Sri Lankan lawyer Aritha Wickramasinghe was ranked No.3 by the UK’s Financial Times in their 2016 power list of the world’s most influential LGBT business leaders. Aritha was ranked in the Future Leaders category which he was No.1 last year alongside industry giants Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook) and Inga Beale (CEO of Lloyds).
Aritha’s consistently high ranking is in recognition of his work to promote diversity and inclusion through business and government across the world. The international finance lawyer is a founding trustee of Think Equal, a UN Human Rights Office endorsed education initiative led by critically acclaimed film director and producer Leslee Udwin. Think Equal is currently in the process of introducing a new subject into schools across the world which will be teaching children social and emotional intelligence including empathy and critical thinking. The initiative hopes to change discriminatory mindsets through early childhood education and end the cycle of prejudice and violence within a generation. Think Equal is expected to be rolled out in 30 countries in the coming years and Sri Lanka will be the first country in the world to begin the pilot programme from 2017.
Sri Lanka’s lead in the pilot project is credited to the support given by the Government through the initiative’s patron Rosy Senanayake and its ambassador Minister Harin Fernando who join international celebrity patrons and ambassadors including Academy Award winners Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon and Helen Mirren and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Professor Muhammad Yunus in supporting the initiative.
The young lawyer is also a founding director of iProbono’s justice programme. iProbono is an online tech platform that now connects over 60,000 lawyers across the world giving free legal help to people and organisations in need. The platform has been responsible for ground breaking legal work and in changing the landscape of delivery of legal services to those most in need. iProbono’s justice programme aims to utilise its existing platform to seek justice for those subject to discrimination or violence. iProbono has set legal precedence through its work in child rights, rape and human trafficking and is a recipient of the former British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Big Society Award and the Financial Times’ Innovative Lawyers Award.