May 24, 2019

Oxford honours Asha de Vos

Dr Asha de Vos, internationally acclaimed Sri Lankan marine biologist and ocean educator will become the first Sri Lankan woman to have her portrait hung at Oxford’s Lincoln College 15th Century Hall.

Being a marine biologist, ocean educator and pioneer of blue whale research within the Northern Indian Ocean, she is also the first Sri Lankan with a PhD in marine mammal research.

“In 2020 my college, Lincoln, will celebrate 40 years of admitting women. To celebrate they will hang the portraits of 20 female alumnae in our 15th Century Hall for the year. These are aimed to inspire current students and future applicants. A jury had the tough task of picking the 20 faces that best portrayed the women that have passed through over the 4 decades. I am so excited to say that I am one of them - making me the first Sri Lankan woman to have her portrait anywhere in the University!” She posted on her Facebook Account last Saturday.

Prior to this achievement, she was chosen for a BBC 100 Women award in 2018, named a Senior TED Fellow, and selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Early this year, she was named one of 12 Women Changemakers by the Parliament of Sri Lanka.

“I only spent 1 year in Oxford but it shows that the time I spent there is not all that counts. My over-arching journey to date is what will inspire others to dream and believe… My name means ‘Hope’ and I want to continue to be that, not just for our oceans and planet but also for my country. Because I’m grateful for the privilege to be Sri Lankan and to call this island Home,” she commented in her Facebook post.

Asha de Vos completed her undergraduate studies in marine and environmental studies at University of St. Andrews in Scotland, MSc at the University of Oxford and PhD from the University of Western Australia.