1. Studying multidisciplinary fields in different countries


Professor Mohan Munasinghe was born in Colombo, the largest city in Sri Lanka, in 1945. Young Mohan was a very bright, active, and sociable child, who loved to read and was good at both study and sport. As there were no TVs, mobile phones or computer games at that time, he loved playing outside, climbing trees, and fishing. In his elementary school days, he rode around on a bicycle with his friends, and made his own reflector telescope to observe the stars.

His father was a top engineer in Sri Lanka, and Mohan truly respected him. His mother was a talented musician and writer who had won a state literary award, and she helped Mohan with his studies. He grew up happily in a family with his loving parents, and three caring older sisters who were six or more years older.

1946, one year old

1946, one year old

1953, age 8

1953, age 8 - First Pet.

High school and university

Mohan showed special interest in English, mathematics, and physics during his high school days. His interest in English and mathematics developed because his mother had taught them to him from an early age, while his interest in physics and mathematics was nurtured by two good teachers in high school.

1961, Age 16. School years with elephant

1961, Age 16. School years with elephant

After high school, he followed in his father's footsteps by studying engineering at Cambridge University, England. He went on to do an M.Sc. in electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in physics at McGill University (Canada) in 1973, to satisfy his early interest in those fields.

1965, Age 20

1965, Age 20. Cambridge Years - Swiss ski trip

Next, he obtained a master's degree in economics from Concordia University in Canada, as his interests shifted towards helping the poor in developing countries. In 1972, while completing his PhD in physics at McGill University, Mohan joined the International Institute of Quantitative Economics (IIQE) in Montreal, Canada, where the IIQE's Director, Professor Inagaki, encouraged him to study economics.

1967, Age 22

1967, Age 22. during MIT years

1973, Age 27

1973, Age 27. Graduation from McGill Univ.

The enthusiasm and motivation that led him to study engineering, physics, and economics at four universities in three countries is impressive indeed. His multi-disciplinary training became a great asset for him. His knowledge in mathematics and languages enhanced his analytical and communication skills. Studying engineering made him more aware of how things work and encouraged him to seek practical, win-win solutions. Physics made him think about why the universe is the way it is, while economics functioned as a bridge to the social sciences. Studying in different countries and traveling around the world during his university days helped him to widen his perspective and develop respect for different cultures and people.

The basic disciplines he studied at university were helpful later when he applied this knowledge practically in sectors like energy, water, transport, digital technology, and environmental resources. He began to work on more complex areas like poverty, natural disaster, climate change, and sustainable development.

2. Principles for the realization of sustainable development


Prof. Mohan Munasinghe