Australia Awards help Nath’s mission to make a difference through public policy making

Living in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Leelanath Wickramarchchi – or better known as ‘Nath’ – speaks three languages and has worked in the Sri Lankan public sector in the elections commission and policy making.

Always dreaming big, Nath was someone who always needed to win the gold medal and strive for the highest he could achieve. He believed he could help to change the system from within, hence his career in public policy making – wanting to make a real difference for his nation and communities.

It was through his colleagues and superiors that Nath heard about the Australia Awards and he was accepted to complete a Masters of Public Administration at Australian National University in Canberra.

Nath brought his wife and young child (who is now 6 and a half) and when they first arrived in Australia they were quite scared by weather events that were occurring at the time, the devastating bush fires in the beginning of 2020 as well as hail storms near where they lived. Once the weather settled down, then the Covid pandemic struck, so the transition to Australia was quite dramatic for him and his family! Despite this, Nath gained a lot through his study experience in Australia and he and his family also welcomed a new baby girl into the world.

“The networks that you create are invaluable and I formed good strong connections with my professors and researchers. This made a really strong impression that changed my way of thinking while working. It has influenced my policy making decisions, processes and involving people more in those decisions”.

From a practical perspective Nath stated, “The Australia Awards are a fantastic team and very supportive. Any problems, just speak out and my advice is to form a good connection with your Australia Awards liaison person”.

When asked what his mission in life was, Nath’s was simple but powerful, “To be me. I want to be my true self and to speak out honestly in my personal and professional life”.

His advice to intaking students or others considering applying is, “Dream big, just do it. After two years you won’t look back. The selection of education is through some of the best institutes in the world and you will gain more than you think. The networks you will form are invaluable and you will experience world class education”.