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.

Joy Dunn

Head, Operations, Commonwealth Fusion Systems, USA

Joy Dunn is the Head of Operations at Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), a clean energy startup based in Boston, where she is responsible for the company’s day-to-day operations including manufacturing, construction and facilities, safety, and quality. CFS was spun out of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) 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 early 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.

Sophal Ear

Council Member, Crescenta Valley Town Council, USA

Re-elected to the Crescenta Valley Town Council in November 2018 to a second 3-year term, encompassing more than 22,000 residents in unincorporated Los Angeles County, California, and currently serving as its Corresponding Secretary, Sophal Ear, PhD, is a tenured Associate Professor of Diplomacy & World Affairs at Occidental College in Los Angeles where he lectures on political economy, security, development, and Asia. Previously, he taught how to rebuild countries after wars at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and international development at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. He consulted for the World Bank, was Assistant Resident Representative for the United Nations Development Programme in East Timor, Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Advisor to Cambodia's first private equity fund Leopard Capital, and Audit Chair of the Nathan Cummings Foundation. A TED Fellow, Fulbright Specialist, and Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, he sits on the Boards of Refugees International (Washington, DC), Partners for Development (Silver Spring, MD), International Public Management Network (Washington, DC), the Southeast Asia Development Program (Phnom Penh, Cambodia), and the Center for Khmer Studies (Siem Reap, Cambodia). He is the author of Aid Dependence in Cambodia: How Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy (Columbia University Press, 2013, http://amzn.to/UXhoWc) and co-author of The Hungry Dragon: How China’s Resources Quest is Reshaping the World (Routledge, 2013, http://amzn.to/WkxCEf). He wrote and narrated the award-winning documentary film "The End/Beginning: Cambodia"​ (47 minutes, 2011, news blurb http://youtu.be/QwsSDPRI25E) based on his 2009 TED Talk (http://www.ted.com/talks/sophal_ear_escaping_the_khmer_rouge) and has appeared in four other documentaries. He is an Executive Producer of In the Life of Music (92 minutes, 2018) and Some of My Best Friends Are Kimchi: A True Documentary (Coming soon!). A graduate of Princeton and Berkeley, he moved to the US from France as a Cambodian refugee at the age of 10.

Salimah Yvette Ebrahim

Co-Founder, Artery, USA

A serial founder, Salimah got her start in building communities by co-founding the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition to help protect BC’s endangered Spirit Bear and its habitat in the Great Bear rainforest. Under her stewardship the Coalition - which started with just two members and grew to a network of over 6 million members in 64+ countries. Their campaign to save the spirit bear – named the official mascot of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver – was recently recognized as one of the most supported conservation initiatives in Canadian history.

After beginning her international journalism career in the alleyways of Cairo, Salimah spent years filling on culture and politics from the Middle East, covering the war in Iraq and reporting on environmental security challenges in Africa. She also was on the trail for the historic 2008 US presidential campaign, and for a time was based in DC covering the White House. She has worked on assignment for Reuters, A&E, CBC Television, the Globe and Mail, The Walrus Magazine and the Cairo Times.

A fellow and graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York, Ebrahim also holds an honours degree in Middle Eastern History and International Relations from Trinity College, University of Toronto. She has been awarded and recognized for her work as both journalist and community builder, having been chosen and profiled by CBC Television as one of 25 Canadians who are changing the world; named by Chatelaine magazine one of its 80 amazing Canadian women to watch; and honoured by the World Economic Forum in 2009 as a Young Global Leader.

Her latest adventure: co-founding Artery.is and Bramble.live and thinking about how technology can facilitate our humanity online and off.

Margot Edelman

General Manager, Edelman, USA

Margot Edelman is the third generation in her family business, Edelman PR, and leads the Bay Area Hub, which includes the San Francisco and Sacramento offices for the company. In her role as General Manager, she advises tech giants and industry disruptors alike on how to build trust and reputation.

Suzanne Ehlers

Chief Executive Officer, Malala Fund, USA

Suzanne Ehlers is the CEO of the Malala Fund (effective 2/3/2020). In this role, she provides leadership to a global staff of experts and advocates who are breaking down barriers that prevent girls from going to school. Suzanne works closely with co-founders Malala and Zia Yousafzai and a highly regarded board of directors and professional team to advance progress toward girls’ education around the world.

Prior to her appointment at Malala Fund, Suzanne served as President & CEO of PAI, a global leader in the effort to protect and promote the reproductive rights of women and girls. Suzanne led the organization for 10 years, and was at PAI for 16 years. Under Suzanne’s leadership, PAI’s budget almost quadrupled and the organization dramatically expanded its work to more countries, spreading more shared wealth, technical assistance and capacity building.

Suzanne repeatedly served on the U.S. government delegation to the United Nations’ Commission on Population and Development under President Obama. She currently serves as a board member for Ibis Reproductive Health in Boston and the Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School in Washington, DC; she was named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader in 2012; and she has served on the boards of the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign, the Global Health Council, the Janelia Family Foundation, The Biodiversity Project, and the Asia Pacific Alliance.

Earlier in her career, Ms. Ehlers was a grantmaker at the Wallace Global Fund. At WGF, she supported a grants portfolio that broke new ground in the fields of sustainable forestry and laid the early foundation for philanthropic engagement on climate change.

Ms. Ehlers served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Central African Republic following her graduation from Cornell University with a degree in Government. Suzanne speaks French, Spanish and Sango at various levels of proficiency. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and two daughters.

Hassan El Houry

Chairman, Menzies Aviation Inc., USA

A global executive with experience leading teams on six continents, I currently serve as full-time Board Chair of Menzies Aviation – the world’s largest aviation services company. I spearheaded the acquisition of Menzies by Agility, and its integration with National Aviation Services (NAS). I led NAS for more than 10 years and grew the company into the leading airport ground handling and cargo company in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, from our base in Kuwait.

As we strive to be the undisputed world leader in aviation services, Menzies Aviation serves the world’s highest-rated airlines in more than 250 airports, with a team of more than 35,000 staff in 56 countries on six continents. We provide comprehensive aviation services that include ground and cargo handling, warehousing and air freight, aircraft fueling, wholesale freight forwarding, airport technologies, and lounges management.

In 2014, I was honored by the World Economic Forum in Davos as a Young Global Leader for my contributions to aviation and airport services. I have participated in the meetings in Davos 9 times, and have been invited to speak about aviation policy and mobility. I was also invited to join the Global Future Council on Mobility, and serve on several boards including National Real Estate Company (NREC – listed), United Projects Company (UPAC – listed), Silk Road Mining, Royal Aviation and the Center for Leadership at the University of Colorado - Boulder.

I have an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor's Degree from the American University of Beirut. I am a husband, father of three sons, and enjoy running, swimming, beach volleyball, and reading biographies.

Jennifer Elisseeff

Professor, Johns Hopkins University, USA

Dr. Elisseeff is the Morton Goldberg Professor and Director of the Translational Tissue Engineering Center at Johns Hopkins Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Wilmer Eye Institute with appointments in Chemical and Biological Engineering, Materials Science and Orthopedic Surgery. She was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, and is a member of the National Academy of Inventors, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Medicine. She is committed to the translation of regenerative biomaterials and has founded several companies and participates in several industry advisory boards including the State of Maryland’s Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO).

Brooke Ellison

Associate Professor, Stony Brook University, USA

Undergraduate and Master's degrees, Harvard University; PhD, Stony Brook University. Policy and ethics expert in stem cell research for over 15 years, has been committed to changing the perception of life-saving science. Currently, Assistant Professor, Stony Brook University; Director, Education and Ethics, Stony Brook Stem Cell Facility. Co-Founder, VENTure Think Tank, to provide policy and technological solutions for ventilator users. Associate Director, Center for Community Engagement and Leadership Development, to empower underserved communities. Former Member, Empire State Stem Cell Board, which designed New York State's stem cell policy. At age 11, was in an accident leaving her paralyzed from the neck down and dependent on a ventilator. Author of memoir, Miracles Happen (2002), which was made into a movie, The Brooke Ellison Story, directed by Christopher Reeve.

Ilwad Elman

Chief Operating Officer, Elman Peace Centre, Canada

Ilwad Elman is a young female leader at the forefront of the Somali peace process, and a global authority on ending conflict and preventing violent extremism. After finding asylum in Canada with her family, she returned to Somalia at age 19 and co-founded the Elman Peace Centre. At just 20, she founded Somalia’s first rape crisis centre. Since then, Elman has become a champion of building peace and gave those impacted by conflict a seat at the table. She has designed interventions aimed at security sector reform to create an inclusive space for women in peacebuilding, and aimed at developing programmes for the disarmament and rehabilitation of child soldiers and for the rehabilitation and reintegration of adults associated with armed groups. Elman is also an advocate for the Kofi Annan foundation initiative ‘Extremely Together’ to prevent and counter-violent extremism.

Abasi Ene-Obong

Chief Executive Officer and Founder, 54gene, USA

Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of 54gene, a health technology company advancing the state of healthcare through large-scale discovery and translational research, advanced molecular diagnostics, and clinical programs for the benefit of Africans and the global population. He holds a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from the University of London, a Masters in human molecular genetics from Imperial College London, and a Masters in Business Management from Claremont Colleges, California. He also worked as a cancer researcher and published a seminal paper on pancreatic cancer immunology, Gastroenterology Journal. He has extensive experience operating in the US, UK, and Nigerian healthcare industries. Prior to 54gene, Dr. Ene-Obong worked with leading healthcare organizations, including Fortune 100 pharmaceutical companies, academic and research institutions, and governments as a management consultant with PwC and IQVIA (formerly QuintilesIMS). Founded in 2019, 54gene has made the Time Magazine list of 12 innovations that would change healthcare in the 2020s and has been listed by Nigeria’s Punch newspaper as 1 of 5 innovations that would improve healthcare for Africans. 54gene also made the Fast Company list of the world's Most Innovative Companies’ in 2020. It was also awarded the best health technology solution by AppsAfrica. Dr. Ene-Obong was listed as 1 of the 30 most innovative entrepreneurs on the African continent in 2019 by Quartz Africa. In September 2020, Dr. Ene-Obong was labelled a Nigerian hero in the fight against COVID-19, by a Nigerian newspaper, ThisDay. Dr. Ene-Obong is also included in Fortune’s 40 under 40 most influential people in healthcare for the year 2020.

Marcela Escobari

Assistant Administrator, US Agency for International Development (USAID), USA

Marcela Escobari is senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, where she is leading an initiative on the Future of the Workforce. Previously, she was a Senior Advisor to the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. She was the Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean. Nominated by President Obama, and approved by the US Senate, she led a Bureau with an annual budget of approx $1 billion focused on poverty, inequality, citizen security, and governance. From 2007-2016, Ms. Escobari served as Executive Director at the Center for International Development at Harvard University, a research center working to generate breakthrough ideas that bring stable, shared, and sustainable prosperity to developing countries. Prior to the Center for International Development, Escobari was head of the Americas region at the OTF Group, where she advised governments on how to increase export competitiveness and harness the private sector to eradicate poverty. She began her career as a mergers & acquisitions banker at JP Morgan in New York. Ms. Escobari holds a BA in Economics from Swarthmore College and an MA in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. She is co-author of the book “In the River They Swim: Essays from around the World on Enterprise Solutions to Poverty

Karen Fang

Managing Director; Global Head, Sustainable Finance, Bank of America, USA

Karen Fang is Managing Director, Global Head of Sustainable Finance at Bank of America. Formerly, she was the head of Global Fixed Income, Currencies & Commodities (FICC) Cross Asset Trading, and the head of Americas FICC Sales & Solutions prior to that. She is a member of the Bank of America Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) committee, the Sustainable Markets Committee, as well as the firm wide Asian Leadership Council.
Prior to joining Bank of America, Karen was a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs where she was the head of the Pension, Endowment and Foundation Cross Asset Solutions Group. Previously, she held senior positions in derivatives structuring, including at Merrill Lynch in Tokyo and Deutsche Bank in London.
Karen was named one of Fortune’s “40 under 40”and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum (WEF). She was selected to be a member of the WEF Expert Network. Karen was a member of the Bank of America team recognized by American Banker as part of their “Most Powerful Women in Banking and Finance” feature and was called out as one of five leaders who has made a significant impact in a short amount of time. She served as a mentor for the Global Ambassadors program, a Bank of America partnership with Vital Voices and was honored by the Women’s Venture Fund for her work with female entrepreneurs. Karen was chosen by Investment Dealers’ Digest as one of the “40 under 40” bankers and she was also a recipient of the Women’s Bond Club of New York’s “Rising Star Award.”
Karen holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Tokyo.