Dr Gamani Corea

Deshamanya Dr Gamani Corea (4 November 1925 – 3 November 2013) had a career of extraordinary achievement. At various times, he was the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Chairman of the South Centre in Geneva, a founding member of the Third World Forum, Ceylon's Ambassador to the EEC, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs of Ceylon and the Senior Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Ceylon. Dr Gamani Corea was also the founder chairman for MARGA Institute, the Institute of Policy Studies, the president of the Sri Lanka Economic Association and of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science, and the chancellor of the Open University of Sri Lanka.


Dr Corea had an academic career of rare distinction. He was a graduate of two prestigious institutions of higher education, the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford. He was the first Sri Lankan to obtain a Doctorate in Economics. He was also the first Sri Lankan to obtain a Doctorate from Oxford University in any subject. Cambridge and Oxford in his time had some of the most famous names in economics in their faculties. Associated with Cambridge was perhaps the most influential economist of the twentieth century, John Maynard Keynes.

His passion for the economic interests of the Third World transformed the global economic order in many ways, some anticipated and others unexpected, yet always beneficial to developing countries. The influence of his thinking on development has spanned many continents, from the Asian countries surrounding the Indian Ocean, the Malay Straits and the South China Sea, to the Atlantic coasts of West Africa and Latin America, and the Pacific Coasts of South America and East Asia.

 

To pursue his vision further, Dr Corea established GC Foundation on February 10, 2000 and in December 2002 appointed the Directors of the Board with Dr Corea himself as Chairman and Dr Godfrey Gunatilleke as Vice Charman and members Dr Nimal Sandaratne, Dr Lloyd Fernando, Dr Harsha Aturupane and Mr Priya Amerasinghe. Since late 2002 Dr Corea’s health deteriorated and Dr Godfrey Gunatilleke has kept a journal of events that followed with Mr Lalith Kotelawela (Dr Corea’s blood cousin) taking over Dr Corea’s guardianship.