Aravinda Karunaratne

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Public Administration

I hail from a middle-class family in Sri Lanka’s Colombo suburbs. My parents worked hard to ensure I get the best education. I passed the Grade 5 scholarship examination in 1997 to enter Royal College – Colombo, the top public school in Sri Lanka. I excelled in national examinations and in 2007, I made my way to the University of Moratuwa, the top Engineering school in Sri Lanka.

My favorite author, late Mr. Oruwala Bandu’s work on his time as a student in Soviet Russia inspired me to step out of my native country for further studies. Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, the founding Prime Minister of Singapore has been a hero of mine since my childhood and I grew up with the curiosity of learning how he developed his country to a world-class metropolis. I was delighted to have been awarded the Tuition Grant by Singapore’s Ministry of Education to study Civil Engineering at Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

At NTU, on top of my honors degree in Civil Engineering, I completed two minors in Economics & Public Administration and it was my first exposure to the world of humanities and social sciences. I took language classes in Mandarin Chinese and Malay as well.

I was an active student leader in varsity, national and international levels, facilitating student exchanges and volunteer work while developing the leadership potential of my subordinates. I was a political reporter for “The Nanyang Chronicle” and I considered it a privilege to have been appointed to cover the General Election of Singapore in 2011.

My six years of training as an Engineer in the public and private sector projects in Sri Lanka, Qatar, and Singapore reignited my passion for research in the fields of Public Administration & Policy. I completed my Master’s studies in Applied Economics in 2016, graduating with Dean’s List honours from the Singapore Management University. Since early-2017, I have been developing a business venture to connect the building and construction industry of Sri Lanka with the suppliers across Asia.

I have travelled extensively and possess a good general knowledge and a deep cultural understanding, having studied and worked in South Asian, Middle-Eastern, South-East Asian, Greater Chinese, European, and American settings. Outside the United States, I have extensive networks in Singapore, Sri Lanka, Belgium, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, India, Myanmar, The Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.


B.Eng. (Honours), Nanyang Technological University, 2011, Civil Engineering (with Minors in Economics & Public Administration)

M.Sc., Singapore Management University, 2016, Applied Economics

Of Note

2017: Graduate Research Assistantship Recipient, The University of Georgia

2016: Dean’s List, M.Sc. in Applied Economics, Singapore Management University

2007: Tuition Grant Recipient, Ministry of Education, Singapore

2006: Selected to represent Sri Lanka at the South Asian Radio Quiz

2006: Winner of All-Sri Lanka HighQ Quiz Contest

Research Interests

I aspire to conduct research in Public Management (International Development and Management of Development Aid) and Public Administration (Leadership, Personnel Administration, Disaster Relief Coordination, and Bureaucracy in the Public Sector).