Our Speakers

Deepak Bagla

Former Managing Director & CEO Invest India


He is the former Managing Director and CEO of Invest India, the National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency promoted by the Government of India. Invest India is also the execution agency for Startup India and the Prime Minister’s Science and Technology initiative

Desamanya Mahesh Amalean

Co-Founder & Chairman MAS Holdings

Sri Lanka

Mahesh Amalean is the Co-founder & Chairman of MAS Holdings, the largest apparel tech company in South Asia and among the most recognized design-to-delivery solution providers in apparel and textile manufacturing. Mahesh was conferred the title ‘Desamanya’ [Pride of the Nation – an honour awarded by the Government of Sri Lanka for "highly meritorious service"] in 2005 by the President of Sri Lanka in recognition of his service to the Nation. He is a visionary leader and is engaged in nurturing teams, uplifting communities and committed towards creating a sustainable future for the next generation. He strongly believes in attracting and investing in talent for future growth and has mentored several leader

Ambassador Julie J Chung

American Ambassador to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Nominated by President Joe Biden and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Ambassador Julie Chung has been the U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka since February 2022. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor, Ambassador Chung has previously held senior positions throughout the Indo-Pacific and Western Hemisphere.

Hon Udaya Indrarathna

Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United Arab Emirates

Sri Lanka | UAE

His Excellency Udaya Indrarathna, the serving Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United Arab Emirates, commands an influential presence in the global arena and recipient of the Coveted Prestigious 2023 GOOD Fellow Award in London from The Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Foundation USA for his disruptive contributions to positive global wealth creation.

Dr Rex Yung

Chief Medical Officer IONIQ Sciences


As the Chief Medical Officer at IONIQ, he leads the evaluation of opportunities to expand the underlying science and indications through his expertise in translational research of lung cancer biomarkers and early cancer detection through imaging and bronchoscopy.

Dr Titus Yong

Senior Faculty National University of Singapore


Titus Yong, VP of Harvard Club of Singapore. A senior faculty at National University of Singapore. He has worked in venture capital, consulting and start-ups. Titus initiated an educational project & community for families to nurture their children in various character strengths, build resilience and prepare strategically for the future.

Kandeban Balendran

President Harvard Club of Sri Lanka. Founder & CEO, Academics Group and EMBRAX Inc

Sri Lanka

Kandeban Balendran, a media veteran turned serial entrepreneur and educator, is a staunch believer in Sri Lanka's potential. Founder of Academics Group, he's acclaimed as a "Dreamer" by Harvard Business School and recognized among Australia's "19 Future Chasers - Young Global Leaders." His vision extends beyond borders, seeing the region as a nexus for educational excellence and transformation. Kandee firmly believes that nations thrive through their people - individuals driven by passion and vision.

Asanka De Mel

Founder LOVI

Sri Lanka

Asanka founded LOVI to create an authentic and united fashion identity rooted in Sri Lankan ethos—with the hope of sharing his love of this island paradise, its people and its culture with the world. Two things you should know: he’s a visionary working towards developing Sri Lanka and he’s hell bent on building LOVI into an international fashion brand.

Supun Weerasinghe

Group Chief Executive Dialog Axiata PLC

Sri Lanka

Mr. Supun Weerasinghe was appointed as the Group Chief Executive and as a Member of the Board of Dialog Axiata on 1st January 2017. Mr. Weerasinghe serves on the Boards of subsidiary and associate companies of Dialog as well as Sri Lanka Institute of Nano Technology (SLINTEC) and UNGC Network Sri Lanka. Mr. Weerasinghe also holds an MBA from the University of Western Sydney, Australia and is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School.

Arjette van den Berg

Senior Advisor AFIG FUNDS

United Kingdom

Arjette is a senior advisor to AFIG FUNDS focused on pre & post-investment due diligence, interim portfolio company management, and portfolio company analysis. She has advised both direct and fund investors on portfolio valuation and PE fund analysis, including the African Development Bank and Tata Capital.

Mainak Chakraborty

CEO GS Renewables


Mainak is the Co-Founder & CEO of GPS Renewables, India's leading bioenergy technology company. GPS has played a pivotal role in shaping India's bioenergy sector, having setup many milestone projects that are considered global benchmarks such as Asia's largest urban organic waste based RNG plant in the city of Indore. GPS is the key technology partner for Reliance Bioenergy, India's largest bioenergy company and has JVs with the likes of IOCL (India's largest Oil Marketing Company), IGL (India's largest CGD company) to name a few. Mainak is an ex MIT TR35 and an alumnus of IIM Bangalore.

Munir M Merali

AKDN’s Resident Diplomatic Representative to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh


Prior to his appointment to Bangladesh in May 2014, Representative Merali completed two senior terms with AKDN including, a seven-year tenure as Resident Diplomatic Representative to the Republic of Tajikistan. Over this period, Representative Merali has been involved in launching several national and regional projects including: the establishment of University of Central Asia, First Microfinance Bank, Centre for Philanthropy, Serena Hotel, Ismaili Centre, Aga Khan Academy Dhaka, and other institutions

Sandun Hapugoda

Country Manager - Sri Lanka & Maldives Mastercard

Sri Lanka & Maldives

Sandun joined Mastercard in 2017 to lead the company’s Digital and Value Added Services business in Sri Lanka and Maldives. Since then he has been instrumental in deepening the company’s partnerships with banking and non-banking financial institutions, fintechs and merchants by enhancing and streamlining their digital payment journeys.

Rajeev Mahajan

Manager (Head) – Climate Resilient Infrastructure Private Sector Facility Green Climate Fund

South Korea

Rajeev is in charge of GCF’s Private Sector Facility’s climate infrastructure financing operations. He has 23-plus years of experience in the Indian project finance market, focusing primarily on infrastructure with premier Indian institutions – Power Finance Corporation, ICICI Bank and IDFC Limited.

Sameer Chishty

General Partner SparkLabs VC

Pakistan | Saudi Arabia

SparkLabs VC, General Partner; technology venture capital investor in Asia, recently launched SparkLabs Saudi Arabia in Riyadh, investing in Mobility, Gaming, AI, FinTech, eCommerce. AsiaPak Investments, Chairman; infrastructure private equity investor in Pakistan, focusing on energy, logistics, technology, financial services.

Sajju Jain

Serial Entrepreneur & President Harvard Club of Bengaluru


Sajju has helped build several startups in their early stages that have grown to deliver global impact. Dlight's solar lights have improved the lives of 150 million people, Embrace's infant warmer has helped over 475,000 babies, and Chirag has illuminated 700+ villages.

Dr Somdatta Singh

Founder & CEO Assiduus Global Inc


Dr Somdutta Singh is a first-gen serial entrepreneur, angel investor, best-selling author and philanthropist. She is an MIT Alumna and a former apprentice of the Columbia University Presidents Program. She is currently a student of Harvard Business School (OPM 2023-25). She is also the recipient of the very prestigious” Champions of Change” award 2023.

Amal de Silva Wijeyeratne

Managing Director Rockland Distilleries Private Limited

Sri Lanka

Amal leads Rockland Distilleries Private Limited, a trailblazing venture that introduced high-quality spirits production to Sri Lanka for the first time in its history. Amal spearheaded the launch of Olu Water, Sri Lanka's premier natural mineral water brand, and Pelican Island, a popular mixer brand. Over the span of a century, Rockland Group has maintained its status as a privately owned family business while emerging as one of the nation's most advanced distilleries and achieving success in international markets.

Anjali Raina

Executive Director Harvard Business School


As leader of the Harvard Business School India Research Centre, she builds and maintains relationships with leaders in the South Asia region. The HBS IRC seeks to understand the trends that are shaping the future of this region & documents emerging business models.

Tobby Simon

Founder & President Synergia Foundation


Tobby is the Founder and President of Synergia Foundation, a strategic do tank which works to develop impactful insights and interventions in the areas of advanced technologies and geo security He has over thirty five years of inter-disciplinary experience in biosecurity and health care, cyber security, aerospace and defense, energy security, telecommunication, advanced technologies, conflict resolution and inter­national affairs.

Nayana Mawalmida

President - Property Group John Keells Holdings

Sri Lanka

Nayana Mawilmada holds a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Boston, a Masters in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts USA, and a Bachelor of Architecture from Hampton Virginia USA.He has held some very important, responsible and prestigious roles at ADB Bank in Manila as a Strategic Planner, Infrastructure Sector Advisor to the National Parliament for East Timor at UNDP, as Urban Development Specialist at ADB Bank, Manila and among other significant appointments as Urban Planner/Project Planner for Sasaki Associates in Massachusetts, USA.

Nishan de Mel

CEO Verite Research

Sri Lanka

Nishan is an economist with extensive academic, policy and private sector experience. Nishan taught and researched economics at Oxford and Harvard universities. Nishan completed his undergraduate studies at Harvard University, and his graduate studies at Oxford University, where he was a Chevening Scholar.

Hiran Embuldeniya

Managing Partner Ironwood Capital Partners

Sri Lanka

Hiran has 12 years of experience in investment banking and strategy consulting with Goldman Sachs, McKinsey & Company, and York Street Partners. More recently at York Street Partners – a Sri Lanka focused boutique investment bank – he has been the lead advisor on several large foreign Private Equity transactions in Sri Lanka.

Anoop Poddar

Senior Managing Director Eversource Capital


Anoop Poddar has 20 years of Investment Management, Operational and Corporate Finance experience in the Energy Sector. Prior to re-joining Energy Ventures, Mr. Poddar was CEO and founding member of the private equity firm First Reserve Momentum (2013-2016) and Partner of Energy Ventures (2008-2013).

Shubhrendu Khoche

Co-Founder & CEO Miti Ventures


Shubhrendu is a fintech strategist and builder helping last-mile participants in tier 2 and tier 3 cities make more money by becoming distribution hubs for digital services. He runs the yufin brand of merchant services in the Philippines bringing together business services, digital payments acceptance, better credit, and tokenization.

Dr Ravi A Fernando

Board Director Dilmah Ceylon Tea, LOLC, Melstacorp, Aitken Spence Plantations & Aitken Spence Hotels

Sri Lanka

As one who is passionate about everything he ever does, Dr Ravi's focus is Strategic Corporate Sustainability and Strategic National Sustainability and believes that for a tipping point to be achieved in Sustainability in the planet, we need Nations and Business to embed sustainability in National and corporate strategy

Fathhi Mohamed

Co-Founder PickMe and STREET82

Sri Lanka

Fathhi Mohamed is Co-founded PickMe and several other tech start up in multiple industries, Including cloud Kitchen (Dishserve) in indonesia.. His specialization is using tech to hyper localize the global success stories.. He also served as Director of Founder Institute for Sri Lanka. Fathhi is instrumental in building the largest taxi hailing company (PickMe) in Sri Lanka which is recognised as one of the most successful startup in the country. Currently building an online clothing brand call STREET82 operating in Sri Lanka and India. He is also an internationally recognised tech-entrepreneur with over 15+ years of experience in the startup ecosystem.

Bhanuka Harischandra

CEO Surge Global

Sri Lanka

Bhanuka Harischandra is a self-taught serial-entrepreneur that believes in testing, adapting and not conforming to set rules. Bhanuka established Surge Global, a design, marketing and technology firm to focus on the needs of helping businesses grow in the modern economy. In 2018, Senior Executives within the Tavistock Group, invested in the company to leverage and support some of the group's most strategic and valuable investments.

Manoj Kumar

Asia Regional Director Nutrition International


As Asia Regional Director, Manoj Kumar oversees the development and delivery of Nutrition International’s programs and strategies in Asia. He is responsible for ensuring coordination, relevance, and timeliness of the organization’s activities as well as sustaining and forging partnerships with key allies who share a commitment to improving the nutrition status of people around the world.

Kapil Vishawanathan

Founder KREA University


Kapil Viswanathan has been instrumental in the conception and establishment of Krea University, and serves as the Chairman of its Executive Committee. With a mission to prepare humanity for an unpredictable world, Krea University aims to re-imagine research and learning for the world of the future. The University is backed by a strong governing council, composed of distinguished leaders from academia and industry.

Kheng Chuan CHEW (K.C. Chew)

Consultant Philanthropy


Kheng Chuan CHEW (K.C. Chew) Harvard Class of 1982 (AB Social Studies) is a consultant in philanthropy from Singapore. He was Chief University Advancement Officer for Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and prior to that Vice-President, Endowment and Institutional Development at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Dr Tara de mel

Director Sri Lanka Foundation Institute

Sri Lanka

Dr Tara de Mel was a Senior Lecturer in Physiology, at the Faculty of Medicine University of Colombo until 1994, after which she was appointed Director, Sri Lanka Foundation Institute. In 1997 she was appointed Advisor to the President of Sri Lanka on Social Infrastructure. She also served as Vice Chairperson (Policy) – National Education Commission and Secretary to the Ministry of Education & Higher Education

Prashant Kandoi

Managing Director EVIO


He undertakes turnkey Electrical and Automation projects for Industries and Buildings. Evio is a Pan India Company with Projects across 15 states. Evio has completed more then 500 large projects for Blue Chip Indian and Multinational companies over the last 10 years.

Ajai Vir Singh

Managing Director Colombo Fashion Week

Sri Lanka

Ajai is popularly known as the person who revived the fashion design industry of Sri Lanka in the last 20 years. He fathered Sri Lanka’s fashion development movement and as a result close to 80% of fashion designers we see today are the product of this fashion development platform. Today CFW is the backbone of Sri Lanka’s fashion design industry and its guiding light. His deep-rooted faith in Sri Lanka’s fashion design industry got him started on this journey in 2003. Colombo Fashion Week is one of Asia’s four fashion weeks that are over 20 years old. In the 20 years his organization CFW has a created fashion ecosystem in Sri Lanka, opening the doors to for the new generation to take up fashion as a profession. Colombo Fashion Week, which is now recognized in South Asia, has had maximum impact in transforming the fashion industry.

Niro Cooke

Board Member The Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council

Sri Lanka

15 years experience in Infrastructure development and Energy Projects. Born in Sri Lanka, Educated in the United Kingdom from the age of 5. Living in Sri Lanka since 2007 after completing a BA (Hons) from The Regent’s Business School in London.

Meghana Dutta

Director Studio Decode


Meghana Dutta is a founding partner of Studio Decode, an award winning Architecture and Urban design firm. One of Studio Decode’s commissions was by PUMA Global, which was to design the Greenest Retail Building in the country.

Manny Anchan

Founder Happiness Quotient Global


Manoj Anchan, 'Manny' brings 25 years of Global management & business leadership experience through various stints at leading transnational corporations like GE Capital, HDFC bank, ABN AMRO, Barclays, AUB & FAB. Manny has worked, studied and lived in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America and is truly a global citizen. An alumnus of Harvard and Columbia business school.

Suvin Wettimuny

Academic Director Stafford International School

Sri Lanka

Suvin formerly lead education quality and teaching at Stafford and now works in a strategic role in within the group. With a Master’s Degree in Education from Harvard and 14 years in the Aviation industry, Mr. Wettimuny works in a advisory role in boards ranging in the education, manufacturing and hospitality industry with a focus on strategy and training.

Dr Vinya Ariyaratne

President Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement

Sri Lanka

Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne serves as the President of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement in Sri Lanka, a renowned grassroots organization dedicated to community development and social empowerment. With a background in public health and humanitarian work, Dr. Ariyaratne is committed to fostering sustainable and inclusive development practices nationwide. Through his leadership, Sarvodaya continues to make significant strides in uplifting marginalized communities and promoting a culture of peace and harmony in Sri Lanka.

Hon. Ruwan Wijewardene, M.P.

Deputy Leader United National Party

Sri Lanka

Hon. Ruwan Wijewardene, Member of Parliament and Deputy Leader of the United National Party in Sri Lanka, is a distinguished political figure known for his dedication to public service and leadership. With a strong background in governance and diplomacy, Hon. Wijewardene has been instrumental in shaping policies aimed at socio-economic development and national progress. As Deputy Leader, he continues to champion the party's values of democracy, inclusivity, and progress for all Sri Lankans.

Rathika De Silva

Network Representative UN Global CompactGlobal

Sri Lanka

Rakitha De Silva serves as the Network Representative for the UN Global Compact in Sri Lanka, embodying a commitment to sustainable business practices and corporate social responsibility. With a deep understanding of international development and sustainability frameworks, De Silva works tirelessly to engage businesses in fostering ethical and environmentally-conscious operations. Through his leadership, the UN Global Compact network in Sri Lanka continues to drive positive change by promoting responsible business practices that align with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Manjula Perera

Managing Director Windforce

Sri Lanka

Manjula Perera is the Managing Director of Windforce Sri Lanka, a prominent player in the renewable energy sector. With a wealth of experience in wind energy development and project management, Perera is dedicated to driving sustainable solutions for Sri Lanka's energy needs. Under his leadership, Windforce continues to play a pivotal role in advancing wind power infrastructure and contributing to the country's clean energy transition.

Hon. Kanchana Wijesekera, M.P.

Minister of Power and Energy

Sri Lanka

Hon. Kanchana Wijesekera, serving as the Minister of Power and Energy in Sri Lanka, is a dedicated leader with a profound commitment to advancing the nation's energy sector. With a background rooted in understanding the intricacies of energy policy and sustainable development, Hon. Wijesekera brings invaluable expertise to his role.Throughout his career, he has demonstrated a steadfast determination to implement innovative strategies aimed at ensuring reliable and efficient energy supply while prioritizing environmental sustainability. His visionary leadership is characterized by a proactive approach to addressing the challenges of energy security and climate change, fostering partnerships, and promoting renewable energy initiatives.As Minister of Power and Energy, Hon. Kanchana Wijesekera continues to spearhead transformative policies that drive economic growth, enhance energy access for all citizens, and position Sri Lanka as a regional leader in the energy transition towards a cleaner, more sustainable future.

Jeevan Gnanam

Co-Founder Hatch Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Jeevan is the Executive Director of St. Anthony’s Industries Group and has been a prolific founder and investor of a number of Tech related ventures. Jeevan recognised the lack of infrastructure in Sri Lanka for IT companies and founded ‘Orion City’, which today is the largest IT park in Sri Lanka and houses some of the world's leading IT firms. He co-founded the ‘Lankan Angel Network’ and has been the chairman of SLASSCOM, Sri Lanka’s apex IT industry business chamber. He also co-founded Hatch, a collaborative and innovative work space for start-ups in the historic Colombo Fort.

Randhula De Silva

Founder/CEO GoodLifeX

Sri Lanka

Randhula de Silva, Founder and CEO of GoodLife X, formerly led as the inaugural CEO of Hatch Works, Chief Disruptor of GIZ SME sector development program, and as the head of Information Intelligence services at Verite research. Renowned for designing impactful systems and programs, she also serves as an Independent Director of Trace Expert City. With a Masters in Development Planning and BBA from the University of Colombo, she's a Chevening Research, Science, and Innovation Leadership Fellow from the University of Oxford. Randhula is also a Producer of music, a TV series and a Sri Lankan Feature film.

Tony Sinharayar

Co Founder, Board Member, Chief Commercial Officer Commonwealth Digital Health Accelerator, Commonwealth Center for Digital Health

Sri Lanka

Tony Singarayar has 30 years global experience in Business Development, Finance, New Products, Marketing, and Information Technology. He is the Founding Partner of analogy growth partners LLC, a strategy consultancy that, in 1997, pioneered the idea of awakening profitable growth through business model innovation. He is a skilled public speaker. He is also Managing Director of an office technology business in Sri Lanka. Prior experience includes roles at Johnson & Johnson, Shell Chemical (Lankem Ceylon Ltd.), and KPMG.

Rizvi Zaheed

Chairman Hameedias group

Sri Lanka

Rizvi Zaheed had a distinguished career at the Hayleys Group heading its Agriculture Sector for 37 years. In his current role as Chairman of the Sri Lanka Agripreneurs’ Forum he provides leadership for transformation of the food and agriculture sector in Sri Lanka and is making a significant contribution to sustainable development of agriculture the economic resurgence of the country in his involvement with agri enterprises, government agencies and global institutions.

Hon. (Dr.) Susil Premajayantha

Minister of Education and Leader of the House of Parliament Ministry of Education

Sri Lanka

Hon. Susil Premajayantha is a seasoned politician and statesman known for his dedicated service to Sri Lanka. With a background in law and politics, he has held numerous significant positions including Minister of Education, Minister of Environment, and General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. His leadership and commitment continue to shape the country's political landscape. Hon. Susil has also done a certificate rpogram on leadership and management from Harvard.

Sanjiva Weerawarana

Founder, Director & CEO WSO2

Sri Lanka

Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana is the founder of WSO2 and serves as its CEO and Chief Product Officer. He is also the Founder and Chairman of the Lanka Software Foundation, the Lanka Data Foundation and the Avinya Foundation. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka. Previously he was a Board Member of Sampath Bank and several research institutions and university councils in Sri Lanka and served as a Volunteer Officer of the Sri Lanka Army.

Dr Roshan Perera

Senior Research Fellow Advocata Institute

Sri Lanka

Dr. Roshan Perera is a former director of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and Senior Research Fellow Advocata Institute an independent public policy think tank. Dr. Perera is a public policy specialist with more than 20 years of experience in formulating and implementing macroeconomic policy and in regulating and supervising financial institutions. She currently sits on the board of a commercial bank and the board of a non bank financial institution. She is an alumni of the Harvard Kennedy School.

Sara Aske

Senior Associate Director Staff Liaison to clubs in Africa, Asia, Australia, Latin America & the Middle East

Sri Lanka

Nisthar Cassim

Editor Daily Financial Times

Sri Lanka

" He is a senior journalist and editor with over 20 years of experience. He has worked in several newspaper brands in Sri Lanka including The Island and the Ceylon Daily News as a business journalist and the Daily Mirror where he last served as the Editor before launching the Daily FT. He is an Executive Committee member of The Editors Guild of Sri Lanka and  a member of the South Asia Editors’ Forum, an initiative promoted by the World Bank."