HERATH, R.B.




Author Tags: Politics

Co-founder of a non-violent, centrist, democratic political party in his native Sri Lanka called the Podujana Party (meaning Peoples’ Party), R.B. Herath, with a Ph.D. in organizational behavior, is the author of Real Power to the People: A Novel Approach to Electoral Reform in British Columbia (University Press of America, 2007) and other books, including A New Beginning for Humankind: A Recipe for Lasting Peace on Earth (iUniverse 2012) in which he examines major violent conflicts in the world and offers a path to avoid the errors of the past.

Sri Lanka Desapalanaya, Ayanna, Aayanna, Eyanna, Eeyanna (Lankanatha, 1979) and Desappremayen Odavadiwa Darudariyanta Kavivalinma Liyu Lipiyak (Lankanatha, 1979) are the titles of Herath’s books in Sinhalese. The English translation of the former reads as "A, B, C, D of Sri Lankan Politics". It analyses the politics of Sri Lanka up to the time of its separatist war. The English translation of the latter reads as "A Letter to Our Children in Poems Written through Patriotism". It conveys a message of love, peace, and unity to the children of Sri Lanka in a child's diction. The government of Sri Lanka at the time distributed it among the schools and municipal libraries of the country. This 1979 book of poetry conveys a message of love, mutual respect and unity to the children of Sri Lanka in a child’s diction.

Publicity materials state:

R.B. Herath is a professional engineer, author, poet and a dramatist, who holds a Ph.D. in organizational behaviour. As an adult, he has always fought for the democratic rights of the people. He did this first as a student leader in his high school and university days, and later as an active participant in the national politics of his country of origin, Sri Lanka; once he co-founded and led a political party in that country by the name Podujana Party (meaning Peoples’ Party). It was a non-violent, centrist party that stood for democracy and consensus among all ethnic groups in Sri Lanka under a theme of ‘One Lanka–One Nation, One Nation–One Family.’ After the ongoing ethnic crisis of Sri Lanka turned to a separatist war, taking control of its democratic political process, he left the country in 1984. He is well traveled, and has lived in many countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and North America. He has an excellent knowledge of the international scene. Presently, he lives in Canada. In 1989, while he was in Zambia he wrote and directed a stage drama, Angulimala, depicting a story from Buddhist literature. Later he wrote and directed three other stage dramas based on some historical political events of Sri Lanka: Hoisting the British Flag, Keppetipola Heroism, and Independence Struggle. These dramas were presented at the 50th Sri Lankan Independence anniversary celebrations held at Michael J. Fox Theatre in Burnaby, British Columbia, on March 7, 1998.

One of the earlier books published in English, Sri Lankan Ethnic Crisis: Towards a Resolution (Trafford, 2002), discusses the ongoing ethnic crisis in Sri Lanka and proposes a co-coordinated political solution to the crisis with a realistic plan of action for its implementation. The Honourable Bill Graham, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canada, reviewed the book and forwarded it to others concerned, including the Canadian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka.

In Canada, Herath first served as a member of the Board of Directors of the South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy for a number of years, before serving as a member of the historic Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform in British Columbia. He is married and has three grown daughters.

According to publicity materials: "REAL POWER TO THE PEOPLE: A NOVEL APPROACH TO ELECTORAL REFORM IN BRITISH COLUMBIA describes a unique experiment in democracy that took place during 2004–2005. In this experiment, the government of British Columbia gave its citizens the power to take control of its electoral reform process and make a final decision. This new approach to electoral reform was implemented through a citizens' assembly of 160 randomly selected, nonpartisan British Columbians and a referendum. The citizens' assembly first studied the different electoral options, listened to the views of their fellow citizens, and recommended a new electoral system for British Columbia. Later, all British Columbians took part in making a final decision on the recommended new system through the referendum. Dr. Herath was directly involved in the process as one of the assembly members. This unique new approach has gathered attention from political pundits all over the world. There are indications that other jurisdictions will adopt it. The Netherlands and Ontario have already begun to do so while there is a growing movement in California to follow suit. The work first introduces the reader to electoral reform in general, the historic context of the new approach, and its implementation. This is followed by an explanation of the six most critical features of the new approach. The work ends with Dr. Herath's conclusions that include five important lessons to be drawn from this first time application of the new approach and its worldwide applicability."

“The BC Citizens’ Assembly has provided a template for a new, revolutionary approach to the practice of democracy throughout the world,” says Herath.

BOOKS:

Sri Lanka Desapalanaya, Ayanna, Aayanna, Eyanna, Eeyanna (Lankanatha, 1979) (translation for English version: A, B, C, D of Sri Lankan Politics)

Desappremayen Odavadiwa Darudariyanta Kavivalinma Liyu Lipiyak (Lankanatha, 1979) (translation for English version: A Letter to Our Children in Poems Written through Patriotism) -- poetry

Sri Lankan Ethnic Crisis: Towards a Resolution (Trafford, 2002)

Real Power to the People: A Novel Approach to Electoral Reform in British Columbia (University Press of America, 2007) 0-7618-3685-3 / 978-0-7618-3685-8)

A New Beginning for Humankind: A Recipe for Lasting Peace on Earth (iUniverse 2012) $22 / $33; 978-1-4759-3952 (sc) / 978-1-4759-3953-8 (hc)

[BCBW 2013] "Politics"