Over the past few months, our leadership team has been undertaking a strategic planning exercise to map the next phase of our organisational journey.
Our new 2020-24 strategic plan, Channeling Passion Into Impact, is based – first and foremost – on our core values of being a development focused, locally informed, impact driven, and heritage inspired network. These values are at the heart of our mission to create the best-in-class volunteer sending organisation to meaningfully engage and co-create solutions in the traditional Tamil homelands and with other vulnerable communities in Sri Lanka.
As with every transformation, ensuring the right leadership for the right moment is critical to building a resilient team that can relentlessly execute on its goals. This is especially important at a time like the present when all of us are increasingly impacted by new global health, environmental, and economic challenges that threaten to exacerbate existing social inequities. This is why we are pleased to introduce our renewed leadership team who will focus on attracting new talent, expanding our programs and services, and securing new investments in order to achieve our bold vision for scalable diaspora-homeland engagement for the next generation.
We have come a long way since launching as a small pilot six years ago. Since then, more than 100 individuals have given their time and effort to build the foundation on which we stand today. We thank every single one of them.
As we begin our next chapter, we need the support of more individuals like you. We sincerely hope that you will consider getting actively involved in our work in whatever capacity you can.
We are here to stay and we are here to grow, no matter what comes our way.
Thank you for your continued support.
Kumaran Nadesan is an Ontario public servant and entrepreneur with a lengthy track record of community animation. For over 15 years, Kumaran has commented on Sri Lanka and its Canadian diaspora, including for the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, CBC, TVO The Agenda, Diplomatic Courier, OMNI News, TamilCulture, Young Asia Television, Groundviews, Sunday Observer, and Colombo Telegraph. In addition to comdu.it, he has co-founded other initiatives aimed at building long-term collective capacity within the Canadian diaspora, including Tamils in Public Service, Tamil Entrepreneurs Organization, and Tamils in Finance, and in broader civil society in the Greater Toronto Area. For his active community work, he was named a 2018 DiverseCity Fellow by the CivicAction Leadership Foundation. Kumaran has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in English and Psychology from the University of Toronto Scarborough and an Executive Certificate in Strategic Public Management from the Schulich School of Business at York University. Kumaran was born in Sri Lanka from where he left as a refugee at the age of five to India before eventually immigrating to Canada by way of the Sultanate of Oman.
Deputy Chair and Director of Programs & Partnerships
Hamsha Pathmanathan is a public sector professional who currently works as a Wildlife Biologist for the Government of the Northwest Territories. She has a Bachelor of Science (Hons.) in Zoology and Forest Conservation from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Environmental Science in Environment and Resources Studies from the University of Waterloo, where she undertook research on implementing a multistrata agroforestry system in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka to improve biodiversity and increase food security for impoverished communities in the region. Hamsha has also volunteered on various projects in Nigeria ranging from gender equality, land rights, green entrepreneurship, and wildlife conservation, and is currently involved with setting up sustainable farming initiatives in Central America. She is a former board member at the Ontario Council for International Cooperation. Hamsha was born in Sri Lanka and immigrated to Canada at the age of five due to the civil war.
Director of Research & Innovation
Freedanz Ferdinandz is a life sciences professional and entrepreneur focused on the interface between research and strategy. After different roles in management and investment advisory, he is currently working as a Business Development Manager at a public biotech company in the field of genetic rare diseases, which operates in Germany and the United States. Freedanz was born and raised in Germany before temporarily re-locating to the United Kingdom to obtain his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Biochemical Engineering from the University College of London as well as a Diploma in South Indian Music from the Oriental Fine Arts Academy London. Freedanz previously volunteered with Engineers Without Borders and the Tamil Youth Organization, and is currently involved with startsocial e.V. and the Social Democratic Party of Germany.
Director of Operations
Hansika Gunaratne works in the education sector where she is currently the Manager of Learning and Development at a private career college that caters to mature immigrants and newcomers to Ontario, Canada. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of New Brunswick as well as a Master of Arts in Development Studies at York University, where her research work involved a case study on community engagement during a dengue epidemic in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Hansika was born in Sri Lanka and came to Canada as an international student after living for many years in the United Arab Emirates.
Legal Counsel & Director of Legal Affairs
Janakan Muthukumar is a lawyer and legal scholar with a special interest in public international law. He is currently a Lead Researcher at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto as well as a Senior Research Fellow at the NATO Association of Canada. Janakan has a LL.B. (Hons.) from the University of Wales, a Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation from the University of Sydney, and an LL.M. in Public International Law from the University of London where he studied as a Chevening Scholar (2017). Prior to recently immigrating to Canada, Janakan was a Lecturer at the University of Jaffna’s Faculty of Law and practised as an Attorney-at-Law. He has participated as an expert in the constitutional reform process in Sri Lanka and was a legal consultant to the Northern Provincial Council. Janakan is also a former Asia Pacific Scholar of the European Union (2015) and a Legislative Fellow at the U.S. Department of State (2014).
Director of Growth & Global Relations
Muraly Srinarayanathas is an experienced entrepreneur with a successful track record in private education, media and communications, and social enterprises in Canada and around the world. He has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Religion from the University of Manitoba, a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from Southeast University (Bangladesh), a Global Professional LL.M. from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, and has studied Digital Strategy at the Harvard Business School. Muraly was born in the United Kingdom and spent his early years under the care of his grandparents in Sri Lanka before immigrating to Canada. In addition to his leadership role at comdu.it, Muraly also supports a wide variety of causes in education, health, and economic empowerment in Canada and abroad through his role as Deputy Chair of the Srinarayanathas Foundation.
Director of Finance & Responsible Investments
Rohan Thiru is an experienced finance professional having worked in accounting, credit research, and asset management at some of Canada’s leading financial institutions. He is currently a Portfolio Manager at one of Canada’s fastest growing independent mutual fund companies, where he is responsible for the firm’s domestic fixed income portfolio in which he directly manages $1 billion in assets. Rohan has a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Accounting and a Master’s in Accounting from the University of Waterloo, and is a Chartered Financial Analyst, and a Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Accountant. Rohan was born in Sri Lanka where he lived through the civil war being repeatedly displaced within the country before immigrating to Canada at the age of 14. He is a former volunteer with the Canadian Tamil Youth Development Centre. (pending regulatory approval)