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Research Program Director, CNA, Arlington, Virginia, USA
Nilanthi Samaranayake is Director of the Strategy and Policy Analysis program at CNA, a non-profit research organization in the Washington area. She has led several studies at CNA on Indian Ocean security, including the U.S.-India naval relationship. Prior to joining CNA in 2010, Samaranayake completed a fellowship at the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR), where she investigated Sri Lanka’s deepening economic, military, and diplomatic ties with China. Her findings were published in the journal, Asian Security. She has authored book chapters on the Indian Navy; the smaller countries of South Asia and their relations with China; the U.S.-China-India “strategic triangle” in the Indian Ocean; and island states in the Indian Ocean. Samaranayake’s analysis has been featured in the The Diplomat, East Asia Forum, and Hindustan Times, among other outlets. She has appeared in media such as Al Jazeera, New York Times, South China Morning Post, and Nikkei Asian Review.
Samaranayake analyzed public opinion for a decade at Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. While there, she twice directed the quadrennial survey, “America’s Place in the World.” She holds an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science.