Milinda’s experience in leadership and public service started in 2005 in the field of sexual and reproductive health. Milinda worked with both local and international organisations as a youth rights advocate with grassroots experience in a number of countries, especially in the South Asian region. Since then, he has amassed a wealth of international experience while working and travelling in over thirty countries, across five continents, engaging with governments, industry, and non-profits, including eight UN High Level Meetings and three UN General Assemblies.
Throughout his career, Milinda has worked tirelessly on the subject of youth participation and inclusion, being a passionate advocate of the importance of youth participation in decision making, policy making, and more recently politics. As the founder of the South Asia Regional Youth Network, he worked with a team of highly motivated young people to establish and coordinate nine national youth networks of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) in Maldives, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran knowing fully well how important it was to institutionalise democratic processes for youth participation in the governance of IPPF’s South Asian region.
In his role as the former Director of the National Youth Services Council of Sri Lanka and the Co-Chair of the 15th World Conference on Youth, held in Colombo in 2014, his team worked to make sure that youth leaders across the world were provided a strong platform to shout out their ideas across to the world, and hold world leaders accountable for the transformation of those ideas into policies and actions. Today, as a Council Member of the Colombo Municipal Council and a key member of the Sri Lanka People’s Youth Front, he works with a team of young Sri Lankans from across professions and geographies, who are firmly convinced of the transformative power of young people in politics, and work tirelessly to ensure that young people are engaging in the conversations and decisions that matter.