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Varuni Dayaratna to lead NORC at the University of Chicago’s International Programs Department

Press Release

CHICAGO, August 11, 2020 – Varuni Dayaratna has been promoted to senior vice president and department head of International Programs (INPRO) at NORC at the University of Chicago. In her new role she has full responsibility for department management, overseeing a group of economists, statisticians, survey experts, and subject-matter experts who conduct a wide variety of research projects across the globe. Dayaratna has worked in international development for 25 years, and has spent the past 13 years at NORC playing a central role supporting INPRO’s growth and diversification.

“Dayaratna is highly respected by her colleagues throughout NORC and across the industry,” said Jeff Telgarsky, executive vice president of research for NORC. “Having worked closely with her since her arrival at NORC, I know the department is in expert hands and look forward to Varuni leading its continued growth and diversification.”

In her new role, Dayaratna will assume leadership of INPRO’s business development, resource planning, talent management, and project management efforts to advance NORC’s strategic initiatives. These include expanding internal and external collaboration and broadening and deepening client relationships to advance the scope of NORC’s international portfolio.

Dayaratna’s leadership has been crucial to the success of NORC’s international work. She was instrumental in bringing in and then managing several of INPRO’s most important projects, notably the USAID Uganda School Health and Reading Evaluation, the Reading and Access Evaluations project, and a collaboration with USAID Development Lab through the Research Technical Assistance Center.

“The world of research has become more global than ever before,” said Dayaratna. “I am excited to lead the team responsible for international development work at NORC, and to find new ways we can continue delivering trustworthy research to our clients around the world.”

Before joining NORC, Dayaratna served as Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean for the Health Policy Initiative, a multiyear USAID-funded health project. Within this context, Dayaratna developed and oversaw the design and implementation of country-level monitoring and evaluation Plans and associated data collection. She has worked over the years with USAID, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and foundations.

Dayaratna is taking over the position from Telgarsky, who led INPRO for the last 15 years—a vital period for the department’s growth and development. Telgarsky now serves as NORC’s executive vice president of research, where he oversees research in NORC’s Academic Research Centers as well as the Economics, Justice, and Society; Education and Child Development; International Programs; and Public Affairs and Media Research departments.

“Dayaratna is highly respected by her colleagues throughout NORC and across the industry.”

Jeff Telgarsky

Executive Vice President

“Dayaratna is highly respected by her colleagues throughout NORC and across the industry.”

About NORC at the University of Chicago

NORC at the University of Chicago conducts research and analysis that decision-makers trust. As a nonpartisan research organization and a pioneer in measuring and understanding the world, we have studied almost every aspect of the human experience and every major news event for more than eight decades. Today, we partner with government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world to provide the objectivity and expertise necessary to inform the critical decisions facing society.

Contact: For more information, please contact Eric Young at NORC at or (703) 217-6814 (cell).

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