H. E. Maithripala Sirisena
President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Maithripala Sirisena, is the 6th Executive President of Sri Lanka. Selected as the Common Candidate for the Presidential election held on 8th January 2015, he won the overwhelming support of the people of Sri Lanka and established a national unity government that initiated means to reinvigorate democracy, promote good governance and the rule of law. In a hitherto unprecedented move, upon assuming office, he took measures to enact the 19th Amendment to the Constitution curbing the powers of the Executive Presidency. The National Unity government established under his Presidency is also unique as it brings together two long standing rival political parties and ideologies, introducing consensus politics that strive to rise above partisan behaviour for the welfare of the people and the state.
President Sirisena joined mainstream politics in 1989 and has held several ministerial portfolios since 1994 including Mahaweli Development, Parliamentary Affairs, Agriculture, Irrigation, Environment and Natural Resources, Agricultural and Agrarian Services Development and Health. He has also served as the Leader of the House of Parliament. He is the current leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). He was also the longest serving General-Secretary of SLFP.
In recognition of his commitment to innovative leadership during his tenure as Minister of Health, Sri Lanka, he received the ‘2013 Harvard Ministerial Leadership in Health Award’ from the Harvard School of Public Health & the Kennedy School of Government, USA. Mr Sirisena’s strong commitment and advocacy on public health issues has been globally recognised and he is the recipient of numerous regional and global awards in the field.
Under President Sirisena’s leadership, Sri Lanka committed itself to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. He views the 2030 Development Agenda not merely as a document agreed to by all world leaders, but as a sacred covenant between the present generation and the next. As President, he took the Ministry of Environment under his charge highlighting strong personal commitment towards the protection of the environment and sustainable development.
President Sirisena’s vision for the collective future of the world is one of prosperous economies; a green and flourishing environment; and a society that is inclusive, harmonious, peaceful and just, a future where no one is left behind. His strong belief in the middle path advocated by the Theravada Buddhist tradition underpins all his policy commitments and he believes the edifice of sustainable development should be built upon the foundation of self-discipline and equity. He advocates the practice of the middle path at a personal, community, national and global level, in the belief that it can help create a better world for future generations and all living creatures that inhabit this planet.