The Forum of Young Global Leaders is led by a board that lends their ideas and passion to the community’s success and development. We are also guided by an advisory group of more than 40 YGLs, who reflect the diversity of the community.
Studied at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, University of Fribourg and Harvard University; degrees include doctorates in Mechanical Engineering and Economics (summa cum laude). 1972-2003, Professor of Business Policy, University of Geneva. 1971, founded the World Economic Forum as a not-for-profit foundation and built it into the foremost international institution for public-private cooperation; 1998, Co-Founder, with wife Hilde, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, supporting social innovation around the world; 2004, Founder, Forum of Young Global Leaders; 2011, Founder, Global Shapers Community. Numerous honorary doctorates. Several honorary professorships. Recipient of international and highest national honours for initiatives undertaken in the spirit of entrepreneurship in the global public interest and for peace and reconciliation efforts in several regions of the world.
Master’s in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; MA in Natural Sciences, Cambridge University. Formerly, worked on health sector reform projects in Latin America, World Bank and the Ministry of Health of Bolivia. 2004-06, Founding Director, Forum of Young Global Leaders. 2009-2018 Co-Founder and President, EDGE Certified Foundation, a global scheme certifying organizations for closing the gender gap in the workplace. Facilitator and Strategic Advisor to non-profit organizations active in reforestation, wellbeing and women’s empowerment. Author of The Heart of the Labyrinth, a spiritual parable offering a message of Earth-centered wisdom.
Bodour Al Qasimi
Vice-President of the International Publishers Association (IPA), and a global authority in the international publishing scene. Leading a number of diversity initiatives in the sector and promoting robust and more cohesive regional publishing hubs worldwide. Has been at the forefront of socio-economic and cultural development in native Sharjah and the wider United Arab Emirates, receiving in the process a number of regional and global accolades. Avid advocate of the role of books and literacy in social development and has led, through the Kalimat Foundation for Children’s Empowerment, a number of campaigns to provide books for refugees and children affected by conflicts around the world. 2019, established PublisHer, a rapidly growing platform with the vision of building a global, supportive community of women in publishing to create more gender diversity and equality of opportunity in the international publishing sector.
Thor Björgolfsson is a self-styled “adventure capitalist”, who became Iceland’s first billionaire. He made his first fortune with Bravo Brewery in St Petersburg, Russia, selling it to Heineken in 2002. Over the next years he invested in telecoms, mostly in Eastern Europe, built up generic drugs company Actavis (now Allergan) and became big investor in one of Iceland’s largest banks, Landsbanki.
Thor continues to be an active investor in the emerging economies of Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America through his London-based private equity fund Novator Partners LLP. He is Chairman of Novator and maintains a shareholding in companies including telecoms Play in Poland and WOM in Chile, as well as computer games company CCP, data center Verne Global and pharmaceutical company Xantis Pharma.
Thor graduated from New York University‘s Stern School of Business with a degree in Finance and has served on the School‘s Board of Overseers for the past 8 years.
Thor’s autobiography, “Billions to Bust—and Back: How I Made, Lost and Rebuilt a Fortune, And What I Learned on the Way”, was published in 2014.
Tejpreet Singh Chopra
BA (Hons) in Economics, St Stephen's College, Delhi University; MBA, Cornell University. Over 16 years' global management and finance experience in France, UK, Hong Kong, India and the US. Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Bharat Light & Power, a leading wind and solar power generation company in India (IPP) with three independent companies focussing on large utility scale wind and solar, distributed solar and technology services, and artificial intelligence-based solutions to industries such as auto, FMCG, mining, oil and gas, steel, cement. Formerly: 14 years with General Electric, latterly as President and Chief Executive Officer, GE India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh; other roles include GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS), roles in marketing, structured finance and risk management; opened GECAS office in Delhi; Senior Vice-President and Country Head, India, arranged more than $1 billion in financing for India's airline industry; President and CEO, GE Commercial Finance, India. Currently, Chairman of the Board, APM Terminals (Maersk Group) - Gujarat Pipavav Port. Member: Board of Directors, SRF; Board, Anand Group; National Council, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Young Global Leader and Member, YGL Foundation Board, World Economic Forum. Aspen Institute Fellow. Member, YPO. Interests: national swimmer, golf, classical music and Formula 1.
H.R.H. Prince Jaime de Bourbon de Parme
Formerly: Ambassador of the Netherlands to the Holy See (Vatican); Special Envoy for Natural Resources - Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with main focus on long-term and sustainable security of supply of energy, metals and minerals; set up the Conflict Free Tin Initiative, which brings traceable minerals from conflict prone areas in Congo to the international market; also founded the Responsible Mining Index; Interviewer for a documentary series on war economies in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Congo; Member of the Cabinet of Commissioner Kroes, European Commissioner for Competition; responsible for peacekeeping operations in Africa at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs; as a diplomat, worked in the field as Political Adviser to the Dutch Commander of the NATO Peacekeeping Mission in Northern Afghanistan and helped to set up the Netherlands Embassy in Iraq; Analyst, ABN AMRO Bank, Latin America. World Economic Forum Young Global Leader (2007). MA (Distinction) from Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS); BA (Hons) from Brown University.
Concurrently: Member of the Advisory Board, World Resources Institute.
Paula Escobar Chavarría
Paula Escobar Chavarria is a chilean journalist, editor and author. Since 2001 she is the Magazines Editor at Empresa Periodistica El Mercurio, overseeing six weekly magazines. She is also member of the Board of the The Young Global Leaders Foundation of the WEF, Executive Director of the Chair on Women and Media at Universidad Diego Portales, member of the Board of Comunidad Mujer, and member of the Council of the WEF Gender Parity Initiative (Chile). She is a Young Global Leader (2006), Yale World Fellow(2012), won the Lenka Franulic award for the best woman journalist in Chile (2014) , and was chosen one of the BBC 100 Inspiring women of 2015. In 2019 she won -with her team- the Excellence in Journalism Award in print media in Chile, for their coverage of sexual misconduct and abuse. She studied Journalism at the Catholic University of Chile and has a Master's degree studies in Comparative Literature. Escobar teaches Journalism at the Master's degree programme of El Mercurio and Universidad Católica, and at Universidad Diego Portales. She has published six non-fiction books: in one of them she interviewd all Chilean Presidents after the return of democracy.
BA (Hons), History, Durham University. Chief Executive Officer, Gulf International Bank (UK). GIB UK, operating between London and New York, was established in 1975 and focuses on client-related activities in asset management and treasury. GIB UK's asset management strategy is focused on scaling and mobilizing capital in support of sustainable investment strategies, across equities, fixed income and trade finance. Formerly Chief Executive and Chief Investment Officer, Alliance Trust PLC, one of Europe’s largest providers of sustainable and responsible investment funds. Member of the Supervisory Board, Deutsche Bank AG; Chair, Clean Air Fund; Chair, CDP Worldwide Board. Former Member: UK Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group; Scottish Business Board; Commission for the Green Investment Bank; Steering Group, Capital Markets Climate Initiative; Executive Committee, World Business Council for Sustainable Development; Founder Member, Advisory Council of The CityUK. Former British Business Ambassador for Financial Services. Young Global Leader, World Economic Forum (2006). Member of the Foundation Board of Young Global Leaders until December 2019 and former Member of the Board of Trustees, Chair, Global Agenda Council on Values (2012-14), World Economic Forum. Patron, City Week UK. Recipient of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), New Year's Honours 2014.
Bachelor’s in Economics, Shanghai Jiao Tong University; MBA, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. 2007, joined Alibaba Group as Senior Director, Finance; then Vice-President, Finance. 2009, joined Alipay as Chief Financial Officer; then appointed Chief Operating Officer and President. Former Chief Financial Officer, Guangzhou Pepsi Cola Beverage Co. Currently, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Ant Financial Services Group.
Currently serves as senior advisor for the World Bank Group ID4D, International Monetary Fund Comprehensive Surveillance Review 2020, UNECA Digital ID, Trade and Economy. He is also a member of the UN Secretary-General's Task Force on Digital Financing for SDGs.
Peter Lacy is senior managing director at Accenture. He is a member of Accenture’s Global Leadership Council. He has responsibility for Accenture’s Strategy Practice, its Global Sustainability Practice and its partnerships with organisations such as the World Economic Forum and United Nations.
Peter’s focus for the last 20 years has been serving the CEOs and boards of Global 2000. Peter has worked with CEOs, boards, international organisations and governments in the Americas, Europe and Asia. He has been based in the UK, continental Europe, Latin America and China.
Mr. Lacy is a widely published author and authority on growth and innovation strategy, in areas of disruptive technology. Most recently digital transformation, clean energy and circular economy. His last book “Waste to Wealth – the Circular Economy Advantage” was published by Palgrave in 8 languages and is an Amazon best seller. His forthcoming book with the same publisher is ‘The Circular Economy Handbook’. He has led the world’s largest CEO study for the United Nations Secretary Generals 5-times in the last 15 years and co-led the world’s largest research programme on Digital Transformation with the World Economic Forum. He is regularly quoted in the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, Times, Fast Company, Fortune etc.
Mr. Lacy sits on the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader Foundation board, and he founded the WEF YGL Taskforce on Circular Economy and the WEF YGL Circular Economy Awards. He sits on several university and not-for-profit boards relating to education, refugees and sustainability.
Mr. Lacy is an alumnus of full-time and executive programs at INSEAD, Harvard, Yale, Cambridge and Nottingham and is a Business Fellow at Oxford University.
Ellana Lee is Senior Vice President & Managing Editor, Asia Pacific, for CNN International, and Global Head of Features Content, based in the network’s Asia Pacific headquarters in Hong Kong.
Lee is the network’s most senior executive outside of the United States. As head of the Asia Pacific region and its editorial output, she manages CNN's award-winning on-air news programming produced there, including the correspondents and newsgathering teams across eight operations, from Kabul to Seoul.
As Global Head of Features content across CNN International television and CNN Digital, she is responsible for the partnership between CNN’s international editorial and commercial teams, helping to drive the network’s business outside the United States.
CNN’s features group is an integrated, cross-platform, award-winning creative team, producing more than 1000 hours of premium original programming every year. This encompasses long-form series, documentaries and specials for TV, digital and social platforms across eight production hubs in Hong Kong, London, Abu Dhabi, New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Johannesburg and Miami.
Under Lee’s management, CNN has received a variety of prestigious awards, including five award wins at the Asian Academy Creative Awards in 2018. The Royal Television Society (RTS) awarded CNN the coveted Best News Coverage International prize in 2013 for its reporting of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and this and other reporting from the region played a key role in CNN International winning the RTS News Channel of the Year in 2013 and 2012. Lee has also received numerous personal accolades, including ContentAsia’s ‘Asia Media Woman of the Year’ in 2018 for her commitment to the news media industry.
Lee was also an integral part of CNN’s coverage of the historic Inter-Korean and the Trump-Kim summits in 2019 and 2018. She has traveled to North Korea several times and in mid-2017 spearheaded an exclusive report called Secret State: Inside North Korea. The 60-minute documentary followed CNN cameras inside the secretive nation and was awarded Best Documentary Program at the Asian Academy Creative Awards in 2018.
In recognition of her leadership position, Lee was named a 'Young Global Leader' by the World Economic Forum and now sits on the board of the Young Global Leaders Foundation. She is an Asia 21 fellow, as awarded by the Asia Society, and is a graduate of Harvard's 'Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century' Executive Program. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and The Nature Conservancy’s Asia Pacific Council, and sits on the advisory board of The Murrow Centre at Tuft University.
Lee has had a longstanding and accomplished career at CNN, beginning in New York as a producer to help launch the program 'In The Money'. She subsequently worked as a business producer and a senior planning producer, coordinating major events out of the Asia Pacific region.
She holds a Master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from New York University and an undergraduate degree in History and International Relations from Georgetown University.
BSc (Hons) in Symbolic Systems and MSc (Hons) in Computer Science, Stanford University. Formerly: with UBS Research Lab, Zurich, Switzerland; SRI International; 13 years at Google in numerous positions, including as engineer, designer, product manager and executive, and launched more than 100 well-known features and products; played an instrumental role in Google Search, leading the product management effort for more than 10 years; latterly, Vice-President, Local, Maps and Location Services, Google. July 2012, joined Yahoo! as President and Chief Executive Officer. Member of the Board of Directors, Wal-Mart. Member of the Board of various non-profits, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Ballet and the New York City Ballet.
Formerly: Minister of Environment of Nigeria; Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning; Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on the Millennium Development Goals; Co-Founder and Head, Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All; Founding Partner, Afri-Projects Consortium. Chief Executive Officer, Center for Policy Research and Development Solutions, Nigeria. Served on numerous international advisory panels and boards, including: Global Development Program, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; UN Secretary-General's Global Sustainability Panel; International Development Research Centre, Canada; African Population and Health Research Center.
Internet and technology entrepreneur Jimmy Wales, is founder of the online non-profit encyclopaedia Wikipedia and co-founder of the privately owned Wikia, Inc. including its entertainment media brand, Fandom powered by Wikia. Wales serves on the board of trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit charitable organisation he established to operate Wikipedia. In 2019, Jimmy launched WT Social - a news focused social network. In 2006 Jimmy was named in Time magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People in the World’ for his role in creating Wikipedia.
Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Cloudflare, a web performance and security company that was named to CNBC’s Disruptor 50 List, selected by the Wall Street Journal as the Most Innovative Internet Technology Company for two successive years, and named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum. Before co-founding Cloudflare, held positions at Google and Toshiba and launched two start-ups. BSc degree (Hons), McGill University; MBA, Harvard Business School. Recipient, Dubliner Prize for Entrepreneurship, Harvard Business School. Young Global Leader, World Economic Forum. Named one of the Top 15 Women to Watch in Tech by Inc. magazine; 40 Under 40 leader by San Francisco Business Times. Featured as one of the Women Who Rule Silicon Valley in a recent issue of ELLE magazine.
Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, CITIC Capital. Began career on Wall Street in 1987 at Greenwich Capital Markets. Later joined Bank of Tokyo as Head of Proprietary Trading, and Merrill Lynch as Managing Director, Debt Capital Markets, Greater China. 2000, joined CITIC Group as President, CITIC Pacific Communications and Executive Director, CITIC Pacific. Founded CITIC Capital in 2002. Chairman of the Board, McDonald's master franchised business in China and Hong Kong; Chairman of the Board, Universal Medical. Member of the Board: Sina Corporation; Harbin Pharmaceutical; AsiaInfo; SF Express; Emerging Markets Private Equity Association. Member, Executive Committee, and former Chairman, China Venture Capital and Private Equity Association. Vice-Chairman: Beijing Private Equity Association; Tianjin Private Equity Association; PE and Buyout Funds Committee, Asset Management Association of China. Member, Eleventh, Twelfth and Thirteenth National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Senior Vice-Chairman, Center for China and Globalization. Member: Board of Trustees, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Foundation Board, Young Global Leaders, World Economic Forum; Council, Future Forum. Degree in Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Co-Chairman, Andover Asia Council; Member, Yale Asia Development Council; Member of the Board, Dalton Foundation; Member of the Advisory Board, Duke Kunshan University.
Meet the team
Gwendoline De Ganay
Gwendoline de Ganay is a Community Lead for the Americas for the Foundations Communities at the World Economic Forum since April 2016. She started her career at the Women's Forum for the Economy and Society in Paris, where she was part of the Program team for 3 years. She then graduated from an MBA at IE Business School in Madrid. Prior to joining the Forum, she was an entrepreneur and sustainability consultant in Brazil for 3 years, working on projects with local and international companies, as well as running a blog on sustainable practices in Brazil. Gwendoline speaks English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
Shimer is the Community Lead of Global Shapers Community and Young Global Leaders in Asia Region. She works closely with local partners in Asia, in Shaper and YGL nomination and community building. Shimer receives her education in Peking University and University of Sydney. Prior to the World Economic Forum, Shimer was with Shanghai Media Group as a journalist and a producer.
Silje is a Community Specialist for the Social Engagement Team at the World Economic Forum, working with the Forum's three most vibrate communities - The Forum of Young Global Leaders, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entreprepeneurship and the Global Shapers Community. Prior to joining the Forum, Silje worked within the field of Sustainability, CSR and Development within the UN and the NGO ‘The Fairwage Network’. She holds a Msc in Public-Private Partnerships and Sustainable Development from Geneva, Switzerland.
Kelsey Goodman is a Community Specialist for North America for the Forum of Young Global Leaders at the World Economic Forum. Before joining the Forum, Kelsey researched national security regulations as related to trends in sovereign wealth fund investments. She holds a Masters of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD) from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a BA in foreign affairs and Middle Eastern studies from the University of Virginia. Kelsey speaks Moroccan Arabic and Tamazight and served in the US Peace Corps.
Sharmishta is the Community Manager, covering Asia-Pacific, for the Forum of Young Global Leaders. She is a Singaporean citizen who was raised and educated across the Middle East, Europe, North America, South and Southeast Asia. Sharmishta’s numerous professional experiences span across the public, private, and NGO sectors. Sharmishta holds a Master in Development Studies from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland and an undergraduate degree in International Affairs and Economics with a minor in Sustainability from the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University. She has spoken at the Palais des Nations, the International Telecommunications Union, the Asian Development Bank and at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Additionally, she has published her work on platforms such as Times of India, GlobalCitizen.org, Fair Observer and the Harvard Kennedy School’s Singapore Policy Journal.
Erica Viegas is a strategic communicator and relationship builder—using these skills to create advocacy, awareness and social change. With a decade of communications and fundraising experience, she has positioned multi-million dollar campaigns for success, contributed thought leadership pieces to The Globe and Mail, written speeches for university presidents and created social media content for President Bill Clinton, Bill Gates and Sir Richard Branson. She is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, and is currently building a $20 million endowment fund for the Forum as their Development Lead. Erica has honed her ability to craft strategic messages and build relationships as an in-demand public speaker and as a singer-songwriter who has released two albums, toured across Canada and held ‘top 10’ positions on national music charts.
Supporters, partners and donors are critical to our success. Whether through a grant, an in-kind contribution or a gift from a YGL member to our endowment fund, we work with a range of individuals and organizations to increase our impact. See our full list of supporters.