Founder and PresidentSarvodaya Shramadana Movement
Moratuwa, Sri Lanka
In 1958, Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne founded Sarvodaya, a community-based movement and Sri Lanka’s largest non-governmental organization (see http://www.sarvodaya.org/). Sarvodaya Shramadana, which means "sharing of labor, thought, and resources for the awakening of all," reaches 15,000 villages in 34 districts throughout Sri Lanka. Sarvodaya was founded on Gandhian philosophy and Sri Lankan Buddhist tradition in which principles of non-violence, rural development, self-sacrifice, and secularism have been combined with Buddhist ideals of selflessness and compassion.
Dr. Ariyaratne has played a key role in addressing the ongoing civil war in Sri Lanka by helping reduce conflict between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil community and working to foster peaceful dialogue, community service, and disaster relief; Sarvodaya was also central to relief efforts following the 2005 tsunami. Ariyaratne’s movement has inspired similar grassroots initiatives in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Among other honors, Dr. Ariyaratne has received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leaderships in 1969, the Gandhi International Peace Prize by the Government of India in 1996, the Niwano Peace Prize in 1992, and the Acharya Sushil Kumar International Peace Award in 2005. He has served on Sri Lanka’s human rights commission.