Erandi Samarakoon

Project Officer, Office of Environment & Heritage2015 Sydney Fellowship

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I stopped searching and started forging - new alliances, new ventures, new horizons!

What was the most valuable thing you got out of CSL?

I stopped searching and started forging - new alliances, new ventures, new horizons!

Why are you passionate about sustainability? What was the moment or event that made you decide to become a ‘change maker’ in your field?

I have always been passionate about design and poverty alleviation. Something I learned over the years from my travels and comparing the two countries I call home, Sri Lanka and Australia, is that healthy and empowered societies generate a self-sustaining circle of greater well-being. It didn't occur to me that I could combine all these interests through my work until mid-way through a Masters in architecture. I realised I could use design to transform communities - that my creativity need not go to waste but could be used to build restorative, socially just environments.

How did CSL play a role in directing your current path or project?

CSL helped me realise that with purpose and a well-connected network I can achieve anything. It helped me build those networks, helped overcome self-imposed barriers, and challenged me to step outside my comfort zone.

In 25 words or less, tell us why leadership for sustainability is important.

A sustainable world needs leaders that will enable change and win the hearts of people in power regardless of what current thinking dictates is normal.

What do you plan to do next on your sustainability journey?

Take steps towards empowering people in Sri Lanka to be more aware of environmental issues when managing development. This is something Australia is beginning to do well and there are a lot of lessons I am looking to take to developing nations that are faced with similar challenges.

What are three words you would use to describe the Fellowship Program?

Connecting, inspiring, challenging

Erandi can be contacted via email: erandi.samar@gmail.com or Twitter: @erandisamar

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