Lankan historian wins prestigious prize

Prof. K.M. de Silva has won the most prestigious Academic Prize offered by the Thirteenth Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prize 2002 organised by the Fukuoka City and Yokotopia Foundation of Japan. This is the first time a Sri Lankan has been selected as a Laureate by this organisation to award the most prestigious Academic Prize.

pp1.jpg (12485 bytes)Prof. Kingsley de Silva focused his studies on the international administration of Portugal, the Netherlands and the Great Britain which ruled Sri Lanka, then known as Ceylon. He also has been greatly interested in the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka as multi-faceted studies have contributed immensely to the development of South Asia’s history. Prof. de Silva is the Director of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Kandy.

It was this historian who authored the J. R. Jayewardene Biography in association with Dr. Howard Wriggins. This biography running into two large volumes written in English was later translated into Sinhala. The Sinhala version ran into four volumes consisting of 1844 pages. Translations were done by Prof. K. N. O. Dharmadasa, the late Mr. G. W. Surendra and Mr. Jinadasa Abeygunawardene.

The selections for the prizes were announced last week in Fukuoka. A press conference is scheduled to be held at the Jayewardene Centre, Colombo 7, on the 16th instant and the prize-awarding ceremony will take place in Fukuoka in September this year.

In all, four laureates have been picked this year by this organisation to award prizes. Mr. Zhang Yimou of the Film Industry in Japan, Mr. Anthony Reid, Scholar of History from Australia and Mr. Lat of Malaysia, a full-time Newspaper Cartoonist are the other prize winners.