Ambassador of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to France, Portugal and Spain & Permanent Delegate of Sri Lanka to UNESCO.
H.E. Tilak Ranaviraja, a member of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service (SLAS), has a distinguished 42 year career in public service, with his most recent appointments being the Senior Advisor to President H.E. Maithripala Sirisena and Secretary to the Executive Council of Political Parties; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Security, Law and Order; Secretary General, National Peace Council; and Member, National Security Council.
Ambassador Tilak Ranaviraja received his undergraduate degree in Economics and History from the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka. Being a sports enthusiast, he received University Colors for track, rugby and soccer. Post graduate studies were attained in Japan (Osaka University) and the USA (National Louise University and George Washington University). The Ambassador is fluent in Sinhalese, English and Japanese.
From 1995 to 2004, Ambassador Tilak Ranaviraja served as Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Mass Media and Communications, Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medicine, Ministry of Social Welfare, Ministry of Mahaweli and River Basin Development; Acting Secretary to the Ministry of Irrigation, Power and Energy.
During 1983 to 1995, he served as the Director General to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo, and as Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington D.C., USA.
From 1977 to 1983, Ambassador Ranaviraja served as Senior Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Director, Ministry of Public Administration.
During his tenure at the Ministry of Public Security, Law and Order, Ambassador Tilak Ranaviraja was appointed Commissioner General of Essential Services by then President H.E. Chandrika Kumaratunge to provide immediate relief and the resettlement of victims from the devastating 2004 Tsunami, which was Sri Lanka’s worst national disaster to date. In this capacity, he oversaw the rapid construction of 50,000 transitional houses to accommodate displaced persons, and received the UNHCR Humanitarian Award as recognition for his service.
Additionally, Ambassador Tilak Ranaviraja has experience as Chairman of key public sector corporations and regulatory authorities, such as, the National Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, the Venture Capital Fund and Central Environment Authority of Sri Lanka, and as Executive Director of Mahaweli Development Authority.
In addition to public sector experience, Ambassador Ranaviraja has extensive experience serving international organizations in multiple spheres, including disaster management, health and environment. In 2008, Ambassador Tilak Ranaviraja was appointed by the United Nations as Advisor for Resettlement and Recovery to the Resident Coordinator’s Office of UNDP. Based on his experience in Sri Lanka, he assisted the Ministry of Disaster Management in Kenya to mobilize funds for the construction of 40,000 units of housing for displaced persons and is a member of the UNDP Early Recovery Group. He has served as a Consultant to the World Health Organization in New Delhi, India; Senior Advisor to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Post-Tsunami Environment Recovery and Rehabilitation; Consultant for the Eco Village Project implemented by UNOPS, Kenya Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources; Consultant to UNHRC on confidence building measures for Internally Displaced People in Sri Lanka; and Indoor Air Pollution Prevention (WHO). He is also Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Environment Forum of Sri Lanka.
In addition to representing the Government of Sri Lanka at international conferences on a wide range of areas of national importance, such as, information technology, water management, energy and environmental conservation, including leading the High Level Sri Lankan Delegation to the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in 2015. He is also a member (observer status) of the World Commission on Dams. Ambassador Tilak Ranaviraja is thus one of Sri Lanka’s most senior and accomplished Public Servants.
Ambassador Tilak Ranaviraja is married to Sunethra. They have two daughters and a son. His interests include travel, sports, and environmental conservation.