Dr Patrick McNamara joins US-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission as ED
COLOMBO – The US Embassy in Sri Lanka announced on Wednesday (7) the appointment of Dr Patrick McNamara, as the new Executive Director of the United States-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission based in Colombo.
Welcoming Dr McNamara as the new head of the Commission, US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung said, that under the leadership of Dr McNamara, the Commission was entering a new era cultivating exchanges, educational partnerships, and mutual understanding between the USA and Sri Lanka.
She said the Commission is expected to play a vital role in further strengthening the people-to-people, academic and scientific ties between the United States and Sri Lanka, through vibrant intellectual exchanges that go beyond borders and enhance the academic environment for scholars and students alike.
Commission’s board chair Heidi Hattenbach, who is the Counsellor for Public Affairs at the US Embassy, said the Fulbright Program has been building ties and benefitting both of countries for 71 years, with over 2000 alumni who have travelled and participated directly in the program. “From supporting biomedical research to a study aimed at the decolonization of English language teaching, Fulbright grantees are undertaking academic work that changes lives while building life-long ties that extend well beyond the classroom,” she said, adding that under Dr McNamara’s leadership, Fulbright is poised to build on that strong legacy to enrich academic collaboration and build understanding for many years to come
“I am excited to begin this new chapter in my life and build on the strong foundations of the bi-national Fulbright Commission here,” Dr, McNamara said, adding, “We will continue to build bridges of understanding and peace between the people of Sri Lanka and the people of the United States.”
He noted that the Fulbright Program represents the best of American and Sri Lankan values such as diversity, unity, and respect for others, and that through academic, cultural, and professional exchanges, the Commission bring Americans to Sri Lanka to learn of the rich history and Sri Lankans to the United States to experience the culture and educational opportunities there.
As the Executive Director at the Fulbright Commission, Dr. McNamara brings extensive professional experience to Sri Lankan-American academic exchanges, with over three decades in academia, consulting, business, and government. Dr. McNamara’s expertise will be instrumental in creating new opportunities to further Fulbright Sri Lanka’s mission to ensure that it empowers future leaders, and underrepresented groups in higher education and advances the exchange of ideas and the intercultural dialogue for the promotion of inclusive and diverse societies in both our countries.
Dr. McNamara achieved distinction as a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Scholar in India in 2011, during which he spent time on a Regional Travel Grant to Sri Lanka. He holds a PhD from the School of Public Administration at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, an MScin Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University, and a B.A. in Religion from Swarthmore College.