Professor Patrick Mendis, Ph.D.

For his excellence as an eminent Scholar, Diplomat, Professor, and Author

Professor Patrick Mendis is Awarded Lifetime Achievement for his dedication to public service as an award-winning Diplomat, Educator, Author, Philanthropist, and Executive in government service in the United States of America. He is the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Transatlantic Relations, University of Warsaw, Poland Distinguished Visiting Professor of Global Affairs, National Chengchi University, Taiwan

Prof. Mendis was born in 1960 in Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. Christian grandparents adopted him, and he spent his formative years with Buddhist monks and Catholic priests. Then, in 1978, he travelled to the United States to attend a yearlong study abroad program at Perham High School in Minnesota on an American Field Service (AFS) scholarship.

He is an alumnus of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, the University of Minnesota, and Harvard University. He grew up in Minnesota, USA, and is a former American diplomat and military professor during the Clinton and Bush administrations. He was appointed twice as a commissioner of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO at the State Department by the Obama administration. However, his appointment to the UNESCO Commission ended during the Trump administration when the White House withdrew from the U.N. agency.

Prof. Mendis worked in both Republican and Democratic administrations. After he worked in the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1984, he served in the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee during the Reagan administration.

Throughout his life, Prof. Mendis alternated between an academic career teaching at Columbia, Harvard, Minnesota, Oxford, and Yale Universities and government service working in the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, and State during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations.

As a military professor, he completed a three-year teaching tour between 1997 and 2000 at every significant American base in England, Italy, Japan, Germany, South Korea, Spain, and Turkey in the NATO and the IndoPacific Commands of the Pentagon. At the Department of State, he served as the secretariat director of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Interagency Policy Working Group on Science and Technology chairman, and as senior advisor to the U.S. Delegations to the United Nations.

Since 2012, Prof. Mendis served two terms as an American commissioner to the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO at the Department of State until the Trump White House withdrew from the U.N. agency in 2018. Prof. Patrick received numerous awards and honors for his leadership and public service, including the Benjamin Franklin Award, the Meritorious Honor Award, and the USDA Outstanding Leadership Award.

More recently, Prof. Mendis has traveled extensively and worked as a distinguished visiting professor of global affairs at the National Chengchi University in Taiwan and a distinguished visiting professor of transatlantic relations at the University of Warsaw in Poland.

Prof. Mendis was named among the 13 World Famous People born in Sri Lanka. He is listed in Who’s Who of Asian Americans, Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in the World. Patrick is a senior non-resident fellow of the Synergia Foundation in India and a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Sri Lanka Foundation International would like to Thank and Acknowledge Prof Patrick Mendis for his astonishing story of becoming an outstanding Scholar and Diplomat who is an inspiration to all of us.