Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga - SAF Chairperson - Sri Lanka




Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga


Chairperson: Hon'ble Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga

Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga was born on 29th June 1945, in Colombo.  She is the daughter of late Mr.S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka from 1956 until his assassination in 1959, and of Mrs. Sirima R. D. Bandaranaike, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka from 1960 - 1965 and 1970 - 1977.

She is the widow of film idol and political party leader, Vijaya Kumaratunga, who was assassinated in 1988. She has two children, daughter Yasodhara and a younger son Vimukthi.

She was educated at St. Bridget’s Convent, Colombo and the Sorbonne University in Paris, where she took a Degree in Political Science. Thereafter, she served in the Administration of her mother Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike, from 1972 - 1977, as Head of the Land Reform/Janawasa Commission, which was concerned with the implementation of the historic Land Reform Act.

She is fluent in Sinhala, English and French. She has been a guest University Lecturer in India and the United Kingdom, a Research Fellow at London University, and an expert-consultant with the FAO, for whom she accomplished assignments in several countries. Her research and strategy papers have been published both in Sri Lanka and abroad by the FAO.

Her political experience has included the Deputy Leadership of both the governing coalition, the People’s Alliance, as well as its principal constituent element, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).  She has been Chief Minister and Minister for Education and Culture of the Western Provincial Council and for a brief period preceding her election as President, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.

President Kumaratunga was elected as President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka in November 1994, winning by the largest number and the biggest majority of votes recorded at any Presidential Election. She was re-elected as the President in December 1999 and continued in office till November 2005.

She was elected as Chairperson of SAARC in 1998 and continued to hold her position until January 2002.

Madam Kumaratunga is Senior Consultant to UNESCO on Education in South Asia. She is also a Member of the Advisory Board of the Clinton Global Initiative.