Who we are

The Young Global Leaders ® Community is an accelerator for a dynamic community of exceptional people with the vision, courage, and influence to drive positive change in the world.

Our growing membership of more than 1,400 members and alumni of 120 nationalities includes civic and business innovators, entrepreneurs, technology pioneers, educators, activists, artists, journalists, and more.

Aligned with the World Economic Forum’s mission, we seek to drive public-private co-operation in the global public interest. We are united by the belief that today’s pressing problems present an opportunity to build a better future across sectors and boundaries.

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Meet our members

Rima Assi

Managing Partner, Abu Dhabi; Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company LME Limited, United Arab Emirates

Rima Assi is a Senior Partner with the Middle East Office of McKinsey & Company and Managing Partner of McKinsey’s Abu Dhabi office. Rima advises leading governments in the Middle East on public finance to drive large-scale social and economic transformation, and is a major champion for women’s empowerment across the region. Rima is a key speaker on the power of gender parity at several fora including the Global Women’s Forum Dubai and GITEX Tech conference. She has authored several articles on the power of gender parity in Newsweek Middle East and more recently on more powerful approaches to ensuring value in public finances.

Faisal Abbas

Editor-in-Chief, Arab News, Saudi Arabia

Faisal J. Abbas is the Editor-in-Chief of the Riyadh-based leading Middle East English language daily, Arab News.

Under his leadership, Arab News (established 1975) relaunched with a more global, more digital direction. It has expanded its international presence through a large network of correspondents and a number of regional bureaus across the world.

Prior to joining the newspaper in 2016, Abbas has been the Editor-in-Chief of the Dubai-based English language service of Al Arabiya News Channel.

Abbas is a renowned columnist on Arab-international affairs and has also conducted interviews with a number of world leaders. He appears regularly on international media to comment on regional affairs.

Abbas has previously written for The Huffington Post and worked with both Asharq Al Awsat and Al Hayat pan-Arab dailies, Future Television of Lebanon and the International Resource Journal in London.

He has been the recipient of many media awards, including the Next Century Foundation’s Cutting-Edge Award (2009) for efforts in bridging the communication gap between the West and the Arab World and British Council’s UK alumni “Social Impact” award in Saudi Arabia (2017).

He holds a master’s degree from the University of Westminster and a bachelor degree from the Lebanese American University. He is also a graduate of the Executive Education Program of the Harvard Kennedy School, where he studied Global Leadership and Public Policy.

Abbas is a member of the editorial board of Al Arabiya News Channel, an associate fellow of the Cambridge Union Society and a member of the British Society of Authors.

In 2017, he published his first Arabic book called ‘Arabi/Englizi’ which describes London through Arab eyes.

Zhu Xiaoxuan

Deputy Director, China Science and Technology Exchange Center, Ministry of Science and Technology, People's Republic of China

Dr. Zhu Xiaoxuan is the Deputy Director of China Science and Technology Exchange Center at the Ministry of Science and Technology. Dr. Zhu is an expert in international S&T cooperation policy development and has been participating national level research policy development in the S&T fields.

Li Jia

Adjunct Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine, USA

Jia Li is an Adjunct Professor at Stanford’s School of Medicine. She also serves as an advisor to the UNICEF. She co-founded DawnLight Technologies and served as the founding CEO. She was the Head of R&D at Google Cloud AI. Her org at Google focuses on both research and innovation to solve real world problems and develop the full stack of AI products on Google Cloud to power solutions for diverse industries. Before joining Google, she was the Head of Research at Snap, leading the research innovation effort. Before Snap, she led the Visual Computing and Learning Group at Yahoo! Labs. Jia received her Ph.D. degree from the Computer Science Department at Stanford University. She is serving as the Associate Editor of the Visual Computer: International Journal of Computer Graphics by Springer and the Computer Vision Foundation Industrial Advisory Board Member. She served as the Program Chair of the ACM Multimedia Conference 2017, Area Chair for ICCV 2017, Industry Relationship Chair in CVPR 2016 and Volunteers Chair in CVPR 2010 in the past. In 2014, she was selected to receive the Super Star award at Yahoo!, the highest award at the company. She was also awarded the Master Inventor Award for her innovations in Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Mobile Vision, E-Commerce, Product Recommendation and Image Search. She was the leader of the OPTIMOL team, which won the first prize in the Semantic Robotics Vision Challenge sponsored by NSF and AAAI in 2007.

Valeri Chekheria

Chief Executive Officer, Adjara Group Hospitality, Georgia

Valeri has emerged as a key business leader in the region through his innovative approach to implementing modern business values to the Georgian community.

Under his leadership Adjara Group has built a diverse portfolio of internationally renowned hotels and trend-setting new entrepreneurial projects including a large-scale agricultural and farming development initiative in Eastern region of Georgia.

Valeri is a dedicated philanthropist involved in several charitable causes and leads the company’s CSR efforts. He is Chairman of the Board of the Global Compact Network Georgia as well as a board-member of the McLain Association Children.

Prior to taking leadership of the company in 2011 he served as Chief of Staff to the Minister of Economic Development and the Minister of Finance. Valeri graduated from Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs, where he completed a Masters of Public Administration (MPA).

As a recognition of his achievements Valeri was nominated in 2018 by the World Economic Forum as a member of the Young Global Leaders’ program along with 100 of the world’s most promising, business leaders, public servants, technologists, social entrepreneurs and artists.

Reem Khouri

Founder and Partner, Kaamen, Jordan

Reem Khouri
Co-Founder & CEO of Whyise, Founding Partner of Kaamen

Reem Khouri is passionate about impact. She is the co-founder and CEO of Whyise, an impact analytics software solution that allows organizations to aggregate their data and analyze it for exponential impact as well as map their operations against international frameworks such as the UN SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) and comply with frameworks such as IFC ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) standards and GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) among others. They are also leveraging Artificial intelligence to understand the variables affecting impact in an evidence-based manner and blockchain infrastructure to generate impact based smart contracts.

She is also the founding partner of Kaamen, an impact design company that has worked in the Middle East, Asia and Africa with governments, companies and NGOs to design models for exponential economic and social returns.

She served on numerous boards and is an associate at 3BL Associates, a people + planet strategy consultancy and is a faculty member at Amani Institute in Nairobi, Kenya and is a board member of Ruwwad for Development, a non-profit community development organization that works with disenfranchised communities through education, youth volunteerism and grassroots organizing.

She previously worked with Aramex, one of the leading global logistics and transportation solutions providers and served on its sustainability council and working with the company's founder and CEO Fadi Ghandour on sustainability, strategic initiatives, research and support for entrepreneurs.

She was recognized as one of the World’s 100 Most Influential Arabs Under 40 by Arabian Business Magazine in 2015 and 2016 and was selected in 2018 as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum.

Catherine Lenson

Managing Partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers (UK) Limited, United Kingdom

Catherine is a Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, the world’s largest technology investment firm. She is the Chief Human Resources Officer and Head of Social Impact. She manages the employment of 400 staff across nine countries; oversees our real estate and workspace strategy; is a Director on a number of the firm’s corporate entities in UK and Jersey; and spearheads industry-leading initiatives across culture, diversity, equity and inclusion, and wellbeing. She designed and directs the firm’s strategy for Social Impact, including ESG, CSR and Sustainability; and is the Executive Sponsor for ‘Emerge’, SoftBank’s successful tech incubator for underrepresented founders. Prior to SoftBank, Catherine worked at UBS AG between 2004 and 2017. Catherine is a founding member of Sustainability30, an initiative to bring together Chief Sustainability Officers from 30 of the world’s leading companies . She is also a Director of University Jewish Chaplaincy, an organisation which supports Jewish students the UK’s universities. Catherine is based in London but, prior to recent travel restrictions, worked extensively in Silicon Valley and Tokyo. She has previously lived and worked in Milan and Paris. She holds an MA from Cambridge University in Modern and Medieval Languages.

Amit Paley

Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, The Trevor Project, USA

Amit Paley is the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people. He began as a counselor on The Trevor Project's 24/7 TrevorLifeline in 2011, and since then he has answered hundreds of calls from LGBTQ youth in crisis. Amit is the first volunteer counselor to become the CEO of the organization in its 22-year history and he still continues to answer calls on TrevorLifeline. Under Amit’s leadership, the organization has dramatically expanded the number of LGBTQ youth that it serves and the breadth of programming that it offers. During his tenure, The Trevor Project built and launched a new, integrated crisis services platform, expanded its chat and text services to 24/7, and more than tripled the number of youth served each month. The organization has also transformed its TrevorSpace platform into the largest safe-space social networking site for LGBTQ youth and expanded the Trevor Project’s research initiatives. Trevor also now operates the largest grassroots campaign in the world to end conversion therapy. Amit is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College with an MBA from Columbia Business School and a Master’s from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Subha Nagarajan

Managing Director, Global Capital Advisory, GE Energy Financial Services, USA

Dr. Subha Nagarajan is leading the charge for GE’s ambitious emerging markets investment portfolio. She heads the U.S. Advisory and Execution team for GE Capital’s Global Capital Advisory team based in Washington DC. In this role, Subha leads the structuring, execution and relationship management for US-based export credit agencies (ECAs), development finance institutions (DFIs), and other financing institutions.

Prior to GE, Subha was the Managing Director for Africa at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. She opened OPIC’s first overseas office in Africa in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. In this role, she was responsible for coordinating business development across insurance, project and corporate finance, and private equity investments.

Subha also worked in various leadership roles at the African Development Bank, where she was responsible for originating, structuring and executing private equity and project finance transactions in infrastructure, energy, and oil & gas sectors.

She has co-authored Understanding Power Project Finance, Understanding Power Project Procurement, Committee of Ten Policy Brief: Financing of Sustainable Energy Solutions, and contributed to the WEF publication Paving the Way: Maximizing the Value of Private Finance in Infrastructure, along with other publications.

Subha has a Ph.D in Applied Economics from the George Washington University, and a MA in Finance and Economics from McGill University.