Given we’ve just finished celebrating LIRNEasia’s fifth anniversary, I could not but notice a rather striking compliment in a piece published to mark the death anniversary of Professor Cyril Ponnamperuma, a great Sri Lankan who gave me my first job , post-PhD. The author, Nalaka Gunawardene, is a person we partner with on occasion and a good friend. But anyone who knows Nalaka will have no doubt that he speaks his mind without fear or favor.
Looking at the 2009 December piece, I also came across an earlier post that refers to LIRNEasia in the context of innovative organizations:
If we want to nurture imagination and innovation, we must first learn from the mistakes of the recent past. Obsolete institutions and ossified policies will need to be reformed. Worthy senior academics now past their prime should gracefully retire, or at a minimum, stay out of the way.
Pursuit of this ideal need not be the exclusive domain (or burden) of the state. In fact, private efforts can nurture innovation faster and better. Two current initiatives augur well for the future: LIRNEasia and Institute for Research and Development (IRD). Interestingly, both are headed by returning diaspora scientists who completely ignore the local hierarchies.