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

Melanie Perkins

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Canva Pty Ltd, Australia

Melanie Perkins is chief executive officer and co-founder of Canva, an online design and publishing tool that makes graphic design simple for everyone. Since launching in 2013, Canva has grown to over 15 million users across 190 countries, with more than 1 billion designs created, at 33 designs per second. Today Canva is growing from strength the strength, with over 500 team members working together on a mission to empower everyone to create beautiful designs.

Nina Rawal

Partner and Co-Head of Ventures, Trill Impact Advisory AB, Sweden

Dr. Nina Rawal is the founder of emerging health ventures, a global health focused venture capital investor. She previously headed the life science investment team at Industrifonden, a USD 600m VC fund. Previous experience also includes Boston Consulting Group in Stockholm and New York, and VP Strategy and Ventures at Gambro (Baxter Group). She serves on the boards of MedCap AB and Stockholms Sjukhem, a non-profit hospital.
Nina holds a MSc in Biomedicine and a PhD in Molecular Neurobiology, both from the Karolinska Institute with research work done at Columbia University and Hopital la Salpetriere. Recognition for her work includes the selection as a WEF Young Global Leader and a '40 under 40 - European Young Leader.

Phanindra Sama

Chief Innovation Officer, Government of Telangana, India

Phanindra Sama, A firm believer in active citizenship, is the first chief innovation officer of the Government of Telangana, contributing to building an innovation-driven economy in the state. Previously, he was the founder of redBus, the world's largest bus ticketing company, with operations in six countries. After exiting redBus, he co-founded Kakatiya Sandbox, a social impact venture that nurtures active citizenship for the economic prosperity of the region.

Yichen Shen

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Lightelligence, People's Republic of China

Shen Yichen is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Lightelligence, the world's first and leading optical computing company. Before founding Lightelligence, he was a scientist and engineer by training. He received his PhD in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a BSc in in Mathematics and Physics from Johns Hopkins University. During his doctoral period, he filed 10 US patents and published more than 35 peer-reviewed journal papers in Science, Nature Photonics, ICML and other top journals. In 2017, Yichen published a cover article on Nature Photonics, which for the first time proposed a theory to use light to perform AI algorithms. With this breakthrough, he was included on MIT Technology Review’s list of 35 Technology Innovators Under 35.

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji

General Partner, Future Africa, Nigeria

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji is an entrepreneur in the public interest. He is passionate about partnering with missionary talent and capital to build an African future. He spent the last few years as the CEO of Flutterwave, a business building payments technology and infrastructure to connect Africa to the global economy.

Over those years, he led the company to become one of the fastest growing payments technology businesses of all-time processing over $2 billion across over 50 million transaction with annual revenues of millions of dollars a year. It also attracted significant investment from experienced players in the global payments arena such as Y Combinator (investors in Stripe), Greycroft (investors in Braintree), Greenvisor Capital (Led by the Former CEO of Visa), Mastercard amongst others.
Prior to helping to co-found and lead Flutterwave, Iyinoluwa co-founded Andela - Africa's largest engineering organization with over 1000 software engineers which has received investment from Mark Zuckerberg and Google Ventures amongst others.

Iyin now heads Fund for Africa’s Future where he spends time helping founders, philanthropists and investors from around the world understand how to do build fast growing and impactful technology businesses in Africa. He is working to identify passionate and experienced missionary entrepreneurs with the integrity and courage to flawlessly execute in Africa while developing a data backed and informed point of view on how to turn Africa's largest challenges into incredible business opportunities.

Fund for Africa’s Future celebrates missionary entrepreneurs while empowering them to serve the next generation of missionary entrepreneurs.

Iyinoluwa holds a bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies from the University of Waterloo; and sits on the board of several institutions including Paris’ Share Africa Project, Rainbow Educational Services Limited and Filmo Realty.

Swapan Mehra

Chief Executive Officer, Iora Ecological Solutions Pvt. Ltd., India

Swapan Mehra is the Chief Executive Officer of Iora Ecological Solutions Pvt. Ltd. and is a global leader in climate action and ecosystem conservation in India. His pioneered work on finance, technology and governance-led interventions in community forestry has been lauded at forums such as the MIT Climate Co-lab, Norway REDD exchange and the UNFCCC COP. He has led international carbon finance teams at AES, Evolution Markets and EcoSecurities and has leveraged over $10 billion of public and $75 million in private environmental finance. His tech-led work on conserving 10 million hectares of forests is shaping national strategies and policies in India. He advises many key government ministries and serves on the Assam Chief Minister's Climate Taskforce.

Rafael Paz

Alumni, Global Shapers Community

Rafael Paz is currently the executive director of the National Competitiveness Council, where he develops the strategic agenda to strengthen the competitiveness of the Dominican Republic. He has extensive training in areas such as governance, public management, business, leadership and political communication. Paz served for six years as Executive Vice President of the National Council of Private Enterprise (CONEP), was a member of the National Social Security Council (CNSS), and on the Board of Directors of the Patrimonial Fund of the Reformed Companies (Fonper). He was the first secretary of the National School of Electoral Training and Civil Status (EFEC) of the Central Electoral Board.

Amal Enan

Chief Investment Officer, American University in Cairo, Egypt

Amal Enan is Chief Investment Officer at the American University in Cairo and a Managing Director at Global Ventures. She places her investment expertise where it can alter outcomes for the Middle East and Africa. Being a woman investing in the Middle East with a commitment to equity and justice, Enan applies herself as a catalyst for channelling inclusive capital to invest in the growth and dignity of MENA's youth with confidence.

Michael Kratsios

Head of Strategy, Scale AI, USA

Michael is the Chief Technology Officer of the United States at The White House. As President Trump's principal technology policy advisor, Michael has led the development and execution of the Administration's national technology policy agenda since inauguration.

Under his leadership, the White House has launched important National initiatives and strategic plans for artificial intelligence, quantum computing, 5G and broadband communications, autonomous vehicles, commercial drones, STEM education, and advanced manufacturing.