Personal Information
Born:4th November 1925
Died:3rd November 2013
Nationality:Sri Lankan
Education:Royal College, Colombo, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, Nuffield College, Oxford
Occupation:Civil Servant, Diplomat, Economist
Parents:Dr. C.V.S. Corea and Freida Kotalawela

Dr. Gamani Corea, Secretary General of UNCTAD (1974-1984). Photo Credit: UN Photo Library


DESHAMANYA DR. GAMANI COREA was one of Sri Lanka's most prominent international civil servants and a renowned economist. His notable career and contributions have been summed up in the following manner:

"Gamani Corea held senior banking and finance positions in Sri Lanka before heading UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) for a decade beginning in the mid-1970s. The Board of the South Centre which he chaired for many years afterward summarized him as "among those few towering personalities and intellects which have ably led the South and provided it with its own identity in the global arena." " - UN Voices: The Struggle for Development and Social Justice edited by Thomas George Weiss, at Pg. 49

Dr. Gamani Corea received his secondary education at Royal College, Colombo, after which he commenced his higher education at the University of Ceylon in 1944, before going on to study at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and Nuffield College, Oxford from 1945 to 1952. There, he obtained two Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Master of Arts (MA) degrees, from both the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, and afterwards, a Doctorate (D.Phil) from Oxford.

He was awarded a Doctorate (Honoris Causa) from the University of Nice; a D.Litt (Hon) from the University of Colombo; and a D.Sc (Honoris Causa) from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.

Gamani Corea, who in 1973, took up appointment as Ceylon's Ambassador to the European Economic Community, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, also became: a Member (1965–1972) and Chairman (1972–1974) of the United Nations Committee on Development Planning; Chairman, ILO Meeting on Evaluation of Comprehensive Employment Missions to Colombia, Kenya, Iran and Sri Lanka (1973); Chief, United Nations Planning Mission to British Honduras (1962); Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN Conference on Human Environment (1971–1972); Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, Paris (1981); Member, UN Panel of Eminent Persons on South Africa and Transnational Corporations (September 1985); Member, UN panel of Eminent Persons on "The Relationship between Disarmament and Development" (April 1986); Team Leader, UNDP High Level Multi-Disciplinary Mission to Qatar (13–26 April 1987); and Chairman: United Nations General Assembly: Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole on an International Development Strategy for the Fourth Development Decade (1989–90).

Dr. Gamani Corea assumed post of Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on 5th April 1974, after he was appointed in 1973 for an initial term of three years, by former United Nations Secretary-General, Kurt Waldheim. He was thereafter re-appointed three times, his fourth term, covering the period December 1982 to the end of 1984. As Secretary-General of UNCTAD, and until the end of February 1985, GAMANI COREA also held the position of Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Following his departure from the UN, Dr. Gamani Corea founded the Sri Lanka Economics Association and served as Chairman of the South Centre Working Groups on Environment and Development and board member of the South Centre. He held several positions, including the Chancellor of the Open University of Sri Lanka; Honorary Fellow, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge; Honorary Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex; Chairman, Board of Governors, Institute of Policy Studies; Honorary Fellow, Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies; Fellow, National Academy of Science of Sri Lanka; Honorary President, Association of Former Civil Servants, Sri Lanka; Senior Adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Joint Patron, Sri Lanka Economics Association; Patron, Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka.

He received the Order of the Yugoslav Flag with Sash (I. rank), for the promotion of international understanding by the Government of Yugoslavia in 1985, as well as the Title of Deshamanya from the Government of Sri Lanka, First Honours list, on Independence Day, 4th February 1986. GAMANI COREA was also the recipient of the Award for International Understanding, by the Sahabdeen Foundation.

Dr. Gamani Corea passed away on 3rd November 2013 after a brief illness, a day before his 88th birthday. The President of Sri Lanka, H. E. Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh were among those who issued messages on learning of his demise.

He left behind an estate valued in testamentary proceedings to be worth over Rs. 1.5 billion (Rs. 1500 million), of which the Gamani Corea Foundation set up by him is the main beneficiary. It is expected to pursue charitable objects in keeping with his wishes and research objectives in the field of economics. It was set up by him, with its main objects being to promote and conduct research in economics and other related fields of learning and enhancing knowledge and understanding in all branches of learning, with particular emphasis on the social sciences, especially economics.

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