Asia 21 Fellows, Class of 2007

At the 2007 Young Leaders Forum in Kochi, India.
At the 2007 Young Leaders Forum in Kochi, India.

The Asia 21 Young Leaders Forum revolves around the Asia 21 Fellows, a core network of leaders among leaders from diverse professional backgrounds, who are tasked to serve one-year terms. 





Ahmad Nader Nadery is the Commissioner of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. He is a leader in defending human rights and is a very well-known promoter of justice in Afghanistan. Over the previous decade, Commissioner Nadery has waged a kind of guerrilla war for human rights that got him arrested by the Taliban regime. He is also known as the country's most prominent human rights activist and a civil society leader. He represented Afghan Civil Society in the UN peace talks for Afghanistan in the Bonne Conference in 2001. Nadery works currently in several capacities, as a leading Commissioner of the constitutionally mandated National Human Rights Commission, as Chairperson of Fair and Free Election Foundation of Afghanistan, and as a Member of the Steering Committee of an international organization called Citizens Against Terror. He has written extensively on politics and human rights in Afghanistan and is a member of Board of Editors of the International Journal on Transitional Justice. He served as Spokesperson for the political national assembly (Loya Jerga) in 2002 and organized the election for this assembly. Mr. Nadery won several international human rights awards and was recognized as an "Asian Hero" by Time Magazine.



Michael Johnson is a Member of the Australian Parliament where he represents the Federal seat of Ryan in Brisbane, Queensland. Elected inthe 2001 national election and again in 2004, Michael is one of the youngest Members in the Australian Parliament. He is also the first Member of the House of Representatives to have Chinese heritage. Prior to his election, Michael worked for an international law firm and tutored in international relations and law at university. Michael holds bachelor degrees in Arts and Law from the University of Queensland and a Masters Degree from the University of Cambridge. Michael is also a graduate of the Kennedy School of Government's Executive Leaders' Program at Harvard University. Michael has a deep interest in international relations and the global trading regime. In 2003, he led Australia's contribution to the UN Observer Delegation of the Cambodian general elections He is Co-Chairman of the prestigious Boao Forum for Asia's “21st Century Leaders Group” and he is Chairman of the Australia-China Business Forum. Michael lives in Brisbane with hiswife, Huyen, and their son Ryan Andrew.




Sophiline Cheam Shapiro is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the Khmer Arts Academy, an organization dedicated to fostering the vitality of Cambodian arts and culture, with offices in Kandal Province, Cambodia, and Long Beach, California. Ms. Cheam Shapiro is an innovative choreographer, dancer and teacher whose original works in Cambodian classical dance have toured major stages on three continents. Among other honors, she has received Creative Capital, Guggenheim and Irvine Dance Fellowships as well as the Nikkei Asia Prize for Culture. A member of the first generation to enter Phnom Penh's School of Fine Arts after the collapse of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge, she is a graduate and former faculty member of that institution and she later earned a dance ethnology from UCLA.



Chung To is Founder and Chairperson of the Chi Heng Foundation, a charitable organization founded in 1998 in Hong Kong, China. Chi Heng has excelled in education and care for children orphaned by AIDS and the prevention of AIDS among vulnerable groups in China. Over the past four years, Chung worked tirelessly in Central China for children orphaned by AIDS, whose parents contracted the virus via the unsanitary blood trade in the 1990s. Despite political sensitivity and other difficulties, Chung single-handedly developed a systematic and sustainable program which currently sponsors the education and care for over 4,000 children whose parents have died of or are dying of AIDS in four provinces in China. Viewed by many as a best practice model of its kind, the program has become the largest non-governmental effort focusing on helping children impacted by AIDS in China, and has received support from numerous organizations. Chung received his B.A. from Columbia University and a M.A. at Harvard University. Previously, he worked in investment banking for ten years. Four years ago, after realizing the seriousness of the AIDS problem in China, Chung put aside his career in finance, and began working full time for Chi Heng on a pro bono basis. In addition to his involvement with Chi Heng, Chung also was a Board member of AIDS Concern for four years, including serving as Chairperson of the Board in 2003. Since 1999, Chung has beena member of the AIDS Prevention and Care Committee (APCC) appointed by the Hong Kong Government. Chung was Vice President of the Harvard Club of Hong Kong and a member of MENSA. In addition to past awards, Chungwas honored to be selected as one of the “Ten Outstanding Young Persons in the World” in 2006.

Scarlett Li co-founded R2G in 2004 and currently serves as the start-up's President, managing day-to-day operations. R2G is the first company in China to promote and distribute legitimate digital music. Prior to founding R2G, as one of China's leading media executives, Scarlett was the general manager of the Newscorp's Channel [V] music channel in China where she launched the first ever Channel [V] Chinese Music Awards (CMA). The events broke viewership records for music awards shows in China, reaching more than 139 million homes. She also launched the popular “Made in China” campaign to increase the pride and sense of ownership in modern Chinese music by China's youth; turning [V] into one of the most popular youth/music brands in China. Scarlett obtained her B.Com. degree in Australia and her MBA from Tsinghua University in Beijing. She is a Henry Crown Fellow with the Aspen Institute.

Shalini Mahtani is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Community Business, a leading non- profit organisation in Hong Kong working with some of the world's largest companies in corporate social responsibility (CSR). Shalini works with leadership in these companies on matters of CSR strategy for Asia, corporate community investment and diversity in the workplace. Shalini is the author of numerous publications and is a frequent speaker on these subjects. In 2005, Shalini was awarded the “Chief Executives Commendation for Community Service” by the Hong Kong Government for her contribution to the ethnic minorities of Hong Kong. In a personal capacity, Shalini is External Diversity Advisor to Merrill Lynch in the Asia Pacific and is a founding board director of The Women's Foundation in Hong Kong. She is also founder of the Suddhananda Vidyalaya Ammapettai School in Madras, India. Before Community Business, Shalini had a career in accounting and banking. She is a graduate of the London School of Economics and is a Certified Public Accountant. She is married with one son.

Nick Rongju Yu is the Director of Programming and Marketing for the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center. Since 2000, he has been a professional playwright who has authored more then twenty works for stage and screen with performances in other countries as well as in China. He has also translated works from other lands which have been performed in China and other countries. His plays have been presented in English and Japanese as well as other languages and dialects with performances in the United States, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Egypt, Hong Kong, Taipei and Macao. As the manager of the Arts Theatre, Drama Salon, and the D6 Studio of the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center, Nick hosted more than three hundred projects for three stages in Shanghai. Such projects included productions from all the major theatre companies in China as well as more then sixty productions from abroad. He has also facilitated more than ten plays of the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center to tour world-wide. Since 2003 as a drama turge and producer of the SDAC, he also has co-produced several productions with theatre companies from abroad. From 2004 until the present time he has been the director of the Shanghai University Theatre Festival. Nick is also the organizer and chief director of the Asia Contemporary Theatre Festival, which is an annual festival for all theatre companies from all over Asia.



Niret Alva is the President of Miditech. Niret has had a long and distinguished career as reporter, presenter, anchor and director. He began his stint in TV journalism with PTI TV as a reporter in 1988. After the rough and tumble of reporting Indian politics, he started Miditech with his brother Nikhil Alva in 1992. As President of Miditech, he is a widely known media professional with several national and international awards to his credit, including Asian Television Awards for best anchor, best infotainment program. As the creative head of the company, he has supervised several highly successful shows (such as Indian Idol, Fame Gurukul, Wheels, Hospital, Commando, Top Drive, Style, Saara Akash) that have driven the TRPs of mass entertainment channels as well as written and produced award winning documentaries for the international market. With over a decade's experience in the media, he is one of India's top media professionals.

Shaffi Mather is the Founder of Dial 1298 for Ambulance. He is part of an upcoming new generation of young leaders within Indian National Congress Party. He was educated at the Mahatma Gandhi University, India, University of Pittsburgh, USA, University of Bridgeport, USA and the London School of Economics, UK where he was a Chevening Senior Scholar and currently, a Visiting Lecturer. He has been selected to be a Mason Fellow at the JFK School of Government, Harvard University for the academic year 2007-08. Post his MBA, Shaffi took his family business in real estate to a leadership position in his State and then professionally worked with two of India's leading corporate tycoons, Mr. Mukesh Ambani (Reliance Industries) and Mr. Subash Chandra (ZeeTV/Essel Group). Shaffi's most notable accomplishment has been the successful establishment of an Emergency Medical Service (EMS) “DIAL1298 FOR AMBULANCE” ( in Mumbai, the first truly world-class self sustainable EMS in India. This project is now under expansion in Mumbai and in his home state, Kerala.

Malini Mehra is the Founder and Director of the Centre for Social Markets, an India and UK-based non-profit promoting responsible entrepreneurship and civic leadership for sustainable development.CSM's primary constituencies are domestic businesses in developing countries, and diaspora communities in industrialised countries. Malinihas worked on issues of sustainability and human rights in a variety of positions in government, business and the voluntary sector for the past 20 years. She currently serves as an advisor to a number of companies and non-profits, including BHP Billiton, Unilever, the International Centre for Corporate Citizenship, Rugmark, and others. An Indian citizen, Malini speaks six languages and is married with two children.


Lobsang Sangay is a Research Fellow at the East Asian Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School. Dr. Sangay earned his Doctorate in law, and master's degree from Harvard Law School, and did his LLB and B.A.(Honors) from Delhi University, India. He was a recipient of the 2004 Yong K. Kim' 95 Prize of Excellence for his doctoral dissertation and received a Fulbright Fellowship to study at Harvard Law School. In his Track II Initiative, Dr. Sangay has organized five unprecedented conferences between Chinese and Tibetan scholars, including an unprecedented meeting between HH the Dalai Lama and 35 Chinese scholars at Harvard University in 2003. As an expert on Tibet, international human rights laws, democracy and conflict resolution, he has been consulted by the news media, including BBC, Washington Post, Far Eastern Economic Review, and the Boston Globe and has published articles about the Tibetan issue in the Harvard Asia Quarterly and Journal of Democracy, to name a few.




Veronica Colondam founded Yayasan Cinta Anak Bangsa (Loving the Nation's Children Foundation) in 1999 in order to increase awareness about drug abuse problem in Indonesia. Primarily YCAB offers prevention programs for youth. YCAB has reached millions of people and mobilized mass media to shape public opinion. During her career, she has received the National Gold Award from the Indonesian President in 2003, and the UN-Vienna Civil Society Award in 2001. Veronica holds a MsC in Drugs and Alcohol Policy and Intervention from Imperial College, University of London.




Rika Beppu is a Partner of Simmons & Simmons, an international law firm, and advises clients on corporate law transactions as a solicitor qualified in England and Wales (1994). Between 1996 and 1998, Rika worked in the firm's Hong Kong office (and obtained her qualification as a Hong Kong solicitor in 1997) and subsequently on secondment at a major Tokyo law firm. Whilst in Tokyo, Rika was seconded to the Project Finance Department of The Japan Bank for International Co-operation (formerly The Japan Export-Import Bank) in March 1998, where she continued to focus on international transactions. Rika is a former Secretary of the Executive Committee of the British Japanese Law Association. After obtaining a BA in Foreign Languages and Studies from Sophia University in Tokyo, she studied English law at the University of Birmingham and at De Montford University, prior to passing the England and Wales solicitor's exams in 1992. Rika founded the firm's Tokyo office in 2001, and leads the team of international lawyers as the office's Managing Partner.




H.S. Cho is the Senior Vice President at the Corporate Strategy Center at Hyosung Group. Mr. Cho is a Member of the Management Committee (Hyosung Group's Supreme decision making board) and a Member of the Board of Hyosung Group's several subsidiaries (in charge of Group's Key Decision Making/Strategic Planning/Operations). His past experience includes Consultant, Bain & Company, Tokyo/Seoul. In this role, he executed many Asian MNC's cases. He also served as a Manager at NTTCommunications Corporation (largest Telecom in Japan, Tokyo). As a regular participant of the World Economic Forum, Mr. Cho has also been selected as a member of the “Asian Young Leader's Forum” by the Korea/Japan Foundation (2005). He graduated with a B.A. in Economics from Brown University/Yonsei University. Mr. Cho is fluent in Korean, English, and Japanese. He is an enthusiastic lover of sports, traveling, photography, and gastronomy.




Damdin Tsogtbaatar is the Foreign Policy Advisor to the President of Mongolia. He received a Masters of Legal Studies in International Law from the Canberra School of Law (with Distinction), Masters degree in Political Science (Hon) with a specialization in International Relations from the Institute of International Relations in Moscow, Russia. He has also received a certificate, International Seminar, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel in Jerusalem, and a certificate from the Clingendael Institute of International Relations at the Hague. Mr. Tsogtbaatar speaks Russian, English, Chimera, and Thai.




Suryani Senja Alias is a Senior Vice-President in research and investment strategy at Khazanah Nasional, Malaysia's government investment arm. While with Khazanah, she had the opportunity to work in the policy unit of the Prime Minister's office, researching public policies, and writing briefs and speeches for the current Prime Minister of Malaysia. Legally trained and experienced in international law and cross-border legal transactions, Suryani used to practice international law in the United Nations Compensation Commission in Geneva, Switzerland where she was a part of a Legal secretariat assessing international law claims against Iraq in the 1990 Gulf war. She also spent a few years in London as a corporate lawyer in an American law firm, Vinson & Elkins RLLP and as an equity analyst at Banque Paribas. She later returned to Asia and became the Group General Counsel for a start up aviation company, AirAsia before she moved to Khazanah. Apart from her professional work, she is interested in public policy reform, development issues and art history. She headed a research project by Sisters in Islam on a pilot survey on the impact of polygamy on the family institution in Malaysia and conducted research on Malaysian history at the Perdana Leadership Foundation. Her latest personal project is creating a quality website to document Malaysian art history and to develop a wider awareness and appreciation of Malaysian art. Suryani obtained her law degree at the International Islamic University, Malaysia and an LLM at the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.




Dennis Eclarin is the Founder of Hometown Corporation, a company whose aim is to alleviate poverty in geographically-isolated highland and island towns. After graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point, Major Dennis Eclarin served as a combat commander in the elite Scout Ranger Regiment of the Philippine Army. While in the warzones, he authored two books on combat techniques. Convinced that he had to fight another war, he soon advocated social entrepreneurship. Thus, he founded Hometown Corporation, a microfinance company solely dedicated to serving the hard to reach areas.


Robin Loon is an Assistant Professor at the National University of Singapore. He obtained his PhD in Intercultural theatre and performance from Royal Holloway University of London. Robin is also an active participant in the Singapore theatre scene: both as practitioner and assessor for the National Arts Council, Singapore. Effectively bilingual in Chinese and English, Robin hopes to merge the traditional and the modern, the east and the west through his creative and academic work. He has maintained close ties with Singapore's premier English-Language theatre company, TheatreWorks, and his recent work for the company as a writer/dramaturg is a collaboration with its artistic director, Ong Keng Sen, on an intercultural production entitled GEISHA, which has toured the USA, Europe and Asia. He has also recently been appointed the head of the TheatreWorks Writer's Laboratory, a writer's incubation program into its 16th year.




Yun Fan received her PhD in sociology from Yale University in 2000. She is now an assistant professor of sociology at National Taiwan University. She has been carrying out research on Taiwan's women's movement, labor movement and environmental movement during democratic transition. Her teaching and research interests include gender politics, social movements and civil society. Besides her academic work, she is the trustee of Awakening Foundation and has been actively involved in programmes aiming at strengthening Taiwan's civil society.




Piya Hanvoravongchai is a physician with interests in international health policy and health economics. His work expands the area of health system development, health care financing, health workforce management, and health policy. He is currently a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand and a research fellow at the International Health Policy Program of Thailand Ministry of Public Health. Piya has published widely on health systems and health financing. His previous work includes health system performance assessment at the World Health Organization in Geneva and global health workforce policy developmentat the Global Equity Initiative, Harvard University. Piya received his M.D. from Mahidol University and M.Sc. from the London School of Economics. He is also a doctoral candidate at the Harvard School of Public Health.




Alamdar Shabbir Hamdani is a Partner in the Houston law firm of Borunda, Hamdani & Simon, LLP, practicing in the areas of commercial litigation, tort litigation, and civil right litigation. Over the past few years, Mr. Hamdani has dedicated a significant portion of his free time to civil rights issues facing Muslims, South Asians, and Arabs in a post 9-11 environment and in that regard has defended scores of individuals in voluntary FBI interviews, debated Department of Justice officials, and published several opinion pieces in The Dallas Morning News and The Houston Chronicle. He is also a contributor to the American Bar Association's Supreme Court Preview. Much of Mr. Hamdani's community work has come as the President-Elect of the North American South Asian Bar Association, and as the first South Asian or Muslim board member of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas. This work has culminated in several awards including recognition by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as one of Houston's top 40 people to make an impact on civil rights, and by the Texas Law Foundation as a top civil rights attorney. Mr. Hamdani received his BA from The University of Texas at Austin, and JD from the University of Houston, where he served as an editor on the University of Houston Law Review.


Nathalie Rayes is the U.S. National Public Relations Director for Grupo Salinas, a Mexican conglomerate with US $5 billion in annual sales and 50,000 employees in Mexico, the United States, and Central and South America, and with operations in the broadcasting, retail, banking and financial services, telecommunications, and Internet industries. Previously, Ms. Rayes served as Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn Deputy Chief of Staff, directing the Mayor's Office of Intergovernmental Relations, serving as chief liaison to federal, state and regional governments, and to the Los Angeles City Council. Prior to that, Ms.Rayes was Senior Policy Advisor to Los Angeles Council member Mike Feuer, heading all aspects of Council member's activities with respect to citywide legislation and ordinances impacting the Fifth Council District. Ms. Rayes also served as a Department of State fellow in the Economic/Political Section of the United States Embassy in Cairo, Egypt. Ms. Rayes has a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology cum laude and Masters in Public Policy with concentrations in International Relations and Education from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).