Harith Wickrema, President
Harith Wickrema is an innovative educator, hospitality visionary and award-winning event producer who has been recognized internationally for sustainability and environmental responsibility over his 30+ year career, including president of Harith Productions, his global event production company. At Temple University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, where Wickrema served on the Dean’s Council and has been a faculty member for more than a decade, he designed the university’s first ever sustainable/CSR event management curriculum. He also introduced the Green Initiatives Awards to recognize corporate sustainable leaders as well as encourage future leaders to champion environmental causes.
In February 2015, Wickrema had the honor of being invited to speak on the subject of Peace through Tourism at the IIPT World Symposium on Sustainable and Peaceful Communities and Nations in South Africa, endorsed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General, UN World Tourism Organization among the keynote speakers.
As chief visionary officer at Eco Serendib Villa and Spa on St. John, Wickrema was included among Lodging’s Top Ten Hospitality Innovators in the area of Sustainability. Eco Serendib was created with the mission to give back to the community and protect the environment while providing a luxurious “edutaining” guest experience in harmony with nature. Eco Serendib is a showplace of luxury eco-conscious living with elements touching all areas: energy management, waste & water conservation, environmental purchasing, community engagement and design. Through the signature “Seed to Plate” experience, the onsite organic garden is custom-planted to guests’ specifications and harvest-ready upon their arrival. Guests receive lessons in green gardening with the resident horticulturist as well as healthy gourmet meal preparation instruction via chef demonstrations.
Green contributions extend beyond the borders of retreat as well. To date, $45,000 has been funneled to conservation efforts on St. John. In addition to support of IGLA projects, in 2012 the Eco Serendib Beach Restoration Project was initiated in partnership with Friends of the VI National Park to plant indigenous trees at area beaches to lessen the carbon footprint while combating the devastating impact of erosion. Guests have the opportunity to become involved hands-on with the efforts through assisting with planting, cultivating and irrigation as well as tours and demonstrations.
In January 2016, Wickrema was sworn in as vice-chairman of the Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority board. He is president of IGLA, trustee of the Green Meeting Industry Council Foundation (GMIC), among others, and is the former president of the ISES Foundation. As chairman of SITE’s Crystal Awards and Education Committee, Wickrema implemented sustainability as a key component in measuring and rewarding success in the incentive industry. He has been honored with 80+ awards/ nominations including GALA, ESPRIT, CRYSTAL, EIBTM, Motivation Master, Greenest Planner Award, Successful Meetings Super Six, Event Solutions International Event Planner of the Year Award and two-time Good Samaritan nominee.