Peradeniya Uni’s Dasuni heads to University of North Dakota

Wednesday, 14 August 2013 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Dasuni Perera from Madampe, a recent graduate from the University of Peradeniya with a second class upper honours in geography (where there weren’t any first classes), assisted by Scholarships for USA Ltd. (, recently became the first candidate to be accepted by University of North Dakota ( for a Masters in Environmental Geography under a MOU reached between the University of Peradeniya ( and UND in November ’09 – yet another collaboration between US-SL universities brought together by SUSA. The MOU covers many areas for collaboration such as undergraduate and graduate placements, exchange of graduate students and joint faculty research. Although it took almost four years to discover the first beneficiary, SUSA fervently hopes that the new ‘geography route’ between Peradeniya and Grand Forks would soon become a superhighway benefitting not only Lankan geographers but Dakotans equally. At graduate level UND offers seven areas of studies, namely, physical geography and geospatial techniques, remote sensing and biogeography, issues of natural hazards and climatology, geomorphology and resource management, human geography and geospatial techniques, economic geography and globalization and geographic education or historical geography. Dasuni, an alumna of Dhammissara Vidyalaya in Nattandiya, entered Peradeniya in ’07 to pursue a BA in Geography. She was one of only six students to select English medium and graduated in ’11. UND, in a very generous gesture, has not only offered Dasuni full tuition remission but a handsome stipend to cover her living expenses too. Professor Bernard Leslie Panditharatne graduated in BA (Hons) in ’54 from Peradeniya, MSc from Philippines in ’55 and PhD from London in ’60. He was appointed an Assistant Lecturer in Geography at Peradeniya in ’56, became the Head of Dept in ’69, Dean Arts ’75, President Peradeniya Campus ’77-’78, Vice Chancellor University of Peradeniya ’79-’84, Member UGC ’86-’94 and Chairman UGC ’93-’94. He was also the Chairman/DG NIBM ‘88 and Chairman/DG Mineral Sands Corporation ’89-’94. Among many of his awards are senior fellowship National Science Foundation USA, Commonwealth visiting Professor, Senior Fulbright Fellowship. He has also taught at State University of Fresno CA, SUNY Plattsburg NY, University of Akron OH, University of Maryland, University of Mainz, Germany and West Australian Institute of Technology in Perth. Asked to comment on SUSA’s role of getting remarkable offers for Lankan academics from US universities he said it’s a great service which has helped large number of deserving scholars. He added that he very much appreciates unique commitment and wished the Dissanayakes every success.   UND was introduced to Sri Lanka by SUSA in ’08 when Priyanthi and Padmasena Dissanayake of SUSA became the first-ever Lankan recruiters to visit Grand Forks. Since then many undergraduate students have been placed to follow such varied disciplines as aviation, biomedicine, engineering, business, computer science, etc. Most have excelled in academics winning 100% tuition waivers based on first year’s performances and with the help of ample part-time and summer internships have managed most of their expenses (if not all). At least one student has secured a dream offer (only in his second year) from Hitachi and is currently working on an eight month internship. SUSA believes there’s no other country in the world which is as generous and with an abundance of opportunities for hard working Lankan stars – the very reason why SUSA has adamantly declined to work with universities elsewhere. About to depart for Grand Forks Dasuni was asked to comment on the services provided by SUSA: “They made my dream come true. It was pure luck to find them through a Google search. They always kept their word and were very professional at all times. They spurred me on constantly and it was tough to keep up to their pace. I am actually amazed at how little they charged for securing so much in return. I have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone seeking US education.”