Vijitha Mahadevan Eyango

Vijitha Mahadevan Eyango

Director, Youth
Africa, Asia, Middle East & North Africa, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Benin, Cambodia, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste, Yemen, Education, Gender Equality & Inclusion, Leadership, Technology, Youth

Vijitha Mahadevan Eyango comes to IREX from her most recent post as a faculty member in UCLA’s International Development Studies program. She brings 20 years of experience in education, workforce development and gender policy, and program leadership to IREX’s Global Youth Practice.

At UCLA, Vijitha was the founder and executive director of the Women’s Leadership Initiative housed under UCLA’s Anderson School of Management Executive Leadership suite of programs. She was also director of the Incubator for Accelerated Employment, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation.

Prior to her work at UCLA, Vijitha was chief of education with UNICEF Cameroon, where she advised government ministers and led UNICEF’s emergency planning, response, and mitigation, while developing education and gender programs for vulnerable youth, ethnic minorities, internally displaced populations, and refugees. Before joining UNICEF, she held a nine-year senior foreign service appointment with USAID, where she led regional and national strategy, policy, and program design as senior education and gender advisor for USAID’s Asia, Middle East, and North Africa Bureau.

She brings to IREX diverse experience in designing policy programs in fragile and stable environments that span Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, East Timor, Yemen, Jordan, Morocco, Cameroon, Ghana, Benin, and Côte d’Ivoire. 

Vijitha has a strong interest in achieving research and development outcomes through data management platforms and innovative technology-driven strategies and facilitating partnerships with the private sector, linked to jobs and entrepreneurship.  She has authored numerous publications and received awards and meritorious recognition from foreign ministers, USAID, Clinton Global Initiative, President Bush (Sr.) and President Clinton (for her work on the Tsunami Taskforce). She also received a US Department of State award from Secretary of State Colin Powell recognizing her contributions to gender programming in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Vijitha earned her PhD from UCLA’s Graduate School of International and Comparative Education, her master’s from UCLA’s African Area Studies Program, and her bachelor’s in international relations from UC Davis.