University of Pittsburgh
April 21, 2003

Sri Lankan Ambassador to Speak at Pitt

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—Devinda Subasinghe, Sri Lanka's ambassador to the United States and Mexico, will speak on current trends in his country at 1:30 p.m. April 25 in the Kurtzman Room of the William Pitt Union, 3959 Fifth Ave., in Oakland.

Subasinghe was appointed ambassador on Oct. 7, 2002. Previously he was vice president with Florida-based Raymond James Financial Inc. and responsible for developing the company's investment banking business in structured finance and international investment banking portfolio, including debt and equity cross-border lending with focus on Latin America.

He also has had a 25-year international career as an adviser to Sri Lankan leadership on international economic development and financial issues and U.S.-Sri Lanka bilateral issues, serving the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation in the Asia Pacific and Central and Eastern Europe, advising those organizations on economic reform; industrial, trade, agricultural, and environmental restructuring; private sector development; and foreign direct investment issues.

From 1995 to 1999, he advised the U.S. government on foreign policy and economic development issues, as well as public and private corporations and equity funds on cross-border/emerging market investments. He was founder and CEO of Asia Insight 21, which specialized in consulting for governments and corporations on trade and investment matters. With Deloitte & Touche Fantus Consulting (an industry leader in corporate location/foreign direct investment advisory services) and The Services Group (a privately held trade and investment advisory firm), he was responsible for mandates advising the United Nations and governments and corporations in the United States, Asia, Europe, Middle East, Central and South America, Caribbean, and Southern/South Africa on capital markets, trade liberalization, and investment mobilization.

His involvement in U.S.–Sri Lanka bilateral relations started with the Carter administration and continues through the present Bush administration. He has acted as adviser to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe during his term as cabinet minister, leader of the opposition, and prime minister.

Born in Sri Lanka, Subasinghe was educated at the Royal College and the Sri Lanka Law College. He was a national swimmer, and this brought him to the United States to pursue higher education as a scholastic athlete. He earned the B.A. degree in economics and political science from Indiana University and the M.A. degree in international economics at the School of Advanced International Studies at The Johns Hopkins University.

Subasinghe is a strong supporter of globalization and economic development and understands the risks and rewards of investment in emerging markets. He has published extensively on these issues in The Wall Street Journal, Corporate Location, World Investment Report of the United Nations, and The Asian Wall Street Journal, among others. He has also addressed international conferences and audiences sponsored by agencies such as the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation, U.S. AID, the Inter American Development Bank, Standard and Poor's, Fannie Mae, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Tampa, University of South Florida, Eckerd College, The Heritage Foundation, and the Center for International Private Enterprise.

The ambassador will be accompanied by his wife, Helga Wurzer-Subasinghe, an artist.

The lecture is sponsored by Pitt's Office of the Provost, Asian Studies Center of the University Center for International Studies, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, and School of Education.

The lecture is open to the public. For more information, call Pitt's Asian Studies Center at 412-648-7370.