Dr. M Niaz Asadullah

University of Malaya

Keynote Title – “Ending Global Poverty by 2030: Progress and challenges”


Dr M Niaz Asadullah is Professor of Economics at the University of Malaya, Malaysia. He obtained his DPhil in Economics from Oxford University in 2005. He is the South-East Asia Lead of Global Labor Organization (GLO), a Research Fellow at the IZA Institute of Labor Economics (Germany), an Associate Research Fellow at the Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance (SKOPE), University of Oxford, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, UK. Previously he held teaching/research/visiting appointments at Harvard, Oxford, Kent, Reading, Manchester, Dhaka, BRAC and Mindanao State Universities. He additionally served as the Deputy Director of the Centre for Poverty and Development Studies (CPDS) from 2014-2016.

His research relates to poverty, inequality, well-being, education, labor market, skills formation and gender issues with a focus on South/East Asia and Islamic countries. His work has been supported by international grants such as the Australian Development Research Award Scheme, Leverhulme Trust (UK), International Growth Centre (IGC), the DFID (UK), Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), South Asian Network of Economic Research Institutes and the World Bank. He has also consulted for Asian Productivity Organization, BRAC, Oxford Policy Management, BAPPENAS (Government of Indonesia), UNESCAP and the World Bank.

He has published nearly 50 articles in peer reviewed academic journals such as Australian Economic Review, Asian Development Review, Bulletin of Economic Research, Cambridge Journal of Economics, China Economic Review, Development Policy Review, Economica, Economics of Education Review, Journal of Economic Psychology, Journal of Development Studies, Oxford Development Studies, and World Development. At the same time, he has published numerous opinion pieces for international media outlets such as the Project Syndicate, the Conversation, D+C Development and Cooperation, the Diplomat, Open Democracy, the Huffington Post, the Bangkok Post, and the Hindu.

 Professor Asadullah is a Co-Editor of the Asia Pacific Education Review (APER) and Journal of Human Development and Capabilities (Taylor & Francis) and on the editorial advisory board of International Journal of Educational Development (Elsevier) and COMPARE (Taylor and Francis).

Dr. Peter Abrahamson

Associate Professor of Sociology at University of Copenhagen

Speech Title: “Leaving Nobody Behind: Poverty and Social Exclusion in the 21st Century”



Mrs. M.T.R. Shamini Attanayake

Director General (Acting) and Additional Director General (Academic)

National Institute of Social Development

Ministry of Primary Industries and Social Empowerment

Sri Lanka

Speech Title: “Education and Poverty”


Mrs. M.T.R. Shamini Attanayake is the Director General (Acting) and Additional Director General (Academic) at the National Institute of Social Development under Ministry of Primary Industries and Social Empowerment.  She obtained her Master’s Degree in Sociology from University of Colombo in 2005 after she completed Master of Social Work from the National Institute of Social Development in 2008 and Pgd in Education and Career Counselling from University of Colombo in 2004.

 She is the Sri Lankan Coordinator, Asia Pacific Migration Research Network (APMRN), Secretary of the Association of  Sri Lankan Sociologist  and  Executive Committee  member of the Sri Lanka Professional Social Workers Association.

She has published the book “Environment Factors affecting the Urban Poverty”Her research interests relate to poverty, inequality, education, Women Empowerment, Social Development ,skills formation and gender issues with a focus on South/East Asia.  She has published nearly 20 articles in peer reviewed academic journals such as Social work, Social Development India and Sri Lanka.


Dr. Edoardo Monaco

Hong Kong Baptist University &
Beijing Normal University
United International College

Title: ” Sustainability for growth and inclusion: from trade-off to synergy “


Dr. Edoardo Monaco currently serves as Associate Professor and Director of the Government and International Relations Programme at Hong Kong Baptist University & Beijing Normal University United International College (HKBU-BNU UIC) in Zhuhai, China.

Dr. Monaco holds a Law degree from the University of Bologna (Italy, 2004) and a double master’s degree (2006) in International Management from both ICN Grande Ecole (Nancy, France) and the University of Bologna (Italy) – which ultimately led him to India, to research local FDI policies. In 2012, he completed a doctoral programme (Yunnan University, China) on holistic development governance in the Kingdom of Bhutan. In 2011, Dr. Monaco conducted additional coursework and research in Environmental Economics and Social Development at Harvard University, USA, where he returned for the Leading Economic Growth programme offered by Harvard’s Kennedy School and Center for International Development, in 2014. In the same year he participated in the Land Governance for Development programme at Utrecht University (Netherlands). In 2016 and 2017 respectively, Dr. Monaco joined the Innovation for Economic Development as well as the Climate Change and Energy Policy programmes at Harvard’s Kennedy School, where he ultimately obtained a certificate in Economic Development. Between 2018 and 2019, he has been studying sustainable value chains at Cambridge University’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership (United Kingdom).

Before joining academia, he served in consulting firms and European institutions (Chambers of Commerce) involved in economic cooperation and trade promotion across Asia (China, India, Korea, Thailand).

His teaching and research interests broadly concern ​​​​​sustainable development governance and the rise of the Global South, with particular regard to Asia and Africa. Most of his work focuses on: holistic development paradigms and their measurement; green and circular economy; economic growth, complexity and inclusion; South-South cooperation; natural resource management and sustainable value chains.

Dr. Darshana Rajapaksa

[Plenary Speaker ]

Conference Co – Chairman

University of Sri Jayawardenepura
Sri Lanka

Title: ” Updating… “



Nishantha Mallawaarachchi

[ Plenary Speaker ]

Fellow; International Development Research Centre (Canada)
Member, International Sustainable Development Research Society [ISDRS] (Norway)
Development Communication Practitioner
Sri Lanka

Title: ” Poverty and Social-Economic Impact “

Nishantha Mallawaarachchi is a Social Scientist, Development Communications Practitioner, and Youth Development professional accredited by the Commonwealth, UK. Mr. Mallawaarachchi has over 13 years of professional experience with local and international institutions—including governmental and nongovernmental organisations, and specialised agencies of the United Nations—in diversified fields of Development Project Management, Applied Research, Teaching and Training, Development Communication, Public Relations, Public Policy Analysis, and Youth Empowerment.