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Faculty Profile: Wimal Rankaduwa
In the fall of 1987, I arrived in Halifax as a Commonwealth Scholar to pursue post-graduate studies at Dalhousie – this significantly changed the course of life for my family and me. Before then, I had been living in Sri Lanka – my country of birth – where I graduated with a BA in Economics (1979) and an M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics (1982) from the University of Peradeniya, formerly known as the University of Ceylon. I had worked as an Assistant Lecturer at the University of Peradeniya and then the University of Ruhuna prior to coming to Canada.
Endowed with a highly reputed faculty, a caring and friendly staff, and a diverse body of students, Dalhousie’s Department of Economics offered an environment that enhanced student life in both academic and non-academic terms. I was enriched by the immense wisdom of all of my professors, to whom I am forever thankful. But I owe the greatest debt of gratitude to my supervisor, Professor Gouranga Rao, whose mentorship redirected my academic interests toward macroeconometric modeling and profoundly influenced my professional life. I was also lucky to cultivate great friendships at Dalhousie with student colleagues such as Dr. Tomson Ogwang, whose collaboration and academic support have been of benefit to me.
I graduated from Dalhousie with an MA in 1989 and a Ph.D. in 1993. At the end of the latter degree, I was a sessional instructor for undergraduate courses at Dalhousie and the neighboring Saint Mary’s University – my beginning of teaching in Canada. When I completed my graduate program, Sri Lanka was still engulfed in serious political turmoil, which had a direct impact on my family members, both in Sri Lanka and Canada; it was a challenging time. Fortunately, the knowledge, skills, and experience provided by the Department of Economics helped me to find employment as a professor – the career I valued the most – and eventually become a Canadian. After completing my studies at Dalhousie, I was hired as an Assistant Professor at Mount Saint Vincent University in 1993. Then, in 1996, I accepted a position at the University of Prince Edward Island, where I remain a professor.
I’ve found that Dalhousie provides social and cultural upliftment in addition to intellectual fulfillment. When I was a student, among my department's most memorable academic and social events was the Friday Seminar, which featured presentations by great scholars such as Nobel Laureate Robert M. Solow, and the Economizer, which allowed for mingling and discussion following the seminar. I also gained personal fulfillment and valuable experiences through many additional avenues made possible by the university. For example, I served two terms as the President of Dalhousie International Students and organized several public events in association with other student organizations and community organizations in the region. I also had the pleasure of working as the producer and programmer of a cultural show (1991-1996) and as a director (1991-1993) at Dalhousie-based CKDU Radio. Finally, it might be of interest to note that the Sri Lanka Canada Association, a regional community organization that’s still active to date, was founded in 1990 within a classroom of the Department of Economics.
Dalhousie has been a part of my life since 1987. Years later, my two daughters and two sons all completed their first degrees at Dalhousie, and they continue to do well in their respective fields, in part thanks to the world-class education they received. I gratefully take pride in my association with the Department of Economics and Dalhousie University, first as a graduate student and now as an Adjunct Professor since 1995.
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