Gyawali, a member of the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology, is the chair of the Nepa School of Social Sciences and Humanities. He also leads the research and consultancy firm Interdisciplinary Analysts and was the founding chair of Swabalamban, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to alleviating poverty in remote Nepali villages. In 2002 and 2003, he served as Nepal's water resource minister, and in that position chaired ex-officio the Nepal Electricity Authority. He is the author of Rivers, Technology, and Society: Learning the Lessons of Water Management in Nepal. He received a master's degree in hydropower engineering from Moscow Energy Institute in 1979 and another in political economy from the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley in 1986.