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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2956

Sri Lanka Foundation Bestows its Lifetime Achievements Awards

Los Angeles, 17 November , ( Valentine Gunasekara, an internationally-renowned architect who pioneered a new form of architecture in Sri Lanka, and Professor Wimal Dissanayake of the University of Hawaii, who is a leading scholar of Asian cinema, were the winners of the annual 2008 Lifetime Achievement Awards presented by the Sri Lanka Foundation in Los Angeles.

Gunasekera, who has been held in high esteem in the professional and academic community for his innovative architectural work in Sri Lanka, Nigeria and the US, has been described as a "pioneer modernist" whose work is the result of his "search for a just social fabric and new architecture."

In Sri Lanka, he pioneered a new form of architecture combining modern architecture with concepts of ancient Buddhist architecture. He has won several national and international awards, including JD Rockefeller III grant; prize for the Sri Lankan Pavilion (Expo '70 Osaka, Japan); prize for the Ethiopian Embassy project (open national competition, Nigeria); and prize for Sri Lanka Institute of Architects headquarters (open national competition, Sri Lanka).

In 1987, he migrated to the US accepting an academic position at the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston and was Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture until his retirement in 2003.

Dissanayake, who is an internationally renowned specialist in communication theory, is also a Director of the International Cultural Studies Program at the East-West Centre in Hawaii. A pioneer in the field of Asian Communication Theory, Dissanayake is a distinguished academic, a research scholar, writer, poet and a consultant to UNESCO. He has authored 26 books in English, and even more notably, 12 books in Sinhala. He has been associated with the Hawaii International Film Festival from its inception, and is the head of the film program at the East-West Center in Honolulu.

The other award winners this year in various other categories include Sanjiv Gunasekara ("Srimerican of the Year"), founder/CEO of Sunland Group of Companies in California; Dr Raj Barr-Kumarakulasinghe ("Exceptional Achievement for Sustainable Design and Green Architecture"), a former National President of the American Institute of Architects; Dr Patrick Mendis ("Exceptional Achievement in International Relations and Diplomacy"), Vice President of Academic Affairs at the Osgood Center for International Studies and a Visiting Scholar at the Johns Hopkins University's Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

The other winners included: Ananda Dasanayake ("Exceptional Achievement in Epidemiology and Oral Cancer"), Professor of Epidemiology and Health Promotion at the New York University College of Dentistry and School of Nursing; Professor Nalin Kulatilaka ("Exceptional Achievement in Financial Economics"), the Wing Tat Lee Family Professor of Management and Professor of Finance in the School of Management at Boston University; and Rohan de Silva ("Exceptional Achievement in Classical Piano Music"), an internationally-renowned pianist who has performed in some of the best known musical halls in the US, including the Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall and the Kennedy Center.

Among past winners of the Lifetime Achievement awards were: Dr Ananda Guruge, Dr. Tony Don Michael, Dr. Sarath Gunapala of NASA, Mudalinayake Somarathna, Mainee Jayasinghe Pieris, Dr. Patrick Olivelle of Princeton, Dr. Tony Chandraratne, & Nandesiri Jasentuliyana, a former Deputy Director General of the UN Office in Vienna and Director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs.

- Asian Tribune -

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