Patrick Mendis

Patrick Mendis is an [ educator] , [ diplomat] , and [ author] . Professor Mendis taught at the Universities of Minnesota and Maryland before joining the U.S. Department of State where he served under the leadership of Secretaries Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell and received the State Department's Meritorious Honor Award and the Benjamin Franklin Award. He authored academic papers, government reports, and books, most recently, [ "Glocalization: The Human Side of Globalization as If the Washington Consensus Mattered"] .

Early Years in Sri Lanka and Minnesota

Mendis was born in the medieval Sri Lankan capital of Polonnaruwa on April 7, 1960. He was a [ Sarvodaya] volunteer, a Police Cadets sergeant, and the best commander of the Army Cadets Corps of Sri Lanka in 1976. He received the UNESCO Award in a high school public speaking competition sponsored by the United Nations Association of Sri Lanka. At the age of 18, he won an AFS scholarship to attend an American high school in Perham, Minnesota. At the end of his stay in the U.S. in 1979, Mendis traveled to Washington, D.C. where he met Vice President Walter Mondale (D-MN) and Senator Rudy Boschwitz (R-MN).

After receiving his American diploma from [ Perham High School] in Minnesota, he returned to the [ University of Sri Jayewardenepura,] the premier institution for management studies and commerce in Sri Lanka, where Mendis endowed two scholarships in leadership and management studies in 1993, according to the [ Ceylon Daily News] . Mendis served as the vice president of the World University Service, the president of the University Sports Council, and a member of the University’s badminton, athletic, and swimming teams for which he won the University Colours. He earned his BS in business administration and economics (First Class Honors) before he returned to the United States for graduate studies at the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. Mendis studied under the late [ Ambassador Harlan Cleveland,] the founding dean of the Humphrey Institute and served as his special assistant when Cleveland became the president of the [ World Academy of Art and Science] .

Alumnus of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Mendis raised fund for a number of tsunami projects in Sri Lanka in working with the [ Embassy of Sri Lanka] and the Harvard University Club of Washington, D.C. He has established a range of tsunami scholarships, a micro-loan program, and a peace prize in Sri Lanka in collaboration with the [ Calvert Foundation] in Maryland. In addition, he supports a number of [ Kiva] micro-loans and small business projects in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Tanzania, and Vietnam.

International Relations

Before attending the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, Mendis worked at the Minnesota House of Representatives under Honorable Edward Burdick, the chief clerk and parliamentarian of the House. He also served on the staff of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee under Senator Rudy Boschwitz (R-MN), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Sub-Committee on Middle East and South Asian Affairs.

Mendis obtained his MA in international development and foreign affairs from the Humphrey Institute in 1986. At the graduation ceremony, Mendis received the first Hubert H. Humphrey Alumni Award for Outstanding Leadership. Other three Humphrey Leadership Award recipients were Vice President Walter Mondale, Ambassador Max Kampelman, and UNEP Executive Director Mustafa Tolba. Former NATO Ambassador Harlan Cleveland, the founding dean of the Institute, served as his adviser and mentor. Later, Mendis served as Special Assistant to Ambassador Cleveland in his UN study tour in the Middle East and the World Academy study tour in Asia.

With Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala, Mendis represented the Government of Sri Lanka as “youth ambassador” at the 1985 UN International Year of the Youth (IYY) in New York. It was a political appointment by the Government of Sri Lanka to honor his service at the University of Sri Jayawardenepura. Dr. Karunasena Koddituwakku, the vice chancellor of the University, recommended Mendis to the Minister of Youth and Sports Affairs, the Honorable Ranil Wickramasinghe, who later became the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. Mendis also worked at the World Bank and served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of State after representing the Government of Sri Lanka at the UN where he received the UN Medal for the IYY.

After his PhD in geography/applied economics at the University of Minnesota in 1989, Mendis served as a lecturer in international relations and a visiting scholar in applied economics at the University of Minnesota from 1990 to 1997. He served as the president of the Society for International Development (Minnesota Chapter), the vice president of the United Nations Association of the United States (Minnesota Division), the founding chair of The Saint Paul Foundation’s Asian-Pacific Endowment for Community Development, and listed in [ Who's Who of Asian-Americans] .

Ambassador Harlan Cleveland, the president of World Academy of Art and Science, appointed Mendis as an associate fellow of the Academy in 1994. In the same year, he was elected as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (Saint Paul-Minneapolis Committee). In 2000, he was elected as a fellow of the World Academy. Mendis received the State of Minnesota’s Asian-Pacific Heritage Award, the Governor Harold Stassen Award for United Nations Affairs, and the University of Minnesota President’s Leadership and Service Award for his service to the university community and the State of Minnesota.

Government Service

After becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen, Mendis served as a military professor through the University of Maryland. He taught MBA/MPA and international relations courses to American military forces in the NATO and Pacific Commands of the U.S. Department of Defense. For his service, Mendis received the Maryland’s [ Stanley J. Drazek Teaching Excellence Award] .

Mendis joined the U.S. Department of State in 2000 as a Foreign Affairs Officer to serve under Secretary Madeleine Albright. He was chosen through a highly selective mid-career science and diplomacy fellowship program of the [ American Association for the Advancement of Science] (AAAS). When Secretary Colin Powell came to the State Department, Mendis was appointed as the Secretariat Director of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (former U.S. Information Agency), and also served as Vice Chair of the Secretary’s Open Forum.

Later, Mendis participated in a multi-year science and national security project, headed by [ Ambassador Ronald Lehman] , director of the Center for Global Security Research at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Ambassador Lehman and Mendis worked on a project with Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the science-fiction writer, who lives in Sri Lanka.

Mendis also served as an Uhuru ‘Freedom’ Fellow at the International Republican Institute and the governing board of the USDA Graduate School, an appointment by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. He serves on the editorial board of [ The Public Manager] and the board of directors of The Bureaucrat Inc.

Visiting Professor to Russia and China

Through the [ University of Maryland’s] faculty exchange program, Mendis taught courses in American government, English, and culture to Chinese students at the Northwestern Polytechnic University in Xian and traveled to Tibet. While at the University of Minnesota, he also led the U.S. team selected to teach market economics and management to a group of former KGB officers and young Russian entrepreneurs in Leningrad. This took place during the historic 1991 summer in the former Soviet Union. While there, Mendis toured the Kremlin and the Russian White House in Moscow.

As a visiting professor of economics and public policy at the University of Pittsburgh’s Semester at Sea program, Mendis traveled to the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa and Asia. He later authored a book based on his first-hand observations of globalization and Americanization entitled [ Freedom on the March: An American Voyage to Explore Globalization] (2005). While the first Sri Lanka edition of the book dealt with the issues at the time of the voyage, the second, U.S. edition, entitled [ Glocalization: The Human Side of Globalization as If the Washington Consensus Mattered] (2007), more critically explores the influence of U.S. foreign policies and American values on these countries. After meeting with Fidel Castro of Cuba, he wrote an op-ed article [ The Minnesota Daily] during his book launching tour at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. Proceeds from the sales of his first book and from the expanded second edition are donated to tsunami scholarships and other projects in Sri Lanka and a memorial scholarship in Minnesota.

Praise for the book: [ Glocalization]

"“ [The book] is confirmation to those who know Patrick Mendis of his extraordinary devotion to the best of the American ethos he adopted – and enriched – in an impressive career since arriving as a student from Sri Lanka. His book deserves a wide American audience.”" ~ [ Professor Lincoln Bloomfield at MIT] , former White House’s National Security Council and U.S. State Department official and author of, most recently, "Accidental Encounters With History"

“"Patrick Mendis – born in Sri Lanka, educated in America, now truly a citizen of the world – has an infectious enthusiasm for the diversity he has experienced".” ~ Ambassador Harlan Cleveland, Founding Dean, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and the Marshal Plan administrator

“"Dr. Mendis’ book is a multi-disciplinary analysis that is both stimulating and eminently readable".”~ Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala, Senior Advisor to the President of Sri Lanka and the Chair of the United Nations University

“"The analysis radiates his firm belief in the importance of freedom and democracy to human progress".” ~ Dr. Michael B. Graham, Vice President, The U.S. Institute of Peace

“"This book certainly helps us to reach the shore of new creation where globalisation will be a blessing for all".” ~ Professor M. S. Swaminathan, President, Pugwash Conferences on Science & World Affairs

“"America's fundamental illiteracy about globalization represents a grave threat to its continued positive unfolding. . . Patrick Mendis' book helps much to combat that ignorance by providing a traveler's-eye-view of how this unprecedented change wave is reformatting the planet".” ~ "'Professor Thomas P.M. Barnett, Military strategist and Baker Center Distinguished Scholar at the University of Tennessee and author of "The Pentagon's New Map" “"Patrick Mendis is a master teacher, an excellent writer, and a world citizen. . . . Read it for education; read it for fun; read it to help a good cause; whatever you do, read it".” ~ [ Shelton L. Williams] , President of the Osgood Center for International Studies at The Johns Hopkins University and author of "Summer of 66"


Washington Post [ Ambassador Cleveland] , "Harlan Cleveland; Dean, Author, Statesman and Lifelong Learner" died at 90

Minnesota Post [ Founding Dean of the Humphrey Institute] embodied "General" George Washington

The Island [ Sir Arthur C. Clarke] said "goodbye"

Ceylon Daily News [ Daily News] , "Sri Lankan Professor Initiates Tsunami Scholarships"

Listed in [ Who's Who in America] and [ Who's Who of Asian-Americans]

"Diplomacy Professor Responds to Tsunami Disaster", [ Norwich University]

"Focus on Faculty: Patrick Mendis - Pursuing Two Noble Professions", [ University of Maryland]

"Voices: Patrick Mendis - A Scholar and a Diplomat", [ University of Minnesota Magazine] ,

"Board of Directors", [ The Public Manager]

"Distance Global Policy Mentors", [ Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs] , University of Minnesota

"The George Washington University, [ The Daily Colonial] , All Politics is Glocal

U.S. Department of State

Author, "Handbook on Science & Technology Agreements," [ U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Oceans, Environment, and Scientific Affairs]

Commentator, "Global Issues Journal," [ U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Information Programs]

Contributing editor, "Economic Perspectives Journal," [ U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Information Programs]

Coordinator, "Fund Raising for Afghan children" with Assistant Secretary of State Honorable Patricia Harrison, [ U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs]

News and Views

"Science, Technology, and Intellectual Property Rights in American Foreign Policy, " [ Journal of Technology Law and Policy] The University of Florida

We must be the change we wish to see in the world - Mahatma Gandhi, "Awakening" [ Stone Soup for the World]

"Globalization of Americanization," [ Humphrey H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs] , University of Minnesota Calvert Foundation Works With Former U.S. Diplomat to Set Up Donor-Advised Fund for Sri Lankans Hit by Tsunami [ The Calvert Foundation,] Bethesda, Maryland

"Lankan Born Diplomat is Among the Who's Who in America" [ Ceylon Daily News] , Colombo, Sri Lanka

Sir Arthur C. Clarke Joins Lab Futures Odyssey with Ambassador Ronald Lehman and Dr. Patrick Mendis, " [ Newsline] " at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, Livermore, California

"Where Globalization Meets Localization," [ The Daily Colonial Video] , The George Washington University

U.S. Ambassador Shaun Donnelly from the White House Speaks at the Embassy of Sri Lanka Book Signing Reception for Dr. Patrick Mendis, " [ Embassy of Sri Lanka] ," in Washington DC, USA

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