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Fellows & Research Associates

Priyanthi Fernando, MA (Leicester)
Independent Development Consultant

Priyanthi Fernando, has a Masters Degree in Mass Communications from the University of Leicester and a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Peradeniya. A social development professional with over 30 years of experience both in Sri Lanka and overseas, she has worked in the areas of technology, infrastructure and poverty. She has led a specialist global network, managed the Sri Lankan arm of an international NGO, and worked with a grassroots women's organization.  Priyanthi was the Executive Director of the Centre for Poverty Analysis till February 2015 and is now an international consultant on gender, post war, transport, and communication.

Areas of interest: Inclusive Development, Institutional Change, Gender, Networking and Communication

Ramani Gunatilaka, PhD (Monash)
Freelance Consultant

Ramani Gunatilaka works as an independent consultant in Sri Lanka and the region. She is also a member of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Colombo and a Director, Centre for Poverty Analysis, Sri Lanka. She holds a BSc in economics from University College London, an MSc in development economics from the University of Oxford, and a doctorate in applied econometrics from Monash University. She has published internationally, in the areas of income distribution, labour markets and subjective well-being.

Areas of Interest: Economic Analysis in the areas of Inequality, Poverty, Labour Markets and Micro Finance

Dileni Gunewardena, PhD (American)
Professor, University of Peradeniya

Dileni Gunewardena is Professor (Chair) of Economics at the University of Peradeniya. She holds a doctorate from the American University and a Bachelors Degree from the University of Peradeniya. Her research is mainly in Development Microeconomics and includes empirical analyses relating to poverty measurement, child nutrition, gender wage inequality and ethnic inequality in Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Dileni has been involved in the design of Policy Frameworks for Poverty Alleviation in Sri Lanka and in analyses for progress towards the Millennium Development Goals in Sri Lanka. Having been a Fulbright Scholar at the University of California-Riverside, and a visiting scholar at University of Warwick, U.K, she is currently an Echidna Global Scholar at the Brookings Institute, Washington, D.C.

Areas of Interest: Development Microeconomics, Poverty and Inequality

Nihal Perera, PhD (Binghamton University)
Professor, Ball State University

Nihal Perera is Professor Chair of the Department of Urban Planning at Ball State University and the founder and Director of CapAsia, an immersive semester programme based on collaboration in Asia for American students.  In addition to teaching in the USA, he has taught in Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.  The two-time Fulbright Scholar awardee: to China (2006–07) and Myanmar (2015-16) was also Senior Research Fellow at the National University of Singapore (2010) and Melting Pot Fellow at KMITL, Bangkok.  He has also received three Fulbright-Hays awards and a Graham Foundation award.  Dr. Perera, a leading scholar of social space, focuses his research on how people create/negotiate their own spaces (i.e., create lived spaces).  His publications include articles on Feminizing the City, competing modernities in Chandigarh, competing visions for Dharavi and books entitled Decolonizing Ceylon, Transforming Asian Cities, and People’s Spaces.  His recent publication is a special issue of the Bhumi journal on Development.

Georg E. Frerks, PhD (Wageningen)
CEPA Research Fellow

Georg Frerks has a PhD in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and a Master’s in RuralDevelopment Sociology from Wageningen University, the Netherlands. He has been Professor of Conflict Prevention and Conflict Management at the Centre for Conflict Studies, Utrecht University, holds the Chair of International Security Studies at the Netherlands Defence Academy and was the Professor of Disaster Studies at Wageningen University till mid-2014. Trained as a sociologist, he specialises in contemporary conflict and emergencies. With a long-term experience in diplomacy and policy advice, Frerks is interested in the sociological and governance aspects of conflict and disasters. Frerks has a distinguished record in the evaluation and monitoring of development, conflict and disaster programmes and has published widely on the subject of his research.

Areas of interest: Contemporary conflict, Emergencies, Conflict and disasters, Policy & Governance