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

Tendayi Achiume

Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Zambia

E. Tendayi Achiume is Professor of Law at the at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, and a research associate of the African Center for Migration and Society at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, and the Refugee Studies Center at Oxford University. She is also the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, and is the first woman to serve in this role since its creation in 1994. She was appointed to this position by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2017. The current focus of her scholarship is the global governance of racism and xenophobia; and the legal and ethical implications of colonialism for contemporary international migration law. Her UN reports have addressed issues ranging from international human rights obligations requiring reparations for racial discrimination rooted in colonialism and slavery, to racial discrimination resulting from emerging digital technologies, among others. She is also a recipient of the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award—the highest university-wide honor for excellence in teaching. Professor Achiume is a graduate of the Yale Law School, Yale University, and the United World College of the Atlantic. She is also a former law clerk of Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke and Justice Yvonne Mokgoro of the Constitutional Court of South Africa.

Maria Soledad Nuñez Mendez

Academic Director, Public Policy Programme, UCOM University, United Kingdom

Paraguay’s former Minister of Housing and Habitat. At the age of 31, she became the youngest Minister of the Executive Branch. Soledad oversaw a dramatic increase in the production of social housing for low-income households having worked with more than 30,000 families in her country. She also transformed the ministry from a housing-focused institution into a technical institution responsible for coordinating the implementation of the country’s New Urban Agenda. As part of that effort, she led the National Committee of Habitat, which included more than 50 public and private institutions. Soledad was also elected President of the Regional Assembly of Ministers and High Level Authorities of Housing and Urban Development for Latin America and the Caribbean in 2015. 

Before, Soledad coordinated the implementation of a National Poverty Eradication Plan and was an active leader in the Development of the Paraguayan Open Government Plan from the Technical Planning Secretariat for Social and Economic Development in the President's office. She has also served as National Director of TECHO Paraguay, a non-governmental organization that provides emergency housing solutions and promotes the active involvement of young people in the policy making process. During her time in TECHO, she was able to mobilize more than 15,000 young people for the cause. Currently, she is leading a training program for 150 public servants in Paraguay at UCOM University and belongs to the Advisory Board of the World Bank's initiative "Paraguay Ahora" which aims to promote social dialogues among young people to build a better future. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the NGO "Enseña por Paraguay" (Teach for all-Paraguay) and founding member of the women's network UNIDAS between Latin America and Germany.

Soledad began her professional career in the private sector implementing social infrastructure projects in rural areas. She has a degree in Civil Engineering from the National University of Asunción, studied Project Management in the Polytechnic University of Madrid, is an alumni of the Global Competitiveness Leadership Program at Georgetown University and has a Master's degree of Public Policy at Oxford University. 

Zolzaya Batkhuyag

Co-Founder, Adviser and Member of the Board, Women for Change, Mongolia

Zolzaya Batkhuyag is the Co-Founder and Advisor of the Women for Change NGO, Mongolia. Since 2008, she has been an advocate for gender justice and human rights, and leading numerous advocacy projects that have raised public awareness and community-building efforts. Zolzaya has a background in law and holds a BA and MA in Development Studies from The University of Melbourne.

Ms. Zolzaya has fruitful experience as a national trainer on gender equality, women’s empowerment, and youth development. She is active in the media and frequently shares her expertise through public speaking engagements. In 2015, she was selected as the Asian Development Fellow by The Asia Foundation as one of 12 young leaders.

Richard Martinez

Vice President for Countries, Inter-American Development Bank, USA

Minister of Economics and Finance of Ecuador. Previously served as Chairman of the Ecuadorian Business Committee (CCE).

Sarah Chen

Co-Founder and Managing Partner, The Billion Dollar Fund for Women, USA

Sarah’s career spans across venture capital (VC) and innovation, in Asia and the US. She is Co-Founder of The Billion Dollar Fund for Women, a global consortium of venture funds that have now pledged to invest and are actively deploying beyond $1 billion towards women-founded companies, to begin to address the venture investment gap where women founders receive less than 3% of total VC funding. Going Beyond The Billion, her mission is now to catalyze capital deployed to these venture funds, ensuring their continued capacity to invest- by mobilizing LP commitments, convening LPs and connecting them to GPs who invest in venture-backable companies founded by diverse women founders.

Previously, she pioneered a corporate venture capital unit within $13Bn publicly traded Asian conglomerate, Sime Darby, investing in later-stage biotechnology companies. Since then, she has been at the forefront of multi-million cross border investments, structuring and executing commercialization plans for her portfolio companies. Named Forbes 30 Under 30, she is a recognized speaker and adviser on VC/innovation and women in leadership, having been featured among others on Der Spiegel, the Wall Street Journal, and at the United Nations.

Driven by a mission to fuel women's ambition, power and influence, she currently sits on multiple boards including 131 & counting, a bipartisan effort backed by Bloomberg Government and Holland & Knight to fete the unprecedented number of women serving in the House and Senate in the US and encourage more qualified women to run for office; and Lean In Malaysia, which she co-founded, a platform accelerating women into leadership, recognized as the voice of credibility for professional women issues in Muslim- majority Malaysia. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Laws, LL.B (Hons.) from King’s College London. A proud Malaysian, she spends her time between the US- Asia.

To find out more: www.beyondthebillion.com
@sarahchenglobal on all handles; www.sarah-chen.com

Annika Saarikko

Member of Parliament, Parliament of Finland (Eduskunta), Finland

Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services in Finland and the woman driving the management of the Social and Health Care Reform (SOTE), one of Finland's most extensive social projects. Saarikko became the Finnish Centre party's Vice Chair at the age of 26 and was elected to Parliament in 2011, where she has served in the Social Affairs and Health Committee and the Employment and Equality Committee.

Katherine Maher

Chief Executive Officer, Wikimedia Foundation, USA

An unusual technology executive; balances the demands of a mission-based volunteer non-profit with the realities of running one of the world's most popular consumer platforms. A bold voice for equity and opportunity, with a long background as an outspoken advocate for human rights; work focuses on the transformative, and often socially disruptive, nature of new technologies. Passionate about finding the commonalities in our interconnected and interdependent human experience.

Kush Saxena

Executive Vice President, U.S. Merchants and Acceptance, Mastercard, USA

A technology, strategy and business leader with global experience across financial services, healthcare and retail, Kush Saxena has driven initiatives that have sharply differentiated Mastercard's role in inclusion and digital identity. Additionally, Saxena co-founded Democracy Connect, a crowd-sourced advisory and information platform for Indian Members of Parliament.

Otto Sonnenholzner

Digital Member, Ecuador

Otto Sonnenholzner was elected to be the vice president of Ecuador in December 2018. For 12 years, he was a radio personality with his own talk show and was the general manager of Radio Tropicana in Guayaquil. Sonnenholzner also served as the president of Asociación Ecuatoriana de Radiodifusores in Guayas. He is part of faculty at Universidad Católica de Guayaquil where he teaches courses on business.