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
BA (Hons), Cambridge; Master's in Medical Anthropology, University College, London. Leading contributor to the development and growth of Sharjah and the UAE. Chairperson, Shurooq, the Government of Sharjah's Investment and Development Authority, which facilitates investment activities and conceptualizes the development of tourism and infrastructure projects. Has demonstrated consistent efforts to link international investors with opportunities in Sharjah. Key cultural figure. Founder and CEO, Kalimat Group. Patron and Founder: UAE Board on Books for Young People; Emirates Publishers Association. Director, Knowledge without Borders. Most Influential Woman in the Arab World in the Investment Development Sector 2013, Forbes Middle East. First Personality of the Year Award in the Tourism Sector. Woman Leader in Business and Economic Development Excellence Award 2014, Middle East Excellence Awards Institute, Dubai.
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 & CEO of Bharat Light & Power – Leading wind and solar power generation company in India (IPP). Group has 3 independent companies – large utility scale wind/solar, distributed solar and technology services - Orion.
Orion is an AI based IOT platform. Leverages proprietary failure prediction models, big data analytics & machine learning to help industries improve productivity and optimize energy consumption. Provides predictive intelligence for over 2GW of wind & solar farms globally. Also, AI based solutions to industries such as auto, FMCG, mining, oil & gas, steel, cement etc.
Earlier with General Electric (GE) for 14+ years. Was President & CEO of GE India, Sri Lanka & Bangladesh in last role.
Previous roles included GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS), 1996: roles in marketing, structured finance and risk management; 2005, 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 & CEO, GE Commercial Finance, India; 2007.
At present, Chairman of the Board, APM Terminals (Maersk Group) - Gujarat Pipavav Port; Member, Board of Directors, SRF; and Board member Anand Group. National Council of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Young Global Leader, World Economic Forum and on WEF’s YGL Foundation Board. Aspen Institute Fellow. YPO member. 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. Katherine is Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Gulf International Bank (UK) Ltd, (GIB UK) the UK subsidiary of Gulf International Bank B.S.C. owned by the governments of the six GCC countries, with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia being the primary shareholder. GIB UK was established in 1975 and focuses on client-related activities in asset management, treasury and structured finance. Katherine was formerly Chief Executive and Chief Investment Officer of Alliance Trust PLC, one of Europe’s largest providers of sustainable and responsible investment funds. She is a Member of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Bank AG and was a Trustee and Chair of the Investment Committee of the Baring Foundation 2006-2018. She is Chair of the Clean Air Fund, a philanthropic initiative addressing air pollution and a Trustee of the CDP Worldwide Board, which runs the global disclosure system enabling companies, cities, states and regions to measure and manage their environmental impacts. She served as a member of the UK Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group from 2012-2015 and the Scottish Business Board during the same period. Katherine served as a British Business Ambassador for Financial Services, from 2012-2018, appointed by the UK Prime Minister to be an advocate of the UK abroad.
Katherine was a Member of the Commission for the Green Investment Bank reporting to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and a Steering Group Member of the Capital Markets Climate Initiative reporting to the Department of Energy and Climate Change. She was nominated a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum in 2006, appointed to the Foundation Board of Young Global Leaders in January 2014 and also served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the World Economic Forum 2015-16 and Chair, Global Agenda Council on Values (2014-16). She was a member of the Executive Committee for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development from 2014-2016 and a Founder Member of the Advisory Council of The CityUK. Katherine has been an Ambassador and Speaker at the World Forum on Natural Capital which has taken place in Edinburgh in 2013, 2015 and 2017 and a Patron of City Week UK since 2017. She won the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award in 2015 and was awarded a CBE in the 2014 New Year Honours List for her services to the asset management industry and her charitable work as a trustee of the Baring Foundation. Katherine has worked in the asset management sector for over 29 years.
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.
Studies at Yale, INSEAD, Cambridge and Nottingham Univ. Fellow, Univ. of Oxford. Fifteen years advising leaders from business, government and civil society on strategy and policy, with deep expertise in sustainability. Formerly: with McKinsey and Andersen Consulting; four years running European Academy, a research and education partnership. As of 2010, with Accenture Leadership. Board Member: European Academy of Business in Society; Univ. of Nottingham Business School; Univ. of Cranfield Doughty Centre; Corporate Governance Journal; Ethical Corporation; others.
Ellana Lee is Senior Vice President of CNN International, based in the Asia Pacific headquarters of Hong Kong.
She is the most senior executive outside of the U.S. and the Managing Editor for CNN International Asia Pacific. As head of the Asia Pacific network and its editorial output, Lee manages CNN's award-winning on-air news programming produced throughout the region, including the correspondents and newsgathering teams across eight operations from Kabul to Seoul.
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 to places few outsiders have ever seen.
Lee is also head of CNN Vision, a creative team that produces more than 1000 hours of premium original programming for CNN International every year, delivering long-form series, documentaries and specials for TV, digital and social platforms. Under CNN Vision Lee manages an additional 60 staff across eight production hubs in Hong Kong, London, Abu Dhabi, New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Johannesburg and Miami. Through CNN Vision Lee works closely with colleagues at CNN International Commercial and Turner International to develop CNN’s business operations worldwide.
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. Founder, online non-profit encyclopaedia Wikipedia. Co-Founder, privately owned Wikia, including its entertainment media brand, Fandom powered by Wikia. Serves on the board of trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit charitable organization he established to operate Wikipedia. April 2017, launched WikiTribune - a news website involving professional journalists working alongside volunteers to curate fact checked and reliable articles. Named in Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World" for role in creating Wikipedia (2006).
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.
Yichen ZHANG is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of CITIC Capital Holdings Limited. Mr. Zhang began his career on Wall Street in 1987 at Greenwich Capital Markets. He later joined Bank of Tokyo as Head of Proprietary Trading, and Merrill Lynch as Managing Director of Debt Capital Market for Greater China. In 2000, he joined CITIC Group as the President of CITIC Pacific Communications and Executive Director for CITIC Pacific (now CITIC Limited). He founded CITIC Capital in 2002 and has been involved in all phases of the firm’s development since then. Under his leadership, CITIC Capital led a number of landmark deals, investing in some of China’s leading companies, including McDonald’s China, Alibaba, Sina, Harbin Pharmaceutical, SF Express, AsiaInfo and Focus Media. He is the Chairman of the Board of McDonald's master franchised business in China & Hong Kong, as well as Chairman of the Board of Universal Medical. He also sits on the boards of Sina Corporation, Harbin Pharmaceutical, AsiaInfo and SF Express.
Mr. Zhang is a leader in the alternative investment industry. He is a board member of the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association (EMPEA), Executive Committee Member and former Chairman of the China Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA). He is also a Vice Chairman in Beijing Private Equity Association (BPEA), Tianjin Private Equity Association, and a Vice Chairman of the PE and Buyout Funds Committee under the Asset Management Association of China (AMAC).
Mr. Zhang is also a leader in political, economic and social communities. He is a member of the Eleventh, Twelfth and Thirteenth National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Senior Vice Chairman of Center for China and Globalization (CCG), a member of the Board of Trustees at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a member of the Foundation Board at the Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum, and a council member of Future Forum.
He obtained his degree in Computer Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A strong believer in education, Mr. Zhang has been supporting the Andover Asia Council as its Co-Chairman, Yale Asia Development Council as a Council Member, Dalton Foundation as a Board Member, and Duke Kunshan University as an Advisory Board Member.
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,
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.
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