Sept. 18, 2019

Donation strengthens UCalgary relationship with Sri Lanka

International student scholarships funded through Walter and Aeshea Jayasinghe’s gift

A philanthropic gift from Walter and Aeshea Jayasinghe will help the university attract top students from Sri Lanka. Received through Energize, The Campaign for Eyes High, the US$20,000 gift will support four deserving Sri Lankan high-school students to study at the University of Calgary in the next four years.

Scholarships help the university attract and recruit top students from around the world, enriching student learning and expanding international horizons. Financial awards and opportunities for Sri Lankan high-school students to further study in Canada enables them to get a foot in the door and study at one of Canada’s top research-intensive universities.

“My wife Aeshea and I are motivated to give back to children who are keen to learn and grow and become future ambassadors of education. Every child deserves an opportunity to learn. Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today,” says Dr. Jayasinghe.

“We are very happy to be part of this great cause, for education gives more meaning and passion to our lives. Applied knowledge is what can change your life and change the world. We strive to make the world a better place through educating our youth.

Vice-Provost (International) Dr. Janaka Ruwanpura, a Sri Lankan by birth, says Jayasinghe’s gift is the first scholarship established for Sri Lankan undergraduate students at UCalgary. “Creating opportunities for international students to study here has benefits for all,” he says. “International students increase the diversity of our student population.”

Swarna Gunaratne, UCalgary’s Janaka Ruwanpura and Walter Jayasinghe.

Consul General Swarna Gunaratne, UCalgary’s Janaka Ruwanpura and Walter Jayasinghe.

University of Calgary International

Walter Jayasinghe, a Sri Lankan by birth and a U.S. citizen by naturalization, is a visionary, entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is also the founder of the Sri Lanka Foundation (SLF) International, which was established in Los Angeles as a non-profit organization in 2003.

Its mission is to educate the citizens of the world on Sri Lanka and the achievements of its people, and to empower and inspire hope for improved lives and livelihoods of Sri Lankans and related communities around the world.

Since its inception, the Sri Lanka Foundation International has recognized well over 150 Sri Lankan expatriates across the globe for excellence and significant achievements, including UCalgary’s own Janaka Ruwanpura and Dean Emeritus Chan Wirasinghe with lifetime achievements awards in 2016 and 2018 respectively.

“We thank Dr. Jayasinghe and his wife for their generosity and vision. Their initial commitment will provide much-needed funding that directly impacts the life and learning experience of international students, increases student diversity and builds bridges for cultural and academic exchange between Canada and Sri Lanka,” says Ruwanpura.

“We know great stories of Sri Lankan students who have studied at UCalgary and made significant contributions back home in Sri Lanka in areas such as education, transportation and others,” says Swarna Gunaratne, consul general of Sri Lanka for western states of U.S.A. “Being a Calgarian myself, I was more than happy to work with Dr. Ruwanpura to build bridges and mutually beneficial collaborations between the two countries.”

Learn more about international activities and funding opportunities: Energize: The Campaign for Eyes High.

Energize: The Campaign for Eyes High

The gift from Walter and Aesha Jaysinghe is part of the university’s ongoing fundraising campaign, Energize: The Campaign for Eyes High, the University of Calgary’s most ambitious fundraising campaign in its history. Funds raised through the campaign will support student experiences, research outcomes and community connections. Together we are fuelling transformational change for the University of Calgary, our city, and beyond — inspiring discovery, creativity and innovation for generations to come. The campaign is currently at 97 per cent toward its overall goal of $1.3 billion.