Sugath Rathnayake – Yunnan University

From Sri Lanka, Sugath Rathnayake came to China to work in the media industry six years ago. In 2020, he became a teacher of the Sinhalese language in Yunnan University, Kunming city, southwest China’s Yunnan Province. To let the students better study the language, he established a library of the Sinhalese language, with the help of his family and colleagues, hoping to facilitate China-Sri Lanka friendship by teaching the language.

Credit: People’s Daily Online

YNU foreign language teacher boosts China-Sri Lanka ties

A foreign language teacher at Yunnan University (YNU) – located in Kunming, capital of Southwest China’s Yunnan province – is reportedly making a major difference in boosting mutual understanding and working relations between China and Sri Lanka.

To help bolster economic and language planning in countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), YNU became involved as one of four universities in China to set up a Sinhalese language major in 2020.

Sugath Rathnayake, a foreign language teacher at YNU, sits at one of his favorite spots. [Photo/WeChat account of YNU]

The Sinhalese language is one of the official languages of Sri Lanka. The country has been in contact with China ever since the 1st century and the two countries have established stable economic, trade and cultural ties.

Sugath Rathnayake graduated from the University of Kelaniya in Sri Lanka with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in mass media. He fell in love with Yunnan as a reporter with the Sinhalese department of China Radio International, and as a result, he moved from Beijing to Yunnan to become a language teacher at YNU.

“The fact that Yunnan’s 26 ethnic groups live together in harmony is an example of ethnic unity around the world,” Sugath said.

Sugath writes the acronym YNU in Chinese with a Chinese calligraphy brush pen. [Photo/WeChat account of YNU]

With the implementation of the BRI, exchanges of trade and cultural activities between China and Sri Lanka have become more frequent. Sugath hopes that the students he trains will be able to facilitate communications between Sri Lanka and China, to improve friendship and understanding between the two countries.

Sugath plans to open a Sinhalese language library at YNU and organize a series of activities to promote students’ understanding of Sri Lankan culture and exchanges between the nations.

Watch Video at

Scroll to Top