Former Country Representative, Nepal

George Varughese left the Foundation in March 2018.

Dr. George Varughese served as The Asia Foundation’s country representative in Nepal from May 2009 to 2018, where he oversaw a broad range of programs that support an effective political transition, including constitutional development and assistance to the Constituent Assembly; facilitate conflict transformation, peacebuilding, and alternate dispute resolution; safeguard women’s security and combat the trafficking of persons; support public policy analysis and engagement; and enable local economic governance and opportunity. During the 2015-16 academic year George Varughese served as Visiting Professor and Senior Scholar in the University of Wyoming’s Global and Area Studies program.

Prior to this position in Kathmandu, Varughese was The Asia Foundation’s country representative in Afghanistan, where his responsibilities included overseeing capacity-building initiatives in the center of Afghan government; supporting electoral management capacity building; women’s advancement; and public education and discourse on democratic political processes. His achievements include spearheading the internationally-respected annual Survey of the Afghan People and its companion studies on state building and developmental challenges in Afghanistan; and advocating and helping lead investment in Afghan sub-national governance.

George Varughese formerly served as deputy country representative in Nepal until 2005, working on programs that strengthen the capacity of democratic institutions to assure good governance and the rule of law; provide access to justice, particularly through alternate dispute resolution; encourage greater respect for human rights, particularly during conflict; and support policy reforms in the economic sector with regard to small business. Prior to joining The Asia Foundation in 2000, he was country program advisor for the United Nations Development Program in Nepal.

He holds a joint doctorate in public administration and political science, with an emphasis on public policy, political theory, and environmental policy. His dissertation examined the intersection of decentralization policy in the natural resources sector with local-level collective action and local government, based on primary research he conducted in 18 districts in Nepal. Dr. Varughese’s peer-reviewed publications include, among others, “Practical Challenges: Conducting Survey Research in Afghanistan” Public Opinion Pros, LFP Editorial Enterprises, (April 2007); “The Contested Role of Heterogeneity in Collective Action: Some Evidence from Community Forestry in Nepal,” World Development Vol. 29, no. 5 (May 2001); and “Population and Forest Dynamics in the Hills of Nepal: Institutional Remedies by Rural Communities” in People and Forests: Communities, Institutions, and the Governance of Forests (2000), Cambridge: MIT Press.

Varughese was 2010 Senior Visiting Fellow of The Australian National University’s Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy and 2008 Senior International Fellow of the City University of New York’s Graduate Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society. 

Education: Doctor of philosophy degree, Indiana University, Bloomington.

Afghanistan in 2008: A Survey of the Afghan People – State Building, Security, and Social Change in Afghanistan

Afghanistan in 2006: A Survey of the Afghan People – State Building, Political Progress, and Human Security in Afghanistan

Practical Challenges: Conducting Survey Research in Afghanistan

The Contested Role of Heterogeneity in Collective Action: Some Evidence From Community Forestry in Nepal