Nihal Amerasinghe, PhD

Nihal Amerasinghe, Ph.D.

Stephen Zuellig Graduate School of Development Management, AIM
Adjunct Faculty


Dr. Nihal Amerasinghe

Professor Nihal Amerasinghe, PhD, a former international development banker and public servant with extensive experience in development management, is with the Institute’s Adjunct Faculty. He was part of the core faculty of the Center for Development Management (CDM), now known as the Stephen Zuellig Gradauate School of Development Management (ZSDM). He is the lead faculty for the Program and Project Development and Management (PPDM) course for the Master in Development Management (MDM). He is also lead faculty for courses on Economics for Development Managers (EDM) and International Financial Institutions (IFI). Prof. Amerasinghe is actively involved in the design and conduct of several of the ZSDM's executive development programs on project management and procurement management. His research interests are in development economics, project management, agriculture and rural development and agricultural research management.

Prof. Amerasinghe’s development experience spans more than four decades covering 28 countries in the Asia-Pacific Region. He held senior positions in the Asian Development Bank (ADB) during the period 1979 to 2001. He worked in the ADB’s Programs and Projects Departments where he developed hands-on experience in country strategy development, project planning, program and project design, project appraisal and implementation. His last position at ADB was as Director General, Agriculture and Social Sectors Department, where he was responsible for annual commitments of over $1.5 billion in loans and technical assistance and managed a portfolio of over 100 projects amounting to $6.0 billion. He led a diverse group of more than 120 professional and support staff in a multicultural and multisectoral environment. The sectors covered included agriculture and rural development, rural finance, water resources and supply, urban development, education and health. He pioneered ADB’s agriculture and rural development operations in the People’s Republic of China and Mongolia as Projects Manager.

Prof. Amerasinghe served as ADB’s Project Manager for the Philippines from 1989 to 1994 during which time many innovative programs and projects were launched in the forestry, fisheries and microfinance sectors. He was ADB’s Program Manager for Cambodia, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Thailand and Myanmar during the period 1995-1997. During this period he managed ADB’s Greater Mekong Subregional program and pioneered work in the Indo-China countries during their transition in the early 1990s. He has conducted policy discussions with senior officials of governments in the Region at the highest levels, and undertaken more than 250 missions for the ADB.

Prior to his work at ADB, Prof. Amerasinghe served as an Adviser and Consultant to several developing countries. He was an academician at the Australian National University and the University of Sri Lanka.

More recently, Prof. Amerasinghe has been a Consultant to the ADB, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank Institute, Japan International Cooperation Agency, the International Rice Research Institute and the World Fish Center.

He is currently engaged in writing two books for publication in 2011 based on his extensive experience on international financial institutions and on project management.

Prof. Amerasinghe holds a Ph.D. in Economics (1974) and a Master of Science in Environmental Management from the University of London (1997); a Master of Arts in Economics and Social Studies from the University of Manchester (1970); and a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science from the University of Ceylon (1966).

For his outstanding contributions to development in Asia, Prof. Amerasinghe was recognized as the Man of the Year 2004 by the International Biographical Center of Cambridge, England. In 2005, he was selected by the American Biographical Institute as an American Medal of Honor recipient for significant accomplishments in the field of Development Economics. He was honored by the University of Cambridge and the International Biographical Center and American Biographical Institute as a Knowledge Ambassador at the World Forum 2010. In 2011, the World Congress of Arts, Sciences and Communications conferred the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his contributions to the development of Asia.