New York Times, Sunday, March 23, 1958
Here Does Triple Duty
U.N. Delegate, a Buddhist Scholar, Is a Graduate Student at
Three-ring circuses have nothing on a 38-year-old Ceylonese
Buddhist who is seeing New York for the first time.
The Venerable Havanpola Ratanasara does triple duty as an alternate
delegate to the United Nations, a full-time Columbia University
graduate student and a devoted practitioner of Buddhism. In
his spare time he tours the city on foot.
Though Mr. Ratanasara is new to this country, his diversified
abilities are even newer to his classmates at Teachers College,
where he is studying for a masters degree in education.
He is an expert in Singhalese, an honor graduate of a school
for Buddhist monks and personal friend of Ceylons Prime
Minister, Solomon Bandaranaike.
A lively little man with a flair for Oriental languages, Mr.
Ratanasara has a habit of speaking rapid-fire English in candid
Scorns Power Bloc
You Americans believe in atomic bombs, hydrogen bombs
and all those things, he said the other day. Well,
we dont. We are peace-loving people and want no association
with any power bloc.
When the United Nations General Assembly was meeting last fall,
Mr. Ratanasara regularly attended the all-day sessions of the
Social; Humanitarian and Cultural affairs Committee, to which
he is attached as a member of the Ceylonese delegation.
Sitting in the United Nations chambers, garbed in his
native yellow robes, Mr. Ratanasara can rely on a varied background
to serve him in his work on the committee.
In Ceylon he was a school principal. He was educated at a school
for Buddhist monks, where he received a bachelors degree
in Pali, the official language of Buddhism. In addition, Mr.
Ratanasara gave frequent radio talks on Ceylons educational
system, and plans to become an instructor in languages when
he returns home.
At the end of a days diplomatic sword-clashing, Mr. Ratanasara
leaves for Columbia. His classes there usually begin at 5 P.M.
The rest of the evening, and well into the early morning, he
spends studying for the next days classes.
Its a bit tiring at times. He grins, But
I manage all right.
Mr. Ratanasara is the only Ceylonese at Teachers College. He
arrived last September as an exchange student on a fellowship
grant from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization. Shortly after his arrival, he became an alternate
United Nations delegate and got the title Venerable to go with
his new position.
Between politics, studies and Buddhism, Mr. Ratanasara finds
time to visit various points in the United States. He will visit
Harvard next month.
Teachers College officials have considered asking him to stay
on for a Ph.D. after he gets his masters this June.
Its another two years, Mr. Ratanasara muses.
But Id do it. After all, Im getting to like