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 YGLs reflecting the diversity of the community.
Klaus Schwab was born in Ravensburg, Germany, and received his academic education at the Swiss Federal Institute Zurich, the University of Fribourg, and Harvard University, graduating with a Doctorate in Engineering, a Doctorate in Economics and Social Sciences, and a Master in Public Administration.
After having successfully managed the restructuring of a leading Swiss machine building group, he became a Professor in Business Policy in Geneva, and in 1970, he wrote the book Modern Management, conceptualizing stakeholder capitalism. He subsequently created and became the Chairman of the not-for-profit foundation now called the World Economic Forum, with the purpose of building a platform where business leaders could meet, interact, and collaborate with stakeholders from government and society.
He served as a Professor at the University of Geneva until 2003, while also holding multiple board memberships and international advisory positions. Afterward, he dedicated his full efforts to further developing the Forum, which he built from the original, simple idea into a recognized International Organization, becoming the leading global platform for public-private cooperation. Together with his wife Hilde, he created the Schwab Foundation in 1998 to promote social entrepreneurship and innovation. He wrote several books. His bestseller, The Fourth Industrial Revolution, was published in over 30 languages.
He has received international awards, highest national distinctions, numerous honorary professorships and doctorates for his thought leadership, and for the Forum’s achievements in enhancing global cooperation and several political reconciliation efforts.
Married since 1971, he has 2 children and 2 grandchildren. His hobbies are sports and culture.
Nicole Schwab is Co-Head of the Nature Positive Pillar at the World Economic Forum, and member of the Executive Committee. In that role she oversees the Forum’s work on the transition to a nature-positive economy, as well as 1t.org, the Forum’s trillion trees platform focusing on restoration and conservation of forest landscapes. Prior to joining the Forum, she served as a consultant and strategic advisor to non-profit organizations focusing on forest and ocean conservation and restoration, including National Geographic Society’s Campaign for Nature. With a scientific and public policy background, she started her career working on health policy in the Andes for the Government of Bolivia and the World Bank, before returning to Europe to become Founding Director of the Forum of Young Global Leaders – which she currently chairs – and co-founding EDGE Certified Foundation, a business certification standard for gender equality in the workplace.
Thor Björgólfsson is a self-styled “adventure capitalist”, who became Iceland’s first billionaire in 2005. Thor began investing in frontier markets in Russia in 1991, founding a bottling company that grew into the Bravo brewing group, subsequently sold to Heineken in 2002. Following that transaction Thor founded Novator Partners in London in 2004, diversifying into telecoms and pharmaceuticals, building a portfolio of business investments.
Today, through his firm Novator, Thor continues to be an active investor in the emerging economies of Europe, South America and India as well as in his native country, Iceland. He also personally invests in cutting-edge sustainability initiatives including Princeville Capital, a fund for growth-stage tech companies focused on positively impacting climate change as well as David de Rothschild’s sustainable brand, The Lost Explorer, which focuses on protecting the heritage and biodiversity of Mexico.
Since 2006, Thor has progressively directed his attention towards the mobile telecommunications sector and Gaming, and his extensive expertise across diverse markets is unparalleled. In 2015 Thor brought this extensive experience to the South American market where he maintains a shareholding in telecoms Mobile operator WOM in Chile and Colombia, with a combined customers of ca 13 million and over 6000 direct employees. WOM has already build the fastest 5G network in LATAM in Chile.
Thor was made a Young Global Leader at the WEF in Davos in the first cohort of that group in 2005 and today serves as a Board Member there, as well as founding the Endowment fund for YGL’s with other alumni
Thor has supported numerous philanthropic causes throughout the years, both in his home country, Iceland as well as in London. Furthermore, Thor has extended his efforts in alternative countries where he has assisted in various projects concerning environmental issues and numerous charitable causes. As well as this, Thor has supported his alma mater, New York University’s Stern School of Business, as well as the Young Global Leaders’ programs so as to assist students and upcoming entrepreneurs from developing nations unleash their potential.
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. A revised edition, "Billions to Bust – and Beyond", is scheduled to launch this year, with an added chapter on his investments and business in Latin America.
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 United States. Founder & CEO of Bharat Light & Power (BLP Group). Leading wind and solar power generation company in India (IPP). Group has 3 independent companies - large utility scale wind/solar, distributed solar and an industrial AI and IoT company - Industry.AI. Industry.AI leverages proprietary failure prediction models, big data analytics & machine learning to help industries improve productivity, sustainability, quality, safety 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, airports, ports 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, Anand Group, Tube Investments of India (Murugappa Group), Eicher Group (Royal Enfield), and Indian Energy Exchange. Senior Advisor to AP Moller Capital. 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.
Andrew L. Cohen
Andrew Cohen is the Executive Chairman of J.P. Morgan Wealth Management. He oversees J.P. Morgan Private Bank’s Institutional Wealth Management practice and leads the partnership between the firm’s Corporate & Investment Bank and Private Bank. In this role, Mr. Cohen focuses on servicing the Private Bank’s largest and most sophisticated clients globally. He is a member of the Asset & Wealth Management Operating Committee and the Wealth Management Operating Committee.
Prior to this role, Mr. Cohen was Chief Executive Officer of J.P. Morgan’s International Private Bank, which operates in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America. Before relocating to Hong Kong in 2010 as the Asia Private Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, he was Head of the Southern California region, based in Los Angeles. Previously, he worked with ultra-high-net-worth families in Northern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean region.
Mr. Cohen holds a Bachelor of Economics degree from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia and attended the Executive Program of Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government
Mr. Cohen sits on the Board of Directors of the Serpentine Galleries, the Board of Governors of Tel Aviv University, and is an alumni of the Young Global Leaders Forum (World Economic Forum) and the Hong Kong Forum. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, sailing, philanthropy and traveling.
H.R.H. Prince Jaime de Bourbon de Parme
Jaime is the Climate Envoy of the Netherlands. He has an extensive diplomatic career in forging partnerships for innovative solutions to complex global challenges. He was the Senior Advisor on Private Sector Partnerships to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), where he worked on the energy transition in refugee settlements. As the Ambassador of the Netherlands to the Holy See (Vatican), he partnered on peace, climate action and forced migration. As Special Envoy for Natural Resources, he initiated the Responsible Mining Index and set up conflict-free supply chains of metals and minerals in the DRC with the private sector and civil society. He was a member of the Cabinet of the European Commissioner for Competition, worked in the field as Political Advisor to the Dutch Commander of the NATO Peacekeeping Mission in Afghanistan and helped set up the Netherlands Embassy in Iraq. He has held various other functions in MENA, Africa and Latin America. 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. He is married and has two young daughters. Concurrently he is a Member of the Board of the Forum of Young Global Leaders (WEF).
Paula Escobar Chavarría
Paula Escobar Chavarria is a chilean journalist, editor and author. She is a columnist/ panelist at La Tercera, CNN Chile and Duna radio. 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.
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.
Ndidi O. Nwuneli
Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli is an expert on agriculture and nutrition, entrepreneurship, social innovation, and youth development. She has over 25 years of international development experience and is the founder of LEAP Africa, Changing Narratives Africa, and African Food Changemakers (www.afchub.org) . She is also the co-founder of Sahel Consulting Agriculture & Nutrition Ltd. and AACE Foods Processing & Distribution Ltd.
Ndidi serves on the boards of the Rockefeller Foundation, AGRA, Stanbic IBTC Group, Nigerian Breweries Plc. (Heineken), Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. India, the Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum, and the Bridgespan Group.
Ndidi holds an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree with honors from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She was a Senior Fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government at the Harvard Kennedy School, a visiting Scholar at Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University, an Aspen Institute New Voices Fellow, and an Eisenhower Fellow.
Ndidi is the author of three books: Social Innovation in Africa: a practical guide for scaling impact, Food Entrepreneurs in Africa: Scaling Resilient Agriculture Businesses and Walking for God in the Marketplace.
Michelle Zatlyn is co-founder, President, and COO of Cloudflare, the Internet security, performance, and
reliability company on a mission to help build a better Internet. Cloudflare is a publicly traded company
on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: NET). Prior to co-founding Cloudflare, Michelle held positions at
Google and Toshiba and launched two successful startups. Michelle currently serves on the board of
directors for Atlassian and the World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders Foundation. Michelle has
been named to Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list and was part of Marie Claire’s 7th Annual New Guard. She
holds a B.S. degree, with distinction, from McGill University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School,
where she was awarded the Dubilier Prize for Entrepreneurship.
Meet the team
Gwendoline De Ganay
Gwendoline de Ganay is Programme and Knowledge Lead for the Schwab Foundation. She has been at the World Economic Forum since April 2016, in different positions on the YGL and Schwab Foundation team.
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.
James Forsyth is a Swiss-American-British professional with a diverse background in economics, politics, and leadership. After completing his education, James worked as a political adviser and field organizer for the 2008 Obama presidential campaign, before transitioning to a career in finance. He spent six years with HSBC as a private banker, covering middle eastern markets and alternative investments.
In 2016, James joined the World Economic Forum, where he has since held various roles. He initially worked on Blended Finance, a program aimed at mobilizing private sector capital for sustainable development. Later, he led the Climate & Nature portfolio of the Global Shapers community, a network of young change-makers around the world. Currently, James leads the leadership development for the Young Global Leaders community, an initiative of the World Economic Forum that brings together exceptional leaders under the age of 40 from across sectors and regions.
He obtained a Bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Montreal before pursuing an MBA (Summa Cum Laude) from the University of Geneva, School of Economics and Management, where he was awarded the Vacheron Constantin Best MBA Project Award. James is passionate about leveraging his expertise and networks to advance sustainable and equitable development and has been recognized as a thought leader in his field.
George leads the Alumni Community for the Young Global Leaders, an initiative of the World Economic Forum that brings together exceptional leaders under the age of 40 from across sectors and regions to address some of the world's most pressing issues. He has over a decade's worth of experience building impact driven multistakeholder and leadership development communities across the public, private and non-governmental sectors. With a career rooted in social change, George has worked with leaders at the highest level of business and government, and expertise in strategy development, programme management, multistakeholder partnerships, and relationship building. He is passionate about leadership development, the power of networks, and building impactful communities that support people to support each other to change the world. A British and Cypriot citizen, he was educated in South East Asia and holds a Bachelors degree from the University of Manchester. Outside of work, he is a passionate skiier and runner, interested in history, politics and psychology.
Liantsoa Joanna Raoeliarindranto
Joanna Liantsoa Raoeliarindranto is the Community Specialist for Africa and Operations for the Forum of Young Global Leaders. She brings over five years of experience in project management and business development in INGOs, IOs, and fortune 500 companies. Having worked in several interconnected sectors, including in peacebuilding, social and environmental impact management, and migration governance, she developed a solid understanding of these cross-cutting issues and a specific interest in the role of multi-stakeholder partnerships in reinforcing their nexus. She also has a strong interest in the role of digital transformation in achieving these goals. In the last decade, she has lived and worked in eight countries, which helped her develop a comprehensive understanding of cultural bias and a genuine interest in working in multicultural environments. She holds a BA in Sociology from Cornell University and an MA in Development studies from IHEID. She is fluent in English, French, and Malagasy.
Miao Sun is the Community Lead for Young Global Leaders Community and Global Shapers Community in Greater China, Japan, South Korea and Mongolia. She overseas the two communities' strategy in the region by bringing the younger generation of leaders to the World Economic Forum's agenda and initiatives. As a Global Leadership Fellow, she is also passionate about empowering leadership, multistakholder dialogue, and sustainable development.
Miao joined the World Economic Forum at 2017 and served the Programme and Design team for the design, development and deliver of Forum events around topics on sustainability, economics and finance, including World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Annual Meeting of the New Champions in China, and etc. Prior ot that, she was a climate policy analyst on low-carbon development in China. She designed and lead the digital tool for tracking national, provincial, and city-level climate policies in China: Policy Mapping. Her research covers city-level low-carbon planning, carbon pricing and green finance by creating analytical tools and facilitating multidisciplinary exchange to foster integrated solutions for cities. She used to be a Community Host at Impact Hub Stockholm to serve social enterprises in Sweden.
Miao has two master’s degrees (MSc. and MA.) in Environmental Economics from University of Bonn, Swedish University of Agricultural Science, and Capital University of Economics and Business in Beijing. She has a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Beijing Normal University, and Certificate on International Relations at The Johns Hopkins University–Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies.
Miao’s mother tongue is Mandarin, and she speaks fluent English, basic German and Swedish. In her spare time, she loves reading, doing Yoga, and rock climbing.
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.