Professor Madduma Bandara, was educated at the University Peradeniya, Sri Lanka and the University of Cambridge, England. At Cambridge he specialized in Fluvial Geomorphology and obtained his Doctoral Degree in 1971. He began his academic teaching career at the Colombo University. After graduate studies in Cambridge, he returned to his home university of Peradeniya, where he served for over forty years. There he became the Head of the Department of Geography and rose to the rank of Professor on Merit. Subsequently, he served as the Vice-Chancellor of the same University for three years. On his retirement, he was conferred the title of ‘Emeritus Professor’ by the University Senate.
Professor Madduma Bandara also had the experience of working at several universities overseas, including the University of Ilorin, Nigeria (1977-79), Cambridge, UK (1987),Tokyo University (2000), University of Tsukuba (1997), UN University (1999), and Kyoto University (2007-2008) as a Guest Professor. He also had the opportunity of working for brief spells at several international organizations such as the World Bank, USAID, NORAD (Norwegian), GTZ (German) and the (IUCN). He played a vital policy advisory role to the Government of Sri Lanka in the capacities of Chairman of the Presidential Land Commission, Chairman of the Interim National Water Resources Authority, Chairman of the Academic Board of the National Institute of Education and the Chairman of the National Environmental Council.
Research studies of Professor Madduma Bandara were mostly focused on issues pertaining to environment, land policy, and water resources. Some of his key contributions were in the fields of watershed management, coastal zone planning, agro-well development and in the culture-environment inter-face dealing with traditional knowledge systems. He had been primarily responsible for the development of the ‘concept of tank cascade systems’, promotion of agro-wells in the dry zone, and in the formulation of first National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP). In particular he is well known for his proposal for re-demarcation of the Provinces of Sri Lanka based on river basin watersheds. He has over 100 research papers and publications to his credit, of which some are in reputed international journals. He was honoured with a D Sc (Hon.) and received an award of merit from Lanka Jalani (Sri Lanka National Counterpart of the Global Water Partnership), for his contributions to the water sector. He is also a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka and the Royal Geographical Society of London.