People

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.

Our leadership

Klaus Schwab

Founder of the Forum of Young Global Leaders

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.

Nicole Schwab

Chair of the Board and Director, Internal Relations, National Geographic Society, Switzerland

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

Chairperson, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority - Shurooq, United Arab Emirates

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

Chairman, Novator Partners LLP, United Kingdom

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

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Bharat Light & Power (BLP), India

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 Enterprise 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, and Indian Energy Exchange. National Council of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Young Global Leader, World Economic Forum and on WEF YGL Foundation Board. Co-Chair of WEF GFC on Energy. Aspen Institute Fellow. YPO member. Interests: national swimmer, golf, classical music and Formula 1.

H.R.H. Prince Jaime de Bourbon de Parme

Senior Adviser, Private Sector Partnerships, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Switzerland

Jaime de Bourbon de Parme most recently served as the Ambassador of the Netherlands to the Holy See (Vatican), where he partnered on peace negotiations, climate action and humanitarian aid. Prior to his Ambassadorship, he was the Special Envoy for Natural Resources at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he set up conflict-free supply chains of metals and minerals in the DRC with the private sector and civil society. He also initiated the Responsible Mining Index, an evidence-based assessment of among the largest mining company policies and practices on economic, environmental, social and governance issues. Previously, he was responsible at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs for peacekeeping operations in Africa. He was a member of the Cabinet of the European Commissioner for Competition. He worked in the field as Political Adviser to the Dutch Commander of the NATO Peacekeeping Mission in Northern Afghanistan and as a diplomat helped to set up the Netherlands Embassy in Iraq. He has held various other functions in Latin America, in both the humanitarian sector (Red Cross) and private sector (ABN Amro Bank). He was asked to join the Forum of Young Global Leaders in 2007.

Born in the Netherlands in 1972, he holds an MA from Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a BA from Brown University.

Concurrently:
- Member of the Board of the Forum of Young Global Leaders
- Member of the Advisory Boards of: World Resources Institute; Responsible Mining Index; Geneva School of Economics and Management; Original Beans; and Miracle Foundation.

Paula Escobar Chavarría

Opinion Columnist, La Tercera, Chile

Paula Escobar Chavarria is a chilean journalist, editor and author. She is a professor at Universidad Diego Portales and member of the board of the Young Global Leaders Foundation and of ComunidadMujer.. She is also Executive Director of the Chair on Women and Media at Universidad Diego Portales 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. She has published six non-fiction books: in one of them she interviewed all Chilean Presidents after the return of democracy. Former Magazines Editor at El Mercurio, former Editor in Chief of Caras magazine and former Editorial Director of Televisa Group in Chile. She also wrote for the Huffington Post.

Eric Jing

Executive Chairman, Ant Financial Services Group, People's Republic of China

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

Senior Managing Director, Accenture, United Kingdom

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.

Amina Mohammed

Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations, USA

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.

Michelle Zatlyn

Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Cloudflare, USA

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.

Meet the team

Selima Benchenaa

Programme Design and Impact Lead, World Economic Forum, Switzerland

Gwendoline De Ganay

Community Engagement Lead, Young Global Leaders, World Economic Forum, Switzerland

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 Diao

Community Lead, Greater China and North Asia, Forum Foundations, World Economic Forum Beijing, People's Republic of China

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 Ditlefsen

Programme Design and Impact Lead, Foundations, World Economic Forum, Switzerland

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.

James Forsyth

Collective Impact & Storytelling Lead, Young Global Leaders, World Economic Forum, Switzerland

Kelsey Goodman

Community Specialist, North America, World Economic Forum, USA

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.

Mahmoud Jabari

Community Specialist, Africa and the Middle East, World Economic Forum, Switzerland

Mariah Levin

Head of the Forum of Young Global Leaders, World Economic Forum, Switzerland

Loubna Messaoudi

Intern, YGL Selection, World Economic Forum, Switzerland

Marie Penelope Nezurugo

Programme and Impact Specialist, Young Global Leaders, World Economic Forum, Switzerland

Tanisha Rayamajhi

Intern - Programme Impact, Young Global Leaders, World Economic Forum, Switzerland

Danny Richmond

Community Specialist, Young Global Leaders - Europe, World Economic Forum, Switzerland

Sharmishta Sivaramakrishnan

Community Specialist, ASEAN, South Asia and the Pacific, Young Global Leaders, World Economic Forum, Switzerland

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

Partnerships and Alumni Community Lead, World Economic Forum, USA

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

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.