President (Since November 2018)
Ms. Maria V Urgel otherwise known as Mitos Urgel is the President and CEO of the World Fair Trade Organization in Asia, an alliance of over 120 Guaranteed Fair Trade Enterprises in Asia promoting justice in International trade. She is also the President and CEO of WEAVE (Women' s Education for Advancement and Empowerment) which has a Foundation and a Fair Trade enterprise subsidiary in Thailand. For over 25 years now, Mitos passionately and actively works to advance the rights, status and dignity of women including the refugees and underprivileged indigenous women and their children in Thai, Myanmar and other part of Asia via education and economic empowerment interventions. In 2012, she founded the WEAVE Fair Trade Enterprise in Thailand.
Dr. K Panchaksharam
Vice President (Since August 2022)
Dr. Panchaksharam has been involved in social enterprises and Fair Trade for over four decades. He holds a Master’s in Economics from Madras University as well as an honorary Doctorate in Social Entrepreneurship. He became interested in social justice and gender equality while working with activists in India. He continued this work by joining SIPA, South India’s first Fair Trade network, and going on to serve as Vice Chair of WFTO. Dr. Panchaksharam’s extensive portfolio of work includes lobbying for a Code of Ethics in Fair Trade, serving as President of Fair Trade Forum-India, and being part of the founding team of WFTO Asia.
Treasurer (Since August 2022)
Born and bread in Colombo, and educated at St. Peter’s College Bambalapitiya, Mr. Shiran Karunaratne is a man who deserve admiration for the many roles he has player in our society. When some of us are reluctant to move away from the environment that we have been used to for obvious reasons, Mr. Karunaratne had other ideas for very good reasons of course.
Instead he chose to operate from Madampe – a remote town located far away from where he spent his entire child hood. He not only chose Madampe as his new home but did what he could to make this remote village gain recognition, generate income opportunities and above all bring it on per with other better know cities in the country. He was always confident that way forward was to harness the combined resources that are at their disposal and hence a need to form a movement that can facilitate this process. This vision saw him forming the Puttlam District Chamber of Commerce for Industry and Agriculture in the year 2006 with the support of some prominent entrepreneurs from the area, who were in fact his personal friends.
Since taking that vital initiative, in his capacity as the Founder President of the Chamber, Mr Karunaratne has rendered an invaluable service to its members and the region at large where by making a significant impact on the well being of the people in this region. His contribution to the District chamber led him to be appointed as a Director Regional for the Federation of chambers of Commerce of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) at FCCISL he introduced the concept of the “Differently able Entrepreneur of the year” of Sri Lanka.
In his capacity as a successful industrialist, his achievements are too many to be mentioned. He has to date received as many as 16 national awards thus underlining his commitment to quality, productivity and above all business acumen – a rare success story.
A keen social worker who is an active participant in religious and community work, for Mr. Karunaratne, it’s all about giving – imparting knowledge, advising, supporting, encouraging and guiding people which in his view will take us even greater heights in our lives.
Shiran joined his father’s business in 1976 as a trainee in production of wooden toys. In the year 1983, he was appointed as a Director – Production in the organization. !999 he had the opportunity to be trained in to international marketing with CBI – Netherlands.
In the year 1985 when the Fair Trade concept was getting popular around the world, it was decided that Gospel House Handicrafts will follow the concept and run the organization on the social concept. Thereafter the organization commenced its work with the Fair Trade organizations and became a producer member of the World Fair Trade organization. Now the organization is a Fair Trade guaranteed certified organization and the world’s first specialized wooden toy manufacturing organization to be certified. GHH is now in over 26 countries and is specialized for educational wooden toys for kids from the age of 6 months to 5 years. You can see some of our toys www.woodbrix.com the main production center is equipped with modern machines.
Mr. Karunaratne was appointed as a representative to the advisory committee for giftware, toys and lifestyle products sector of the Sri Lanka Export Development Board. Also he was the Vice President of the International Christian Chambers of Commerce for Sri Lanka (ICCC) from 1993-96. He pioneered the development of “Cert-CAB” computer course for Puttalam District Chamber in partnership with the Colombo University – IHRA bringing University education to the District. It is now being conducted by many regional chambers of the country. Shiran is the Managing Director of Gospel House Handicrafts Ltd, a fully export oriented organization manufacturing wooden toys and games.
Achievements of Mr. Shiran Karunaratne
**Managing Director Gospel House Handicrafts.
** Diploma in Production Management by NIBM
** Obtained the Diploma in International Exhibition Marketing at CBI Netherlands.
** Member of Netherlands Alumni Association of Sri Lanka
** 1996 Appointed as Vice President International Christian Chambers of Commerce -Lanka
** 2006 Founder President Puttalam District Chambers of Commerce
**2007 Board member Business for Peace Alliance. Network of regional Chambers
**2010 Appointed Director – Federation of Chambers of Commerce Sri Lanka
** 2010 Appointed to the general council of SCARC Chambers of Commerce.
**2013 Appointed as the Vice – President of Federation of Chambers of commerce Sri Lanka
** 2019 – Was awarded the “Thambapani Hall of Fame by the Puttalm District Chamber of Commerce (PDCCIA) for his contribution to the business community.
** 2021 July – Invited to join the World Fair Trade (Asia) Board (WFTO –Asia) as a Director
** 2021 April Appointed Director /Board member of Vision 2040 Ltd.
** 2021 July - appointed as a member to the NATIONAL MIRROR COMMITTEE ON ISO / TC 181 – SAFETY OF TOYS by Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI).
** 2022 January - selected as one of panelists by Uva Wellassa University for Round Table (RT) discussion - Topic: Government Policy Support and Private Financing for Impact
Hani Wardani Duarsa
Secretary (Since November 2018)
Hani Wardani Duarsa is from Indonesia. She is a graduate of Law at Bali’s Udayana University. After nearly a decade in the banking industry, she served as Marketing Manager at the popular travel and lifestyle magazine Latitudes. Duarsa joined Mitra Bali Fair Trade as Trading Manager in 2004. She has been involved in key Fair Trade-related trainings and organizations, including sitting the Board of the Indonesian Furniture and Craft Industry Association.
Asia Representative to WFTO Global (Since September 2019)
Sunil Chitrakar is the CEO at Mahaguthi Craft with Conscience, a Fair Trade Enterprises promoting sustainable livelihoods in Nepal founded in 2002. Sunil has been engaged in social enterprise promotion and SMEs development through capacity development, training and coaching. He has been serving as VP at Fair Trade Group Nepal as well as VP at Federation of Handicraft Association of Nepal. He is also a faculty member at School of Management, TU and Nepal Open University teaching social entrepreneurship development.
WFTO Global Independent Director/EX Officio Invitee (Since September 2019)
Indro Dasgupta works for Craft Resource Center, India. Previously, Indro worked in the corporate sector in various roles for 17 years before he decided to be a full-time Fair Trader. He firmly believes that income generation for marginalized artisans, through Fair Trade, is one of the most viable routes to alleviating the alarming and chronic levels of poverty and income inequality that we observe in the world today. Indro holds Bachelors and Master’s degrees in Economics from the University of Calcutta and the University of Delhi, India. He earned his Ph.D. in Economics from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, where he also serves as Adjunct Faculty in Economics.
Swapan Kumar Das
WFTO Global Director/EX Officio Invitee (Since August 2022)
Mr. Swapan Kumar Das started his career with the Mennonite Central Committee (www.mcc.org) in
Mid-eighties as an Agricultural Extensions to motivate the grassroots farmers to cultivate soybeans as
One of the new crops in Bangladesh. Later, he moved to work in the Job Creation Program of MCC which
was involved in establishing income generation projects for the rural unskilled women by providing
them product design and development trainings and creating market linkages for their handmade
products. Throughout his career over 2 and half decades with MCC, Mr. Das was able to prove himself
as an exceptional leader in the fields of financial management, accounting, auditing, administrative and
liason functions. In 2010, he moved to Prokritee fair trade company in Bangladesh
(www.prokritee.com) to serve as its CEO.
In addition to his regular role with Prokritee, Mr. Das, has been playing the roles of Chairperson of
ECOTA Fair Trade Forum Limited (www.eftfbd.org), the National Country Network of fair trade
organizations in Bangladesh for the last seven years, Vice-President of WFTO-Asia (www.wfto-asia.com)
For the last four years, and one of Directors of Jute Sector Industry Skills Council (ISC) of the National
Skills Development Authority (www.nsda.gov.bd) of government of Bangladesh.