Fr. Tissa Balasuriya OMI, Founder/ Chairperson of the Centre For Society & Religion (CSR) was born on the 29th August 1924 at Kahatagasdigiliya in the North Central Province in Sri Lanka to William & Victoria Balasuriya. He entered the University of Ceylon in 1942 and graduated in Economics winning to prestigious Kahn Gold Medal in 1945.
In August 1945, he joined the Novitiate of the Oblate Congregation and was ordained a priest in Rome obtaining the Licentiate in Philosophy in 1949 and in Theology in 1953. He did post Graduate studies in Oxford in Agricultural Economics and in Theology at the Catholic University of Paris.
Returning from Rome in 1953 as a young priest he helped begin Aquinas University College as the Registrar and later as Rector. In 1979 he was Asian Chaplain to the International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) He left Aquinas University College in 1971 to begin the Centre For Society & Religion whose objective is to help in the integral human liberation and fulfillment of the people of our country by their realization of human values in economic development with social justice and the deepening of our cultural and spiritual values.
As Director and Chairperson of the Centre For Society & Religion (CSR) his work has been many-sided. He has promoted inter religious inter generation inter gender understanding and environmental preservation. He has written much both books and articles locally and for foreign journals. His major publications include Jesus Christ & Human Liberation, Eucharist and Human Liberation, Mary and Human Liberation, Planetary Theology, Right Relationships, Sri Lanka Economy in Crisis, Catastrophe -July 1983, Doing Marian Theology, etc.
He is a founder member of the Citizen Committee for National Harmony and the Civil Rights Movement (CRM), People’s Action for Free and Fair Election(PAFFREL),the International Forum of Religious for Global Solidarity, the Forum of African Asian spirituality, Jubilee 1998, the Asian Meeting of Religious (AMOR) and the Ecumenical Association of the third World Theologians (EATWOT). He was also the editor of Logos, Quest, Social Justice and Sadharanaya, which are all published by CSR and was the editor of Voices of Third World Theology (1985-1992).
In his endeavour to liberate the marginalized and oppressed in Sri Lanka he was often being misunderstood, but his love for justice and people has helped him to continue his work undeterred. His efforts for ethnic peace, human rights and for the urban and rural poor and his resolute struggle against the sale of Sri Lanka’s resources to foreigners are well known. His work for peace and justice has been aptly appreciated abroad too. he has been invited to attend numerous seminars and conference in Sri Lanka and abroad, and has conducted courses in prestigious universities in the United States, Europe and U.K. he was also appointed as the titular of the Chair of Faith and Social Justice of the Faculty of Theology, St. Paul University, Ottawa, Canada.