Sagala Ratnayaka ’93
February 01, 2007
Sagala Ratnayaka initially set his sights on a career in international banking. When he was approached by the head of one of Sri Lanka’s leading political parties to run for a provincial office, though, Ratnayaka saw it as a welcome opportunity to be of service to his community.
Ratnayaka graduated from Lewis & Clark College with a bachelor’s degree in business and administrative studies. While a student, he worked as a resident assistant—a job, he later observed, that had much in common with being an elected representative—and participated in the Munich overseas study program. Following graduation, he returned to his native country and spent six years working in international finance before receiving the call to enter politics. He subsequently won a position on Sri Lanka’s Southern Provincial Council representing the right-of-center United National Party in 1999. Two years later, he secured a parliamentary seat as one of Sri Lanka’s youngest legislators. Following his party’s 2002 victory, Ratnayaka was elevated to the rank of deputy minister of power and energy, a sector that required extensive reforms to meet the island’s growing energy needs. He was also put in charge of the National Youth Corps, the country’s youth development program.
Ratnayaka, who has been instrumental in Sri Lanka’s recovery from the December 2004 tsunami, currently serves as an opposition member of parliament representing the Matara District. He holds membership in the parliamentary select committee on electoral reforms and the parliamentary consultative committee on power and energy.