Analysts

The Media Analysis
Analysts
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Nishan de Mel

Nishan de Mel, Executive Director and Head of Research, is an economist with extensive academic, policy and private sector experience. Nishan taught and researched economics at Oxford and Harvard universites. In the 1990s, he sat on multiple Presidential Task Forces in Sri Lanka, playing an instrumental role in designing national policies on Health Sector Reform, Social Security and Tobacco & Alcohol. He also served as the Executive Director of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies and the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute. He sits on multiple private sector boards and consults regularly as a strategist for some of the region's largest firms. Nishan completed his undergraduate studies at Harvard University, and his graduate studies at Oxford University, where he was a Chevening Scholar. 

Gehan Gunatilleke

Gehan Gunatilleke, Research Director, is a lawyer and academic specialising in international human rights and public law. He teaches post-graduate courses on human rights, democratisation and development at the University of Colombo and the Open University of Sri Lanka. He is a former advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Sri Lanka) on international human rights treaty compliance. Gehan's recent publications include Confronting the Complexity of Loss: Perspectives on Truth, Memory and Justice in Sri Lanka (2015) and The Chronic and the Acute: Post-War Religious Violence in Sri Lanka (2015). He was a Fulbright scholar at Harvard Law School, and is currently a Commonwealth scholar at New College, University of Oxford.

Subhashini Abeysinghe

Subhashini Abeysinghe, Research Director, is an economist specialising in trade. With a decade of experience at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Intelligence Unit, she has an in-depth understanding of Sri Lanka’s economy, especially its international trade. Subhashini is also an expert on multilateral and regional trade agreements. . Subhashini has extensive access to people and data in both the private and public sector. She has a B.A. and M.A. from Colombo and an M.A from the World Trade Institute. 

Malathy Knight

Malathy Knight, Research Director, is a senior economist. Former head of industry, public enterprise reform and regulatory research at the Institute of Policy Studies, she has written leading studies in these areas and has served on many government commissions. Malathy sits on the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Planning Committee and is a fellow at the Centre for Competition, Investment and Economic Regulation in India. She publishes regularly in international and local journals and has a B.A. from Swarthmore, an M.A. from Colombo and a Ph.D from Manchester. 

Nirasha Jayetileke

Nirasha Jayetileke, Deputy Director Business Development & Operations has held positions of Administration, Grant Management and Communications in the Development Sector including the United Nations Development Programme. Nirasha has a Masters in Business Administration ( Manipal, India) and Post Graduate Diploma Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), UK. 

 

Buddhika Perera

Buddhika Perera, Research Manager, has held several management, teaching and research positions, in both Sri Lanka and the USA. He is a past President of the graduate student council of the University governance program of North Dakota State and actively promoted educational policy reform at a university and state level. Buddhika has a B.Sc (Minnesota) and M.B.A (North Dakota) and is interested in topics related to Organisational Economics, Organisational Behaviour and Economic Sustainability. 

Nishan de Mel

Nishan de Mel, Executive Director and Head of Research, is an economist with extensive academic, policy and private sector experience. Nishan taught and researched economics at Oxford and Harvard universites. In the 1990s, he sat on multiple Presidential Task Forces in Sri Lanka, playing an instrumental role in designing national policies on Health Sector Reform, Social Security and Tobacco & Alcohol. He also served as the Executive Director of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies and the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute. He sits on multiple private sector boards and consults regularly as a strategist for some of the region's largest firms. Nishan completed his undergraduate studies at Harvard University, and his graduate studies at Oxford University, where he was a Chevening Scholar. 

Subhashini Abeysinghe

Subhashini Abeysinghe, Research Director, is an economist specialising in trade. With a decade of experience at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Intelligence Unit, she has an in-depth understanding of Sri Lanka’s economy, especially its international trade. Subhashini is also an expert on multilateral and regional trade agreements. . Subhashini has extensive access to people and data in both the private and public sector. She has a B.A. and M.A. from Colombo and an M.A from the World Trade Institute. 

Malathy Knight

Malathy Knight, Research Director, is a senior economist. Former head of industry, public enterprise reform and regulatory research at the Institute of Policy Studies, she has written leading studies in these areas and has served on many government commissions. Malathy sits on the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Planning Committee and is a fellow at the Centre for Competition, Investment and Economic Regulation in India. She publishes regularly in international and local journals and has a B.A. from Swarthmore, an M.A. from Colombo and a Ph.D from Manchester. 

Vidya Nathaniel

Vidya Nathaniel, Team Leader has worked on a wide range of projects relating to land rights, economic development, environmental protection and constitutional reform, among others. She received a LLB from the University of London and a LLM in International Development Law and Human Rights from the University of Warwick, where she was a Commonwealth Scholar

Dileni Gunewardena

Professor Dileni Gunewardena, Senior Research Associate, is Professor of Economics at the University of Peradeniya. Her research involves empirical analyses of gender and ethnic wage inequality, poverty and child nutrition. She has been an Echidna Global Scholar at the Brookings Institution, a Global Development Network (GDN) Research Award winner, a Fulbright Research Scholar at the University of California-Riverside, and a visiting scholar at University of Warwick, U.K. She has consulted for the World Bank and UNDP. She has been a MacArthur Foundation Grantee as the founder coordinator of the Master of Development Practice (MDP) Programme at the University of Peradeniya. She is a research group committee member of the Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP) research network. She has a B.A. (Honours) from the University of Peradeniya and a Ph.D. in Economics from American University, Washington, D.C.

Sabrina Esufally

Sabrina Esufally, Analyst and Head of Law, is a lawyer specializing in conflict transformation and gender justice. Prior to joining Verité Research, Sabrina worked at Tiruchelvam Associates, a leading Sri Lankan commercial law firm, the United Nations and as a legislative aide. She was also a visiting lecturer at the University of Peradeniya. Sabrina has an LL.B. from the University of Durham and an LL.M. from Harvard.

Viran Corea

Viran Corea, Research Associate, is a senior Attorney-at-Law with extensive litigation experience, mainly in Sri Lanka's Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. His areas of expertise include public law and constitutional law. He has appeared in numerous landmark cases in these areas. He also has public sector experience as a legal professional, having served previously as a state counsel at the Attorney General's Department for several years, advising state institutions and representing them in litigation before he reverted to private practice in 2002. Viran also sits on the board of a leading financial insitution. He has an LL.B. and LL.M. both from Colombo and is fluent in English and Sinhala.

Gehan Gunatilleke

Gehan Gunatilleke, Research Director, is a lawyer and academic specialising in international human rights and public law. He teaches post-graduate courses on human rights, democratisation and development at the University of Colombo and the Open University of Sri Lanka. He is a former advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Sri Lanka) on international human rights treaty compliance. Gehan's recent publications include Confronting the Complexity of Loss: Perspectives on Truth, Memory and Justice in Sri Lanka (2015) and The Chronic and the Acute: Post-War Religious Violence in Sri Lanka (2015). He was a Fulbright scholar at Harvard Law School, and is currently a Commonwealth scholar at New College, University of Oxford.

Rehana Mohammed

Rehana Mohammed, Analyst, has worked on a range of assignments dealing with reconciliation, governance, and public accountability. She is a regular contributor to the Media Analysis, a concise analytical digest of important issues discussed in Sinhala language newspapers each week. Rehana holds a BSc. in International Relations from the LSE.

Janeen Fernando

Janeen Fernando, Senior Analyst and Head of Politics, manages Verité's politics and media research practice. In the past he has worked with international organisations on water resource management and consulted for a North American logistics service provider on enhancing resource allocation for market research. Janeen holds a BSc. in Sociology from the LSE and an MPhil in International Relations from Cambridge where he was a Gates scholar. He is also a lecturer in Security Studies and International Organisations and a keen follower of the politics of the Indian Ocean region. 

Deepanjalie Abeywardana

Deepanjalie Abeywardana heads Media Research team at Verité Research. With a keen interest in Sri Lankan media, Deepanjalie has extensive experience in market and social research. She holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Colombo and a MA in South Asian Studies from Pondicherry University, India where she attended on a Madanjeet Singh Scholarship. She has received scholarships to study  human rights and conflict resolution in Norway and  federalism and conflict resolution in Switzerland. Deepanjalie has also completed an apprenticeship on federalism in the Canton of Fribourg in Switzerland. 

Shamara Wettimuny

Shamara Wettimuny, Analyst, has worked on issues of religious violence, governance, public accountability and media ethics. Prior to joining Verité Research, Shamara worked at the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin, and OpenOil, a Berlin-based energy consulting firm and publishing house. Shamara has a BSc and an MSc in International Relations and History from the London School of Economics. She has a keen interest in Middle Eastern politics and Political Islam.

Vishaka Suriyabandara

Vishaka Suriyabandara, Research Associate, is a political scientist, lawyer, and an environmental politics activist. She contributes to Verité Research’s politics research and media analysis practice, and provides overall guidance to the politics team. She has a BA from the University of Colombo and an MPhil from the University of Peradeniya in Political Science. Vishaka is currently a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sri Jayawardenapura, where she teaches political science and conflict resolution, with a focus on international relations, and environmental and gender politics. Vishaka also teaches conflict resolution at the Kalutara Police College, and trains Sri Lankan parliamentarians in leadership skills. 

Nimal Sanderatne

Nimal Sanderatne, Senior Advisor, is a distinguished economist and policymaker. The former chairman of multiple banks, including the Bank of Ceylon, he was also founder chairman of the Centre for Poverty Analysis. He has held senior research and policy positions at Sri Lanka's Central Bank, where he was director of economic research and director of statistics. He was also a senior fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and the Post-Graduate Institute of Agriculture. Former President of the Sri Lanka Association of Economists, Nimal Sanderatne has a  B.Sc. from the University of London and a Masters and Ph.D from Wisconsin. 

Michael Roberts

Professor Michael Roberts, Senior Advisor, is a historian and anthropologist. He taught at Adelaide and Peradeniya, where he was a key founder of the interdisciplinary Ceylon Studies Seminar. A prolific writer, he has written several seminal books on Sri Lanka covering caste, ethnic conflict and the formation of elite and state, in addition to writing for newspapers and his blog. He has also published compendia of documents and produced the Roberts Oral History Project – a collection of interviews with retired Sri Lankan politicians and administrators. Michael has a B.A. from Peradeniya and a D.Phil from Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

 

Sunil Bastian

Sunil Bastian, Senior Advisor, is a political economist. He was chairman of the Centre for Poverty Analysis and a senior research fellow at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies. His current research interests are politics of state formation in a globalised world and of foreign aid. Sunil has published widely, and is the editor of Devolution and Development in Sri Lanka. He co-edited Assessing Participation, A debate from South Asia with Nicola Bastian and Can Democracy be Designed? The Politics of Institutional Choice in Conflict-torn Societies with Robin Luckham published by Zed Press, London. His most recent book is Politics of Foreign Aid in Sri Lanka, Promoting Markets and Supporting Peace.

 

Dr Rajesh Venugopal

Dr Rajesh Venugopal is an Advisor to Verité Research. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Rajesh works on the political sociology of development and violent conflict, particularly with reference to South Asia. He writes on post-conflict reconstruction, development theory, nationalism, and neoliberalism. His recent publications include “Demonic Violence and Moral Panic in Postwar Sri Lanka: Explaining the the Greese Devil Crisis”, published in the The Journal of Asian Studies



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