Born in a little village in Kurunegala, Milinda’s dream of changing the world started with himself, when he decided at age 8 that the only way to redefine his circumstances was through education. Today, Milinda is proud to be “that boy from Werella” who has travelled to over 30 countries around the world, attended 3 UN General Assemblies,founded the South Asia Regional Youth Network for the International Planned Parenthood Federation, co-chaired the World Conference on Youth, and run for the Mayor of Colombo.
Starting his career in the field of sexual and reproductive health, Milinda worked with both local and international organisations like the United Nations Development Programme’s Asia and Pacific Regional Centre, before being appointed a Regional Youth Coordinator for the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)'s South Asia Regional Office, overlooking 9 countries in the region.
He worked extensively with PANOS South Asia to promote Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and HIV education amongst journalists. He also founded Youth LEAD, the Asia Pacific Network of Young Key Affected Populations in Asia and the Pacific, based in Bangkok. He chaired Youth LEAD for 2 years and represented the movement in a number of high level UN and inter-governmental meetings. He has engaged in a number of UN negotiations and political advocacy in New York as a civil society representative, and later as a government delegate. In 2010, he received the IPPF International Award for Contributions to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.
From 2012 to 2015, Milinda served as the Working Director of the National Youth Services Council within the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development. As the youngest Working Director in the history of the Ministry, Milinda managed more than 2500 employees across the country. He also led the global process towards the World Conference on Youth 2014 as the Co-Chair of the International Youth Task Force, along with the European Youth Forum.
With over 12 years of experience working in the fields of sexual and reproductive health, international development, youth affairs, and creative innovation, Milinda is a passionate advocate of the power of young people. He strongly believes in improving youth participation in politics, and engaging young people in the conversations and decisions that matter.
Today, Milinda is the Media Spokesperson for Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and one of the youngest members of the Colombo Municipal Council. His first foray into politics was fueled by his vision of giving life to the Colombo of his dreams – the Colombo he dreamed of at eight years old. He is also a visiting lecturer at the University of Kelaniya and a consultant on Creative Strategy at Triad (Pvt) Ltd, where he bridges creative work with strategic communication solutions for clients such as Dialog, MAS, Laugfs Holdings and Insee Cement.
Milinda’s proudest achievement are his two sons, whose ability to get their father to agree to anything is proof that young people have the power to do anything they set their minds to.