Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, assumed duties as Minister of Education on 19 August 2021. As a veteran politician, Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena has engaged at all levels of politics and governance since he started his political career as Youth Leader in 1968 and later in 1973 as the Leader of Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (People’s United Front).
Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena was first elected to Parliament in 1983 and 1989 as an Opposition M.P. and has held multiple Ministerial portfolios, serving previously as Minister of Transport (2000), Minister of Transport and Environment (2001), Minister of Urban Development (2004 – 2010), Deputy Minister of Higher Education (deputized under the President, 2004 – 2007), Minister of Sacred Area Development (2007 – 2010), Minister of Water Supply and Drainage (2010 – 2015), Minister of Megapolis and Western Development (2018), Minister of Employment Skills Development and Labour Relations (2019 – 2020) and Foreign Minister (2019 – 2021).
Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena has also served as Chief Government Whip (2008 – 2015), Leader of the Joint Opposition (2015 – 2018), and Leader of the House since November 2019.
He was born on 2 March 1949 in Sri Lanka and his father, Late Hon. Philip Gunawardena is a National Hero of Sri Lanka and also acted as a Trade Union Leader, a Member of Parliament, a Minister, the Founder of a political party and an author during his career. Mother of Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, Late Kusuma Gunawardena is also a veteran Parliamentarian in Sri Lanka.
He is an past pupil of Royal College Colombo and graduated from Nyenrode Business University (the Netherlands’ School of Business) and the University of Oregon with an Associate Degree in Business Administration, Management and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, Management and International Transport respectively.
The Hon. Minister is also the recipient of numerous awards in recognition of his enduring contribution to Sri Lanka and the Global Community including The Orden de Isabel la Catolica awarded by the King of Spain, the International Pro-Poor Leader awarded by the Slum Dwellers International and Cuba’s Solidarity Order awarded by the Government of Cuba.