A former president of the World Bank, James Wolfensohn, has praised a new book about Sri Lanka written by an academic from The University of Western Australia.
To be launched today, Emeritus Professor Laksiri Jayasuriya's work documents the shift from a country with a unique social welfare structure to one marked by warfare.
"Professor Jayasuriya has combined great analytical skills with deep scholarship and has brought home to us the particular circumstances of his country's development as a colony to its current independence," Mr Wolfensohn writes in his review of Taking Social Development Seriously: the Experience of Sri Lanka.
"This is a fascinating history of an island country," Mr Wolfensohn continues. "This work is valuable for its analysis of Sri Lanka but is unique in the way it takes a scholarly view of the experiences of (Professor Jayasuriya's) own country to provide us with an overview of global social development in the last two centuries, while outlining the challenges which face us in the decades ahead. This is indeed a remarkable work."
Appointed by US President Bill Clinton, Mr Wolfensohn led the World Bank for two terms: from 1995 to 2005. In 2006, he established the Washington-based Wolfensohn Centre for Development. The Centre's projects include global programs aimed at combating poverty and reforms of international global governance.
Honorary Senior Research Fellow in UWA's Discipline of Social Work and Social Policy, Professor Jayasuriya graduated from the University of Sydney in 1954 and obtained his PhD from the University of London's School of Economics and Political Science.
In his new book, published by Sage, he identifies three phases of development of social policy in Sri Lanka - early, late and post-colonial state. And he argues that social development in the country has been reframed by a combination of neo-liberalism and a protracted civil war.
The book will be launched by the Most Reverend Roger Herft, Anglican Archbishop of Perth, a Sri Lankan expatriate, at 5.30pm on Tuesday 14 September in the Theatre Auditorium of UWA's University Club.