Air Vice Marshal Sagara Kotakadeniya appointed as Vice Chancellor KDU


Air Vice Marshal Sagara Kotakadeniya appointed as Vice Chancellor of Kotelawala Defence University (KDU)

By: Lin J

Air Vice Marshal Sagara Kotakadeniya has been appointed as the Vice Chancellor of the Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) with effect from January 14, 2019.

AVM Sagara Kotakadeniya becomes the 4th Vice Chancellor of the University since it is given the status of a University. AVM Upali Wannasinghe, AVM G. Y. De Silva and AVM Mooris Fernando are three other Air Force officers who were appointed to hold office as the Commandants of the then KDA whilst AVM Kotakadeniya becomes the 1st  Vice Chancellor to be appointed from the Sri Lanka Air Force to head this prestigious Defence University of Sri Lanka, where Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) now is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, United Kingdom.

Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Sagara Kotakadeniya was born in Kandy. He received his primary and secondary education from Sylvester College, Kandy. He enlisted to the Sri Lanka Air Force as an Officer Cadet on July 3, 1985 and was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in the General Duties Pilot Branch on January 1, 1987.

AVM Kotakadeniya is a qualified and battle hardened Air Force Officer who is a Graduate from the National Defence University Washington DC, USA, National Defence University Beijing and the University of Madras, India where he is bestowed with a Msc in Defence and Strategic Sstudies.

During his 33 years of service, he has held many staff and command appointments which include the Chief Instructor of the Air Wing at Defence Service Command and Staff College and Commanding Officer of No. 07 Squadron. Above all, he was the first Air Force officer who has had the rare privilege of commanding all six air bases in Sri Lanka Air Force including the prestigious Sri Lanka Air Force Academy China Bay. AVM Kotakadeniya is recognized as a VVIP rated pilot with over 5,000 flying hours and represents the AFBM as the Director of Logistics and Director Air Intelligence at Air Force Headquarters, Colombo.

In recognition of his acts of bravery during operations, he has been awarded with three gallantry medals as Weera Wickrama Vibushana (WWV), Rana Wickrama Padakkama (RWP) and Rana Sura Padakkama (RSP). Further, his distinguished and exemplary service has been recognized through Uttama Seva Padakkama (USP) and Sri Lanka Armed Services Long Service Medal in addition to the campaign and operational service medals.

With the wealth of experience and Airman-ship AVM Kotakadeniya possess, he is seen as one of the most fitting Senior Military Officers to hold the appointment as Vice Chancellor of this prestigious Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) in Sri Lanka.

Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, located at Kandawala, Ratmalana, Colombo, is a joint services academy where cadets of the three wings: Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Air Force are trained before they go for their pre-commission training to their academies. Established in 1980 as the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence Academy, named after General Sir John Kotelawala, 3rd Prime Minister of Ceylon, it was renamed as a university by an amendment bill passed in Parliament on October 11, 2007.

General Sir John Kotelawala Defence Acadamy was inaugurated on October 11, 1980 on a 48-acre estate donated by the late General Sir John Kotelawala, CH, KBE, LLD, a former Prime Minister of Ceylon.

The KDA was instituted with the objective of educating males and females to be commissioned officers in the armed forces of Sri Lanka. It has been legally established under the Sir John Kotelawala Defence Academy Act No. 68 of 1981 and is governed by a Board of Management consisting of the Secretary of the Defence as the chairman, Commanders of the tri-services, representatives of the University Grant Commission and the General Treasury..

From 1980 to 1986, a temporary arrangement was made for Service Officer Cadets follow courses in engineering and physical science at the University of Colombo and University of Moratuwa, and they were awarded the degree by the same universities. Later, KDA was elevated to university status subsequent to a proposal made to the then government headed by the President J. R. Jayewardene, thus enabling KDA to offer degrees in Defence Studies.

An amendment bill was passed in Parliament on March 18, 2007 granting the status of a state university to the KDA. On October 11, 2007 KDA was renamed as the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University.

KDU opened its Southern Campus at Sooriyawewa, Sri Lanka on May 5, 2015.

In October 2015 the KDU began to enroll paying students from foreign militaries starting with a batch of technical officers from the Oman Navy.

The KDA functions under the motto For The Motherland Forever, a dictum followed by General Sir John Kotelawala. wishes AVM Kotakadeniya all the very best in all his endeavours and may the defence University of Sri Lanka go from strength to strength under his stewardship!