Class of 2023
Lima Halima Ahmad
Human Security Expert
Ph.D. Candidate, Fletcher School at Tufts University
"Leadership entails prioritizing human security and placing individuals at the core of our evolving global landscape. Our combined focus on empathy can reduce the urge for competition and harm."
Lima Halima Ahmad is a human security expert whose research focuses on youth vulnerability to extreme violence.
Currently a Ph.D. candidate and research fellow at the Center for Strategic Studies at the Fletcher School of Tufts University, she's recognized for independent research, including reports on the Women’s Penal System in Afghanistan, Women’s Participation in the Afghan Peace Process, NATO's Security Sector Reform, and numerous analytical articles.
Lima founded the Paywand Afghanan Association, dedicated to women's issues research. With a track record of collaboration with national and international organizations, she emphasizes gender mainstreaming. Formerly the Monitoring and Evaluation Director at the Administrative Office of the President of Afghanistan, she drove system reforms for enhanced governmental accountability.
She holds a master's degree in International Security from The Fletcher School at Tufts University and a bachelor's degree in Women and Gender Studies from Bucknell University.
Ahmad Siyam Barakati
Deputy Director, Charmaghz
“A true leader fosters trust, open communication, and a safe environment for ideas and risks.”
Ahmad Siyam Barakati is the deputy director of Charmaghz, a Kabul-based nonprofit organization that runs the biggest chain of mobile libraries for children in Afghanistan and provides educational services to more than 2,500 children daily.
At Charmaghz, Ahmad draws on years of experience managing educational projects in Afghanistan to lead their efforts to provide exceptional educational services to the children who visit the libraries.
In recognition of his outstanding achievements, Ahmad was honored as a prominent figure on the esteemed "30 under 30 Literacy Leaders" list by the International Literacy Association in 2023.
He holds a bachelor's degree in Medicine. He is certified as a global Project Management Professional (PMP) by the Project Management Institute.
Founding Partner, Palm Drive Capital
“Leadership means that I need to develop mutual trust and respect with those around me and empower them to work towards a shared mission and vision.”
Seamon Chan is Founding Partner at Palm Drive Capital, a venture capital firm invested in underserved entrepreneurs across five continents. He previously worked at Insight Partners and brings operating experience across the U.S., Asia, and Europe.
Seamon serves as Chair of the Milken Institute Young Leaders Circle (Asia), the Advisory Council of Asia Society Southern California, the Advisory Board of Mekong Future Initiative, and the Board of Trustees and Review Committee of the United Chinese Americans Community Foundation. He is a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the Economic Club of New York, China Institute Next Gen x Serica, and Gold House. He was recognized as a Committee of 100 Next Generation Leader in 2018 and serves on the C100 NGL Advisory Council.
Seamon graduated from Stanford University, the OPM Program at HBS, and is completing the Belt Road Initiative EMBA at Tsinghua University PBC School of Finance.
Head of Sustainability, Asia Symbol (Guangdong)
"Leadership is setting a vision for better changes and motivating others to join. Through inspiration, empathy, and kindness, leaders bring along others and let them see the best in themselves."
Hao Chen is the Head of Sustainability at Asia Symbol in Guangdong, a world-class sustainable paper company under the Singapore-headquartered Royal Golden Eagle (RGE) Group.
As part of management, Hao leads a group of ESG champions embedded within the business and ensures implementation of the Asia Symbol 2030 sustainability goals.
Prior to joining the private sector, Hao spent eight years in Kenya serving the United Nations Environment Programme actively engaged in environmental multilateralism. She was awarded a "Baobab Staff Award" for her work in supporting the significant 2017 ivory trade ban in China. Her journey in global environmental cooperation has been featured in Chinese national media such as Xinhua News Agency and China Daily.
Hao holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Bath University in the United Kingdom, where she was the first elected Chair of the International Students Union, and an MPA in International Economics from Columbia University.
Speculative Fiction Writer
"True leadership reshapes the world's mindset through the potent blend of imagination and storytelling."
Chen Qiufan (a.k.a. Stanley Chan) is an award-winning Chinese speculative fiction author, translator, creative producer, and curator. He is the vice president of the Chinese Writers Association Science Fiction Committee, a Research Scholar for MacMillan Center at Yale University, a Berggruen Fellow and a member of the Xprize Foundation Science Fiction Advisory Council.
His works include the novel Waste Tide and a book co-authored with Kai-Fu Lee, AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future.
He focuses on topics such as climate change and environmental issues, the inequality of tech society, culture and biodiversity, and many other subjects. He currently travels around the world and does field study for his future projects.
Founder and Chairman, Thousandleaf
"Leadership means increasing the capabilities that one possesses for solving the world's problems to create a world full of altruism – a world where people can think about others and act for others."
Soichiro Chiba is the founder of Thousandleaf, an advisory and investment firm for the public and private sectors. He has served as one of 13 advisors to the Prime Minister's cabinet for the World Assembly for Women, and as an advisor to the Chairwoman of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) on technology and energy policies. As an investor, he worked at the disruptive technology unit of the World Bank Group Young Professionals Program, a U.S. Private Equity Firm, and Mitsubishi Corporation, focusing on disruptive technologies and various sectors.
He is also the chairman of Y7&Y20 of Japan, a national U-40 organization of the G7&G20. Soichiro received a dual B.A. from Peking University and Waseda University and an MBA from Harvard Business School as a Fulbright Scholar. He is the co-author of "Japan: Land of the Setting Sun?” a case study on Prime Minister Abe's economic policy taught to all 900 Harvard Business School students in the required curriculum. Soichiro is a violinist who has played for the first lady of Japan.
Partner, Mahoney Liotta LLP
"Driven by service, effective leaders cultivate an environment for community members to reach their full potential. They grasp that lasting progress demands a comprehensive, forward-focused strategy aligned with the community's aspirations."
Nomin Dashnyam is a partner of MahoneyLiotta LLP, a leading law firm in Mongolia. Her practice primarily involves general corporate, project finance, energy and infrastructure, and PPP, as well as mining and minerals.
Beyond her professional commitments, Nomin is actively involved in initiatives that foster the next generation of Mongolian leaders, facilitate inclusive and accessible education, and expand opportunities for the children of Mongolia. She currently serves on the boards of Teach for Mongolia, Lean in Mongolia, and the Hobby School Alumni Association. She also previously served as the Vice President of the Mongolian Association of State Alumni (MASA), one of the top three U.S. alumni associations in the world.
Nomin is an alumna of the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (Global UGRAD) and a Rumsfeld Fellow. She received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Arizona and her Bachelor of Laws degree from the National University of Mongolia.
Tsedon Lhamu Dorji
Managing Director, BBS Channel 3
"Leadership is the ability to have a clear vision backed by personal qualities that inspire and motivate others to embrace that vision."
Tsedon Lhamu Dorji is a public servant with a communications and international relations background. Over the past 15 years, Tsedon has established and led several programs under the Royal Secretariat in Bhutan, ranging from a nonprofit organization and a youth-oriented radio station, to a non-commercial educational television channel she set up during the Covid-19 pandemic. Apart from being the only female head of a Bhutanese broadcast media organization, she is also the youngest Director on the Board of Kuensel, the national newspaper of Bhutan. In 2019, she was selected to represent Bhutan as a LEAD Fellow in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Tsedon was an AusAID scholar and earned her master’s degree with distinction in Diplomacy and Trade from Monash University. While attending Monash, she served as President of the Monash Graduate Association.
Founder and CEO, Young China Group
"Leadership is a lively dance between vision, action, empathy, and empowerment, plus the courage to walk an uncertain road with something resembling a smile."
Zak Dychtwald is an author and strategic advisor, with expertise in global cooperation, the emerging East and West youth mindset, and the interactions of rising China and the world. He is the Founder and CEO of Young China Group, a think tank and consultancy which works to deepen understanding of the effects of the evolving identity of China’s young generation on the marketplace, workplace, and international politics.
Zak is also the author of the critically acclaimed Young China: How the Restless Generation Will Change Their Country and the World, which explores how the country’s young generation, born after 1990, feels about everything, from education, money, and sex, to their government. Zak has been invited to speak on six continents including Harvard University, The Wall Street Journal CEO Council Summit, Google’s Next Billion Users Initiative, and the Aspen Ideas Festival, among others.
Director of Public & Governmental Affairs and Patient Value Strategy, bioMérieux
"A leader can only be effective if he is considered legitimate by the people he is supposed to lead. Competence and empathy are essential to ensure a team’s full engagement."
Arnaud Favry started his career as advisor in the cabinet of the French Minister of Health & Sports (2008-2010), then to the Minister of Social Affairs (2010-2011). In 2011, he joined Institut Mérieux, in charge of the family holding’s institutional relations in China, based in Beijing. In 2017, he joined bioMérieux as the Asia Pacific Strategic Initiatives Manager based in Singapore, then in Indonesia. Arnaud is currently in charge of the public and governmental affairs of bioMérieux.
Arnaud is the co-founder of the Marco Polo Institute, a think tank active in Beijing and Shanghai from 2012 to 2016, aimed at identifying innovative public policies and corporate practices in China.
Arnaud graduated from Harvard Business School (MBA, 2016) and Sciences Po Paris (bachelor’s, 2008; MPA, 2010). He also holds a bachelor’s degree in Chinese language and civilization from the National Institute of Oriental Studies in Paris (INALCO).
Sophia Hamblin Wang
Chief Operating Officer, MCi Carbon
"Leadership requires the courage to follow a path that may not have been previously forged, and the humility to learn from the mistakes you make along the way."
Sophia Hamblin Wang is COO of MCi Carbon (MCi), an Australian clean technology platform transforming carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into building materials and other valuable industrial products for the circular economy. She is recognized as a World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Global Leader and is a graduate of the Harvard University Executive Education program.
Sophia showcased MCi's technology at the Australia Pavilion during COP26, securing 1st Place in the Net Zero Technology Centre Pitch Battle in Glasgow.
Sophia has spoken prolifically about the circular carbon economy as an official delegate at the WEF Annual Meeting in Davos 2020, WEF Pioneers of Change Summit 2021, The New York Times London Climate Week 2022 and the UN Climate Action Summit in New York 2019. She is a Global Shapers alumni.
Sophia has been featured in The New York Times, Time Magazine, The Economist, TEDx, and the Australian Financial Review.
Vice President, Chief of Staff and Head of Business Operations and Corporate Development, Dedrone
"Leadership means understanding the values of a group, creating a vision that resonates with those values, and successfully realizing it."
Henning Heine is currently Chief of Staff, and Head of Business Operations and Corporate Development at Dedrone, a leading airspace awareness and security company. There he helps commercial, government and military customers protect against the threat from drones by leveraging the company’s AI/ML-enabled counter-drone solutions.
Prior to Dedrone, he spent over a decade at Centerview Partners advising corporations in China, Japan, Ukraine, Spain, Turkey, the UK, and the U.S. on M&A and strategic corporate matters. He also helped establish the firm’s technology practice in Silicon Valley.
Henning is actively engaged with nonprofits and serves as a board director for the East Palo Alto Kids Foundation. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Beijing, Henning has lived in six countries: China, Germany, Malaysia, France, the UK, and the U.S.
Henning completed his undergraduate studies at the European Business School in Germany where he currently serves as their Silicon Valley Alumni Chair. Henning speaks German, French and Mandarin. He is based in San Francisco and Washington D.C.
Founder and Director, Fugee Organization
"To be a good leader is to learn from and inspire others. Ultimately, leadership is about serving and inspiring others to do the same."
Deborah Henry is a Malaysian-Irish model, TV host, social activist, and entrepreneur. She gained prominence after winning Miss Malaysia World in 2007 and Miss Malaysia Universe in 2011.
Deborah began modeling at age 15 and has worked in Hong Kong, India, and London. She has been featured on the cover of Vogue, Marie Claire, and others.
While studying Political Science and Economics at the University of Queensland, Deborah became passionate about children's and refugee rights. She co-founded Fugee School, a nonprofit school for refugee children in Malaysia in 2009, as well as Fugee.org focusing on education access and empowerment for marginalized communities in Malaysia. In 2017, she founded Fugeelah, a social-impact jewelry business.
Deborah has represented Malaysia on humanitarian trips to Brazil, Myanmar, India, and Lebanon. She is a children's rights advocate for World Vision and a refugee rights advocate for UNHCR. In 2013, she was listed in Forbes among leading Asian Philanthropists.
Deborah was selected to represent Malaysia in the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). She also moderated a talk with Michelle Obama and Julia Roberts at the Obama Foundation Leaders: Asia-Pacific program.
Haya Fatima Iqbal
Award-Winning Documentary Filmmaker
"Leadership is knowing when to lead from the front, and when to fully let go of control so that your community can run wild with their collective dream."
Haya Fatima Iqbal is an Academy and two-time Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker based in Pakistan.
Through her documentary work, she has covered various social justice issues ranging from gender, disability, and militancy, to climate change and water scarcity. Her work has been featured on HBO Documentary, BBC, Al Jazeera, Channel 4 UK, VICE, National Geographic Society, MTV Documentary, Redfish, CNN and the Thomson Reuters Foundation, among other media organizations.
Haya is also Co-Founder of the Documentary Association of Pakistan (DAP), an initiative to promote the art of documentary films in Pakistan. DAP works closely with documentary filmmakers in Pakistan to build community and to provide them with networking and training opportunities. She is a Fulbright alumna, an Acumen Fellow, a Global Media Makers Fellow, and a GATHER Artivism Fellow.
Legal Director at the ACLU of Hawaiʻi
"Leadership is about staying true to one’s values and vision—even in the face of challenges, opposition, or controversy—all in service of the greater good."
Wookie Kim is the Legal Director at the ACLU of Hawaiʻi, where he works to defend people’s civil rights and civil liberties through litigation, lobbying, and community advocacy. Wookie works on issues including the criminalization of poverty, police misconduct, bail reform, reproductive freedom, gender equity, mass incarceration, and freedom of expression. Wookie is also a Lecturer in Law at the William S. Richardson School of Law.
Before joining the ACLU of Hawaiʻi, Wookie was an associate at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP in Washington, D.C. He also served as a law clerk on the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. Before becoming a lawyer, he taught high school English and journalism in the District of Columbia Public Schools.
Wookie received a B.A. in Ethics, Politics, and Economics from Yale University, an M.A.T. in Secondary English Education from American University, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Chief Executive Officer, Jagriti
"Leadership is a spiritual process of bringing people together to achieve greatness."
Ashutosh Kumar is the Chief Executive Officer at Jagriti, a nonprofit focused on building entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems in underserved regions of India. Jagriti Yatra, the first initiative, is a 15-day, 5,000-mile entrepreneurship train journey to inspire youth to become entrepreneurs. The initiative has impacted over 7,500 youth in the last 15 years, resulting in over 28 percent entrepreneurs. The second initiative, Jagriti Enterprise Centre, is an incubation program to support scalable enterprises that can generate employment, create livelihoods, and thus foster economic and social growth.
A graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur, India, Ashutosh is a 2013 fellow of the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program (ILVP) and a 2018 fellow of The Asia Foundation. He was a member of the India@75 Taskforce for Skilling and Entrepreneurship, an initiative by CII (Confederation of Indian Industry). He is a TEDx speaker, a theatre enthusiast, and a filmmaker.
Founder, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
"Leadership creates meaningful impact by empowering others to walk together towards a shared vision through uncertainty."
Pratik Kunwar is a civic innovator and the founder of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI), a non-profit social enterprise based in Nepal. Through its flagship civic program, CEI seeks to meet the civic justice needs of 1.5 billion people without access to it using civic technology, digital media advocacy, and grassroots empowerment.
Pratik has spoken about his work and championed civic justice at the World Forum for Democracy, One Young World, and the World Economic Forum, and been featured by the UN, Forbes, Time, MIT, and WEF, among many others. Pratik serves on the Advisory Council of the World Economic Forum's Global Shapers Community, supporting over 15,000 young leaders across 500 cities. He is also a member of the European Commission's Youth Sounding Board for 2023-25. Pratik received a B.A. (Hons) from the University of Nottingham and is the first Nepali to attend MIT's Data Economics and Development Policy program.
Independent International Affairs Strategist
HONG KONG, SAR
"To lead in the 21st century, leaders must set out visions that positively impact their local communities, with the ability to execute them, powered by community-building skill…"
Neville Lai is a consultant in the Public Sector Consulting Practice of a global professional firm, where he advises the strategic prioritization for creating ‘future-ready’ organizations and incorporates Design Thinking in public service delivery.
He is also an international affairs strategist focusing on East Asia. His thought leadership has been featured in various leading publications and forums. He is passionate about youth and civic engagement, creating a new wave of globalization.
He is the Curator for Global Shapers Community Hong Kong hub, an initiative of the World Economic Forum (WEF), where he founded the ‘Future City Dialogue Series,’ growing an audience of young professionals to actively future-proof and shape policy together.
Neville has worked as a Consultant in Myanmar for the International Trade Centre, a joint agency between the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation. He is currently based in Hong Kong.
APAC Regional Strategy & Impact Director, International Justice Mission
"In a complex world, we need leaders who can adapt, build strong relationships and drive meaningful impact in their communities and beyond."
Sinni Lim is a Singaporean leader experienced in policy making and implementation across various sectors, including healthcare, finance, labor and justice.
As the APAC Regional Strategy & Impact Director at International Justice Mission, Sinni directs teams across the APAC region to support governments in protecting vulnerable people in poverty from violence. She partners with global, regional, and national organizations to build thought leadership on emerging, cross-sector, and transboundary crimes such as the online sexual exploitation of children and forced labor.
In addition to her professional roles, Sinni has held several leadership positions in nonprofit organizations, including serving on the board of Care for Children Singapore and as a Global Shaper at the World Economic Forum.
She holds degrees from Oxford University and Stanford University.
Nyantha Maw Lin
Principal, The Anagat Initiative
"Leadership is humble, purposeful, responsible. Your impact on this world is never yours alone. It requires purpose and intentionality. It demands a village. Leadership fundamentally listens, inspires, nurtures, empowers."
Nyantha Maw Lin founded the Anagat Initiative to catalyze policy dialogue and foster a culture of collaboration through future thinking. In the aftermath of the 2021 military coup in Myanmar, he has provided independent strategic counsel to key political stakeholders, including on pivotal policy initiatives and multi-stakeholder governance and dialogue, while providing analysis and commentary at international fora.
With more than 15 years of experience spanning government affairs, public policy, and political risk, Nyantha has advised multinationals, multilateral institutions, and NGOs, He has served on the boards of several innovative nonprofits, and was part of a voluntary advisory panel comprising industry and civil society providing input towards government anti-corruption initiatives. He has worked on community and stakeholder engagement efforts in conflict situations in Myanmar, including conversations between government, the private sector, and civil society, while taking part in similar dialogue initiatives elsewhere in the region.
A Carleton College graduate, Nyantha is also an Eisenhower Fellow (2018) and received a Douglas Dillon Fellowship in his cohort, recognizing Eisenhower Fellows who combine private enterprise and public service.
Director, Centre for Asian-Australian Leadership Australian National University
"Leadership is about taking on goals that are bigger than yourself. Being a leader is about using your skills, experience, expertise, and resources for the greater good."
Jieh-Yung Lo is the founding Director of the Centre for Asian-Australian Leadership (CAAL) at the Australian National University (ANU).
Jieh-Yung was a key architect behind the formation of CAAL in its establishment in 2020 by the ANU. As its Director, Jieh-Yung is spearheading CAAL’s academic and evidence-based research and advocacy in order to shape practical solutions to tackle the ‘bamboo ceiling’ in Australia.
Jieh-Yung is one of Australia’s most influential voices and thought leaders on the topics of cultural diversity, multiculturalism, inclusion, and leadership – especially on Asian-Australian representation and cultural diversity leadership where he played a major role in putting this issue on the national agenda in Australia.
Prior to CAAL, Jieh-Yung worked in various public policy, project management, and leadership roles across the nonprofit, advocacy and government sectors. He graduated from the University of Melbourne with a B.A., majoring in Political Science and Asian Studies.
Angga Dwi Martha
Programme Management Officer/Deputy Head of UN Youth Strategy Secretariat, Office of the UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth
"Ethical leadership transcends simple guidance; it orchestrates a symphony that enables individuals to collaborate for a shared purpose, nurtures collective progress, upholds the rights of others, and promotes intergenerational understanding."
Angga Dwi Martha works at the Office of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth. With a decade of experience in youth policy and sustainable development diplomacy, he leads coordination with 131 UN Country Teams, guiding key stages of country-level processes and implementing the UN Youth Strategy. His passion lies in ethical youth leadership and the role of youth in innovation, foresight, and social justice.
Previously, Angga served as a Social Policy Specialist at UNICEF Indonesia, overseeing youth engagement in urbanization, advocating for Sustainable Development Goals, and managing UNICEF's contributions during the Indonesian G20 Presidency. He held the position of UN Youth Adviser on SDGs Implementation in Indonesia from 2017 to 2018, playing a pivotal role in mobilizing youth for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. He is both a Global Atlantic Fellow and a member of the inaugural cohort of Obama Leaders: Asia-Pacific.
Angga holds a Master's in Public Policy from the University of Indonesia and a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School.
Asia Editor, NPR
"Leadership starts with having a vision and being clear-eyed in times of change and confusion. To me, leadership is also about mentorship. Good leaders mentor."
Vincent Ni is the Asia Editor at NPR. He oversees the U.S. network’s coverage from Afghanistan to Japan and works across all NPR’s platforms. As an international journalist, Vincent has reported from the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. He also reported from the U.S. on the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections.
Before joining NPR, Vincent was a correspondent for The Guardian, a London-based newspaper, and its Sunday edition, The Observer. Prior to The Guardian, he spent seven years at the BBC, where he also worked on the network’s flagship news magazine show, Newshour. In 2019, Vincent created and edited an Asia-focused podcast. It was later acquired by the Brussels School of Governance in 2022.
Founder & CEO, Yedi Technologies, Inc.
"True leadership inspires others to dream bigger, and accomplish more together."
Evan Ramsey is an experienced entrepreneur with a decade of experience in the technology sector. He is passionate about solving problems that directly affect people’s well-being and quality of life.
He is the founder of Yedi Technologies, Inc, a venture focused on revolutionizing the quality, sustainability, and accessibility of restrooms around the world. He also founded Maia Technologies, a company specializing in agricultural digital twins, using AI and computer vision to help make farming more efficient, ethical, and sustainable.
Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Evan helped structure the go-to-market strategies for several large Silicon Valley companies, including LinkedIn and Microsoft. He has also worked around the world, including in Beijing, Tokyo, and Dubai, where he built an international robotics business.
He holds a B.A. in Economics from Harvard College.
Krystle Reid Wijesuriya
Co-founder, Enable Lanka Foundation
"Thought leadership sparks change, and purpose fuels its fire. Together, they illuminate the path to a better tomorrow."
Krystle Reid Wijesuriya is a diversity and inclusion specialist and Co-founder of the Enable Lanka Foundation. The Foundation is also the Sri Lankan partner for the APAC Microsoft Enabler program, which provides online training in data engineering and programming, cloud computing, and application development to young people with disabilities.
Krystle is also an experienced strategic planner, focusing on process improvement, risk management, and product development. Her career took a different trajectory when she moved to a start-up specializing in B2B growth marketing, "We Are Team Rocket", where she holds the position of General Manager. Krystle also serves as the youngest non-executive independent Director at a trusted NBFI in Sri Lanka. She is a Community Champion of the Global Shapers for Southern India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives chapters.
Krystle became the first Sri Lankan to be honored with the "Commonwealth Young Person of the Year" award by Queen Elizabeth II in 2017. She was selected as one of the 50 young people to attend the 2019 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum.
Senior Researcher, University of Zurich
"Leadership is the ability to put complementary knowledge and experience in conversation, to appreciate unique strengths, and to guide diverse teams towards sustainable decisions."
Jonas Ruegg is a historian of Japan, East Asia, and the Pacific, and currently teaches at the University of Zurich, Switzerland.
His forthcoming book, The Kuroshio Frontier: Empire and Oceanic Environment in the Making of Japan’s Pacific (Cambridge University Press), draws attention to the social and environmental cost of Japan’s industrial emergence throughout the Asia Pacific. Jonas’ multilingual projects are dedicated to grassroots perspectives on the perceived realities of environmental change.
As a scholar and citizen, Jonas advocates for closer conversations between critical scholarship and solution-oriented policy. He helps create synergies between academic expertise and day-to-day practice to build sustainable relations between Europe, America, and Asia. His teaching is committed to fostering intercultural competence and an awareness of underrepresented voices, skills that are increasingly indispensable for inclusive decisionmaking.Jonas received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2022.
Founder, Ta(r)dino 6 Art Platform
"A colleague once suggested that it was time to stop being a flower and instead turn into a gardener, revealing to me a true nature of leadership in once sentence."
Asli Samadova is a cultural manager, museum specialist, and curator. She has collaborated with cultural organizations across Europe and the U.S.—GWU Textile Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, Pinacoteca di Brera, Islamic Art Museum in Berlin, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Textile Museum of Sweden in Borås, Goethe-Institut, UNESCO—in the fields of exhibition making, academic research, publications and cultural undertakings.
In 2019 she launched Ta(r)dino 6 Art Platform. It supports the discourse on contemporary art from the EECCA region within an international context, focusing on gender, identity, and equality in the art world. In 2021 she registered it as a cultural NGO in Azerbaijan. Asli is a recipient of the Her Majesty Ambassador Award for contribution to U.K.-Azerbaijan cultural relations and Prince Claus Fund's inaugural Seed Award that identifies future trendsetters among artists and cultural practitioners from the Global South.
Dentist, Dental Division Royal Thai Army Medical Department
"Leadership means courage to make a justified change with evidence, perseverance, and meaningful participation."
Thanasak Thumbuntu is an ardent dentist with a steadfast commitment to enhancing access to oral healthcare in Thailand. Early in his career, Thanasak fundraised and offered dental care to marginalized communities in rural areas. Translating grassroots challenges into actionable reforms, Thanasak extended his mission to the Dental Council of Thailand where he spearheaded the pioneering "Thai Dental Clinic Accreditation," a groundbreaking endeavor that notably elevated the safety and quality of dental practices on a national scale.
Furthering his academic pursuits, Thanasak pursued a master's degree in health policy at the University of Edinburgh under the prestigious Chevening Scholarship. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, he orchestrated the mobilization of over 800 dentists, enabling them to administer unconventional yet crucial care, thus sustaining healthcare systems. Through collaboration with the World Dental Federation, he has steadfastly advocated for universal oral health coverage. Moreover, Thanasak's advocacy for cleaner air earned him recognition as one of the ten Open Air Quality Community Ambassadors.
Portfolio Manager, Quaero Capital
"Leadership requires awareness and vigilance of the wheel of fortune: in good times, to shore up defenses, and in bad times, to carry others through with imagination, integrity, and vision."
Alice Wang, CFA, is a portfolio manager at Quaero Capital in London and manages two funds focused on Asia Pacific and Chinese equities.
She is a regular contributor to media outlets such as CNBC, FT, Bloomberg, and Nikkei Asia on geopolitical and economic topics, and co-authored a multi-year case study of Haier Group with London School of Economics. Her fund, the Bamboo Asia Pacific ex-Japan, was awarded Gold in the Fund Selector Asia awards in 2022.
Alice studied Intellectual History at Yale University with a focus on China. While at Yale, she co-founded the Federalist Party, part of the Yale Political Union, and she is a Fellow of the Abigail Adams Institute at Harvard University. Alice is a soprano and a candidate for a diploma in vocal performance from Trinity College ‘23 and performs regularly. She is Co-Chair for the 2024 Gala Committee for The Wallace Collection
South-East Asia correspondent, The Economist
"Leadership is listening deeply, building trust, gathering accurate information, and then taking decisive action. When new information presents itself, a good leader updates her priors and changes her mind."
Sue-Lin Wong is The Economist’s South-East Asia correspondent. She was previously China correspondent and host of The Prince, a multiple award-winning podcast series about China’s leader Xi Jinping. Together with her colleagues, she has won Asia’s top journalism prizes including two Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) awards, the Human Rights Press Award and the Asia Society’s 2023 Osborn Elliott Prize for Excellence in Journalism on Asia. Prior to joining The Economist, she was a correspondent based in China for the Financial Times and Reuters.
Sue-Lin graduated from the Australian National University.
Emily Y. Wu
Founder/Editor in Chief, Ghost Island Media
"Every day I learn from my team. They help me be a better leader, and our work is better as a whole every day as a team."
Emily Y. Wu is founder of Ghost Island Media, an independent media network focusing on urgent social issues that Taiwan has in common with the world. Launched in 2019, its programs for podcast and TV have won awards and accolades, from Taiwan to Finland.
Emily has worked in Taipei, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, and New York. She is passionate about empowering discussions for emerging and progressive social issues and furthering dialogues between Taiwan and the world. Ghost Island Media shows are broadcast in Mandarin, English, and French. Topics range from climate, cannabis, gender, health, feminism, and emerging leaders, to cultural diplomacy, PRC influence, politics, and Taiwan in the world.
Emily began her career in journalism and international co-productions while at public television in Taiwan then at Next Media (Apple Daily). She was most recently the producer and presenter of "Game Changers with Emily Y. Wu," a 30-episode TV interview series on emerging leaders.
Emily graduated from Wellesley College.
CEO and Founder, Arukah
"To me, leadership is about being proactive to solve problems you see in the world around you – big and small – and influencing others to do so too."
Joanna Yeo is the CEO and founder of Arukah, a venture-backed technology platform for scaling sustainable finance to small businesses and farmers in emerging markets. She currently serves as an impact investment committee member for the UN Sanitation and Hygiene Fund; an independent director for Collectius, the World Bank/IFC’s distressed asset recovery partner for Southeast Asia; and an advisor to Figure Technologies.
Joanna's career has spanned investing and building new financial services businesses, including a US$2 billion pan-Asian fund strategy, and a digital infrastructure that has processed over US$12 billion in transactions among regulated institutions. Since 2012, she has also been involved in first-time sustainability reporting, investing, and product development across real estate, public equities, and debt.
Joanna began her career in international economic policy research, graduating summa cum laude from Harvard and with master’s degrees from Stanford GSB and Cambridge (Trinity College), where she was a Gates Cambridge Scholar.
CEO, Quantum Engineering and Manufacturing
"Leadership is about aligning ideals with actions to build a better future for all."
Richard Yim is the CEO of Quantum Engineering and Manufacturing in Cambodia. He is an innovator and entrepreneur dedicated to designing advanced technology and delivering innovative product design solutions.
He also contributes his understanding of national technology and innovation plans as an advisor to the National Council of Science, Technology, and Innovation for the Royal Government of Cambodia.
ASEAN 40 Under 40 and Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia have both recognized his accomplishments.
Richard holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master's in business entrepreneurship and technology from the University of Waterloo.
Founder, Accathon Capital
"Visionary leaders illuminate the path ahead, motivate others to join the journey, and cultivate an environment where each individual can flour-ish and achieve their highest self."
As a fourth-generation descendant of a distinguished Chinese family, Michael Zhu carries on his great-grandfather's legacy as a founding leader of the Hongmen. Currently serving as CIO of Accathon Capital, his single-family office, Michael steers global investments in deep tech and AI. He co-founded the influential Spark Family Offices community alongside the Bernstein family, aligning global family resources with their values to build a legacy of impact.
An avid patron of the arts, culture, education, and global hunger, Michael has amassed an impressive 25-year art collection that is housed in the Zhu’s Museum. He serves on the advisory board for Tony Robbins' "100 Billion Meals Challenge" combatting hunger worldwide. Michael is a member of the Milken Institute's Young Leaders Circle and the ACG NY Family Office Committee. He holds EMBAs from Columbia University and London Business School, and brings a blend of business acumen, philanthropic passion, and cross-cultural perspective to his endeavors.