the team won the 1996 Cricket World Cup under his leadership. He is the serving member of the Parliament of Sri Lanka from Kalutara District. A specialist left-handed batsman and part-time medium pace bowler, Ranatunga's career with the Sri Lankan national team began in 1983, when Sri Lanka were relative newcomers to international cricket and did not perform well against the well-established teams. He became an important player in the middle order of Sri Lanka's batting. Under Ranatunga's captaincy, Sri Lanka began to play more aggressively in both ODI and Test cricket the mid-'90s. Their growing success rate culminated with a dominating performance and triumph in the 1996 Cricket World Cup. Although some of his actions caused some controversy, Ranatunga was praised for his leadership in raising a team long regarded as underdogs to the status of world champions. Upon retirement from playing cricket, Ranatunga became influential in the administration of cricket in Sri Lanka and entered politics, joining the People's Alliance and winning election to the Sri Lankan parliament. He served a tenure as deputy minister for tourism, and later served as the president of Sri Lanka Cricket until December 2008. He joined the Democratic National Alliance in 2010.

Thisara Perera

Cricket Bowler

Narangoda Liyanaarachchilage Thisara Chirantha Perera is a Sri Lankan cricketer. He represents Sri Lanka at the Test, One Day International and Twenty20 levels. He plays first class cricket in Sri Lanka for the Colts Cricket Club and the Wayamba Wolves. An all-rounder, he is an aggressive left-handed batsman and a right-arm medium-fast bowler. In Australia he is known by his nickname panda, which was bestowed upon him by George Bailey during his stint at BBL with Brisbane Heat, although he prefers TP.

Ajantha Mendis

Cricket Bowler

Balapuwaduge Ajantha Winslo Mendis is a cricketer who plays for the Sri Lankan national cricket team. Mendis, although classified as slow-medium, bowls a mixture of deliveries, including googlies, off-breaks, top-spinners, flippers and leg-breaks, as well as the carrom ball, released with a flick of his middle finger. For Sri Lanka Army in 2007-08 he averaged a mere 10.56 and took 46 wickets in six games, his strike rate a startling 31. This gained him a call-up to the full Sri Lanka squad for the Caribbean tour in April 2008. His best bowling performance in a One Day International came in the final of the 2008 Asia Cup, where he took 6 wickets for 13 runs in just his eighth match. His 17 wickets in the tournament earned him the Man of the Series award. Mendis made his One Day International debut against the West Indies at Port of Spain in 2008 and took 3 for 39. He also plays for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League. His first Test Match was against India at Colombo on 23 July 2008 in which he returned match figures of 8-132, thereby becoming the first Sri Lankan bowler to get an eight-wicket haul on Test debut. Ajantha Mendis won the Emerging Player of the Year award at the LG ICC Awards ceremony held in Dubai in September 2008.

Ananda Coomaraswamy


Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy was a Ceylonese philosopher and metaphysician, as well as a pioneering historian and philosopher of Indian art, particularly art history and symbolism, and an early interpreter of Indian culture to the West. In particular, he is described as "the groundbreaking theorist who was largely responsible for introducing ancient Indian art to the West."

Ranil Wickremasinghe


Ranil Wickremesinghe is a Sri Lankan politician and current Leader of the Opposition in the Sri Lankan parliament. He was Prime Minister of Sri Lanka twice, from 7 May 1993 to 19 August 1994 and from 9 December 2001 to 6 April 2004. A member of the United National Party he was appointed party leader in November 1994. He is also the leader of the United National Front having been appointed head of the alliance in October 2009.

Sarath Fonseka


Gardihewa Sarath Chandralal Fonseka, known as Sarath Fonseka is a former commander and General of the Sri Lanka Army and a former candidate for President of Sri Lanka. As Commander of the Army, he played an integral role in ending the 26-year Sri Lankan Civil War in 2009, defeating the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. He later had a public falling out with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and unsuccessfully challenged Rajapaksa in the 2010 presidential election. Fonseka joined the Sri Lanka Army in 1970 and saw extensive action throughout the 26-year civil war, culminating in a term as Commander of the Army from 6 December 2005 – 15 July 2009. As commander, he oversaw the final phase of the Sri Lankan Civil War, which resulted in the total defeat of the militant Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam organisation. He also survived an assassination attempt when an LTTE suicide bomber attacked his motorcade in April 2006. Following the end of the war Fonseka was promoted to a four star rank in the Sri Lanka Army, becoming the first serving officer to hold a four star rank. He has been described as Sri Lanka's most successful army commander.

Stephanie Laurens


Stephanie Laurens is a best-selling Australian author of romance novels.

St. John Philby


Hillary "Harry" St-John Bridger Philby CIE, also known as Jack Philby or Sheikh Abdullah, his Arabic name, was an Arabist, explorer, writer, and British colonial office intelligence officer. He was educated at Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied oriental languages under E.G. Browne, and was a friend and classmate of Jawaharlal Nehru, later prime minister of India. In his travels he also took great interest in birdlife and he gave a scientific name to the Arabian Woodpecker, as well as a subspecies of an owl. Most of his birds were named after women whom he admired. He contributed numerous specimens to the British Museum. He also contributed to the draft of a book on the birds of Arabia by George Latimer Bates. However, it was never published, but was made use of in a work on the same subject by Richard Meinertzhagen. Philby is remembered in ornithology by the name of Philby's Partridge. As he states in his autobiography, he "became something of a fanatic" and "the first Socialist to join the Indian Civil Service" in 1907, and was posted to Lahore in the Punjab in 1908. He acquired fluency in Urdu, Punjabi, Baluchi, Persian, and eventually Arabic languages. Philby married Dora Johnston, his first wife, in September 1910, with his distant cousin Bernard Law Montgomery as best man. He also later married an Arab woman from Saudi Arabia. He had one son, Kim Philby, later a British intelligence agent infamous as a double agent for the Soviet Union, and three daughters.

Marvan Atapattu

Cricket Bowler

Marvan Samson Atapattu is a former Sri Lankan cricketer and former Sri Lankan captain. Towards the end of his career he joined the Indian Cricket League and captained the Delhi Giants. He is the current coach of Singapore national cricket team.

S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike


Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike frequently referred to as S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike was the fourth Prime Minister of Ceylon, serving from 1956 until his assassination by a Buddhist monk in 1959.

Anagarika Dharmapala

Organization founder

Anagarika Dharmapala was a Sri Lankan Buddhist revivalist and writer. He was one of the founding contributors of non-violent Sinhalese Buddhist Nationalism and Buddhism. He was also a pioneer in the revival of Buddhism in India after it had been virtually extinct there for several centuries, and he was the first Buddhist in modern times to preach the Dharma in three continents: Asia, North America, and Europe. Along with Henry Steel Olcott and Helena Blavatsky, the creators of the Theosophical Society, he was a major reformer and revivalist of Ceylonese Buddhism and very crucial figure in its Western transmission. Dharmapala is one of the most revered Buddhists in the 20th century.

J. R. Jayewardene


Junius Richard Jayawardene, famously abbreviated in Sri Lanka as JR, was the leader of Sri Lanka from 1977 to 1989, serving as Prime Minister from 1977 to 1978 and as President of Sri Lanka from 1978 till 1989. He was a leader of the nationalist movement in Ceylon who served in a variety of cabinet positions in the decades following independence. A longtime member of the United National Party, he led it to a crushing victory in 1977 and served as Prime Minister for a year before becoming the country's first executive president under an amended constitution.

Dinesh Chandimal

Cricket Bowler

Lokuge Dinesh Chandimal is a Sri Lankan international cricketer. He is a right-handed batsman and wicket-keeper.

William Chester Minor


William Chester Minor, also known as W. C. Minor was an American army surgeon and one of the largest contributors of quotations to the Oxford English Dictionary. He was held in a lunatic asylum at the time.

Susanthika Jayasinghe

Olympic athlete

Susanthika Jayasinghe is a Sri Lankan sprint athlete specializing in the 100 and 200 metres. Jayasinghe was born in Atnawala, Sri Lanka. Brought up in a poor family in a small village 60 kilometres north of Colombo, where running spikes cost more than the average month's wage, she had no access to proper sports equipment or coaches. Yet in spite of these underprivileged conditions she managed to progress to a standard where she could claim medals at both the Summer Olympics and IAAF World Championships in Athletics. Susanthika was the first and only Asian national to win an Olympic medal in any of 100 m, 200 m or 400 m sprint events.

Ranasinghe Premadasa


Sri Lankabhimanya Ranasinghe Premadasa was the 3rd President of Sri Lanka from 2 January 1989 to 1 May 1993. Before that, he served as the Prime Minister in the government headed by J. R. Jayewardene from 6 February 1978 to 1 January 1989. He was assassinated in Colombo in a suicide bombing, by the LTTE.

Rangana Herath

Cricket Bowler

Herath Mudiyanselage Rangana Keerthi Bandara Herath, also known as H. M. R. K. B. Herath or Rangana Herath or Jack is a Sri Lankan cricketer. He was educated at Mayurapada Central College, Narammala and Maliyadeva College Kurunegala. He has also played cricket for Kurunegala Youth Cricket Club and Moors Sports Club. His bowling style is slow left arm orthodox. He made his Test match debut at Galle, Sri Lanka against the Australian cricket team in 1999, and his One Day International debut against the Zimbabwean cricket team at Harare Sports Ground in 2004. Herath joined the Sri Lankan squad in 2008 to face West Indies, for two Tests and three ODIs. In one of his warm up matches he got a five wicket haul. He played a few matches for Surrey during the latter part of the 2009 English cricket season. In April 2010, Herath joined Hampshire, where he played in the first half of the 2010 County Championship before fellow Sri Lankan Ajantha Mendis replaced him for the second half of the season.

Sinnathamby Rajaratnam


Sinnathamby Rajaratnam, better known as "S. Rajaratnam", was a Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore from 1980–85, and a long-serving Minister and member of the Cabinet from 1959–88. He was one of the pioneer leaders of independent Singapore as it achieved self-government in 1959 and later independence in 1965. He devoted much of his adult life to public service, and helped shape the mentality of Singaporeans on contemporary issues. One of the schools of Nanyang Technological University, is named the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in honour of him, as is the S. Rajaratnam block of his alma mater, Raffles Institution.

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa


Lieutenant Colonel Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa, RWP, RSP, psc, GR is a retired officer of the Sri Lanka Army, the current Defence Secretary of Sri Lanka and Chairman of Lanka Hospitals. After serving through the early parts of the country's civil war with Tamil Tiger rebels, he retired from the Army in 1992. With the election of his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa as President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was appointed Defence Secretary in November 2005. As Defence Secretary, Rajapaksa is largely credited for masterminding the successes achieved by the Sri Lankan Military in defeating the Tamil Tigers and ending Sri Lanka's 26 year long civil war in May 2009 under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He was also one of the top targets of the Tamil Tigers, and survived an assassination attempt in December 2006 by a Tamil Tiger suicide bomber. He is also accused of war crimes as reportedly ordered the killings of LTTE leaders during the bloodiest domestic civil war, prominent supporter of hardline religious group Buddhist Bodu Bala Sena and often criticised for controlling Sri Lankan media.

W. D. Amaradeva


Wannakuwatta Mitiwaduge Don Albert Perera in Moratuwa, Sri Lanka better known by his adopted name Amaradeva, is a Sri Lankan vocalist, violinist and a musical composer. Primarily using traditional instruments like sitars, tablas and harmoniums, Amaradeva incorporates Sinhala folk music with Indian ragas in his work. In the mid-1950s, Amaradeva in his Janagayana project consulted experts of the Kandyan dance tradition like Pani Bharata, Kiriganita, Gunamala, Ukkuva and Suramba in his path to understand what constituted Sinhala folk music. Noting that it mostly revolved around a single melody, he decided to add verses that would lead up to the central melody which would now be a chorus thus forming two parts removing restrictions that had existed earlier. In doing so, Amaradeva created a uniquely Sinhalese music style that stayed true to folk tradition while incorporating outside influences. His work was vital in the creation of the sarala gee genre practiced subsequently by artists like Victor Ratnayake, Sunil Edirisinghe and Sanath Nandasiri

Lakshman Kadirgamar


Sri Lankabhimanya Lakshman Kadirgamar PC was a Sri Lankan Tamil diplomat, politician and a lawyer. He served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka from 1994 to 2001 and again from April 2004 until his assassination in August 2005. He achieved international prominence in this position due to his wide ranging condemnation of the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) and his efforts to have them banned internationally. A distinguished lawyer and international humanitarian, he was assassinated by an LTTE sniper in August 2005 Accounts of his views on politics and international relations, with much information about his life and career, can be found in the book Democracy, Sovereignty and Terror: Lakshman Kadirgamar on the Foundations of International Order, edited by Professor Adam Roberts.

Execution of Rizana Nafeek

Deceased Person

Rizana Nafeek was a Sri Lankan woman convicted and subsequently executed in Saudi Arabia for the murder of four-month-old Naif al-Quthaibi. Her parents alleged that in order to get work in Saudi Arabia the date of birth was altered on Nafeek's passport when in reality she was under 18 when the offence took place, meaning her execution was contrary to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The initial confession made by Nafeek was claimed by her to have been made under duress and without linguistic assistance.

Dav Whatmore

Cricket Bowler

Davenell Frederick Whatmore is a former international cricketer who represented Australia. He had a very short international career from March 1979 to January 1980 in which he played just seven Test matches and one One Day International. At first-class level, he scored over 6,000 runs for Victoria. Whatmore is the current coach of Pakistan.

Malini Fonseka


Malani Senehelatha Fonseka is an award-winning Sri Lankan film actress, also known as the "Queen of Sinhalese cinema". Her cinema career which has spanned many decades began with Tissa Liyansooriya's Punchi Baba in 1968. She first earned recognition, when she won the 'Best Actress Award' at the 1969 National State Drama Festival This was followed by Sarasaviya Best Actress Awards for Hingana Kolla in 1980, Aradhana in 1982 and Yasa Isuru in 1983. In 2010 she has been named by CNN as one of Asia’s 25 greatest film actors of all time.

J. B. Jeyaretnam


Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam was a Singaporean politician and lawyer. He was the leader of the Workers' Party from 1971 to 2001. In 1981, he became the first opposition politician since Singapore's independence in 1965 to win a seat in Parliament, when he defeated the candidate of the governing People's Action Party at a by-election in the constituency of Anson. He was re-elected at the 1984 general election, but lost his seat in Parliament in 1986 following a conviction for falsely accounting the party's funds. He returned to Parliament after the 1997 general election as a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament. However he was stripped of his NCMP seat in 2001 when he was declared bankrupt after failing to keep up with payments for damages owed to PAP leaders as a result of a libel suit. He left the WP later that year. He was discharged from bankruptcy in 2007, and founded the Reform Party in June 2008. He died of heart failure in September 2008, three months after founding the Reform Party which is now led by his son Kenneth Jeyaretnam.

Robert Napier, 1st Baron Napier of Magdala

Military Commander

Field Marshal Robert Cornelis Napier, 1st Baron Napier of Magdala, GCB, GCSI, CIE, FRS was a British soldier.

Arumuka Navalar


Arumuka Navalar was one the early revivalists of native Hindu Tamil traditions in Sri Lanka and India. He and others like him were responsible for reviving and reforming native traditions that had come under a long period of dormancy and decline during the previous 400 years of colonial rule by various European powers. A student of the Christian missionary school system who assisted in the translation of the King James Bible into Tamil, he was influential in creating a period of intense religious transformation amongst Tamils in India and Sri Lanka, preventing large-scale conversions to Protestantism. As part of his religious revivalism, he was one of the early adaptors of modern Tamil prose, introduced Western editing techniques, and built schools that taught secular and Hindu religious subjects. He was a defender of Saivism against Christian missionary activity and was one of the first natives to use the modern printing press to preserve the Tamil literary tradition. He published many polemical tracts in defense of Saivism, and also sought and published original palm leaf manuscripts. He also attempted to reform Saivism itself – an effort which sometimes led to the decline of popular deities and worship modes and confrontation with traditional authorities of religion. Some post-colonial authors have criticised his contributions as parochial, limited, conservative, and favouring the elite castes.

Eric Shipton


Eric Earle Shipton CBE was a distinguished British Himalayan mountaineer.

David Wilkie


David Andrew Wilkie MBE is a Scottish former swimmer, who was Olympic and Commonwealth Games champion in the 1970s. He is the only person to have held British, American, Commonwealth, European, World and Olympic swimming titles at the same time and was the first British swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal in 68 years. He is a member of the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame, the International Swimming Hall of Fame, has been described as Scotland's greatest swimmer. and Britain's finest swimmer.

Anarkalli Aakarsha


Anarkali Akarsha Jayatilaka is an award winning Sri Lankan film and teledrama actress, model,singer, TV presenter and a politician. She was crowned Miss Sri Lanka 2004 and represented Sri Lanka at the Miss World 2004 beauty pageant. She has worked as a brand ambassador & a fundraiser. She attended Colombo International School.

Namal Rajapaksa


Lakshman Namal Rajapaksa is a son of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and a Member of Parliament. It is widely believed that Rajapaksa is being groomed to succeed his father.

Vijaya Kumaranatunga


Kovilage Anton Vijaya Kumaranatunga, also known as Vijaya Kumaranatunga, was a popular Sri Lankan film actor and politician, married to former Sri Lankan president Chandrika Kumaranatunga from 1978 to his assassination in 1988.

Russel Arnold

Cricket Bowler

Russel Premakumaran "Rusty" Arnold is a former Sri Lankan cricketer of Tamil descent. Arnold made his Test debut against Pakistan in 1997 and his One day international debut against South Africa later in the year. Originally an opening batsmen, Arnold has since moved down the batting order. He is most famous in the pearl island as a utility and very versatile player, making him ideally suitable for the limited over version of the game. However, when he started his career, he was seen primarily as a solid top order batsmen where he impressed against Australia during the AIWA cup of 1999, as well as the subsequent Test series against them, where he batted at No. 3. Failure in the 2003 Cricket World Cup saw him sidelined for many months. However, he fought his way back into the side with a string of good scores in domestic cricket for his club, Nondescripts. A calm and cool player in a crisis situation, Arnold has dragged Sri Lanka out of many sticky situations. He is highly valued for his gritty qualities and is considered an unselfish team man. He is considered an ideal No. 6; he is a Methodist Christian of Tamil descent as is Muttiah Muralitharan.

Alexander Khloponin


Alexander Gennadyevich Khloponin was born on March 6, 1965 in Colombo, Ceylon. Khloponin was the governor of Krasnoyarsk Krai in Siberia, Russia. Khloponin has a finance degree from the Finance Academy and was chairman of the board of the Norilsk Nickel company. In 2001, he became the governor of Taymyr Autonomous Okrug in northern Siberia, holding that position until 2002. Khloponin won the election for governor of Krasnoyarsk Krai against Alexander Uss, another man with major business links. The race was relatively close, with Khloponin winning only 48% of the vote even in the runoff. He has been governor of Krasnoyarsk Krai since October 2002. In 2002 Alexander Khloponin was named Person of the Year by Expert magazine, the Russian business weekly. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has approved the establishment of the North Caucasian Federal District and appointed Alexander Khloponin Vice-Premier of the Russian Federation and Plenipotentiary Envoy of the President to the new federal district while relieving him from the governor's office.

Albert Moses


Albert Moses is a British-based actor born near Kandy, Sri Lanka. He had begun to act by the 1960s in India where he appeared in several films, then produced and directed his first. From India, he moved to Africa where he undertook work on documentaries. From the early 1970s, in Britain, Moses played small parts in several television series before being cast as Ranjeet Singh, a Sikh from Punjab, India, in the ITV sitcom Mind Your Language.

John Carson


John Carson is an English actor noted for his appearances in film and television. Making his film debut in 1947, he carved out a career appearing in low budget British movies such as Seven Keys; Smokescreen; and Master Spy. His saturnine looks and sinister voice led to him starring in a number of horror films including The Night Caller; Plague of the Zombies; The Man Who Haunted Himself; Taste the Blood of Dracula; and Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter. Beside his appearances in horror films he is also known for his many villainous turns in adventure series of the sixties, such as The Avengers; The Saint; Adam Adamant Lives!; The Baron; Man in a Suitcase; The Champions; and Department S. His long and varied list of television credits include The Adventures of Robin Hood; Emergency - Ward 10; Ivanhoe; William Tell; Armchair Theatre; Maigret; Out of the Unknown; Emma; Dixon of Dock Green; Crown Court; The New Avengers; Secret Army; The Professionals; Tales of the Unexpected; Hammer House of Horror; Doctor Who; and Poirot. He was also famously the voice-over on the Sunsilk TV commercial that featured the John Barry music "The girl with the sun in her hair".

D.S. Senanayake


Don Stephen Senanayake was an independence activist who served as the first Prime Minister of Ceylon from 1947 to 1952.

Farveez Maharoof

Cricket Bowler

Mohamed Farveez Maharoof is a Sri Lankan cricketer. He first made his impression in the 2004 U19 World Cup in which he captained the Sri Lankan team. He enjoyed a prolific school career for Wesley College, with a highest score of 243 and best bowling figures of 8 for 20. An all-rounder, he made his Test debut in 2004. He has featured more frequently in One Day Internationals and has played nearly 100 for Sri Lanka since 2004. At domestic level, he has represented Bloomfield, Nondescripts, Wayamba, Delhi Daredevils, Lancashire and Barisal Burners.

John Kotelawala


General Sir John Lionel Kotelawala, CH, KBE, KStJ, CLI was a Sri Lankan soldier and politician, most notable for serving as the 3rd Prime Minister of Ceylon from 1953 to 1956.

Lester James Peries

Film Director

Sri Lankabhimanya Lester James Peries is an internationally acclaimed Sri Lankan film director, screenwriter, and film producer. An active filmmaker since 1949, Peries has been involved in over 28 films, including shorts and documentaries. He has received critical acclaim for directing Rekava, Gamperaliya, Nidhanaya, Golu Hadawatha, Kaliyugaya, Awaragira and Yuganthaya. Movie Wekande Walauwa starring Ravindra Randeniya and Malini Fonseka was the Sri Lankas first ever submission for the Academy Awards and film also had screenings at many International level film festivals. Peries's films often deal with Sri Lankan family life in rural settings and conflicted characters.

Henepola Gunaratana


Bhante Henepola Gunaratana is a Sri Lankan Theravada Buddhist monk. He is often affectionately known as Bhante G.

Chandra Wickramasinghe


Nalin Chandra Wickramasinghe is a Sri Lankan-born British mathematician, astronomer and astrobiologist. He is currently Professor and Director of the Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology at the University of Buckingham, a post he has held since 2011. Chandra Wickramasinghe has written 24 books about astrophysics and related topics; he has made frequent appearances on radio, television and film, and he writes extensive online blogs and articles. His research interests include the interstellar medium, infrared astronomy, light scattering theory, applications of solid-state physics to astronomy, the early Solar System, comets, astrochemistry, the origin of life and astrobiology. A student and collaborator of Fred Hoyle, the pair worked jointly for over 40 years as influential proponents of panspermia. In 1974 they proposed the hypothesis that some dust in interstellar space was largely organic. He is currently a consultant team member of the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission which will arrive at comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in 2014. He is also making further identifications of spectral features in comets and in the interstellar medium. More recently, Wickramasinghe has hypothesized that elementary living organisms like the lichen-forming alga spores present in the red rain in Kerala are of extraterrestrial origin, and that pathogens as the SARS virus also arrived on Earth from deep space carried in asteroids and comets. However, these speculations lack support from the scientific community and are at times published in the fringe Journal of Cosmology.

Chandran Rutnam

Film Director

Chandran Rutnam is a film maker from Sri Lanka who has been in Los Angeles for more than 38 years. He is of mixed Tamil and Sinhalese ancestry. Having started his movie career with Britain's David Lean in the oscar-winning The Bridge on the River Kwai at the age of 16 and studied with American director George Lucas in film school, Rutnam brought numerous Hollywood movies to Sri Lanka. He worked as the production supervisor in Sri Lanka for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom amongst many other Hollywood movies. Rutnam is an award winning director for the movie A Common Man at the Madrid International Film Festival as the Best Director. Steven Spielberg once referred to Rutnam as "Our most valued friend in the Far East". He is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Asian Film Location Services which mostly hosts foreign films to be shot in Sri Lanka. He founded the once-popular local airline company, Lionair and currently owns the Asian Aviation Centre in Sri Lanka. He is the chief consultant at which is on film promotion via social media and location services worldwide.

Michelle de Kretser


Michelle de Kretser is an Australian novelist who was born in Sri Lanka, and moved to Australia in 1972 when she was 14.

Martin Wickramasinghe


Martin Wickramasinghe, MBE was a Sri Lankan novelist. His books have been translated into several languages. The search for roots is a central theme in Wickramasinghe's writings on the culture and life of the people of Sri Lanka. His work explored and applied modern knowledge in natural and social sciences, literature, linguistics, the arts, philosophy, education, and Buddhism and comparative religion to reach beyond the superficial emotionalism of vulgar nationalism, and guide Sri Lankan readers to the enduring roots of their common national identity that exists in the folk life and folk culture of Sri Lanka.

Mervyn Silva


Hewa Koparage Mervyn Silva is a Sri Lankan politician, Member of Parliament and government minister.

Lahiru Thirimanne

Cricket Bowler

Hettige Don Rumesh Lahiru Thirimanne is a Sri Lankan international cricketer. A left-handed batsman and right-arm medium-fast bowler, he made his One Day International debut in early 2010. He made his Test debut against England at the Rose Bowl in June 2011, coming into the side for the injured Tillakaratne Dilshan. In his first Test innings, he was dismissed for 10 runs caught behind off the bowling of James Anderson. Thirimanne Scored his first ODI century against Australia at Adelaide Oval during second ODI of 2012–13 Commonwealth Bank Series. Lahiru is an old boy of Prince of Wales' College, Moratuwa

Rathika Sitsabaiesan


Rathika Sitsabaiesan is a member of the House of Commons of Canada for the New Democratic Party, representing Scarborough—Rouge River. She is the first person of Tamil-origin to be elected to federal parliament in Canada and the first female and first person of colour to be elected as Member of Parliament in Scarborough—Rouge River. She is also the youngest Member of Parliament in the Greater Toronto Area.

Thilan Samaraweera

Cricket Bowler

Thilan Thusara Samaraweera is a Sri Lankan cricketer, born 22 September 1976 in Colombo. Samaraweera plays international cricket for Sri Lanka and is in the side primarily for his solid right-handed batting but is also a capable off spinner.

Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan


Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan is a Sri Lankan politician and former militant. After fighting for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam for over 20 years, he rose to prominence as the leader of the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal, a breakaway faction of the LTTE. After giving up arms and entering politics, he was appointed as a National List Member of Parliament for the ruling United People's Freedom Alliance, the party of President Mahinda Rajapakse, in 2008 and sworn in as Minister of National Integration on March 9, 2009. He later joined the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, the largest party in the UPFA, and on April 24, 2009 he appointed a Vice President of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party.

Malcolm Ranjith


Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, often known simply as Malcolm Ranjith or Albert Malcolm Ranjith, is a Sri Lankan cardinal of the Catholic Church. He is the ninth and current Archbishop of Colombo, serving since 2009. He was elevated to the cardinalate in 2010. Ranjith previously served as auxiliary bishop of Colombo, Bishop of Ratnapura, Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Apostolic Nuncio to Indonesia and East Timor, and Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Rosemary Rogers


Rosemary Rogers, née Rosemary Jansz is a best-selling author of historical romance novels. Her first book, Sweet Savage Love, was published in 1974. She was the second romance author, after Kathleen Woodiwiss, to have her novels published in trade paperback format. Both writers owe their initial success to legendary editor Nancy Coffey who was then with Avon Books. Rogers is considered to be one of the founders of the modern historical romance, and many of today's writers cite her writing as one of their biggest influences. She lives in Connecticut.

Cecil Balmond

Structural engineer

Cecil Balmond is a Sri Lankan - British designer, artist, architect, and writer. In 1968 Balmond joined Ove Arup & Partners, leading him to become deputy chairman. In 2000 he founded design and research group, the AGU. He currently holds the Paul Philippe Cret Chair at Penn Design as Professor of Architecture where he is also the founding director of the Non Linear Systems Organization, a material and structural research unit. He has also been Kenzo Tange Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Architecture, Saarinen professor at Yale University School of Architecture and visiting fellow at London School of Economics. In 2010 Balmond set up his own architectural practice, Balmond Studio, with offices in London and Colombo. The research led practice is involved with art, architecture, design and consulting. One current project is the Gretna Landmark, Star of Caledonia for which Cecil is the artist. It is an illuminated sculpture that marks the Scottish and English border crossing, and will be completed in 2015.

Roshan Mahanama

Cricket Bowler

Roshan Siriwardene Mahanama is a former Sri Lankan cricketer and currently an ICC match referee. Although he averaged less than 30 at Test cricket, he did score four centuries, including a top score of 225 for the Sri Lankan cricket team against India at Colombo, where he shared a then world record second wicket partnership of 576 runs with Sanath Jayasuriya. This record was surpassed in July 2006 as the largest partnership in Test match history by fellow Sri Lankans Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene who put on 624 against South Africa. Roshan Mahanama was the stylish batsman in Sri Lankan cricket side. He established himself as stylish opening batsman in late 80's & early 90's. In W.C. 1992, Roshan Mahanama performed as opening batsman along with M.A.R. Samarasekera & U.C. Hathurusingha. During the captaincy of Aravinda de silva in early 90's, Roshan Mahanama was a consistent opening batsman. In W.C. 1992, Roshan Mahanama scored: 59 runs off 89 balls v.s. Zimbabwe, 80 runs off 131 balls v.s. New Zealand & 68 runs off 121 balls v.s. South Africa. During 1995/96, whenever Roshan Mahanama gets out, Aravinda de Silva gets out easily. Roshan is the 36th Sri Lanka Test Cap [Sri Lanka Vs Pakistan at Colombo 1985/86].

Bernard White


Bernard White is a Sri Lankan-born American actor, screenwriter and film director. A 1977 graduate of Detroit Catholic Central High School, he graduated from Michigan State University. He was previously married to American actress Julia Campbell and French actress Nathalie Canessa-White. He also founded plymouth, an experimental theater company in Hollywood, California. He was raised in Detroit, Michigan.

Gamini Fonseka


Sembuge Gamini Shelton Fonseka was a Sri Lankan film actor and politician. Fonseka was born on March 21, 1936 in Dehiwela the third child of William and Daisy Fonseka. Starting school at a Presbyterian institution, Gamini moved on to S. Thomas' College, Mt. Lavinia. As a youngster, he gained repute for imitating administrative figures at school. Gamini also prospered in the study of the Sinhala language and literature and placed in the upper fourth for a Sinhala literature prize. The award for this achievement was presented to him by S. Thomas' graduate and Sri Lankan Prime Minister D. S. Senanayake. Gamini was also an accomplished cricket player. Gamini Fonseka married his longtime girlfriend Dorothy Margaret Valencia also known as Tina in 1962 and had four children Chamila, Thanuja, Dammith and Ishara. Many years later he also fathered Kaushalya and Poornima. He remained married to Tina until his death in September 2004.

Shanmugalingam Sivashankar

Organization member

Shanmugalingam Sivashankar Tamil: பொட்டு அம்மான் is a Sri Lankan Tamil militant. He was indicted by the Indian government's Jain Commission for involvement in the assassination of the former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Dilhara Fernando

Cricket Bowler

Congenige Randhi Dilhara Fernando is a cricketer who plays for Sri Lanka. He is a right-handed pace bowler. Dilhara studied at De Mazenod College Kandana. He started off his school career as a basketball player but was spotted by the college cricket coach because of his build and height. Fernando is best known for his rare technique when bowling the slower ball by splitting the fingers on the ball as it is released from the hand. Fernando first debuted for Sri Lanka in a Test Match against Pakistan at Colombo in June 2000. Six months later in a game at Durban he clocked 91.9 mph. He bowled at 93.40 mph vs Bangladesh at India. His international career however has been limited due to injury. In the period of a year he suffered two stress fracture of the back and as a result missed the their home series against Australia in 2004. In the 2010 tour of Australia, in the 3rd and final ODI at The Gabba, he clocked speeds reaching 150 kilometres per hour. In 2008 he appeared briefly in English county cricket, playing one County Championship and two Pro40 matches at the end of the season for Worcestershire. He is a Christian and sometimes attends church with Chaminda Vaas.

Chitral Somapala

Heavy metal Artist

Chitral "Chity" Somapala is a Sri Lankan hard rock and heavy metal vocalist and former lead singer of Firewind and the British power metal band Power Quest. He is better known for his work with European power metal bands Firewind, Avalon, Faro, Red Circuit and Civilization One. Somapala gained popularity in his home country Sri Lanka due to his Sinhala track "Nadee Ganga" which was released in 1998.

H. R. Jothipala


Hettiarachchige Reginald Jothipala was a prolific playback singer in the Sinhala cinema. He also worked as an opera singer. He died in July 1987 at the age of 51 years and 5 months. Jothipala lent his voice to all classes of actors ranging from Eddie Jayamanne, Ananda Jayaratne, Gamini Fonseka, Vijaya Kumaratunga, Sanath Gunathilaka, Tony Ranasinghe, Ravindra Randeniya and even several of the young generation of actors in Sri Lanka.

Lalith Athulathmudali


Lalith William Samarasekera Athulathmudali, PC was a Sri Lankan politician of the United National Party and former Cabinet Minister of Trade, National Security, Agriculture, Education and deputy minister of defence.

Henry Montgomery Lawrence

Military Person

Sir Henry Montgomery Lawrence KCB was a British soldier and statesman in India, who died defending Lucknow during the Indian Mutiny.

Rohana Wijeweera

Organization founder

Patabendi Don Nandasiri Wijeweera or Rohana Wijeweera was a Sri Lankan Marxist politician, rebel and the founding leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna. Wijeweera led the party in two unsuccessful insurrections in Sri Lanka, in 1971 and 1987 to 1989.

Colin Gordon


Colin Gordon was a British actor born in Ceylon. He was educated at Marlborough College and Christ Church, Oxford. He made his first West End appearance in 1934 as the hind legs of a horse in a production of Toad of Toad Hall. From 1936 to 1939 he was a director with the Fred Melville Repertory Company at Brixton. He served in the army during World War II for six years. His performance in 1948 as Rupert Billings in The Happiest Days of Your Life won the Clarence Derwent award. Gordon had a long career in British cinema and television from the 1940s to the 1970s, often playing government officials. His films include The Pink Panther and Casino Royale although he is probably best known for his portrayal of Number Two in the ITC classic series The Prisoner. Along with Leo McKern, he was one of only two actors to play Number Two more than once. He first played the character in "The General" and later reprised his role in "A. B. and C.". In fact, the episodes were subsequently broadcast in reverse order: when "The General" was in production, "A. B. and C." had not yet been cast. Gordon was a regular in another ITC production, The Baron playing civil servant Templeton-Green opposite Steve Forrest. He also played the host and occasional narrator of the 1969 London Weekend Television series The Complete and Utter History of Britain, which arose from a pre-Monty Python collaboration between Michael Palin and Terry Jones; and was the Airport Commandant in the 1967 Doctor Who story The Faceless Ones. He was also in Bachelor Father and made a notable guest appearance in "The Holiday" episode of Steptoe and Son.

Jeevan Mendis

Cricket Bowler

Balapuwaduge Manukulasuriya Amith Jeevan Mendis is a Sri Lankan international cricketer. A left-handed batsman, he debuted in 2000/01 and the following season captained the Under-19 team to victory in a one-day game. He represented the Sri Lankan A side in 2005. He first debuted in the Zimbabwe Triangular series in the 3rd Match on 1 June 2010 he didn't got any oppurtinity to bat as his number didn't come up but he bowled 4 overs, giving 12 runs and took two wickets,he got a chance to bat in his second ODI and scored a decent 35 of 35 balls. He has also played for Dhaka Dynamites in Bangladesh's NCL T20 Bangladesh. In the opening match of T20 World Cup 2012 against Zimbabwe at Hambantota, he came to the crease at 82/3 after 11.3 overs and scored a 43* from 30 balls hitting 4 fours and a six and scripted a game-changing 49 ball 94 runs partnership with Kumar Sangakkara to help his side reach 182/4. With the ball, he took 3/24 from his 4 overs & ably assisted spin partner Ajantha Mendis who took a record 6/8 from his 4 overs.

Rukmani Devi


Rukmani Devi was a Sri Lankan singer and actress, who was often acclaimed as "The Nightingale of Sri Lanka". She made it to the silver screen via the stage and had acted in close to 100 films, at the time of her death. Having an equal passion for singing as well as a melodious voice, she was Sri Lanka's foremost female singer in the gramophone era. After her death, she was awarded the Sarasaviya 'Rana Thisara'- Life Time Achievement Award at the 1979 Sarasaviya Awards Festival.

Nirj Deva


Niranjan Joseph "Nirj" De Silva Deva-Aditya FRSA DL is a politician from the United Kingdom. A member of the Conservative Party, he has been a Member of the European Parliament representing South East England since 1999. He was previously a Member of Parliament in the British House of Commons from 1992 to 1997, representing the constituency of Brentford and Isleworth. Deva was born in Sri Lanka into a politically active family, and was raised in Britain. He was only the fourth Asian-born person to be elected a Member of the House of Commons, and was the first Asian-born person to be elected as a Conservative member of the European Parliament.

Sajin Vass Gunawardena


Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, MP is a controversial Sri Lankan businessmen and politician. He has been accused of and has been involved in several controversies ranging from fraud, criminal record, remand time, fraud bureau investigations, unpaid loans, spying, overstepping and unfulfilled promises. He was widely criticized for his role as CEO of Mihin Lanka and allegedly was responsible for bankruptcy and financial misfortune of the airline. A current member of Parliament of Sri Lanka, he was the former CEO of Mihin Lanka government sponsored budget airline. He has also served as coordinating secretary on trade and foreign affairs to the President of Sri Lanka. Prior to entering parliament in 2010 he was a member of the southern provincial council.

Suraj Randiv

Cricket Bowler

Hewa Kaluhalamullage Suraj Randiv Kaluhalamulla, known as Suraj Randiv, born Mohamed Marshuk Mohamed Suraj is a Sri Lankan international cricketer who plays first-class cricket for Sinhalese Sports Club. Suraj was educated at Rahula College Matara. A right arm offspinner, Suraj had a successful under-age career in Sri Lanka. He represented his country at under-15 and under-19 level and took 23 wickets in four matches at an Under-23 tournament of 2003-04. This effort caught the attention of Marvan Atapattu, who was influential in getting him over to Sinhalese Sports Club. He went on play for Sri Lanka A and Sri Lanka. In December 2009, he replaced Muttiah Muralitharan in Sri Lanka's ODI squad in India and he made his debut in the second match of the series in Nagpur. He impressed by taking three wickets for 51 runs; Sri Lanka went on to win the match by three wickets. On 16 August 2010, in an incident that drew considerable media attention, Randiv intentionally bowled a no ball—overstepping the bowling mark by a significant margin—to Virender Sehwag—then on 99—that ensured a victory for India in the ODI, while denying Sehwag a chance to score a century. Sehwag hit the ball for six but as the winning run was registered as soon as the umpire signalled no ball, Sehwag's shot was incorrectly deemed to have been made after the end of the match. Randiv later apologised to Sehwag for use of the tactic; he was docked his match fees for the game and handed a one match suspension by Sri Lanka Cricket.

C. W. W. Kannangara


Christopher William Wijekoon Kannangara was a Sri Lankan lawyer and politician. Rising up the ranks of Sri Lanka's movement for independence in the early part of the 20th century, he became the first Minister of Education in the State Council of Ceylon, and was instrumental in introducing extensive reforms to the country's education system that opened up education to children from all levels of society. Born in rural town in Balapitiya, South, Sri Lanka, his academic prowess enabled him to win a scholarship to Richmond College, Galle, a prestigious national school at the time. Initially working as a lawyer after leaving school, he entered politics as the movement for independence was gathering strength in Sri Lanka. Kannangara was first elected to the Ceylon Legislative Council in 1923 and then to the State Council. He also served as the President of the Ceylon National Congress. As Minister of Education in the State Council, Kannangara introduced extensive reforms to the education system of Sri Lanka throughout the 1940s. They befitted thousands of underprivileged students in rural parts of the country by making education free for all students. He also began a central schools scheme, which established high quality secondary schools in rural areas of the country. Kannangara's significant achievements in areas of education have led him to being commonly referred to as the Father of Free Education in Sri Lanka.

Douglas Devananda


Kathiravelu Nithyananda Devananda, commonly known as Douglas Devananda, is a Sri Lankan Tamil politician, Cabinet Minister and leader of the Eelam People's Democratic Party. Originally a Sri Lanka Tamil militant who fought against the Sri Lankan government for an independent Tamil Eelam, he became a pro-government paramilitary leader and politician. Due to his strong opposition to and vocal criticism of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, they unsuccessfully tried to assassinate him over 10 times. Devananda is a proclaimed offender in India and is wanted on charges of murder, attempt to murder, rioting, unlawful assembly and kidnapping.

John Eyton Bickersteth Mayor

Deceased Person

John Eyton Bickersteth Mayor was an English classical scholar. He was born at Baddegama, Sri Lanka, and returned to England to be educated at Shrewsbury School and St John's College, Cambridge. From 1863 to 1867 he was librarian of the University of Cambridge, and in 1872 succeeded HAJ Munro in the professorship of Latin, which he held for 28 years. His best-known work, an edition of the thirteen Satires of Juvenal, is notable for an extraordinary wealth of illustrative quotations. His Bibliographical Clue to Latin Literature, based on Emil Hübner's Grundriss zu Vorlesungen über die römische Litteraturgeschichte, was a valuable aid to the student, and his edition of Cicero's Second Philippic became widely used. He also edited the English works of John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester; Thomas Baker's History of St John's College, Cambridge; Richard of Cirencester's Speculum historiale de gestis regum Angliae 447–1066; Roger Ascham's Schoolmaster; the Latin Heptateuch; and the Journal of Philology. According to the Enciklopedio de Esperanto, Mayor learned Esperanto in 1907, and gave a historic speech against Esperanto reformists at the World Congress of Esperanto held at Cambridge.

Denzil Kobbekaduwa

Military Person

Lieutenant General Denzil Lakshman Kobbekaduwa RWP, RSP, VSV, USP, rcds, psc, SLAC was a highly decorated and respected General in the Sri Lanka army. He was assassinated along with 9 other military officers in a land-mine explosion.

Shyam Selvadurai


Shyam Selvadurai is a Sri Lankan Canadian novelist who wrote Funny Boy, which won the Books in Canada First Novel Award, and Cinnamon Gardens. He currently lives in Toronto with his partner Andrew Champion. Selvadurai was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka to a Sinhalese mother and a Tamil father—members of conflicting ethnic groups whose troubles form a major theme in his work. Ethnic riots in 1983 drove the family to emigrate to Canada when Selvadurai was nineteen. He studied creative and professional writing as part of a Bachelor of Fine Arts program at York University. Selvadurai recounted an account of the discomfort he and his partner experienced during a period spent in Sri Lanka in 1997 in his essay "Coming Out" in Time Asia's special issue on the Asian diaspora in 2003. In 2004, Selvadurai edited a collection of short stories: Story-Wallah: Short Fiction from South Asian Writers, which includes works by Salman Rushdie, Monica Ali, and Hanif Kureishi, among others. He published a young adult novel, Swimming in the Monsoon Sea, in 2005. Swimming won the Lambda Literary Award in the Children's and Youth Literature category in 2006. He was a contributor to TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Book 1.