Anoka Primrose Abeyrathne also known as Anoka Abeyratne is an award-winning Sri Lankan conservationist, eco-social entrepreneurship pioneer, environmental expert and youth activist on sustainable development and entrepreneurial issues in Sri Lanka and Asia.
Abeyratne presented the Keynote speech of the Youth Leaders Forum, Commonwealth Asia Youth Ministers Meeting 2015 and is the first Sri Lankan to be elected to represent the Asia-Pacific region to the global UN Habitat Youth Advisory Board in October 2015 and to the Commonwealth Youth Climate Change Network Leadership Team as Policy and Advocacy representative in June 2016. Anoka is the co-founder of TEDxKandy, an independent TED-like event curated for "Ideas Worth Spreading".
Abeyrathne born during the Sri Lankan Civil War, completed her education in Biology at Bishop's College serving as the president of the United Nations Club, the Red Cross Society, secretary of the Environmental Society, a Girl guide and a gold medal receiving athlete, swimmer and pianist. Currently reading for a Master's degree through Harvard University, she graduated with a LLB from the University of London and a Master's degree from the University of Colombo.
Notable family members include the father of free education in Sri Lanka - Hon. C. W. W. Kannangara and Sri Lanka's first female diplomat - Manel Abeysekera.
Abeyrathne started volunteering at the age of 13 when the 2004 tsunami struck and has replanted over 50,000 Mangroves in South Asia by providing over 5000 families the opportunity to gain in income source through designer handicraft making, organic farming, eco-tourism, innovation labs and creating equal access to education through soft skills and IT skills training.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations Kamlesh Sharma presented Abeyrathne with a Commonwealth Youth Award in March 2013. Recognized by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Abeyrathne is featured in Sri Lanka's first digital environmental music video.
As the youngest founding Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum Colombo Hub established in 2012 in Sri Lanka, she served as one of the 12 Shapers on the United Nations - World Economic Forum Sustainable Development Council working towards mainstreaming sustainability and is the first female New Champion of the World Economic Forum in Sri Lanka.
Abeyrathne continues her passion for eco-entrepreneurship while engaging as a sustainable development advocate. Her entrepreneurial work promotes and develops gender equality, social justice, access to education, communal harmony and human rights in impoverished communities. Being the youngest panelist on Sri Lanka's first Social Innovation Forum and the Commonwealth Women's Affairs Ministerial Meeting, Abeyrathne is a founding member of the Commonwealth Gender and Equality Network and a drafter of the first Commonwealth Gender Agenda, working towards linking gender equality, education, entrepreneurship and sustainable development.
She is the co-founder of TEDxKandy, an independent TED-like event curated for "Ideas Worth Spreading" and presented the Keynote speech of the Youth Leaders Forum, Commonwealth Asia Region Youth Ministers Meeting 2015 and is the first Sri Lankan to be elected to represent the Asia-Pacific region to the UN Habitat Youth Advisory Board. Abeyrathne continues engagement in disaster management, sustainability and risk analysis as an Associate Resource Fellow of the Institute of National Security Studies Sri Lanka - Ministry of Defence (Sri Lanka).
Abeyrathne has been featured by the United Nations Environmental Programme, the INSSSL - Ministry of Defence, the UNICEF, The Guardian TEDx, UNFPA, Echelon Magazine,UNDP and Huffington Post.