Emil P. Bolongaita

Head, CMU-A and Distinguished Service Professor


Dr. Emil P. Bolongaita is the Head of Carnegie Mellon University Australia (CMU-A). Appointed to this position on 1 March 2014, he is concurrently a Distinguished Service Professor of Public Policy and Management. He joined CMU-A in August 2013 as Deputy Executive Director.

Prior to his appointment in CMU-A, Dr Bolongaita was the Unit Head of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program at the Asian Development Bank (ADB). In this capacity, he managed ADB’s role as the Secretariat of the CAREC program, a partnership of 10 countries (Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, People’s Republic of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) and 6 multilateral institutions (ADB, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Monetary Fund, Islamic Development Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, and the World Bank). Since it started in 2001, the program has facilitated investments of over $21 billion in the transport, energy and trade sectors among its participating countries.

Previously, Dr. Bolongaita was a Public Management Specialist in ADB’s South Asia Department, where he led the development of two major policy reform programs. The first was the South Asia Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Trade Facilitation Program, a $47 million program to foster greater regional trade among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal. This program was recognized by ADB’s South Asia Department in 2012 as the first subregional program in its history. The second program was the Nepal Strengthening Public Management Program, a $21.5 million program to strengthen Nepal’s public financial management system that subsequently received cofinancing from the U.K. Department for International Development and the European Union. The Governance and Public Management Community of Practice of ADB conferred an award on Dr. Bolongaita in 2012 for designing a program with “innovation, new ideas, and unique features in public sector management”. Dr. Bolongaita also developed and implemented projects in Bhutan  on external audit management, local public financial management, and development of the anti-corruption commission, as well as managed an economic recovery project in the Maldives.

Before joining ADB, Dr. Bolongaita worked with other international development organizations in various capacities. From 2007 to 2010, he was the Director of the Enhancing Government Effectiveness Project of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) that provided technical assistance to government agencies in Indonesia, Jordan, Morocco, Vietnam, the West Bank, and Yemen. From 2003 to 2006, he was the Deputy Team Leader of USAID’s Rule of Law Effectiveness Project and Group Manager of USAID’s Economic Governance Technical Assistance Project in the Philippines. From 2001-2002, he was the Director of the World Bank’s Global Distance Learning Program on Governance and Anti-Corruption in the Asia-Pacific, which conducted comparative studies and seminars on governance and anti-corruption reforms in Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand.

Prior to working in international development, Dr. Bolongaita taught in several academic institutions. He was formerly a Visiting Professor at the Elliott School for International Studies, George Washington University; an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore; and an Assistant Professor at the Asian Institute of Management. He has written various papers on governance and corruption and is co-editor of Challenging Corruption in Asia: Case Studies and a Framework for Action (World Bank, 2004).


Emil received his Ph.D. in Government and International Studies and Masters in International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA.