(Left to Right): Prof. Ricardo Hausmann (ED CID), Pushpi Weerakoon (MPA HKS ‘15)
Harvard Kennedy Schools (HKS), Center for International Development (CID) kicked-off its engagement with the Sri Lanka government at the ‘Sri Lankan Economic Forum 2016’.
Pushpi Weerakoon, Edith. Stokey Scholar and Mason Fellow of Harvard Kennedy School (MPA’15), says “As Prof Ricardo Hausmann’s student / personal advisee at HKS, it was wonderful to see the assignments I did on Sri Lanka’s economy in 2014 literally translate into a presentation in front of the VVIP delegation. It includes aspects of Sri Lanka’s: 1) Demography, Factor Accumulation & Institutions; 2) Economic Complexity, Structural Transformation, Product Space, Growth Diagnostic and Diversification Options & Policy; 3) Poverty, Inequality and Volatility. Knowing about his work worldwide instrumental to uplift economies, Sri Lanka is privileged to have Prof Hausmann as an adviser”.
Harvard CID is a familiar territory for Pushpi. At CID she had frequent discussions with Professor Hausmann about changing political and developmental background in Sri Lanka while he attentively listened to her work as a Peacebuilder.
She adds “it’s great to have CID fellows engage with our government to plan out a sustainable financial path for the future and help find the most effective ways to implement. Last Thursday together with Jayamin (HBS ’10) I discussed the future work of CID in Sri Lanka with Tim O’Brien and Dan Stock (CID Fellows), who have worked tirelessly to get this forum up and running together with the Soros Foundation. Having worked at the grass root levels in Sri Lanka since 2004 I’m happy to note that we are on the same page on the importance of inclusive fact finding for the analysis rather than just purely taking in the authorities perspectives ”.
Jayamin Pelpola, a Venture Capitalist and alumni of Harvard Business School (MBA ’10) commented: “I believe the forum and the process provokes thoughts on where we want to be as a nation. For example, Sri Lankan growth story is often inspired by Singapore. But, we need to identify what unique leap-frogging opportunities can we capitalize, without having to copy the evolution of another nation”.
Talking of what he would like to see in this process, Jayamin adds “While noting the progressive conversation in the forum, I would have preferred a higher degree of focus on how we can use technology and a dynamic mechanism to match the right people with the right opportunities in building the competencies of our nation. I am hopeful we can address these execution related aspects as the conversation evolves.”
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