MIT Center for International Studies

PRESS RELEASE April 10, 2006
M I T   C E N T E R   F O R   I N T E R N A T I O N A L   S T U D I E S


Amy Tarr

Former Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremasinghe,
Visits MIT's Center for International Studies

CAMBRIDGE — Ranil Wickremasinghe, a lawyer who was Sri Lanka's Prime Minister from 1993-1994 and 2001-2004, has begun a several-week residency at MIT's Center for International Studies (CIS). Mr. Wickremasinghe, who will have an office at CIS until early May, will likely meet with MIT students about the resolution of civil conflicts, a subject with additional saliency given the ongoing strife in Iraq.

In 2002, Mr. Wickremasinghe negotiated a ceasefire between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tiger rebels, in which the rebels dropped their demand for independence in favor of regional autonomy. The decades-old civil war resumed, however, when the Tamil Tigers withdrew from the peace process in 2003. Mr. Wickremasinghe's tenure was also marked by his attempt to liberalize Sri Lanka's economy.

Last December, after having been narrowly defeated in Sri Lanka's November 2005 presidential election, Mr. Wickremasinghe, head of the opposition United National Party, met with Sri Lanka's new president, Mahinda Rajapakse. The two leaders reached an agreement aimed at reviving the peace process.

MIT's Center for International Studies is a dynamic research center that is home to a wide variety of research, education, and outreach programs. The Center bridges the worlds of the scholar and the policymaker by offering each a place to exchange perspectives with the other, and by encouraging academics to work on policy-relevant problems. CIS regularly publishes a series of short essays, the "Audit of the Conventional Wisdom", which challenges prevailing notions regarding U.S. foreign policy. The Center also houses one of the country's leading graduate programs in security studies, and its faculty, affiliates and graduates have served in every administration since President Kennedy's.

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology