Who We Are


PadmaholtDr. Sree Padma Holt is ISLE's Executive Director. Her office is located at the program's agency institution (Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine). With the program's Faculty Board of Directors and the Program Director, she is responsible for all aspects of program planning and implementation. She can be contacted for any questions about the program.
CR de SilvaProfessor Chandra Richard (C.R.) de Silva is the Onsite Director of the Fall 2017 program. Prior to his appointment with ISLE, Professor De Silva  served as Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs and as a Professor of History at Old Dominion University. Prior to his many roles at Old Dominion, Professor De Silva served as a professor and dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Peradeniya. He has also held appointments in the departments of history and Asian Studies at Bowdoin College and Indiana State University. He has written numerous books on Sri Lanka, including Sri Lanka: A History, Portuguese Encounters with Sri Lanka and the Maldives, and Buddhist Fundamentalisms and Minority Identities in Sri Lanka, which he co-edited with the late Tessa Bartholomeusz.
Olivia Dure_PAOlivia Dure is the Program Assistant for the Fall 2017 program. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Olivia attended Pomona College and participated in the Fall 2015 ISLE program. During her time at Pomona, she majored in Religious Studies with a concentration in Gender and Women’s Studies, and coursework focused on religion in South Asia. She attributes her experience in Sri Lanka, both inside and outside of the classroom, as a key facet of her overall undergraduate experience. After ISLE, she built upon her Independent Study research for her senior thesis at Pomona. She also connected with other Sinhala-speaking students on campus to form conversation groups. Olivia has worked as a member of Pomona's Residence Hall Staff and student government, where she focused her efforts on creating support systems for students and community organizing. She is passionate about Sri Lankan Studies and the ISLE Program, and is excited to be a part of the Fall 2017 students' ISLE journeys.


ISLE Faculty

Professor Nimal Gunatilleke (Environmental Studies) Professor Nimal Gunatilleke is a graduate of University of Ceylon and received his Ph.D from the University of Cambridge, UK. Together with his wife, Savitri Gunatilleke, he has pioneered long-term biological research in the Sinharaja Rain Forest. Prof. Gunatilleke’s research and teaching interests include litter decomposition and nutrient cycling, plant reproductive biology, restoration ecology and spatial and temporal patterning in tropical rain forests in Sri Lanka. He was a Charles Bullard Research Fellow of Harvard University in 1983, a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar at the University of Massachusetts in 1992, and a Visiting Research Fellow at the National Institute of Environmental Science in Tsukauba, Japan in 2001. He is an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Botany at the University of Peradeniya. 

Professor Savitri Gunatilleke (Environmental Studies) Professor Savitri Gunatilleke earned a B.Sc from University of Ceylon, a M.Sc in General Ecology and a Ph.D Tropical Forest Ecology and Conservation from University of Aberdeen (Scotland). She is highly respected for her research on endemic tree species and the conservation of natural ecosystems in Sri Lanka. In addition to her teaching and research, she has served as a resource person for field excursions to the Sinharaja Forest for the Institute of Ecology and Nature Conservation at the University of Vienna, Austria and as a co-principal investigator for the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s Center for Tropical Forest Science programme. Professor Gunatilleke is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Botany at the University of Peradeniya. 

Mr. Buddhika Konara (Sinhala) Mr. Konara earned his BA in Sinhala from the University of Peradeniya, where he graduated first in his class. He is currently pursuing a M.phil in Sinhala at University of Peradeniya, where he also works as a lecturer. Mr. Konara has served as a Sinhala teacher, cultural mentor, and translator for ISLE students since 2012. 

Dr. Liyanage Amarakeerthi (Sinhala) Liyanage Amarakeerthi received his BA from University of Colombo in 1990. He completed his MA in Literature on a Fulbright scholarship at the University of Wisconsin, and completed his doctoral work under Professor Charles Hallisey. He taught Sinhala at Cornell University in 2004 and joined the Department of Sinhala at University of Peradeniya in 2008. He has published more than 15 books of fiction, poetry and literary theory. He won a national literary award for 'best' collection of short stories in 2000 and 'best' novel in 2008. 

Professor Udaya Meddegama (Religious Practice and Everyday Life in Sri Lanka) Professor Meddegama received his BA from University of Ceylon and a Ph.D from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at University of London. He has published extensively and has translated texts in various languages including Sinhala, Pali, Sanskrit, Hindi, Russian, French, English, and Sinhala. His teaching areas include Sinhala Language and Literature, Folklore, Theravada Buddhism, Sanskrit, Pali, Literary Criticism, Folklore and Folk Religion of Sri Lanka, and Culture and Civilization of Sri Lanka. Professor Meddegama has served at Swarthmore College, Bowdoin College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, SOAS (University of London), and the International Institute of Pali and Buddhism in Kingsbury, London. He was a member of the Department of Sinhalese at University of Peradeniya and served as head of the department in 2001. 

Professor Punchi Meegaskumbura (Religious Practice and Everyday Life in Sri Lanka) Professor Meegaskumbura holds both a BA and MA in Sinhala from University of Peradeniya. He earned his Ph.D in Linguistics from University of Poona in India. His research and teaching interests include Sinhalese Language and Literature, Buddhist Studies, and Theravada Buddhism. He has served as a visiting professor at Bowdoin College, Swarthmore College, Beijing Institute of Foreign Languages, University of Colombo, and University of Kelaniya. Professor Meegaskumbura currently teaches in the Department of Sinhalese at the University of Peradeniya. 

Professor P.D Premasiri (Religious Practice and Everyday Life in Sri Lanka) Professor Premasiri earned a BA in Pali from the University of Peradeniya, an MA in Philosophy from the University of Cambridge, and a Ph.D. in Comparative Philosophy from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He has published nearly twenty-five articles in the Encyclopedia of Buddhism published by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs of the Government of Sri Lanka and many research papers relating to Buddhist Ethics, Buddhist Philosophy, Buddhist Psychology and Comparative Philosophy in reputed journals. Professor Premasiri is Emeritus Professor of Pali and Buddhist Studies at University of Peradeniya and serves as Visiting Professor at the Sri Lanka International Buddhist Academy.

Dr. R.M Abeyrathne (Traditional Medicine) Dr. Rathnayake holds a B.A from Bowdoin College, an M.A. in South Asian Studies from University of Washington, Seattle, an M.A in Medical & Health Social Sciences from Mahidol University in Thailand, and a Ph.D from University College, London at the University of London. He has researched on topics including the revival of traditional medicine in Sri Lanka, abortion in Sri Lanka, and the social impacts of the spread of communicable diseases in Sri Lanka. Dr. Abeyrathne is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at University of Peradeniya. 

Dr.  Carmen Wickramagamage (Images of the Feminine and Social Experiences of Women) Carmen received a BA in English from the University of Peradeniya, and earned her Ph.D at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She has dedicated her life to raising awareness about women and minorities in Sri Lanka. Her research interests include Postcolonial Literature and Literary Theory, Gender Studies, Women’s Literature, and Cultural Studies. Carmen has taught as a visiting professor at College of the Holy Cross, Whitman College, Carleton College and now serves as the Head of the Department of English at the University of Peradeniya. 

ISLE Center Staff

ISLE Center staff 2017

The ISLE Center staff ensures ISLE operations run smoothly and facilities are kept in optimal condition.

Pictured, from left to right: Mr. Tilak Jayatilake is the liaison and librarian of the ISLE Center.

Dr. Sree Padma Holt, ISLE Executive Director.

Ms. Maya Perera keeps the Center premises clean and in order.

Mr. Vishwamithra Senadeera (not pictured) assists with the ISLE accounts, bookkeeping and information technology.

Mr. Asela (not pictured) is the driver of ISLE vehicles.

Mr. Wimalasena (not pictured) maintains the ISLE Centre grounds and garden.

ISLE Faculty and Administrative Boards

The ISLE Program is incorporated as ISLE Program (Guarantee) Ltd. in Sri Lanka and ISLE (USA) Inc. in the USA.

The Board of Directors of the ISLE USA Inc. also known as the “Administrative Board” consists of the administrative heads or their nominees representing each of the consortium member colleges. The Chairperson held by one of the board directors, rotates each year.  The Chairperson for the year 2017-18 is Dean Janna Behrens from Amherst College. Other directors are as follow: Dean Tina Mangieri from Bates, Dean Elizabeth McCormack from Bowdoin, Dean Beverly Nagel from Carleton, Dr. Roger Adkins from Gustavus Adolphus, Dean Margaret Freije from Holy Cross, and Provost Thomas Stephenson from Swarthmore College.

The Board of Directors for the ISLE Sri Lanka (Guarantee) Ltd. is also known as the “Faculty Board.” The members of the Faculty Board are the Executive Director of the ISLE Program, and one nominee from each of the member colleges. The Chairperson held by one of the directors of the “Faculty Board” rotates each year.  The Chairperson for 2017-18 is Professor Maria Heim from the Amherst College. The members starting from the Executive Director are Dr. Sree Padma Holt, Professor Alison Melnick from Bates, Professor John Holt from Bowdoin, Professor Kristin Bloomer from Carleton, Professor Josh Brown from Gustavus Adolphus, Professor Todd Lewis from Holy Cross and Professor Steven Hopkins from Swarthmore College. 

ISLE Faculty Board 17-18
ISLE Faculty Board at the annual board meeting.

The study abroad representatives for the year 2017-18 are: Janna Behrens from Amherst, Tina Mangieri from Bates, Christine Wintersteen from Bowdoin, Helena Kaufman from Carleton, Roger Adkins from Gustavus, Patricia Martin from Swarthmore Colleges, and Brittain Smith from the College of the Holy Cross. 

At its annual meeting, the ISLE Faculty Board receives reports from the Executive Director, reviews policies, and entertains proposals and recommends them to the Administrators Board.  The Administrator's Board reviews and approves the recommendations made by the Faculty Board and presented by the Executive Director.