Community

The Forum of Young Global Leaders is a community of innovators from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Search current members and alumni by year awarded, sector or region.

Jamila Abass

Head of Growth, Wefarm, United Kingdom

Jamila Abass is one of the champions of AgTech revolution in Africa.She is the founder of M-Farm,an app that connects farmers and buyers and makes the supply chain more efficient.This ingenious innovation won different awards including the praise of the US president Barack Obama during his visit to Kenya in June, 2015. Jamila is an internationally recognized techpreneur. She received many accolades including 2015 New African Woman women of the year,Forbes 10 Female Tech Founders to Watch and 20 Young Power Women in Africa,Quartz’s 30 African Innovators as well as 2015 100 most influential Africans. She is also an Aspen New Voices, Poptech, Unreasonable and an Ashoka fellow.She has been a keynote speaker and influencer at AgTech and ICT for development events.

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.

Minoush Abdel-Meguid

Co-Founder and Managing Director, Union Capital, Egypt

Long-term banker and private equity executive with stints at Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Citibank. Worked on several high-profile transactions. Took part in the reform of the Egyptian Capital Market Authority as the Assistant to the Chairman and head of corporate finance; led major restructuring efforts including the introduction of the region's first takeover code. Former Founding President, Egyptian Young Bankers Association. Helping young bankers network and improve their skill set. Since 2011, has dedicated more time promoting and supporting entrepreneurship especially in less privileged Egyptian cities outside Cairo and with female entrepreneurs by mentoring and participating in business plan competitions and lecturing on various related topics. Has also participated in various efforts linking women together as a basis for narrowing the cultural divide between Eastern and Western cultures. Was among six women taking part in the Australian Arab Women dialogue in Australia in 2013, in addition to other projects.

Romana Abdullah

Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Highpoint Ventures (Pvt.) Limited, Pakistan

Romana Abdullah is CEO of Highpoint Ventures (Pvt) Ltd and leads Hopscotch, a kidswear brand she co-founded in 2014. Today, Hopscotch has 25+ stores in 13 cities in Pakistan and an e-commerce website, www.ilovehopscotch.com.

Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Romana was part of the management team of MCB Bank, one of Pakistan’s largest banks, leading their strategic planning, transformation and new initiative functions. Earlier, Romana worked at The Boston Consulting Group (Management Consulting) and Merrill Lynch (Investment Banking) in New York, where she focused on strategic, financial and operational assignments for Fortune 500 financial services and consumer clients.

Romana was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2016. She is a member of the Board and Chair of the Investment cCommittee of Karandaaz, a DFID and Gates Foundation funded company that promotes access to capital for small businesses and digital financial inclusion in Pakistan, with a special focus on women and youth. She is also on the Board of Systems Limited, a publicly listed company and a global leader in next-generation IT services and BPO solutions. Romana sits on the boards of PlanX techonology incubator and Baby Planet, a kid products e-tailer. She mentors young start-ups/incubators/accelerators in her free time.

Romana has a BSc in Financial Engineering from Princeton University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Tolkunbek Abdygulov

Governor of the National Bank of Kyrgyzstan, National Bank of Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyz Republic

Tolkunbek Abdygulov holds Master degrees in Banking from IUK(1999), MA degree in Development Economics, Nagoya University, Japan (2005), MPA from UNT, USA (2007) and PhD degree in economics (Kandidat ekonomicheskih nayk) from Economic Institute of the National Academy of Science Kyrgyz Republic (2014). Tolkunbek has worked as an economist at the National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic (Central Bank), as a consultant at the World Bank Headquarter, as a director of Informational Future Foundation (NGO), as a Chair of the Board of Directors of the Micro financial company, as an Expert at the Administration of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Head of Strategies and Program Service at the Central Agency on Development, Investments and Innovations of the Kyrgyz Republic, and as First Deputy Minister at the Ministry of the Economic Regulation of the Kyrgyz Republic. Since 7th May 2014 Governor of the National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic (Central Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic). Since August 2017 to December 2017 Deputy Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic. From December 2017 reappointed as Governor of the National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic. Additionally Mr. Abdygulov works on part time basis as Associate Professor at Economic Department at the American University in Central Asia. In September 2013 Mr. Abdygulov received the National Prize for the young Scientists - Akyl Tirek. In September 2017 Mr. Abdygulov received the State award - Honorable economist of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera

Director-General, Institute of National Security Studies, Sri Lanka

Director General of National Security Think Tank Sri Lanka(INSSSL); BSc in Computer Science; MBA; Counter Terrorism at Harvard University under South Asia Leadership Program(NDU NESA). Visiting Professor for Geopolitics and Global Leadership(Northern Kentucky University(USA) Author: Sri Lanka at Crossroads (World Scientific,Singapore 2019), Towards a better world order(2015), Formerly: Adviser to the Minister of External Affairs and Executive Director, Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies (National Think Tank); Director-General, BIDTI, a diplomatic training institute; Chairman, Foreign Employment Agency and Fishery Harbours Corporation; worked in the private sector with Sri Lanka Telecom and Hutchison. Currently: Visiting Lecturer International Security University of Colombo, International Political Economy University of London in Sri Lanka(RIC); International Columnist and Commentator. Founding Curator, Global Shapers Colombo Hub. Country Chair, Global Dignity. Alumni APCSS(Hawaii).

Penny Abeywardena

Commissioner for International Affairs, Mayor's Office, City of New York, USA

Penny Abeywardena is New York City's Commissioner for International Affairs. As head of the Mayor's Office for International Affairs, she leads the City's global platform for promoting its goals for a more just and accessible society, showcasing the diversity of New Yorkers and sharing policies and best practices with cities and states around the world.

Since her appointment in September 2014, the International Affairs team has launched a series of initiatives focused on connecting New Yorkers and City agencies to the diplomatic community, as well as more effectively serving NYC's diplomatic corps, which is the largest in the world.

Prior to joining Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration, Penny was the Director of Girls and Women Integration at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), a non-partisan organization that convened global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to the world's most pressing problems.
She serves on the Board of Directors of the United Nations Development Corporation, and the Eastside Greenway and Park, the International Advisory Council of the International Peace Institute (IPI), the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Cities and Urbanization and is a Core Member of the United Nation’s SDG Strategy and Action Hub. In her personal time, Penny serves on 92Y’s Innovation Advisory Committee and the Advisory Board of the Helm.

In 2017, Penny was named by the French American Foundation as a Young Leader. She is a World Economic Forum 2016 Young Global Leader, and a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She was a Founding Member of Lincoln Center’s Global Exchange and has previously served on the World Bank's Advisory Council on Gender and Development, and the Boards of Directors of Sakhi for South Asian Women. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California and completed her Master of International Affairs at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.

Hafsat Abiola-Costello

President and Chief Executive Officer, Women in Africa Initiative, France

Hafsat Abiola-Costello is the President/CEO of Women in Africa Initiative, a platform connecting leading and high potential women in Africa to facilitate their increased individual success and collective impact. A leader in Nigeria's pro-democracy movement, she served as a member of state cabinet in Nigeria industrial state from 2011-2019. She is also the Founder and President of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), an NGO that promotes the development of women as initiators of change by offering leadership training and raising awareness about harmful social issues such as violence against women. A prolific writer and speaker, Abiola-Costello holds an A.B. (Hons) in Economics from Harvard University and a Master's in International Development from Tsinghua University. She sits on several boards and is one of fifty councillors of the World Future Council. Abiola-Costello is the recipient of several national and international awards and the subject of the award winning documentary, The Supreme Price.

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.

Reuben Abraham

Chief Executive Officer and Senior Fellow, IDFC Institute, India

Chief Executive Officer and Senior Fellow, IDFC Institute, a Mumbai-based think/do tank focused on state capacity and political economy. Non-resident scholar, New York University, and Senior Fellow, Milken Institute. Former Professor and Executive Director, Centre for Emerging Markets Solutions (CEMS), Indian School of Business (ISB).

Senior Advisor to Swiss Re and the Asia New Zealand Foundation; Board member, Centre for Civil Society, India's leading classical liberal think tank; Advocata, a Sri Lankan think tank; THNK, The Amsterdam School of Creative Leadership; GSM Association's Interact. Investment committee of Endiya, an early stage deep-tech fund. Former Independent Director, Soros Economic Development Fund (SEDF), an impact investment pioneer and Member, Global Advisory Board of Unicredit, Italy's largest bank. TED Global Fellow (2007); served on the TED Fellows Advisory Board. Legatum Institute Fellow (2013 and 2016/2017). Named to Wired Magazine's "Smart List 2012: 50 people who will change the world". Young Global Leader, World Economic Forum (2009).

MA, MPhil and PhD, Columbia University. Former: Associate Fellow in Global Economics, Council on Foreign Relations; Fellow, Public Policy Consortium; Sloan Foundation/CITI Telecommunications Fellow.

Tony Abrahams

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ai-Media, Canada

Since 2003, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ai-Media, founded in Australia in and now operating globally. A leader in live transcription for TV since inception, Ai-Media pioneered live captioning on social media, including a partnership with Facebook in 2017. Ai technology is also used to improve teaching practices, and outcomes for students with autism. LLB and BCom (Hons), University of New South Wales; MBA and MPhil in Economics, Rhodes Scholar.

Muna AbuSulayman

Founder, NIYA, Saudi Arabia

Muna AbuSulayman, continuously named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World since 2009 and until 2019 for her work in media, gender, leadership and education and as an iconic Arab media personality and humanitarian. Currently, She is also Social Impact Investor concentrating on using AI for education, media projects for awareness and Charity effectiveness. Muna is part of the Saudi Government think tank for G20 2020 preparation (on the SDG, Women, and NGO themes) and advises various foundations on youth, media, and female empowerment.

As the head of Directions Consulting and Partner 3S (Saudi Sustainable Solutions), she is focusing her development efforts on unemployment and entreprenuership in the Arab world. As the former Secretary-General of the Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation, she supported innovation and strategic initiatives to combat poverty, empower women and reframe the Islam-West dialogue. She is also a founding Co-Host of Kalam Nawaem, the Arab world's most popular TV shows.

AbuSulayman was appointed as the first Saudi UNDP Goodwill Ambassador. A Member of the Young Presidents' Organization, a Yale World Fellow and Aspen Institute Middle East Fellow. She serves on several non-profit boards and is the recipient of numerous awards, including a “PhD in They Didn't Teach That in School from Life/MOM University”