Dr Anil Gupta to deliver Ray Wijewardene Memorial Lecture
Colombo, Sri Lanka: 3 December 2011
One of the world’s leading experts on nurturing local level innovation will deliver the
inaugural Ray Wijewardene Memorial Lecture in Colombo on 13 December 2011.
Dr Anil Kumar Gupta, a Professor at the prestigious Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in
Ahmedabad, India, and Founder of the acclaimed Honey Bee Network, will speak on
“Grassroots Innovation for Inclusive Development: From Rhetoric to Reality”.
The lecture, organised jointly by the Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka (IESL) and the Ray
Wijewardene Charitable Trust (RWCT), will be held at 5.15 pm on 13 December at the IESL
Auditorium, 120/15, Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo 7. It is open to the public, and admission
is free on a first come, first served basis. (view Invitation)
The memorial lecture is a key activity by RWCT that seeks to nurture innovation in Sri Lanka.
Established in early 2011, the Trust continues the vision of the late Dr Ray Wijewardene,
eminent Lankan engineer who innovated in the areas of agriculture, aviation, engineering
design, renewable energy and transport.
“It is a privilege for me and the Honey Bee Network to be invited for a lecture in honour of
such an illustrious innovator, social change activist and thought leader of our sub‐continent,
and indeed the entire developing world,” says Professor Gupta.
Gupta and Wijewardene were in contact over the years, with the latter taking a keen
interest in activities of the Honey Bee Network.
The memorial lecture is hosted by the Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka through its section
on agricultural and plantation engineering. Dr Wijewardene was a Fellow of the Institution.
At one time, he also headed the Inventors Commission of Sri Lanka, a statutory body.
The speaker, Anil K Gupta, is an unusual professor who walks the talk ‐‐ and walks through
the villages and slums of India in search of innovation. His mission is to ensure that
grassroots innovators receive due recognition, respect and reward for their bright ideas. He
also seeks to embed an innovative ethic in educational policy and institutions.
He founded the Honey Bee Network in 1986‐87 “to promote a fair and responsible
knowledge ecosystem”, where innovators can benefit by sharing their ideas. In the 1990s, he
set up the Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions
(SRISTI) and Grassroots Innovation Augmentation Network (GIAN) both of which support the Honey Bee Network to scale up and convert grassroots innovations into viable products.
All three entities are partners of the National Innovation Foundation (NIF India), an autonomous body under the Department of Science and Technology in India. Since 2000, NIF has mobilized more than 160,000 innovations and traditional knowledge practices from all over India, and now holds the largest database of its kind in the world. Professor Gupta is Executive Vice Chair of the NIF, and is also a member of the National Innovation Council of India.
Professor Gupta has received a large number of awards and honours, including Padma Shri
Award from the President of India (2004), Science‐in‐Society Award from the Indian Science
Congress Association (2004) and the Asian Innovation Gold Award presented by the Far
Eastern Economic Review (2000).
During his brief Colombo visit, Professor Gupta will also interact with office bearers of IESL
and RWCT, as well as of the Inventors Commission of Sri Lanka. He would also be happy to
meet Lankan innovators at the venue of the lecture.
More about late Dr Ray Wijewardene and the Trust at: http://www.raywijewardene.net
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The media are invited to a press conference with Prof Anil K Gupta at 4 pm on 13
December 2011 at the IESL Headquarters, Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo 7.
Contacts for any verification by the media (and not for publication):
• Anoma Wijewardene, Trustee;
Phone: +94 777 349 079; Email: <anomazone[at]gmail.com>
• Roshini Gooneratne, Trustee;
Phone: +94 777 480 717; Email: <arjung[at]eureka.lk>