Prof. Mohan Munasinghe earned the BA (Hons.) and MA degrees in Engineering from Cambridge University, UK; the SM and Professional EE degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA; the PhD degree in Solid State Physics from McGill University, Canada; and the MA degree in Development Economics from Concordia University, Canada. He has also received several honorary doctorates (honoris causa). He was Vice Chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-AR4), who shared the 2007 Nobel Prize for Peace.
Prof. Munasinghe is the author of over 100 scholarly books, and about three hundred technical papers in well known scientific journals -- on climate change, disasters, environment, sustainable development, energy, transport, urban infrastructure, water resources, telecommunications, and sustainable consumption and production.
Appointments and Professional Experience
Presently, he is Founder Chairman, Munasinghe Institute for Development (MIND), Colombo; Distinguished Guest Professor at Peking University, China; and Honorary Senior Advisor to the Government of Sri Lanka. Previously, he was Senior Advisor/Manager, World Bank, Wash. DC, covering sustainable development, environmental policy, water, energy and transport; Chancellor, International Water Academy, Oslo; and Director-General, Sustainable Consumption Institute, University of Manchester.
After working over 40 years in the international arena, he is recognized as a leading world authority on sustainable development, economics, energy and environment. His research and applications have contributed to two major international achievements in 2015 - the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the UNFCCC COP21 Paris Agreement on climate change. He is especially known for trans-disciplinary thinking, having developed the internationally recognized, widely taught and applied discipline of Sustainomics since 1992, which provides a practical framework for making development more sustainable. In 2010, he proposed the widely acclaimed new idea of Millennium Consumption Goals (MCGs) at the United Nations, to complement the Millennium Development Goals. The MCG concept is now included under the SDG No.12 on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP). He has worked on IPCC climate change assessment reports since the inception in 1988. He has had direct field experience in most developing countries, on projects involving climate change, disaster management, economics (macro and micro), environment, energy, telecommunications, transport, urban infrastructure, and water resources.
During 1990-92, he served as Advisor to the US President's Council on Environmental Quality (PCEQ). From 1982 to 1987, Prof. Munasinghe was the Senior Advisor (Energy and Information Technology) to the President of Sri Lanka, helping to formulate and implement the national energy strategy and computer policy. He was founder Chairman, Computer and Information Technology Council (CINTEC), and served on the Presidential Commission that determined national telecommunications policy. From 1982 to 1987, he was Board Member, Natural Resources, Energy and Science Authority of Sri Lanka; Governor, Arthur Clarke Centre for Modern Technology, Sri Lanka. Since 1972, he has also served as expert advisor/consultant to many world bodies, including the UN, UNDP, UN Univ., UNESCO, ESCAP, ECLA, USAID, CIDA, IDRC, EEC, IAEA, AsDB, AfDB, IDB, etc.
He is also International Board Member of the Global Round Table, Brussels; former Board Member of Green Cross International, Switzerland; Member of the Club of Rome, Switzerland; Director of the Canifex International Socio Economic Development Centre (Canadian non profit foundation); and founding-Director of both the World Energy Efficiency Association (WEEA) in Washington DC, and the New Sun Foundation in Geneva. He is President-Emeritus and Founder of the Sri Lanka Energy Managers Assoc. (SLEMA), and Patron and Founder of the Lanka Society for Sustainable Development (LASS).
He serves on the Editorial Boards of several international periodicals, including Advances in Climate Change Research; Ambio; China Population Resources and Environment; Climate Policy; Encyclopedia of Energy; Encyclopedia of Earth; The Energy Journal; J. Environment and Development Economics; Environmental Economics and Policy Studies Journal; Int. J. of Electrical Power and Energy Systems; Int. J. of Global Envir. Issues; Int. J. of Regulation and Governance; Open Economies Review; Pacific & Asian Journal of Energy; Solutions J.; Strategic Behavior and the Environment; Utilities Policy; and Wiley Interscience Reviews-Climate Change J.
Awards and Honours
Prof. Munasinghe has won a number of international prizes and honours for public service, research and applications. Most notably, he shared the 2007 Nobel Prize for Peace (as Vice Chair, IPCC-AR4), for his seminal work on integrating global climate change policies into sustainable development strategy. In 2016, he received the top world energy award from the Energy Globe Foundation in Vienna, for outstanding work on energy, sustainable development and climate change. In 2015, he received three international accolades: 1) Excellence award from UNDP Administrator Helen Clarke, for outstanding contributions to sustainable, inclusive and resilient development and assisting UNDP build empowered lives and resilient nations; 2) Green Cross International (GCI) award for his outstanding contributions to global sustainable development, environmental protection, and the work of GCI; and 3) Teaching excellence award at the 2015 Asian Education Forum International Conference in Chengdu, China, for his outstanding global contributions to education on sustainable development. In 2014, he received the Eminence in Engineering Award for lifetime achievements - the highest accolade bestowed by the apex body Institute of Engineers, Sri Lanka. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science (D.Sc. - Honoris Causa) in 2013, by the Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, for exceptional global academic and research contribution in the fields of sustainable development, climate change, economics, energy and environment. In 2013, he was also made Distinguished Citizen and given the keys of the city of Santo Domingo, by President Danilo Medina of the Dominican Republic and Mayor Roberto Salcedo. He was honoured with the 2010 Sri Lanka Presidential award for excellence in scientific research. In 2009, the Open University of Sri Lanka awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Letters (D. Litt. - Honoris Causa) in recognition of his outstanding worldwide academic and research contributions to sustainable development, energy and climate change. In 2008, he was awarded the prestigious Anita Garibaldi Gold Medal for meritorious services to humanity from the Brazilian government. He was felicitated by the Sri Lanka government in 2008, for becoming the first Sri Lankan to share the prestigious Nobel Prize. In 2008, he also received a special award for exceptional contributions to environment and sustainable development and bringing great honour to Sri Lanka, from the Royal Commonwealth Society and Central Environment Authority of Sri Lanka. In 2007, he received the Sarvodaya (Sri Lanka) Award for outstanding contributions to Humanity, Peace and Development. In 2006, he shared the Zayed International Prize for Environment (jointly with other authors) for contributions to the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment, and received the Swarnavahini Sri Lanka Abhimanya (Excellence) Award. In 2005 he received the Sri Lanka Presidents award for environmental excellence, for exceptional contributions in the areas of environment and sustainable development. In 2005, the President of Bangladesh presented him with the Order of Fellowship of the Independent University of Bangladesh (Honoris Causa), for exceptional contributions to economics, energy and environment. In 2003, he received the award for outstanding lifetime achievements from a consortium of 16 major professional institutions in Sri Lanka. He was awarded the 2003 Adelman-Frankel prize for unique and innovative contributions to energy research, by the US Association of Energy Economics and the International Assoc. for Energy Economics (USAEE-IAEE).
In 1998, the green award for exceptional contributions to sustainable development was presented to him at the Sixth World Congress of the International Federation of Environmental Journalists. He received the international best treatise award and medal for sustainable water resource management from the International Foundation for Water Science and Technology at the 1994 World Water Congress in Abu Dhabi. In 1990, two commemorative volumes of his selected papers in energy and electricity were issued, with felicitations from eminent experts as well as 20 leading international journals. He received the international prize for outstanding work in electric power and energy systems analysis and pricing awarded in 1988 at the Fifth Latin American and Caribbean Energy Conference. In 1987, he was honoured with the annual award for exceptional contributions to energy research and policy applications by the International Assoc. for Energy Economics. In 1985, he received the Sinha Gold Medal for outstanding scientific achievement in Sri Lanka, from the Lions International Organization. His academic awards include the 1966 J. W. Beauchamp Prize from the Inst. of Electrical Engineers (UK), the 1968 Albert M. Grass Prize at MIT (USA), the 1970 Canada Commonwealth Scholarship, and Research and Teaching Fellowships at MIT, McGill and Concordia Universities .
He is a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, USA (FWAAS), Third World Academy of Sciences, Italy (FTWAS), Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics - Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Sciences, Sri Lanka (FNASSL), Royal Society for Arts, UK (FRSA), International Water Academy, Norway (FIWA), Institute of Electrical Technology, UK (FIET), and Institute of Engineers, Sri Lanka (FIESL).
Teaching and Training
He has taught university courses for the past 40 years, on climate change, energy, sustainable development, transport, resource management, water resources, and environmental economics, in Sri Lanka (Moratuwa Univ., Univ. of Colombo), Canada (McGill Univ., Concordia Univ.), UK (Cambridge Univ., Manchester Univ.), USA (Yale Univ., State Univ. of NY, American Univ., George Washington Univ., Univ. of Pennsylvania, Virginia State Univ.), Germany (Darmstadt Univ.), Brazil (Federal Univ. of Para, Federal Univ. of Rio de Janeiro), China (Peking Univ., Tsinghua Univ.), India (Institute of Economic Growth, IGIDR, and TERI Univ.), South Africa (Univ. of Cape Town), and other countries. Prof. Munasinghe is on Advisory Boards of several Universities, including Groningen Univ. (Netherlands), and Ritsumeikan Univ. (Japan). He has made numerous keynote speeches at gatherings ranging from high level international conferences to simple community meetings, worldwide. He has organized and conducted international training seminars on climate change, sustainable development, environment, economics, energy, transport, water resources, and information technology, in various parts of the world, for thousands of senior officials, researchers and students from many countries.
Prof. Munasinghe is Vice President of the Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA), and has represented Sri Lanka (Juniors) and Cambridge University in lawn tennis. He has won a number of Sri Lanka National Tennis and other titles. His interests include swimming, wind surfing, chess, bridge, amateur astronomy, saxophone playing, tai-chi, and meditation.