Varuni Ganepola

Varuni Ganepola

Varuni Ganepola, Associate Professor of Psychology, Politics, Philosophy & Economics

Ph.D., University of Wales, Swansea, Wales, UK
B.A. (Hons) , Monash University, Clayton, VIC, Australia

Dr. Varuni Ganepola is a founding faculty member who began teaching at AUW in 2009. She is an Associate Professor of Psychology in the PPE program. Her education in psychology and sociology have been at Monash University (Australia) and at the University of Wales Swansea, UK. Varuni has 20 years of teaching (including at postgraduate level) and research experience. She also has experience in integrated curriculum development and evaluation; team teaching; training and conducting workshops; counseling; policy design; course coordination and administration; and committee work.

Currently she teaches one semester at AUW and does sessional teaching in psychology at Monash University (Australia).


Mind & Behavior
Leadership, Politics, & Psychology
Applied Psychology


My research interests include conflict and coping with displacement and refugeehood; distress, vulnerability, and resilience; and understanding lives of former child soldiers. Recently, I have undertaken research on domestic violence, suicide, and Muslim women’s empowerment in South Asia. The recently concluded Gender and Empowerment study was funded by the Ford Foundation. I was also the Academic Supervisor and Coordinator in a large, longitudinal research study on Child Mental Health with the Birkbeck College of the University of London.



Authored Books
Amin, S., Ganepola, V. and L. Dissanayake (2016). (Co-Editors). Changing Nature of Forced Migration: Vulnerabilities and Responsibilities in South and Southeast Asia. Dhaka: University Press Limited.

Book Chapters, etc
Sara Nuzhat Amin, Mashiat Mostafa, Md. Shahidulla Kaiser, Faheem Hussain, & Varuni Ganepola (2015). Beyond Classroom Knowledge and Experience: How Can Fieldwork Enrich Students’ Learning and Perception on Gender?, in Vasilikie Demos , Marcia Texler Segal (ed.) At the Center: Feminism, Social Science and Knowledge (Advances in Gender Research, Volume 20) Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.199 – 222

Journal Articles
Ganepola,V. (2017). Empowerment and Resilience: Change and Opportunities for Women in South Asia. West East Journal of Social Sciences (WEJSS) (ISSN 2168-7315 USA) (forthcoming)

Ganepola, V. (2013). Role of Media in Presenting Suicide in Bangladesh. International Research Journal of Commerce, Business and Social Sciences (ISSN 2277–9310).

Working Papers/Reports
Changing Opportunities for Women through Education and Employment – Pakistan, a Country Report (in progress)

Ganepola, V. et al (2014) Suicide in Bangladesh. Dispatches International

Ganepola, V. & S. Kuruppu (2007). Displacement in the context of development: A contemporary look at Sri Lanka. Mumbai: Sage.

Ganepola, V. (2006). Social and cultural factors that impact on children’s involvement and participation in armed conflict in Vavuniya district. SSRC: New York.

Ganepola, V. & S. Kuruppu (2005). Whose right of way? Development induced displacement. Colombo: CEPA.

Ganepola, V. & P. Thalaysingam (2004). ‘Approaches to understanding poverty and conflict and integrating conflict-sensitivity into development practice’ in Poverty Issues – Understanding Poverty and Conflict (edited by R.Asirwatham).

Ganepola, V. & P.Thalaysingam (2004). Dimensions of Conflict outside the North and East of Sri Lanka. Briefing Paper Series. Colombo: CEPA.

Ganepola, V. & P.Thalaysingam (2004). Poverty and Conflict. Colombo: CEPA.


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