Just over one year ago, Manjula Dissanayake graduated from Fletcher and I’ve been keeping up with him since. We recently exchanged emails and decided it’s time for a spring/summer update. Pulling together this blog post will require reaching into many websites and other sources, because Manjula has been a busy guy.
To recap: After graduating, Manjula decided to focus full-time on his non-profit, Educate Lanka, from his base near Washington, DC. Pushing Educate Lanka forward has required a combination of on-the-ground work in Sri Lanka, along with nearly continuous efforts to draw attention to the organization, in hopes funds would follow. Manjula’s work, inseparable from the organization, has been recognized in so many ways! Back in April, I was fortunate to grab a few minutes with him during his visit to the area when, over the course of three days, he spoke at the Tufts Social Innovation Symposium as well as at the Tufts 100K Business Plan Competition (as an alumni competitor), and also attended a research presentation, exhibition, and silent auction benefiting Educate Lanka at Harvard. Between events, he packed in visits to staff and faculty. During our conversation, he gave me a sense of the activities he had in front of him. Here’s what has kept Manjula busy during the past few months:
- He wrote a column for the Huffington Post.
- He attended a boot camp for American Express Emerging Innovators.
- For Educate Lanka, he was invited to speak at the Clinton Global Initiative University in St. Louis about fundraising strategies.
- Having been (with Educate Lanka) voted as a winner of the Ignite Good Millennial Challenge, he attended the Ignition 2013 Millennial Social Impact bootcamp.
- And then he taped an interview on Huffington Post Live about the Millennial Social Impact bootcamp.
Even while I was compiling the list of all these activities, I learned of yet another new one. This past Sunday, Manjula spoke live (via Google hangout) at the Social Media Day in Colombo, Sri Lanka about using “Social Media for Social Good.”
Throughout the past year, Manjula told me, he has developed plans to grow Educate Lanka and possibly to carry the concept beyond Sri Lanka. He has put together a Board of Advisors on which Fletcher is well represented, and he continues to promote Educate Lanka’s work. From my outsider’s vantage point, I can see the extraordinary effort that has brought Educate Lanka to where it is today, but the results have been impressive! I’ll continue to follow Manjula’s path and report back again in the coming months.