News ≫ Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Professor Janaka Ruwanpura’s Accomplishments

Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Professor Janaka Ruwanpura’s Accomplishments

Jul 1, 2024
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In 2016, the Sri Lanka Foundation awarded Professor Janaka Ruwanpura a Lifetime Achievement Award for his academic achievements.

Professor Ruwanpura successfully completed two five-year terms as Vice-Provost International and three years of an added Associate Vice-President Research (International) position at the University of Calgary (UCalgary). He has been the longest-serving and most impactful senior International Officers of UCalgary for 11 years and 2 months. He is now on a two-year administrative leave as of April 2024 as an earned benefit of serving as a senior leadership team member at the University of Calgary, Canada.

Professor Ruwanpura stated that since being appointed Vice-Provost International (VPI) in 2013, UCalgary has been on a transformative growth trajectory in global engagement. His leadership brought new and innovative programs and projects in academic, student mobility, and research dimensions. External recognition for UCalgary’s internationalization efforts under his leadership includes six excellence and innovation awards since 2016, including the Platinum Institutional Award for Global Learning, Research and Engagement from the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU), which includes all public and land grant universities in the USA. UCalgary is the first and only Canadian university to receive this award.

In 2020, Professor Ruwanpura was elected as the first Canadian to Chair the Commission of International Initiatives of APLU. The Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) and the City of Calgary recognized him for leadership in internationalization. In 2023, the PIE Leadership Digest (news and business analysis for Professionals in International Education) in London, UK, identified him as one of the top 50 voices in North America in international education. He has been recognized with numerous external awards, recognitions, and fellowships, 16 in total in the last 11 years, for research, leadership, service, and internationalization locally, nationally, and internationally. In 2022, the Canadian Immigrant Magazine selected him as one of the Top 25 Canadian Immigrants, introduced by the Right Honourable Prime Minister. He became a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE) in 2023, the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE) in 2014, the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC) in 2024, and the 4th Canadian to become a Member of the US National Academy of Construction (NAC) in 2021.

Here are all the awards he received since 2016:
  • – Lifetime Achievement Award, Immigrants of Distinction Awards 2023, Immigrant Services Calgary, Nov 2023.
  • – Top 50 voices in North America in International Education, The PIE Leadership Digest, London, UK, Nov 2023.
  • – Winner of the Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award, Aug 2022.
  • – Board of Directors Leadership Award, Canadian Bureau of International Education (CBIE), Nov 2020.
  • – International Achievement Award, City of Calgary, June 2020.
  • – Distinguished Alumni Award, Academy of the School of Sustainable Engineering and Built Environment, Arizona State University, March 2019.
  • – Winner of ASTECH (Alberta Science and Technology) Award under “Outstanding Achievement in Applied Technology,” Oct. 2018 (with Drs. Reza Maalek and Derek Litchi)

Professor Ruwanpura shared two of his new initiatives with SLF:

Founding President of the Canadian Network for Sri Lankan Academics (CaNSLA): CaNSLA celebrated a historic launch on Feb. 23, 2024, heralding a new era of academic collaboration and opportunity between Canada and Sri Lanka. Its mission is to establish a thriving nexus of knowledge and research, foster academic exchanges, and support Sri Lankan students and academics worldwide. CaNSLA is a not-for-profit, non-partisan, and independent network registered under the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act. It will significantly strengthen the ties between the Sri Lankan and Canadian academic communities of Sri Lankan heritage. The network will be an integral part of a global framework, the Federation of Sri Lankan International Academic Network (F-SLIAN), coordinated by the Office of the State Minister of Higher Education of Sri Lanka. This framework encompasses chapters from North America, Europe, and East Asia. The Canadian chapter of CaNSLA, the very first to launch, will contribute to the global framework while remaining an independent entity in Canada. CaNSLA boasts 162 members from 33 post-secondary universities and institutions across 10 provinces, representing a broad spectrum of academic disciplines.

Co-Founder of Global Uni Connect (GUC): As the Co-Founder of Global Uni Connect (, formerly known as SLIIT Global Education, he is proud to lead the rebranded organization into a new era. SLIIT is the largest private university in Sri Lanka, with a student population of 25,000 ( He has been an honorary professor of SLIIT. GUC’s new identity signifies its dedication to linking future students with global educational prospects effortlessly. This rebrand heralds a fresh chapter where GUC’s commitment to outstanding services and student support remains unwavering. Global Uni Connect specializes in guiding aspiring students through expert counseling, profiling, and visa assistance, aiding them in choosing the optimal educational pathways and empowering students to pursue an enriching international education experience.

Prof. Ruwanpurs shared an inspiring message for the Younger Generation, a seven-point model he called “Recipe for Success,” which he believes can help build a successful career and life.

1. Set a Vision with Realistic Plans and Targets Have a clear vision for your future. Develop a concrete plan to achieve it and set realistic targets along the way. Your vision will guide your journey and keep you focused on your goals.

2. Excellence in Leadership
Seek leadership opportunities, but remember, leadership is not about ego. Be humble and strive for excellence. Lead by example so that others naturally recognize you as a leader.

3. Taking Risks
Understand that success often requires taking risks. The path will not always be clear or easy. Some of your decisions may be wrong, but these mistakes are valuable learning experiences that will help you grow and succeed.

4. Patience
Patience is crucial. Not everything will go according to plan. Instead of getting frustrated with setbacks, practice patience. Learn to adapt, try again, or explore alternative paths. Patience will help you navigate the ups and downs of life.

5. Optimism, Confidence, and Commitment
Maintain a positive outlook. Believe in your ability to achieve your goals. Be confident and commit more than 100% to your plans. Optimism and dedication are key ingredients for success.

6. Multitasking
Develop your multitasking skills. Effective multitasking allows you to manage conflicting demands and prioritizes tasks. This skill is essential in balancing various aspects of your life and career.

7. Be Happy and Have Fun
Enjoy your life. Happiness and fun are important. Take time to relax, exercise, and engage in activities you love. A balanced life increases your energy and motivation, helping you to reach new heights.

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