Sri Lanka has enormous potential to develop rapidly
A Sri Lankan expatriate, Senior Research Scientist and Professor of
Swinburne University Dr Roshan T. A. Mayadunne was in Sri Lanka on a
private visit for the second time since the war has ended. I had a
moment to chat with him to get his views on how Sri Lanka has progressed
over the past few years and what we should be doing to develop the
Dr Roshan T. A. Mayadunne
As a person living overseas for almost 25 years he believes, the
political leadership has done extremely well to eliminate terror from
the country, which no leader has been successful in achieving for the
past three decades.
The country is safe and anyone irrespective of race religion or
colour can travel to any corner of the country without any hindrance
what so ever and that in itself in his opinion is the greatest
achievement since independence.
Now that terrorism has been eliminated from the country, Sri Lanka
has enormous potential to develop very rapidly on par with many
developed countries such as Singapore. All that is needed is the right
political leadership to shape the attitudes of people to do a little bit
more for Sri Lanka.
He also said “we have a very high literacy rate, easily the best in
the Asian region, have great talent in the youth who are highly educated
and have great wisdom, and most of all located in the best position in
the Indian Ocean. On many occasions we have seen our people go overseas
and do extremely well in their careers much better than the natives.” He
raises the question So why can’t we (Sri Lanka) do it?” The answer he
believes lies in the leader of this country who can give unwavering
leadership to the people, which can make people love this country to
make this country the best country of all countries.
Professor Mayadunne strongly believes that past four years Sri Lanka
has seen a great leader, who has given unwavering leadership,
particularly when the Western countries were on our back. The way
President Rajapaksa stood his ground, for the country was a great pride
to all Sri Lankans, and for those Sri Lankans living abroad, who still
have their heart and soul in this country despite living abroad.
He was of the opinion that the country is in a get set position to
‘go’ along the track towards development goal immediate aftermath of
defeating the most ruthless outfit of this world under the leadership of
President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The elation of the victory over the terrorism was felt by all the Sri
Lankan expatriates living far away from the country and the
nationalistic feeling he got with the message of victory was so great
that he was proud to be a Sri Lankan. It was felt by all of expatriates
and they celebrated the victory in Australia. Victory was sweet and said
that all citizens of Sri Lanka should be indebted for the great
political leadership given by the President, without which we would
never have won the war.
Referring to the hostilities by the LTTE in Australia before the
terrorism was eliminated he said there were few of his friends in
Australia whose shops were broken in by the LTTE but the situation has
changed after the defeat of the LTTE.
The LTTE barricaded the development of this country, he said. The
LTTE that caused fear for life in the people and the development
stagnating due to a major proportion of the budget was allocated for
defense of the country cutting down immeasurable number of opportunities
for educated people, was one main reason for the brain drain.
He says he was heartened by the call by Hon President Mahinda
Rajapaksa inviting Sri Lankan expatriates to come back to develop the
nation in the immediate aftermath of defeating terrorism and believes
there are many who wants to come back. He says Never in the history has
this happened in Sri Lanka but much needs to be done and President
Rajapaksa needs to be given a fair chance to continue and implement his
vision for Sri Lanka.
Professor Mayadunne is attached to the Commonwealth Scientific
Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia as a senior
research scientist inventing new technologies in the polymer field.
CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation,
is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most
diverse research agencies in the world with more than 50 sites
throughout Australia and overseas with over 5000 scientists and
He says he believes that our science agencies, the people, and the
facilities can be developed to function like CSIRO because we have a
pool of great intellects passing out from our universities every year,
have a great cost advantage where we can support many researchers for
each researcher in a first world country.
Further, most importantly create an excellent environment for our
young people to get trained, do their higher studies (post graduate)
here in Sri Lanka and an opportunity to excel in their respective areas,
the benefits of which will come as novel discoveries for Sri Lanka,
which can be readily licensed to major overseas companies.
He believes the effort will bring in massive benefits in terms of
revenue and most of all pride and prestige for Sri Lanka.
All what he sees is the need for a positive change of attitude of
people for development. He said that Sri Lanka has the potential to
develop the country in par with the developed countries soon if the
country was steered in the right way and stated that the people were in
a decisive juncture to decide the direction of the country.
Professor Mayadunne said that when driving our motherland towards
development it is better to put a little effort in the field of
conducting researches in inventing new technologies in the field of
polymer as well as in other fields as it has a remarkable demand in the
outer world and already we have almost all the resources.
Only thing that we needed is to take initiative measures with little
funding and create intellectual stimulation to invent new technology.
Finally I asked Professor Mayadunne “Do you think Sri Lanka can make
it?” and his reply was “absolutely, no doubt what so ever....” Professor
Roshan Mayadunne is an expert in the fields of Biomaterials and
Regenerative Medicine, Nanomaterials for Medical Delivery, Polymer
technology, Biomedical materials and Organic chemistry. His website is
www.r-maya.com Professor Mayadunne also holds an honourary adjunct
position at Swinburne University in Melbourne and has a group of PhD
students doing research under him.
He is keen to attract more students from Sri Lanka either permanent
PhD students or as exchange students.
Professor Mayadunne has bagged the CSIRO Medal in 2005 for Research
Achievement for the invention and development of Novosorb, a
biodegradable polymeric platform technology, now commercialised through
an ASX listed company Polynovo Biomaterials.
He also received the CSIRO Medal in 2003 for Research Achievement for
the invention and development of RAFT Polymerisation, now the leading
radical polymerisation technique in the world. He also was the nominee
of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of ANU for the 1997 Cornforth Medal in
1998, awarded by RACI for the best PhD thesis in Chemistry from an
Australian University. He was also awarded with the ANU Postgraduate
Research Award in 1992.