Professor Janaka Ruwanpura wins Top 25 Canadian Immigrants Award

Janaka Ruwanpura

Janaka Ruwanpura


Sri Lankan-born Janaka Ruwanpura is the Vice-Provost -International (VPI) at the University of Calgary, has won the Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards.

An esteemed professor and scholar in construction engineering and project management, a professional engineer and quantity surveyor, and an award-winning academic leader and administrator, Janaka Ruwanpura, PhD, serves many roles. 

If you’ve been watching soccer on television lately, you’ll have seen this Top 25 Canadian Immigrant on the sidelines — coach John Herdman has been making Canada proud leading the national men’s team to the World Cup. He’s in good company on the 14th annual Top 25 Canadian Immigrants Awards list; other winners include Paul Sun Hyung-Lee, actor of Kim’s Convenience fame; Canada’s chief statistician Anil Arora; Ontario MPP Bhutila Karpoche and federal Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra, among other inspiring immigrants from making Canada a better place.


Born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Ruwanpuracame to Alberta as an international student in1997, became a permanent resident in 1999 anda citizen in 2002.

“Canada not only attracts immigrantsunder various categories but also sets themup for success. I am genuinely a successfuloutcome of that model,” he says.

But everything he has achieved can also beattributed to his personal seven-point “recipefor success.”

“Point #1: Set a vision with realistic plans andtargets,” Ruwanpura says. “Two, have excellencein leadership.”

Point #3 is taking risks. “You will have totake risks throughout your life if you want tosucceed. Some of your decisions may be wrong,but you learn from those mistakes.”

That leads to Point #4 — patience. “You must learn to be patient as things may not always turnout the way you planned. Be patient and ensureyou try again.”

Next comes Point #5: “Be optimistic aboutwhat you plan to do, have confidence in yourselfand give more than 100 per cent commitmentto achieve your goals,” he says, adding that Point#6 is knowing how to multitask.

Finally, for Point #7, he says: “Be happy andhave fun. Set aside time to relax. Enjoy what youare doing, and it will help increase your energyand motivation to climb the tallest tree.”

Presented by Western Union, Canadian Immigrant magazine’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards is the only national awards program that celebrates the achievements of inspiring Canadian immigrants. Winners are chosen from coast to coast, from diverse cultures and demographics, and different backgrounds and industries. This year’s program is also once again supported by Costi.

“We are so pleased to celebrate such amazing immigrants for the 14th year, now with the support of our presenting partner, Western Union,” says Sanjay Agnihotri, publisher, Canadian Immigrant magazine. “This year’s winners have shared their amazing stories of their journeys to Canada, and they are all truly inspiring examples of immigrant success stories.”

Former winner of Top 25 Canadian Immigrant awards Dr. Sivakumar Gulasingam with Sri Lanka High Commissioner to Canada Kumara Navaratne and Janaka Ruwanpura at the reception for this year’s winners.

“As a purpose-driven organization, Western Union stands together with our Canadian customers to harness the power of remittances, giving them the means to foster greater economic opportunity, while creating vibrant, welcoming communities,” said Serra Pinto Avimlah, Go to Market Manager for Western Union Canada. “Today, as sponsor of these prestigious awards, we celebrate success and recognize the numerous contributions from those who have moved to Canada from all parts of the world. We stand here to support them as they continue their journey in their new country.”

Among the Top 25, we have again selected one winner as our Youth Award recipient, and one as our Entrepreneur Award winner. Nigerian-born tech entrepreneur Tosin Ajibola, 26, from New Brunswick is our 2022 Youth Award winner and Mexican-born Karla Briones, a serial entrepreneur and entrepreneurship professor, columnist and consultant from Ottawa, is our Entrepreneur Award winner.

The Top 25 Canadian Immigrants of 2022 were chosen after an extensive nomination, judging, shortlisting and public online voting process. Hundreds of nominations were received, from which 75 finalists were shortlisted by a diverse judging panel of past winners. Over 60,000 online votes were cast at The 25 winners were chosen based on a combination of votes and judges’ merit scores.

The awards program is further supported by the Toronto Star, CityTV, Sing Tao Media and OMNI Television.