Jayantha Dhanapala is a former United Nations under secretary-general for disarmament affairs (1998-2003) and a former ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United States (1995-7) and the UN in Geneva (1984-87).
Dhanapala is currently the 11th president of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs; vice chairman of the governing board of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute and member of several other advisory boards of international bodies.
As a Sri Lankan diplomat, Dhanapala worked in London, Beijing, Washington D.C., New Delhi and Geneva and represented Sri Lanka at many international conferences, including chairing the historic nonproliferation treaty review and extension conference of 1995. He was director of the UN Institute for Disarmament Research from 1987-92.
Dhanapala has received many international awards and honorary doctorates, has published five books and several articles in international journals and lectured widely. He speaks Sinhala, English, Chinese and French. He is married and has a daughter and a son.