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.
Maziar Bahari | Satchit Balsari | John Ciorcari | Michael Fenzel | Bhavani Fonseka | Gregory Fox | Shinichiro Fukushige | Mike Joo | Lifan Li | Batchimeg Miggeddorj | Nilofar Sakhi | Sabrina Singh | Lia Sunarjo | Ruth Yeoh | Jingjing Zhang | Min Zin
Nilofar Sakhi is the Country Director at Open Society Institute in Afghanistan. Prior to this, Ms. Sakhi worked as a Senior Consultant on Rule of Law, Transitional Justice, Human Rights and Women Rights at Open Society Institute in Afghanistan. She also served as an Executive Director of Women Activities and Social Services Association (WASSA), an organization she founded in 2002, where she also established the Center for Peace building and Conflict Resolution at WASSA. Prior to WASSA, Nilofar was a political education officer in Aurat Foundation, a national NGO in Pakistan. She served as a visiting fellow at National Endowment for Democracy, Columbia University and a fellow at International Center for Tolerance Education. During various conflicts in Western Afghanistan she provided political analysis to BBC, Human rights Watch and UNAMA. Her recent paper published on EurAsia Critic is titled “Afghanistan Presidential Election: Hope for the future or not?” Ms. Sakhi conducted round table conferences and participated as a speaker on democracy and development and freedom of speech related issues. She holds a BA in Political Science. She completed her MA in Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding as a Fulbright scholar.
Gregory Fox is an Australian doctor specializing in respiratory medicine, and is a Clinical Associate Lecturer with the University of Sydney. He has also previously undertaken clinical research in East Timor. Greg was co-founder of two international health groups in Sydney that encourage young doctors to apply their training to the benefit of the global poor. He has a strong interest in medical education, and for a number of years, served on peak organizations implementing post-graduate medical training reform. He has a Masters degree in international public health. He is currently pursuing a PhD through the University of Sydney and research into tuberculosis and lung disease in Vietnam. He is a part of the 'Hoc Mai' medical partnership between Hanoi Medical University and the University of Sydney.
Min Zin is a freelance journalist and instructor at the School of Journalism of the University of California, Berkeley. He got involved in student activism early in his life when in 1988, as a 14-year-old high school student, a pro-democracy movement swept through Burma. He founded a nationwide high school student union and worked closely with pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. He went into hiding in 1989 to avoid arrest by the military, and his underground activist-cum-writer life lasted for nine years until he fled across the Thai-Burma border in August 1997. Almost all of his family members in Burma have suffered from repressions, including imprisonment and harassment at the hands of the military junta. His brother Thet Zin, a journalist and former political prisoner, is now serving a seven-year prison term in Burma for exercising freedom of expression. Min Zin worked for the Thailand-based Irrawaddy magazine, as an assistant editor. Shifting from print to radio journalism, from 2004 to 2007, Min worked for the Washington-based Radio Free Asia (Burmese Service). He is currently pursuing his MA degree in the Asian Studies Graduate Program at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also an instructor responsible for International Visiting Scholars' Program at the University of California at Berkeley's School of Journalism. He is a freelance journalist writing for the Wall Street Journal, Far Eastern Economic Review, The Bangkok Post, The Irrawaddy and other publications.
Lifan Li is an assistant professor with SASS and advisor to the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of Shanghai Municipality. He chairs programs at the National Planning Project of Philosophy and Social Sciences as well as the National Project sponsored by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of The State Council. In 2005, he was selected by China's MFA as a member of the Chinese Diplomatic Observer Group to observe parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan. Lifan has been a Council Member of Shanghai Society for Russia and Central Asia, a fellow of Salzburg Global Seminar, and a Member of the Editorial Board on Asian Journal of Global Studies in Japan. He has lectured widely in the U.S., Central Asia and Europe, and published articles on a variety of topics within China and abroad. Lifan graduated from Belarusian State University, obtaining both a BA and MA. He is continuing his studies as a PhD candidate on political sciences in Kazakhstan.
Jingjing Zhang is the Deputy Director of the Public Interest Law Institute of the Natural Resources Defense Council. As one of China’s leading public interest lawyers, she is committed to justice and strengthening the rule of law. An outspoken environmental advocate, she represents pollution victims in lawsuits and promotes public participation by helping communities organize public hearings on environmental rights and licensing processes. She has won milestone cases in the Chinese courts, including the first successful environmental class action suit in China, against a chemical company that discharged toxic substances in Fujian Province. In a landmark suit against the Beijing Municipal Commission of Urban Planning and the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau, after the first-ever public hearing related to environment issue, Zhang represented the community to sue the two governmental agencies, eventually becoming a landmark environmental case. She has been frequently featured in the media for her pioneering work in public interest law. She was the Yale world fellow and visiting scholar at Yale Law School China Law Center and Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars from 2008-2009 and is the deputy director of Public Interest Law Institute China Program.
Satchit Balsari is an emergency physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and Fellow at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI). His work is focused on the development of pre-hospital care, emergency medicine and the application of information technology to promote citizen-driven disaster mitigation and response. He oversees two multi-institutional web-based public health applications: projects mumbaiVOICES.com and EMcounter.com. Seventeen days before the November 2008 terror strikes in Mumbai, Satchit co-organized Mumbai's first inter-agency disaster drill focused on medical response (mumbaiEMEX.org). Also an avid child rights advocate, he has investigated and published on child labor in the embroidery industry in Mumbai, and worked in rehabilitation programs for children affected by natural and humanitarian crises. He served as a consultant to the American Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina. Satchit now divides his time between the US and India, where he serves on the managing committee of the Times Centre for Disaster Management at Mumbai University, and as guest editor for SouthAsiaDisasters.net. Satchit received his training at Mumbai's Grant Medical College, and at Harvard, Columbia and Cornell Universities.
Lia Sunarjo is general manager of Young&Rubicam Indonesia, a place she calls, “the canvas for passion”. A place where dreams come true. A place of creativity and inspiration. Lia received professional recognition, such as “Best PR executive 1999” from Bali Post and “10 Best Female Executive 2006” from Dewi Magazine. Lia was born in Sydney, grew up in Germany, and was educated in Singapore, but has lived most of her life in Jakarta. Her fascination with people led her to her love and passion, the creative world of advertising. Public Relations was the epilog of her 14 years experience in the marketing communications industry before advertising. FCB gave her the first taste of the world she truly loves and can’t live without. EURO RSCG was the place of opportunities, where she took the challenge of expanding the agency’s business and expertise by opening its marketing services arm in 12 cities nationwide. Through the ASIA 21 network, Lia enjoys helping fellow ASIA 21ners by advising various NGO’s in terms of communications. Currently, Lia is part of the advisory board of YCAB, a foundation established by ASIA 21 2007 Fellow, Veronica Colondam.
Maziar Bahari is a filmmaker who has been Newsweek magazine’s Iran correspondent for the past eight years. He started making films and writing during his teen-age years in Iran, then continued his education at McGill and Concordia universities in Canada, where he studied political science and film. His documentary films on Iran, Iraq, and Africa have been shown by broadcasters and film festivals around the world. He has also worked with international organizations such as UNHCR, UNICEF, and Amnesty International as a filmmaker and writer. He was detained in Iran between June 21 and October 17, 2009, following Iran’s disputed presidential elections. Maziar Bahari has directed and produced many films for international broadcasters. He is known for his documentaries about Iran and Iraq. Maziar is known for his insightful and balanced work, and often puts his personal safety at risk to include all perspectives. During the elections in Iran, he was one of the few respected journalists invited to attend the first Friday prayers after the election, presided over by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Maziar’s accomplishments were honored as a finalist to the prestigious 2009 Prince of Asturias Award for Concord. His nomination was supported, among others, by Nobel prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Maziar has travelled widely and is a strong believer in the importance of cross cultural understanding.
Shin Fukushige is currently a venture capitalist specialising in cross-border investments at Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, a VC subsidiary of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. Prior to becoming a venture capital professional, he worked for close to a decade in Japan in various sectors of the IT industry with venture and growth stage multi-nationals, including serving as President of a NASDAQ listed IT organisation's Japanese subsidiary. In his current capacity he specialises in investments into businesses which are enabling, or enabled by, ICT and advances in physical sciences, with a focus on enterprises whose potential is fully realised by connecting technologies and markets across borders. Shin currently sits on the nomination committee for the Entrepreneur of the Year Japan programme.
Ruth Yeoh is Director at Yeoh Tiong Lay & Sons Holdings Sdn Bhd and Director of Investments at YTL Corporation Bhd. She is also a Director at YTL-SV Carbon, YTL's in-house carbon credit and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) consultancy. Ruth currently leads the environmental division at YTL, where she reports on her organization’s environmental activities through writing its yearly sustainability reports. Ruth pioneered the highly successful "Climate Change Week," YTL's educational campaign designed to raise awareness on the issue of climate change in Malaysia and globally. She is a member of the Institute of Corporate Responsibility Malaysia (ICRM) and is an investment committee member of both the Asian Renewable Energy and Environment Fund (AREEF) and Renewable Energy and Environment Fund (REEF), investing in clean technology and renewable energy. Ruth was appointed youngest Board Member of Rare Conservation in 2008, with responsibilities in the Governance Committee of this US-based conservation organization. She is a Board Member at Reef Check Malaysia, dedicated to protecting reefs and coral life in Malaysia and the Southeast Asian region. She was previously attached with Credit Suisse, Singapore, where she was responsible for research into equities, renewable energy markets, commodities, clean technology, investments and the author of several publications. Ruth has written for the Wall Street Journal Asia and Financial Times, and has authored and co-edited a book on climate change entitled Cut Carbon, Grow Profits: Business Strategies for Managing Climate Change and Sustainability. Ruth graduated with from the University of Nottingham UK and holds a MS from Cass Business School in the City of London.
Batchimeg Migeddorj recently joined the President’s Office as a National Security Policy Advisor to the President of Mongolia. Previously, she served as a researcher for the Institute for Strategic Studies of Mongolia and later as a Head of the Ulaanbaatar Trade and Economic Representative Office in Taipei. Her main research subjects are China and major powers' relations in Northeast Asia. She has published numerous articles at home and abroad on related topics. She completed her studies at Beijing Language and Culture University in 1995, and obtained a Masters degree in political science at the National Defense University of Mongolia. Currently, she is a PhD candidate at National Taiwan University.
Mike Joo is managing director and Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Global Markets at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He is based in New York. As COO, Joo is responsible for driving continuity and efficiency across the organization and performing a range of key cross-platform functions that help the company execute on its business strategies. Additionally, Joo has responsibility for Strategy & Business Support, Business Supervision and the Principal Administrative Office, and the operating offices of the global sales, trading and research businesses. Joo joined the company in 2006 as head of Asia Debt Capital Markets, based in Hong Kong. Previously, Joo spent nearly ten years at Credit Suisse in Hong Kong and Korea as head of Asia Debt Capital Markets. At Credit Suisse, he had additional responsibilities for investment banking, M&A and derivatives coverage. Joo is a recipient of the Korean Ministry of Finance Excellence Award for his significant contributions to the Korean government, particularly for his work during the Asian financial crisis. Joo began his career at Goldman Sachs in New York where he was a part of the utility and telecommunications Debt Capital Markets team. Joo holds a bachelor of science from MIT.
Bhavani Fonseka is presently working as a Senior Researcher with the Centre for Policy Alternatives, a think tank in Sri Lanka, conducting research, documentation, national and international advocacy and litigation. She is a human rights lawyer and activist, with a focus on assisting victims and affected populations in various parts of Sri Lanka. She has worked on a range of issues including the rights of the displaced, women, children, minorities, HIV/AIDS, land and legal issues. She has been involved in and supported several key fundamental rights cases protecting the rights of victims in recent times in Sri Lanka. Bhavani has an LLB (Hons) (UK) and LLM (in international human rights law) (USA). In 2007, she was awarded 'The Young Outstanding Persons' (TOYP) in the category of human rights by the Junior Chamber International and HSBC Bank.
John David Ciorciari is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy. His teaching and research focus is diplomacy and international law, primarily in an Asian context. He was a National Fellow at the Hoover Institution (Stanford University), where he coordinated the Global Markets Working Group, and he was a Shorenstein Fellow at Stanford's Asia-Pacific Research Center. From 2004 to 2007, he was a policy official in the US Treasury Department, serving most recently as the Deputy Director of the Office of South and Southeast Asia. John has also served since 1999 as a legal advisor to the Documentation Center of Cambodia promoting memory and justice of the Khmer Rouge tragedy. John was a 2003-04 Visiting Research Fellow at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore and an attorney at the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell from 1997 to 2000. He is the author of The Limits of Alignment (forthcoming, Georgetown University Press, 2010), which examines the foreign policy dilemmas facing Southeast Asian states. He is also the co-editor of On Trial: The Khmer Rouge Accountability Process (Documentation Center of Cambodia, 2009) and The Road Ahead for the Fed (Hoover Institution Press, 2009) about monetary policy. John holds an A.B. and J.D. from Harvard and M.Phil. and D.Phil. from Oxford, where he was a Fulbright Scholar.
Michael R. Fenzel is an active duty army lieutenant colonel (selected early for promotion to the rank of colonel). He is currently a PhD student in national security studies at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He has recently served as an airborne battalion task force commander in Afghanistan (2007-08) and as the deputy commander for the 1st Brigade of the 82d Airborne Division (2005-06). As a field grade officer, he served a year-long tour in Iraq, after taking part in the parachute assault into northern Iraq in March 2003. He served close to two years as a Director for Transnational Threats at the National Security Council. In this capacity, he oversaw the coordination and implementation of US counter-terrorism policy. He has also served as a Strategist and Policy Analyst for the Army Chief of Staff at the Pentagon. As an infantry officer in the US Army, Michael has led soldiers through Operation Desert Storm, served as a battalion logistics officer in Bosnia in 1995, commanded two paratrooper companies in Italy (through the defense of the US embassy and evacuation of 1,400 people during Operation Assured Response in Liberia in 1996), and served as an airborne battalion executive officer in Iraq. Michael was a Term Member with the Council on Foreign Relations and is a former White House Fellow. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the Johns Hopkins University and holds Masters degrees from Harvard University and the US Naval War College, both with an emphasis on international security.
Sabrina Singh works for NASA and trains Japanese, Russian, European and US astronauts on spacesuits and living sustainably with limited resources in space. As the founder of NASA Everest Treks, she leads hiking expeditions to remote Himalayan Mountains and also conducts medical care and education outreach in underserved areas. She is the founder and executive director of DUNK IT! which uses sports culture to foster education on humanitarian crises. Sabrina is a graduate of a national leadership development program called NASA FIRST (Foundations of Influence, Relationships, Success, and Teamwork). She was also the recipient of a Rotary International Foundation scholarship for the Egypt Group Study Exchange. In this role, she motivated and mentored female engineering students. Sabrina also mentors graduating seniors at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul. She serves on the young professionals advisory board for the Houston World Affairs Council.