Dr. Hema Goonatilake

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Dr. Hema Goonatilake received her Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

She is proficient in Sinhala, English, German, Pali, Sanskrit and Khmer (Cambodian) and she has a working knowledge of French. She was a senior faculty member at the University of Kelaniya until she joined the United Nations, New York and Cambodia as a gender expert. Subsequently she served as the Senior Advisor to the Government of Cambodia in University education and Buddhist affairs. She helped revive the Cambodian academic structure by rejuvenating the once illustrious Buddhist Institute, re-establishing the Buddhist University and instituting the Annual Conference on Cambodian Studies. She was awarded for her services in Cambodia, the title ‘Sahamitra’, the highest honours given to foreigners. She was Founding Board Member, Women for Mutual Security, Athens, Greece; Founding Board Member, Sisterhood is Global Institute, USA/New Zealand; Associate Member, Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press, Washington, D.C.; Founding Member, Worldview International Foundation, Colombo/Oslo; Committee Member, Research Committee on Sociology of Religion of the International Sociological Association.

In Sri Lanka she co-founded the Centre for Women’s Research CENWOR, and the Voice of Women (Kantha Handa) and the University Teachers for Human Rights UTHR. She founded in 2005 the ‘Red Lotus Organisation for Humanitarian Services’. She was the President of Social Sciences of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science, and was the Editor of the Association.She was the National President of the World University Service, Sri Lanka, a Board Member of the International World University Service (Geneva) and Secretary Sri Lanka Federation of University Women. She was a member of the Drama Advisory Board, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Sri Lanka, and a member of the Advisory Board, Sinhala Text Books Publications, Ministry of Education, Sri Lanka.

She was the first Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Tokyo Women’s University.Other Visiting Professorships were in: University of Toronto; University of Guelph, Canada; The Center for the Study of Women and Society, The City University of New York, Peace Research Institute of Oslo, Norway; the Royal University of Phnom Penh

She has delivered lectures in Buddhist Studies and Women’s Studies in over 100 universities around the world among them in the US, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, UK, Switzerland, Netherlands, France, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Kenya, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Philippines, China, Taiwan, Korea, India and Nepal. She has numerous scholarly publications nationally and internationally.

She has carried out commissioned research for or worked as Consultant to the following Organizations: UNESCO, Paris, ILO, Geneva, UNIDO, Vienna, ESCAP, Bangkok, FAO, Bangkok, United Nations University, Tokyo, United Nations Women's Development Centre for Asia and Pacific, Bangkok, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) New York, Asian Mass Communication Research and Information Centre, Singapore, Asian and Pacific Development Centre (APDC), Kuala Lumpur, Institute of World Affairs, Connecticut, USA. Asian and Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Centre for Development Studies, Helsinki, Finland, Norwegian Research Council for Social Science and Humanities (NAVF), Oslo, SIDA, Stockholm, SAREC, Stockholm, CIDA, Toronto, IDRC, Toronto, NORAD, Oslo; NOVIB, Netherlands.

She was Vice President of Sakhyadhita the International Buddhist Women’s Network. She is currently a member of the Presidential Steering Committee of the 2600th Anniversary Commemoration of the Buddha’s Enlightenment.