Hon. Dinendra Ruwan Wijewardene was sworn in as the State Minister of Defence of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka on 12th January 2015 and is one of the youngest politicians to hold this important portfolio in the modern history of our country.
Popularly known as Ruwan Wijewardene, he is a Member of Parliament representing the United National Party from the Biyagama electorate. Hon. Ruwan Wijewardena hails from a well-connected political dynasty that had produced many freedom fighters and national leaders who had led the country since its independence from colonial powers. The first prime minister of independent Ceylon, as it was then called was his great grandfather. His paternal grandfather was a press baron who pioneered press freedom by establishing the Lake House newspapers group.
Public Life and Political Beginning
Being born into a political dynasty made public service a natural choice for the Honorable Minister who entered politics on the invitation of the Leader of the United National Party (UNP) and the incumbent Prime Minister Hon. Ranil Wickramasinghe. He saw this as an opportunity to continue the legacy of his ancestors and is committed to serve the people of the nation with integrity and dignity.
As a young ranker of the UNP, the budding politician showed immense potential and signs of attaining higher echelons of leadership. These qualities were identified by the party hierarchy who made him the Chairman of the Young Professionals Organization of the United National Party, a post he held from 2002 to 2004.
In June 2001, Mr. Wijewardene was included as a Member of the Working Committee of the UNP, the main decision making body of the Party and he holds his position to date.
He reached a milestone in his political life upon being appointed as the Chief Organizer of the UNP for the Biyagama Electorate in August 2006. Biyagama is an important electorate in the Gampaha District and the second most populous in the country.
In 2009 on contesting the Provincial Council Elections he was elected to office as a Member of the Western Provincial Council after securing the secured the highest preferential votes of the then main Opposition, the UNP, in the District.
From April 2011 till date he acts as the Chairman of the National Youth Front which is the principal youth wing of the UNP.
He gained to national prominence when he was entered to Parliament after successfully contesting the Parliamentary Elections in 2010. Even though he was representing the main opposition party his service to the people was greatly reflected by the election results when he received the highest preference votes for the UNP in the district.
For Mr. Ruwan Wijewardane to be offered an important portfolio as Defence is testimony to his personal ideals of politics. His appointment as State Minister of Defence by His Excellency the President Maithripala Sirisena subsequent to the Presidential polls in January 2015 is reaffirms the qualities that were identified in him by his political mentors.
Family Lineage and Early Life
Mr. Ruwan Wijewardene was born on 04th of August, 1975 as the youngest child to Mr. Ranjith Wijewardene and Mrs. Ranjani Neela Senanayake Wijewardene. His father is the heir to one of the largest a newspaper publishing houses established by the late D.R. Wijewardene, the legendary press baron and freedom fighter and his mother hails from an eminent political dynasty.
The first Prime Minister of Ceylon the Late Honorable D.S. Senanayake is Mr. Wijewardene's maternal great grandfather. The Late Honorable Dudley Senanayake, the second Prime Minister of Ceylon who was elected twice to the office was his grand uncle.
Late Don Richard Wijewardene the pioneering entrepreneur who established the Lake House Newspapers is his paternal grandfather. Don Richard Wijewardene played a pivotal role in the independence movement of the country.
Mr. Wijewardene is also the nephew of the first Executive President of Sri Lankan the Late Honourable J.R. Jayewardene and also is a close kinsman of the present Premier Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe.
School Life and Education
Mr. Wijewardene began his school life in 1981 when was enrolled into one the best private schools in the country, St. Thomas' Preparatory School in Colombo. A brilliant student in academe he not only exhibited excellence in studies but was also an avid sportsman. Cricket and rugger was his forte which he conquered with ease. He began to reflect inborn leadership qualities as early as his school days both in the playing field and in the school. In 1991 the school management bestowed upon him the honour of being appointed the Head Prefect.
After completing primary and secondary education at St. Thomas he later joined Stafford International School in 1992 and completed his London A/L s.
In 1995, Mr. Wijewardene left the country to the United Kingdom to continue his higher studies. He entered the Sussex University, a prestigious seat of learning in the UK. He returned to his motherland where his destiny to greatness awaited with a BA in Politics (Specializing in Third World Politics).
Due to his visionary desire to assiduously serve his people and the nation he continues to seek ways and means to enhance his knowledge, experience and exposure both within and outside the country. He as recently as in 2013 completed a leadership course at the East West Center in Hawaii, which was designed for young elected Representatives of Asia and the Pacific.
He began his career as a journalist for the Midweek Mirror newspaper in early 1998. Working up the way he rose through the ranks and was given the important role of assessing the following day's proofs prior to publication of the daily and weekly newspapers of the Wijeya Group in year 2001 a role he holds till date. Wijeya Newspapers is one of the oldest and largest private press institutes in the country.
In 2002 he was appointed as the Consultant and Personal Assistant to the Chairman of the Wijeya Newspapers (Pvt) Ltd.
Professional Career Achievements
He serves as the Managing Director of RS Printek (Pvt) Ltd, a commercial printing from 2009.
From 2012, Mr. Wijewardene functions as a Director of Wijeya Mandira (Pvt) Ltd a property holding company.
He is also a director of Lake House Printers and Publishers PLC, a public listed company specializing in security printing from 2010.