Nalika Gajaweera is an anthropologist and research associate with the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California. Her core research interests are in the anthropology of religion, Buddhism, transnationalism and humanitarian ethics, with an area expertise in South Asia.
In her capacity as a research associate at CRCC, Gajaweera investigates religious innovation and creativity in Southern California with a particular focus on contemporary communities of mindfulness practice and American Buddhism.
Gajaweera earned her Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine. Her doctoral research examined how Buddhist ethics and practices of giving are enacted by local NGOs doing humanitarianism work in the context of two disasters: the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 and ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka that ended in 2009. Prior to graduate school, Gajaweera was a Fulbright Fellow in India and a recipient of the Richter International Fellowship to the UK. She graduated from Occidental College.