As its class of 2014 returns from the field, the Asia Foundation’s LankaCorps Fellowship Program is now preparing its next class of volunteers to send to Sri Lanka for six-month-long fellowships, focusing on everything from empowering female politicians and post-conflict development to mobile family planning and the media's power in addressing social issues.

LankaCorps was created in 2012 to give young people of Sri Lankan heritage an opportunity to "explore their roots while giving back.” Each year, six to eight fellows from the US and Canada, aged 21-29, are selected. Depending on their skills and interest, fellows are placed with local host organizations in the public, private, or nonprofit sectors, with preference given to those who can contribute to Sri Lanka’s post-conflict growth and development.

“The program enables Fellows to live and work in Sri Lanka, experience the country and its people first hand and to form their own personal relationships and views of the country of their origin,” said Dinesha de Silva, Asia Foundation's Sri Lanka Country Representative. “The personal and professional connections made through the fellowship program have been instrumental in keeping these young people, some of whom have never been to Sri Lanka previously, closely connected to the country.”

“This fellowship has been the most challenging and difficult but also the most rewarding months of my life,” said LankaCorps Fellow Chethana Perera, “I sincerely hope that other young Sri Lankans abroad have this opportunity in the future.”

2012 Inaugural LankaCorps Fellows: Ann Selvadurai
Ann Selvadurai in Women in Need office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012.Courtesy Asia Society/LankaCorps