Jaya Gajanayake

Jaya Gajanayake is now retired and lives in San Antonio, Texas.  She is a native of Sri Lanka and has been a U.S. citizen since 2000.  At the time of retirement, she was the Senior Training Advisor at the International Training Office, at Northern Illinois University (NIU).  Her responsibilities included conducting training needs assessments, planning, implementing and evaluating training programs for international professionals, mainly from Asian and African countries, building linkages with international development organizations, and developing funding proposals. 


Jaya was also a member of the Graduate Faculty and Adjunct Professor for 16 years with the Faculty of Adult Continuing Education, College of Education, at NIU teaching graduate level courses and serving on doctoral and master’s dissertation committees.  Jaya has carried out many consultancies for international development organizations including UNICEF, CIDA, SIDA, USAID, and World Education and has traveled to over 25 countries. 


Jaya’s strongest expertise is in the field of participatory development with an emphasis on participatory training, participatory project planning, participatory research and participatory evaluation.  Jaya has been a zealous advocate of empowering community groups to become partners in their own development. She also has won many international scholarships and travel awards.

Jaya reflected on her career: As a past student of CIE, for thirty years I have been spreading the participatory philosophy I received at CIE in many ways throughout the world to the extent I could and just imagine what thousands of other CIE students have been doing in their own situations.   


Her husband, Stanley D Gajanayake (Ed.D. 1986) passed away in March, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas.  Stanley also taught for many years at Northern Illinois University.  An obituary can be found on the CIE site here.


Email: jgajanay@niu.edu


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CIE Graduate