Who we are

The Forum of Young Global Leaders is a community with the vision, courage and influence to drive positive change.

During a transformational five-year experience, YGLs are inspired to be bold in undertaking a sense of shared responsibility, impact and ambition.

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Meet our members

Lamya AlHaj

Associate Professor, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman

Lamya Al Haj holds a PhD in Structural and Molecular Biology from UCL and an MSc in Environmental Science and Technology from UNSW. She is a researcher on biodiesel alternatives to oil, and an Associate Professor at the Sultan Qaboos University. Lamya founded a speakers' platform in GCC region “Jalasat Mulhimoon” to showcase role models and inspire younger generations. She has spoken at conferences and corporate events including Harvard and IMD Middle East Alumni conferences on leadership. She was recently selected as a judge for an MIT based competition “Innovators under 35” organized by MIT Technology Review. She is the founder of “Coach4Change” where she worked alongside and supported senior government officials, CEOs, business leaders and boards around the country. She received numerous awards & recognitions including the “Boban Marcovic Prize in Environmental Science”, The “Gulf Intelligence - Occidental Award”, “National Research Award”, “Omani Woman Award 2019” for her innovation, and the prestigious “L’Oréal UNESCO award for women in science- Middle east fellowship award”- 2018. She is also a Fellow at The World Academy of Science (TWAS 2019-2023 affiliate).

Aslihan Denizkurdu

Managing Director, Chief Operating Officer of Risk Management, Citigroup, USA

Aslihan Denizkurdu is a Managing Director and Global Chief Operating Officer for Risk Management at Citigroup. In her role, she designs and oversees firm-wide frameworks and processes that enable prudent management of global risks across a $2 trillion balance sheet in 100 countries. Raised in Turkey, Denizkurdu believes in the power of large businesses in driving positive change and solving social problems. She has been a Fellow with the Aspen Institute’s First Movers programme for social intrapreneurs since 2012.

Erika Najarian

Managing Director; Head, US Banks Equity Research, Global Research Division, Bank of America, USA

Erika Najarian is managing director and head of Americas financial sector research, comprising $4.5 trillion in market capitalization. An expert and thought leader on financial services and global financial regulation, she advises institutional investors, bank executives, central banks, finance ministers and regulatory agencies. She founded the Future of Financials conference, the premier annual forum on disruptive technology, regulatory change and investment themes within financial services. She is a passionate advocate of the professional advancement of women and people of colour. At Bank of America, she is actively involved in mentorship, the Women's Leadership Council and the Asian Leadership Network.

Thum Ping Tjin

Founder and Managing Director, New Naratif, Singapore

Dr Pingtjin THUM is a Singaporean historian, and founder and Managing Director of New Naratif, a movement for democracy, freedom of expression, and freedom of information in Southeast Asia. As civil rights activists, he and his colleagues have been threatened, harassed, and condemned as traitors by Singapore’s government. Dr Thum earned his DPhil in History from Oxford in 2011 and is currently an Academic Visitor at Hertford College. He is a Rhodes Scholar, Commonwealth Scholar, Olympic athlete, and the only Singaporean to swim the English Channel. A graduate of Harvard and Oxford, his work centres on decolonisation in Southeast Asia, and its continuing impact on Southeast Asian governance and politics. His most recent published work is “Independence: The Further Stage of Colonialism in Singapore” in Barr and Rahim (eds.), The Limits of Authoritarian Governance in Singapore’s Developmental State (Palgrave, 2019).

Faraja Nyalandu

Founder and executive director, Shule Direct, Tanzania

Faraja Nyalandu is an award-winning social entrepreneur, committed to promoting systemic change in digital learning in secondary school education in Tanzania. She has authored two youth empowerment books written in Kiswahili, Tanzania's national language, to reach underserved young people.

Yasukane Matsumoto

Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Raksul Co., Ltd, Japan

Yasukane started his career as a consultant in A.T. Kearny. While working on cost-cutting projects there, he realized the inefficiencies existed in the Japanese printing industry. In 2009, he founded Raksul Inc. with the vision to bring innovation to the printing industry.
In 2013, Yasukane launched raksul.com, e-commerce platform specializing in printing by utilizing existing printing factories' excess capacity. In December 2015, he launched 'hacobell', a sharing economy platform for trucking services.
In 2018, Raksul Inc. was ranked first in "Startup of the Year" by Forbes Japan and is now listed on the Tokyo Stocks Exchange.

Sawsan Zaher

Human Rights Lawyer; Director, Social and Economic Rights Unit, Adalah, Israel

Sawsan is a Palestinian feminist and human rights lawyer, based in Haifa, Israel. A senior lawyer with Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, serving as the director of Social, Economic and Cultural Rights Unit since 2005. She has litigated several landmark cases before the Israeli Supreme Court challenging discrimination and racism against the Palestinian minority in Israel; In 2015 Sawsan was selected as a Young Global Leader and she received several fellowships: in 2013 selected as a Yale World Fellow; in 2012 selected as a fellow at the Women in Public Service Project at Wellesley College, M.A., USA; in 2008 a Fellow of the Public Law Program in the Public Interest Law Institute in Colombia University, NYC. In 2004 received an L.L.M. in International Legal Studies with a concentration on human rights and gender from the American University, Washington College of Law (USA). In January 2015 appointed to serve as the Acting General Director of Women's Center for Legal Aid and Counselling in Ramallah. Active in several human rights and digital rights organizations including board member at 7amleh - The Arab Center for Social media Advancement.

Sadiq Gillani

Senior Vice-President, Emirates Group, United Arab Emirates

Sadiq is a Senior Vice President with Emirates Group and a Lecturer in Management at Stanford. He was formerly a Senior Vice President with Lufthansa Group, serving as Chief Strategy Officer. He was formerly an airline consultant with Bain & Co. He started an MBA course on the Travel & Airline Industry at Stanford in 2014. His TED talk on the Next Step for Airlines has been viewed 150,000 times. He is a YGL and is on the WEF's Global Future Council for Mobility. He graduated from Cambridge University with First Class honours and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Alfa Demmellash

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Rising Tide Capital, USA

Born and raised in Ethiopia, Alfa now lives in New Jersey with her husband and two little boys. She is also the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Rising Tide Capital, a non-profit organization that provides underserved entrepreneurs with the resources needed to grow successful businesses. Over the past 15 years, the organization has run hundreds of Community Business Academies, which provide intensive business management training coupled with year-round coaching and mentorship to over 1,000 entrepreneurs annually. Corporate, foundation and governmental funders underwrite the cost of tuition for all participants. By building successful businesses, these entrepreneurs meet their families’ basic needs, create opportunities for social mobility and help transform their local communities into thriving economies.

Alfa is also the co-founder of Future Tide Partners, which equips cross-sector leaders to shift capital, policy and culture to respond to a new world of work in service to a flourishing future economy. She was named Young Global Leader in 2015 and has appeared in leading media outlets, such as CNN, the Suze Orman show, O the Oprah Magazine, Essence Magazine, Bloomberg, Inc Magazine, BusinessWeek and Entrepreneur Magazine. Recipient of honours and awards, including: recognized by President Barack Obama; named a CNN Hero; named one of the Most Powerful Women Changing the World, Forbes.