Missaka Hettiarachchi

"I thoroughly enjoy engaging with real-time problems at the community level."


What are your core responsibilities and duties in your current job?

I currently live and work in Sri Lanka as a Senior Fellow in the World Wildlife Fund's (WWF) Environment and Disaster Management Program.

My duties entail developing guidelines for environmentally responsible disaster management, with a special focus on floods. I also conduct related training and policy advocacy in Asia Pacific countries with local partners.

I work with different communities and engage with policy-makers, and I thoroughly enjoy engaging with real-time problems at the community level.


Why did you choose to study at UQ?

I’m originally from Sri Lanka, and I chose UQ to complete my PhD because of its international reputation and strengths in environmental management research.

I was fortunate to receive an Australian Post Graduate Scholarship, a UQ Advantage Scholarship, and a UQ-CSIRO Natural Resource Management Research Fellowship to assist with my studies.


What advice do you have for students considering a career in the environment?

I would recommend UQ without any hesitation to prospective undergraduate or postgraduate students aspiring to a career in environmental sciences, environmental management, planning, geography or development practice.

My studies in environmental planning, and their focus on developing countries, help a lot in my work today.


What did you enjoy most about your studies?

I enjoyed the opportunity to join my School’s postgraduate social group, as well as the UQ student action for refugees and social tennis and canoe clubs.

After my studies I was able to contribute to teaching and research in the Faculty of Science as an Adjunct Senior Fellow.


What are your plans for the future?

In future I hope to continue to contribute, both academically and as a practitioner, to mainstream environmental planning in development decision-making in the South and Southeast Asian regions.

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Missaka Hettiarachchi

Missaka Hettiarachchi

Job title
Senior Fellow, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Environment and Disaster Management Program


Profile published 2017

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