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.
Discover how science and technology are being brought together to help those affected by paralysis walk.
Greenland Impact Expedition
Learn the story of YGLs who travelled to Greenland to observe first-hand the effects of climate change.
Explore the annual awards programme that celebrates, showcases and promotes circular economy innovation.
Discover a community of strategic philanthropists who use their resources to improve the health and rights of girls and women worldwide.
Kakuma Impact Expedition
Learn the story of YGLs who travelled to Kakuma in Kenya to help refugees gain access to the global economy.
Meet our members
Founder and Chairwoman, Yidu Tech, is a leading medical big data and artificial intelligence (AI) company in China. Yidu Tech is on a mission to make value-based precision healthcare accessible to everyone. Before Yidu Tech, co-founded HKtrust Capital, a healthcare-focused fund. Served as an investment professional with Deutsche Bank and Global Infrastructure Partner during the early years of career. EMBA, CKGSB; BSc in Economics, London School of Economics.
Joy Dunn is the Head of Manufacturing at Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), a clean energy startup based in Boston, where she is responsible for building the superconducting magnets that are at the heart of a commercial fusion power plant which will provide safe, clean, and limitless energy for the world. CFS was spun out of MIT and works collaboratively with MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center to combine decades of government and academic research with the innovation and speed of the private sector. Supported by the world's leading investors, the CFS team is driven by the climate change crisis to develop the fastest path to commercial fusion energy. Before joining the CFS team in January 2019, Joy spent a decade at SpaceX developing and manufacturing the Dragon spacecraft to deliver cargo and astronauts to the International Space Station. She was heavily involved with the manufacturing of the Dragon 1 spacecraft and played an integral role in SpaceX's achievement of being the first private company to launch a spacecraft in orbit and also dock with the International Space Station. She managed the manufacturing engineering team responsible for substantially reducing overall spacecraft build hours and cost while overseeing Dragon's annual budget and construction of a high-tech production facility for the Crew Dragon vehicle. Joy also co-founded both the Women's Network and LGBTQ employee interest groups at SpaceX and she is actively involved in STEM outreach events, including sitting on the Board of Directors for Out For Undergrad, a non-profit that helps LGBTQ students reach their full potential. She was also named to Business Insider's list of the Most Powerful Female Engineers of 2017. Joy received her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Shaharzad Akbar is currently Chairperson for Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. She was previously Deputy National Security Council on Peace and Civilian Protection. Shaharzad has also worked Senior Advisor to Afghan President on High Development Councils (August 2017-August 2018) and in this capacity, coordinated the prioritization of development projects and programs for high level decision-making. Prior to this, Shaharzad was Country Director for Open Society Afghanistan (Sep 2014-July 2017), a non-profit that supports Afghan civil society and media in areas of peacebuilding, human rights and promoting tolerance. Before this, Shaharzad was partner and chief operating officer with QARA Consulting, a firm owned and run by young Afghans in Kabul which she co-founded in 2010, an analyst for the Free and Fair Elections Foundation, a journalist for BBC Afghanistan and a research assistant on the Women of Courage book project. In 2012, she was the first elected chairperson for the Afghanistan 1400 movement.
Born in Jawzjan, Afghanistan in 1987, Shaharzad lived for a few years as refugee in Pakistan during the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Shaharzad completed an MPhil at Oxford University as a Weidenfeld scholar in 2011; previously she obtained her BA (cum laude) in anthropology from Smith College in the U.S.
Shaharzad’s writing has appeared in international and Afghan media including Newsweek and Al Jazeera, and academic journals. Based in Kabul and an active tweeter and writer, Shaharzad is an active voice on political issues related to her country and her generation. In 2017, she was selected by World Economic Forum as Young Global Leader.
To learn more about Shaharzad, see below:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGbkr5Ge0Ko (Discussion on peace in Farsi)
Jessica Jackson’s quest for justice began in a Georgia courtroom. The high-school dropout held her two-month-old daughter and watched helplessly as her husband was sentenced to six years in prison. In that moment, she decided to turn her shock into a crusade to change the justice system. As a single mother, she graduated college and law school. Today she is a leader in the bipartisan movement to end excessive incarceration. Jessica’s specialty is bringing political rivals together to pass bills considered “impossible.” As the bill’s main advocate, she led the drive to pass 2018’s “First Step Act.” The New York Times called the law “the most substantial justice reform in a generation;” it has already helped free more than 16,000 people. While leading her national initiative, #cut50, Jessica helped ban the shackling of jailed pregnant women in 14 states. Her “Dignity for Incarcerated Women” campaign enlisted formerly incarcerated women and dozens of celebrities to deepen the focus on women’s issues. At the helm of #cut50, Jessica built the biggest national grassroots network for bipartisan reform, #cut50’s Empathy Network. Jessica has led not only on the national level, but was also elected the youngest-ever Mayor of Mill Valley, California where she focused on affordable housing. Today, she now helps lead the REFORM Alliance, an organization where she is continuing her work to end mass incarceration and mass supervision. Jessica continues to take clemency cases as well, working on both the federal and state level to secure a second chance for individuals who have lengthy prison sentences. Jessica turned her hopelessness into hope for millions.
Born in Yerevan, Armenia in 1981, Tigran Khudaverdian is a graduate of the Moscow State University Faculty of Physics. Before joining Yandex, he participated in developing internet projects and headed a web studio.
He joined Yandex in 2006, starting out as manager of Yandex.Passport, a service that brings together all user’s Yandex accounts in one profile. In 2008 he became head of mobile and software products. Yandex.Navigator and Yandex.Browser apps were launched under his leadership.
Tigran became head of Yandex.Taxi in 2014, and then its CEO after it became a separate company in 2015. Thanks to technologies like smart routing, machine learning, demand forecasting and smart order distribution, the Yandex.Taxi app quickly transformed taxis into an accessible, fast and safe form of transportation.
On February 7, 2018, Yandex and Uber announced that the merger of Yandex.Taxi and Uber ride-sharing businesses in Russia and neighboring countries had been finalized. The combined company is held approximately 59% by Yandex, 37% by Uber, and the remaining share by employees of the group on a fully diluted basis. Tigran Khudaverdyan became the CEO of the combined business.
With Tigran at its helm, the Yandex.Taxi group has also expanded into self-driving cars and food tech.
Tigran is married and the proud father of four sons.
Fabio Ziemssen has been working at the forefront of food-tech development in Germany and Europe for a decade to create a strong ecosystem for innovators, visionaries and founders. He has built a number of communities, including the Alternative Protein Association, Next Generation Food Think Tank and Foodnext, creating workspaces and innovation hubs, such as Food2025.de and Super7000. In 2017, he was elected by "Business Punk" as the top leader in food innovation in Germany.
Richard Socher is Chief Scientist at Salesforce. He leads the company’s research efforts and brings state of the art artificial intelligence solutions into the platform.
Prior, Richard was an adjunct professor at the Stanford Computer Science Department and the CEO and founder of MetaMind, a startup acquired by Salesforce in April 2016. MetaMind’s deep learning AI platform analyzes, labels and makes predictions on image and text data so businesses can make smarter, faster and more accurate decisions.
Richard was awarded the Distinguished Application Paper Award at the International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) 2011, the 2011 Yahoo! Key Scientific Challenges Award, a Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship in 2012, a 2013 "Magic Grant" from the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, the best Stanford CS PhD thesis award 2014 and the 2014 GigaOM Structure Award. He is currently a member of the World Economic Forum's 'Young Global Leaders' Class of 2017 and on the Board of Directors for the Global Fund for Women.
Independent curator and art historian. 2010 to 2016, worked as Associate Curator, Middle Eastern Art for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Project of the Solomon R. Guggenheim based at their headquarters in New York City. Had a leading role in shaping the strategy and holdings of West Asian and North African art within its collection and the curatorial vision for the future museum. 2005 to 2007, Director of the Palestinian Association for Contemporary Art (PACA), Ramallah and served as Academic Director for the International Academy of Art Palestine, Ramallah, which helped found in 2006. Has curated many international exhibitions and biennials, especially those pertaining to art and geopolitics in the Middle East, including Jerusalem Lives (Tahya Al Quds), the inaugural exhibition at the Palestinian Museum, Birzeit (2017); Not New Now, 6th Marrakech Biennale (2016) and the United Arab Emirates National Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale (2013). Recipient: eighth Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement in 2017; Fulbright scholarship to pursue PhD at the Department of History of Art and Visual Studies, Cornell University, 2008. Director of the Cultural Foundation in Abu Dhabi affiliated with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi.
Ivy Huq Russell
Ivy Huq Russell is the CEO & founder of Maya. After becoming a mother for the first time, Ivy originally founded Maya in 2011 as a blog for mothers in Bangladesh. Through her personal journey she experienced first hand the challenges faced by women in Bangladesh when trying to access the information and advice they are looking for.
These can range from geographic and financial barriers all the way to socio-cultural. After partnering with leading NGO, BRAC, the Maya service officially launched in Bangladesh in February 2015 with a clear mission to provide women with the information they are looking for, when they need it. Maya is an intuitive, anonymous messaging service that connects its users to qualified experts on health and mental health issues and each other. The service is available on app, web and recently in messenger. We have plans to expand abroad very soon.
Ivy grew up in Bangladesh before pursuing her higher education in England. She completed her MSc. in Finance and Economics at Warwick Business School, before spending a number of years as an Investment Management & Hedge Fund professional at leading firms including HSBC, GAM and Barclays. She currently divides her time between Bangladesh and San Francisco, where she is based with her husband, Bickey and 2 children, Ameena and Emir.