Meet our Cheveners

Chevening Alumni are leaders and innovators, who are breaking boundaries across a variety of professional fields, including politics, business, the media, civil society, science and technology, and academia.

Abhiranjan Gupta

Chief Investment Officer, HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company Ltd

Abhiranjan is Chief Investment Officer at HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company Ltd where he manages investment assets of over USD 1.3 billion invested across various asset classes. He has been part of “Working Group on Investment” at IRDAI (Insurance Regulator in India) an Expert Group formed by the Committee on Banking, Insurance, and Pension of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of India for the preparation of the Guidance note on ‘Internal/Concurrent Audit of Investment Function of Insurance Companies'. Abhiranjan has been part of the evolving Indian financial sector for the last 15 years and keen on learning evolution and innovations in the financial services with a global perspective at the one of the largest financial centers in the world.

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Achaleke Christian Leke headshot

Achaleke Christian Leke

National Coordinator, Local Youth Corner Cameroon

Achaleke is a civil society activist, youth worker, and peace advocate who specialises in countering violent extremism. Over his ten year career, he has worked with over one million young people and coordinated more than 200 youth development and peacebuilding projects in Cameroon and beyond. Growing up in a community that was rife with violent extremism, Achaleke was himself a victim of radicalisation in his youth. However, he overcame many obstacles and succeeded in transforming himself from an agent of violence into an ambassador for peace and change. Achaleke currently serves as National Coordinator of Local Youth Corner Cameroon, an organisation that champions youth action for peace. He also leads the Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network, with responsibility for coordinating over 500 young peacebuilders across 53 countries. A prominent expert on peacebuilding, Achaleke regularly presents at high-level forums and workshops around the world. He was named Commonwealth’s Young Person of the Year in 2016.

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Alejandro Fernandez Whipple

Founder and CEO, Argentarium

Alejandro has close to 25 years of experience in financial services as a private sector banker at Banco Popular Dominicana and Citibank, and in the public sector as a general manager of the Superintendency of Banks and CFO of the Dominican Corporation of State Electricity Companies (CDEEE). In addition, he is the founder and CEO of Argentarium, a firm that specialises in financial education and analysis. He is also co-founder of Fintech Dominicana, a financial products comparison site, and serves as secretary of the board of CEVALDOM, a security depository service.

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Amna Zamir Shah

Additional District and Sessions Judge, Gilgit-Baltistan Judiciary

Amna is the first female judge in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), Pakistan. Since her appointment in 2017, she has ruled on hundreds of pending cases, and has been lauded for her commitment to fair judicial processes for women and other marginalised members of society. As one of few female judges in Pakistan, she aims to make the justice system more approachable for women who might feel intimidated by a male-dominated judiciary. Before studying in the UK, Zamir completed her Bachelor of Laws at the International Islamic University, Islamabad. She received the top score in the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) examinations, before being appointed as a civil judge. Zamir has been associated with various civil society organisations which offer free legal aid, and has worked with the Aga Khan Conciliation and Arbitration Board on a voluntary basis for over ten years. In 2017, she was recognised by the Study UK Alumni Awards for her considerable professional achievements.

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Anjal Niraula

General Manager, Gham Power

Anjal is an off-grid solar expert focussed on addressing Nepal’s energy access problems. As the general manager of Gham Power, he works with solar microgrids to provide a reliable electricity source to those who need it. Specifically, Anjal oversees research and development, as well as product strategy, including business development, design, and engineering. So far, Gham Power has installed 2.5MW of solar microgrids across more than 2,000 projects, helping people to avoid using environmentally damaging fuels such as diesel and kerosene. Anjal is a member of the Future Energy Leader’s group with the World Energy Council where he works on the Energy Access taskforce. In 2018, he was featured in the Forbes 30 under 30 Asia list.

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Archana Singh

Development Professional – Integrator, PRADAN

During her 19-year career, Archana has been involved in on-the-ground development practice with tribal communities in one of the poorest pockets of Madhya Pradesh, India. Her work revolves around process of co-creation along with women collectives to evolve their self-identity, where women recognise, acknowledge, and assert their role as an economic actor with an enhanced sense of citizenship to claim what is due to their own selves and their communities from state and society. Archana holds a Bachelor and Master degrees in Agriculture.

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Archana Vaidya

Natural Resource Management and Environment Law Consultant

Archana is a natural resource management (NRM) and environment law consultant based out of New Delhi, with over 15 years’ experience. She has an LLM in Public International Law, and is a biological science and law graduate. She was one of the founding members of IELO, an environment law firm, working exclusively in the field of NRM and environment law. She has rendered legal opinions and conducted legal policy research for multilateral agencies like WB, ADB. IUCN, WWF, UNDP. She has also worked with various state and central governments in India. She was selected for US State Department’s prestigious International Visitors Leadership Programme in 2014 on managing cross-border water resources.

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Arnab Kumar

Founding Manager, Frontier Technologies, NITI Aayog, Government of India

Arnab leads Frontier Technologies (Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and FinTech) initiatives for NITI Aayog, the Government of India’s premier strategy and policy institution, chaired by the Indian Prime Minister. Arnab is a key contributor to the formulation of India’s National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence and is also leading several projects in AI and Blockchain, with special focus on healthcare and supply chain solutions.

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Aroosa Shaukat

Producer, Indus News

Aroosa Shaukat is a journalist working with Indus News, an English language international news channel based in Lahore, Pakistan. She has been working with the channel since last year as a producer and is attached to the news show ‘Scope’, where she is responsible for the content. As part of this fellowship, she hopes to develop a broader understanding of issues that challenge modern day governance, engage with other professionals from the region and beyond, and be able to exchange professional practices which would enable her to pursue her career further in an ever dynamic media world.

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Atikh Rashid

Senior Correspondent, The Indian Express

Atikh works as a Senior Correspondent with The Indian Express, an English language daily in India known for its investigative reporting. He is based in Pune and has been reporting for the daily for the last seven years. Over the years he has reported on various subjects from agriculture to higher education and from public transport to Marathi cinema as per the need of the newspaper, as well as his own penchant for newer experiences. He is especially inclined towards using Right to Information Act as a tool to probe government functioning and to churn out exclusives.

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Badal Malick

CEO and Principal Innovation Officer, Catalyst

Badal is CEO and Principal Innovation Officer of Catalyst, a non-profit initiative focused on promoting new business models for last mile inclusive digital finance in India. He has a deep industry background in financial services, digital payments, and online commerce. Badal is trained in physics and economics ​and has also served as an ​Economist and Operations Analyst at the World Bank​. He is a technology enthusiast, an active angel investor in Fin-tech and B2B technology space in the US and India, and an advisor to pi Ventures, an AI dedicated venture fund.

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Beatriz Serato

Chartered coastal scientist, Jacobs

Following her masters studies, Beatriz was awarded a Chartership in Marine Science by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) and is now a qualified Chartered Marine Scientist and Chartered Scientist. She has become an international expert in estuarine and coastal geomorphology, sediment transport, and hydrodynamics, as well as having been involved in a number of environmental impact assessments, evaluation of wastewater treatment plants, and sewage dispersion in coastal and ocean areas. As a chartered coastal scientist for Jacobs, Beatriz provides technical input to coastal processes in estuarine and coastal environments.

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Bogolo Kenewendo

Bogolo Kenewendo

Former Minister of Investment, Trade & Industry, Government of Botswana

Bogolo is the former Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry in the Cabinet of Botswana. Appointed at age 30, she became the youngest minister in Botswana’s history. Previously, she served as a Specially Elected Member of Parliament, and as a trade economist in Ghana’s Ministry of Trade and Industry. She has received several accolades for her work, including the Ten Outstanding Young Persons award by JCI Botswana (2012), the Botswana Change Makers Award in business and leadership (2016), and the Formidable Woman award (2016). In addition to her Chevening Scholarship, Bogolo has participated in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s prestigious International Leaders Programme. While taking part in the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) in Washington DC, Bogolo was inspired by former First Lady Michelle Obama to found her own women’s leadership and mentorship programme, Molaya Kgosi. This programme aims to promote intergenerational dialogue on careers and leadership, and provide mentorship opportunities to young women.

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Boitumelo ‘Tumy’ Motsoatsoe

Head of Programmes and Development at Business & Arts South Africa (BASA)

Tumy is the Head of Programmes and Development at Business & Arts South Africa (BASA). Her current projects include the BASA Scale-Up and DAC Debut programme where she develops programmes, facilitates capacity building and creates platforms for skills and knowledge sharing for creatives and cultural organisations across South Africa. She has served on the Boards of the Pan African Youth Network for a Culture of Peace and Arterial Network South Africa. She was selected as one of the 200 Young South Africans for 2019 by Mail & Guardian South Africa.

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Business and finance

Chevening Alumni have achieved remarkable success in the world of business and finance, from banking to social entrepreneurship to financial technology. (Pictured: Juan Pablo Larenas, Executive Director, Sistema B Internacional)

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President Carlos Alvarado

Carlos Andrés Alvarado Quesada

President of Costa Rica

Carlos is a politician and writer who is currently serving as the 48th President of Costa Rica. President Alvarado began his career in politics as an advisor in Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly. After completing his master’s degree at the University of Sussex, he returned to Costa Rica and continued his political rise, serving as Minister of Human Development and Social Inclusion before being appointed Minister of Labour. In May 2018, at the age of 38, Alvarado was elected President of Costa Rica in a landslide victory, making him the country’s youngest president since 1916. His campaign was largely fought around issues of LGBTQ rights, with Alvarado strongly supporting the implementation of a ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights requiring Costa Rica to recognise same-sex marriage. Aside from politics, President Alvarado has had a vibrant career across a variety of sectors, working as a development consultant, communications manager, and university professor. He is also an accomplished writer, having published two novels and an anthology of short stories.

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Chinwe Ohajuruka

CEO and Founder, Comprehensive Design Services

Chinwe Ohajuruka is a green architect who has developed an innovative approach to tackling issues of housing and sustainability in Nigeria. By designing affordable houses that use natural ventilation and solar energy, and can be built in only 12 weeks, Chinwe provides sustainable housing that tackles Nigeria’s water, energy and sanitation crises, while confronting global climate change issues. In 2012, Chinwe founded Comprehensive Design Services (CDS), a green housing company, which uses her architectural designs to provide innovative housing for Nigerian families, relocating them from their previous, unsatisfactory living conditions. Chinwe’s ground-breaking work has been recognised with a number of awards, including the National Geographic ‘Great Energy Challenge Innovator’ grant, the Cartier Women’s Initiative Sub-Saharan Africa Laureate Award, and the GSBI Online Social Entrepreneurship Incubator award.

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Civil society and development

Through their pioneering work in development and civil society, Cheveners are supporting more prosperous, just, and equal societies. (Pictured: Hania Mohamed Sholkamy, Lead researcher, Egyptian Conditional Cash Transfer programme)

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Denisa Kurtagic

Inspector, National Security Authority of Montenegro

Denisa is a law graduate with a speciality in criminal law from the University of Montenegro. Her first assignment was at the National Security Authority (NSA) working in international cooperation. For four years, she was appointed as a Security Officer at Permanent Representation of Montenegro to NATO. She currently works as an inspector at the NSA.

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Dr Muktesh Chander

Director General of Police, Government of Goa

Dr. Muktesh Chander is currently heading Goa Police as Director General. He joined the Indian Police Service in 1988. He has served as Centre Director of the Cyber Division and National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre in the National Technical Research Organization under the Prime Ministers’ Office. He has also served as a United Nations Police Observer in Bosnia and Herzegovina in Europe for one year. He has occupied several positions in police departments including Traffic Police Chief of India’s capital city Delhi. He has written a number of articles on cyber related topics, which have been published in various prestigious journals and newspapers and is a resource person for several premier training institutes in India.

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Dr Ram Krapal

Founding Director, Tech Leaders Fellowship and Global Engagement

Ram K Sharma is a higher education professional and a Fulbright Scholar. He is working as the Founding Director – Tech Leaders Fellowship and Global Engagement at the upcoming Plaksha University, and as a higher education subject matter expert with KPMG working on online learning and the internationalisation of HE. Ram has contributed to national policies and processes on higher education during the drafting/consultation stages such as National New Education Policy 2016; Choice Based Credit System (CBCS); and Study-in-India program by MHRD and EdCIL. He holds a Ph.D. in Experimental Physics from UGC-DAE Consortium for Scientific Research and MLS University India, and an MS in Physics with university merit.

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Dr Sudip Roy

Associate Vice President – Research and Development, Invictus Oncology Pvt. Ltd.

Sudip is currently working as Associate Vice President of research and development at Invictus Oncology Pvt. Ltd. which is a subsidiary of Akamara Therapeutics Inc., USA. His team at Invictus is working on designing new oncology drugs and drug delivery systems starting from in silico, to in vitro, to in vivo, and finally taking to human trials. He is a technologist with 18+ years of experience in scientific computing in academia (National Chemical Laboratory, Pune) as a PI, in the oil and gas industry (Shell Technology Centre, Bangalore) as a senior researcher, and in drug development as a leader of research and development.

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Dr. Kasturi Das

Professor and Faculty-in-Charge of ‘I’M The Change’, IMT Ghaziabad

Dr. Kasturi Das is an economist, policy advisor, and educator. At IMT Ghaziabad, a leading business school, she is a professor of economics and founding head of the ‘I’M The Change’ initiative on sustainability & social responsibility, which strives to produce business leaders and entrepreneurs capable of balancing profit with purpose. Kasturi also holds advisory positions in the World Economic Forum’s E15 Expert Group on trade and climate change; and the Government of India’s High-level Advisory Committee on trade & environment.

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Dr. Ranjay K. Singh

Principal Scientist (Agricultural Extension), ICAR-CSSRI

Ranjay is a scientist of human-environment interaction by profession, and networker of grassroots and formal knowledge by passion. He has established his research and knowledge networks on environmental vulnerability and adaptation strategies for policy insights with several agencies and organisations worldwide. His specific interests include understanding the dynamics of social-ecological vulnerability and planned autonomous adaptation strategies for sustainable livelihoods of knowledge rich but economically marginal farming communities of India. He has published over 85 research articles, 3 books, and dozens of other publications relating to human-environmental interactions, and sustainability of social-ecological systems.

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Dr. Suphiya Khan

Associate Professor and Founder, D-Flo Aqua Remedies

Suphiya is Associate Professor and Founder of D-Flo Aqua Remedies & Company, India. She has been the part of world’s largest residential women’s university, Banasthali Vidyapith (NAAC A, QS 4 star, MHRD A). She is a scientist/professor by passion and a bio-entrepreneur by choice to nurture women scientists to become entrepreneurs. She has fourteen years of teaching and research experience. Her background mainly relates to water research with special focus on fluoride remediation using a nano-biotechnology approach. She is the winner of the prestigious BIRAC-TIE WInER 2019 award.

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Eduardo Carvalho

Artistic Editor of the Museum of Tomorrow, Rio de Janeiro

Eduardo is Artistic Editor of the Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro, a technological scientific museum, the most visited in South America, developing exhibitions and experiences with a focus on audience engagement in social themes. His exhibitions have included Food for Tomorrow – Feeding 10 Billion, which won a Bronze Medal at The Grands Prix (formerly known as the International Design and Communication Awards).

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Farooq Baloch

Senior Reporter, Samaa TV Digital

Farooq Baloch is a mid-career journalist with over 10 years of experience, currently working as Senior Reporter. His work was recently shortlisted (runner-up) for Pakistan Data Journalism Awards (2019). One of Baloch’s major milestones was Profit, a fortnightly business magazine he helped launch in 2016 as Editor Reporting. He built a team for the magazine, trained them, and spearheaded its reporting, making the magazine Pakistan’s most prestigious business publication in no time.

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Fatuma Abdulkadir Adan

Fatuma Abdulkadir Adan

Minister of Investment, Trade & Industry, Government of Botswana

Fatuma is a lawyer and peace ambassador who has dedicated her life to breaking cycles of violence and championing women’s rights. After training as a lawyer and being admitted to the bar, she founded the Horn of Africa Development Initiative (HODI), a non-governmental organisation which uses football to bring divided communities together and promote the rights of women and girls in rural Kenya. Her ‘Shoot to Score, not to Kill’ campaign brings together young people from warring ethnic groups and encourages them to engage on the football pitch as teammates. This model is now being replicated in more than 60 countries around the world. In 2008, Fatuma launched a ‘break the silence’ campaign, encouraging women and girls to speak out on issues such as female genital mutilation and child marriage. Fatuma is a UN Champion on Gender Equality and was the recipient of the Stuttgart Peace Prize, in recognition of her work ‘combining soccer and emancipation’.

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Gadhadar Reddy

CEO, NoPo Nanotechnologies

Gadhadar is the CEO of NoPo Nanotechnologies. He has a master’s degree in nanotechnology, a bachelors in electronics engineering, and an honours diploma in space sciences. He founded NoPo in pursuit of a childhood dream of visiting other planets. He successfully developed the NoPo HiPCO process along with Dr. Robert Kelley Bradley to produce single walled carbon nanotubes continuously. The material has showcased promise as a super black coating for spacecrafts, as a molecular water filter membrane, an additive to create super silk, and as a strength enhancing additive for carbon fiber composites. NoPo has won several awards including the India Innovates Growth Programme 2.0, Elevate 100, and EO CARES.

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Gisele Raulik Murphy

Partner at DUCO consultancy, Brazil

Gisele is a consultant, researcher, lecturer, board member of the Centro Brasil Design, and founding partner of the design management consultancy DUCO. Her studies in design and innovation inspired her to establish the first global conference and network addressing the role of design in public policy. This has contributed to several significant developments, including the integration of design into the European Commission’s Innovation Agenda. She has also obtained a PhD in design policy from the University of Wales and has worked for leading design organisations in Brazil (Centro Brasil Design) and in the UK (Design Council and Design Wales).

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Government and public service

Chevening Alumni are chosen for their leadership potential so it is no surprise that many of them have gone on to rise to senior positions in government and public service. (Pictured: Bogolo Kenewendo, Minister of Investment, Trade & Industry, Government of Botswana)

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Hania Mohamed Sholkamy

Lead researcher, Egyptian Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme

Hania is an anthropologist and feminist researcher, based at the American University in Cairo. Her research mainly explores issues of reproductive health and she has published various articles on political and social topics in Egypt and the Middle East. Hania has been a Centennial Carnegie Visiting Scholar at Yale University and a Junior Research Fellow at St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford. She also leads the Egyptian Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme, which aims to transform social protection for women in Egypt, and is one of the advisors to the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development project on human rights and social protection.

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Heesun Chung

Professor and Dean, Graduate School of Analytical Science and Technology, Chungnam National University

Dr Chung is a leading forensics expert and academic. Before assuming the role of Professor and Dean at Chungnam National University, she served as the first ever female Director General of the National Forensic Service, Korea. She previously held many top forensics posts in Korea, such as Head of Department of Forensic Science, Director of Narcotics Analysis Division, and Director of Drug and Toxicology at the National Institute of Scientific Investigation. In recognition of her outstanding work in the field of forensics, Dr Chung has been awarded a medal for distinguished service by the Korean government, a medal for the excellence in forensic science from the Mongolian government, and the most outstanding female scientist award from the Ministry of Science and Technology. In 2014, Dr Chung was made an Honorary Commander of the most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE), in recognition of her long-standing efforts to strengthen UK-Korea relations, particularly in the fields of science and education.

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Huda Ikram

Multimedia Broadcast Journalist, BBC

Huda Ikram works with BBC Pakistan as a Multimedia Broadcast Journalist. She has recently joined the organisation and has been associated with them for the last four months. Before joining the BBC, she was a Political Reporter for almost six years at Geo TV, the most prestigious and highly watched news channel in Pakistan. She has worked on the issues of politics, governance, and development. She has always believed in getting first-hand information and that is her driving force.

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Igor Pozak

Croatian Ambassador to the United Kingdom

After studying at the University of Oxford on the prestigious Foreign Service Programme through a Chevening Scholarship, Igor has gone on to carve out a distinguished diplomatic career. Since becoming one of Croatia’s youngest ambassadors, at the age of 40, Igor has held a number of senior diplomatic positions including as Croatian Ambassador to Russia and as Permanent Representative of the Republic of Croatia to NATO. He also spent four years working at a high level in the Ministry of Defence. He also held the position of CEO of Atlantica Grupa Plc, one of the largest private companies in Croatia. In 2017, he became the Croatian Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

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Ihitashri Shandilya

Founder CEO of MITHILAsmita

Ihitashri is the Founder CEO of MITHILAsmita, an award winning Social Enterprise for heritage Madhubani Paintings of India. Ihitashri is also the founding organiser of Traditional Art Entrepreneurship Summit TAES, a platform to strengthen the Indian artisan sector and has contributed significantly to artisan entrepreneurship policy research at Ministry for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME). She has also advised the Centre for Cultural Resources and Training, Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

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Jitin Talwar

Tech-Entrepreneur, Innovator, and Patent Attorney

Jitin is a globally recognised serial Tech-Entrepreneur, Innovator, and Patent Attorney. He is a founder of three companies. His company XLPAT is creating pioneering opportunities in applying AI/ML and NLP to legal-tech, innovation, and intellectual property and thus driving fundamental change in technology creation/commercialisation. His other company, TT Consultants, employs over 200 professionals in five countries and has operations across the globe. He also advises several organisations and governments on Intellectual Property strategies, innovation creation, management, and commercialisation.

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John Momoh

Chairman and CEO of Channels TV, Nigeria

John Momoh is a Nigerian broadcast journalist and the Chairman and CEO of Channels TV, a multiple award-winning television channel based in Lagos. He is widely recognized in Nigeria as a transformative industry pioneer. After completing a Chevening Fellowship at the Thomson Foundation in Cardiff in 1990, John founded Channels TV with the aim of increasing transparency in Nigerian reporting and serving as a watchdog of government policies. The channel went on to win Nigeria’s ‘Television Station of the Year’ Award eleven times and the African Achievers Awards Trust’s 2014 ‘Best Television Station in Africa’ Award. John continues to promote values of journalistic integrity to upcoming journalists by speaking at international events, including AfricaCom 2017 and the Guardians of the Nation International Conference.

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Juan Pablo Larenas

Co-founder and Executive Director, Sistema B Internacional

Juan Pablo is a social entrepreneur and co-founder of Sistema B, an international organisation that aims to strengthen companies that use the power of the market to solve social and environmental problems. He is also the co-founder of Late!, a company that sells bottled water and donates 100% of its profits to social causes. For four years, Juan Pablo served as director of the Chilean Entrepreneur Association (ASECH), a trade association of more than 33,000 entrepreneurs. He was also the director of TECHO Chile, a youth-led, non-profit organisation that tackles poverty in slums. Juan Pablo is a fellow of Ashoka, the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs. Thanks to his innovative and inclusive approach to business, steering them to create social value, Juan Pablo was named as a 2018 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

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Justice Winston Anderson

Judge of the Caribbean Court of Justice

Among the first Chevening Scholars, the Honorable Mr. Justice Winston Anderson is a judge of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) the highest judicial tribunal in the Caribbean. After earning a Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Cambridge, with the help of a Chevening Scholarship, Winston was called to the Bar of Barbados in 1989. He has held a number of senior academic positions at the University of the West Indies, as well as universities in England and Australia. He is also a founding member of the International Advisory Council of the United Nations Environment Programme, which is mandated to act as a global voice for environmental sustainability.

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Kanta Singh

Country Programme Manager, UNWomen India

Kanta has over 25 years of experience in the management of pro-poor, pro-women development programmes. Throughout her career she has advocated and lobbied to influence policies, programmes, and budgets in favour of women and girls. Kanta has previously been associated with WomenPowerConnect (WPC), International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), Women in Sustainable Enterprises (WISE), and Gender Training Institute. Kanta’s last assignment was with UNDP where she spent 9 years. Currently, Kanta is the Country Programme Manager for UNWomen India where she works on education, employment, and entrepreneurship opportunities for women. She is an Aspire as well as Landesa Fellow.

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Karon Shaiva

Chief Impact Officer, Idobro Impact Solutions and Managing Trustee, RISE Infinity Foundation

Karon Shaiva is a social entrepreneur, mentor, writer, speaker, and trainer. Karon firmly believes in the power of citizenship, entrepreneurship, and partnership to address some of the world’s most pressing issues. A self-professed academician at heart, she has designed multiple theories and models based on the RISE shared values – Responsible, Inclusive, Sustainable, and Ecofriendly, to drive positive action by individuals and institutions. Karon has over 20 years of experience in Asia and the USA in technology, education, finance, gemology, and development sectors.

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Kartini Ariffin

Director of Dbilique Media

Kartini is a journalist, producer, and professional speaker with more than 15 years’ experience in the media industry. For ten years, Kartini hosted 3R (Respek, Relaks, Respon), a TV show that aimed to uplift and empower young women. In 2006, she joined Media Prima as a radio announcer before being promoted to the position of Music Director in 2010. After being with the station for seven years, Kartini moved to The Cube, Celcom Bhd as the manager of Cube Radio. She then went on to become Director of Radio IM4U FM, Malaysia’s only radio station that spearheads volunteerism and encourages social activism amongst young people. Kartini is now co-founder and director of Dbilique the latest personality digital channel in Malaysia and is currently pursuing a PhD in Women Leadership in Media. In 2017, Kartini received the McC Rising Star-Most Promising Media Leader of the Year award, and was a finalist for a UK Alumni Award in the social impact category in 2018.

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Kiran Sivakumar

Indian Police Service Officer, Uttar Pradesh Cadre

Kiran Sivakumar is an Indian Police Service Officer of the 2008 batch borne in Uttar Pradesh Cadre. Kiran did his post-graduate in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras in 2006. He joined the Central Bureau of Investigation, New Delhi in June 2016 as Superintendent of Police in the Anticorruption Head Quarter Unit. He now leads the investigation of complex cases of anti-corruption and financial frauds having national ramifications. He takes keen interest in the use of big data in governance, network security, mobile security, research on future crimes, proliferation of crypto currencies, and predictive policing.

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Lahar Appaiah

Legal Counsel, IBM India

Lahar Appaiah is a corporate lawyer with over 15 years of experience in the technology industry. Lahar is currently Legal Counsel with IBM India in Bangalore. At IBM, Lahar advises on various aspects of corporate law, including data privacy, cyber security, labour and employment, mergers and acquisitions, and litigation. He also frequently works with IBM’s Government and Regulatory Affairs teams to provide the industry perspective on any proposed legislative interventions in areas as diverse as privacy and cyber policy, and labour and employment laws. Lahar is keenly interested in the intersection of law and technology, and their influence on society. He is a frequent speaker at several legal conferences and round tables, particularly in privacy and employment. As a part of IBM’s Corporate Service Corps programme, Lahar has also advised organisations (including think tanks working with municipalities) in South America on data-driven decision making.

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Lina Mowafy

Managing Partner, CEO, and Chief Curator at Tam.Gallery

Lina Mowafy is currently the Managing Partner, CEO and Chief Curator at Tam.Gallery, which she co-founded in 2012. Under her leadership Tam.Gallery (formerly known as The Arts-Mart Gallery) has grown to become the largest multi-platform art organisation in Egypt; comprising of both online and offline galleries, a massive exhibition space and a strong reliable corporate art arm for many diverse organisations.

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Luthfulla Khan Atheeq

Principal Secretary, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj

Luthfulla is a senior civil servant with 28 years of experience in governance, development policy, international development finance, and programme implementation. He has worked as the Chief Executive Officer of one District Panchayat (local self-government) and Deputy Commissioner and District Magistrate of two districts during 1998-2003. He later joined the Prime Minister’s Office in New Delhi as Director and went on to become Joint Secretary to the Prime Minister of India. He was then appointed as Senior Adviser to the Executive Director of the World Bank in Washington DC. Luthfulla is now working as Principal Secretary, Rural Development & Panchayat Raj Department. Luthfulla has completed a MSc. in Agricultural Economics and holds an MA in Public Administration from Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. He also speaks five languages.

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Maitri Porecha

Principal Correspondent, The Hindu BusinessLine

Maitri Porecha is a Principal Correspondent at The Hindu BusinessLine, a national daily newspaper in India. She has been with The Hindu BusinessLine for almost a year and writes on health, environment, women and children’s issues, tribal affairs, and so on. In the past, she took a six-month sabbatical between two journalism stints to live in a tribal area of Western India. She worked on issues related to building infrastructure in areas that lacked motorable roads, strengthening local governance, and the raising of awareness amongst tribals, especially in the sphere of women’s and children’s health.

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Manisha Acharya

CEO, Indigram Labs Foundation

Dr Manisha Acharya is an innovation management professional, with a combined experience of about 16 years in innovation, incubation, start-up mentoring, corporates, and life sciences research. She has previously been nominated by the government of India as a member of a delegation to visit, study, and network with the start-up eco-system at Silicon Valley in 2018.

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Mathan Paramanantham

Editor at Tamil Mirror

AP Mathan is the Editor of the Tamil Mirror daily newspaper. He has nineteen years’ experience in the field of journalism, both print and electronic, and has edited a number of other magazines and newspapers in leading media companies such as Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. and Express Newspapers (Ceylon) Ltd. He is a prolific writer and has authored many articles and editorials, as well as a published book. He is also an excellent communicator, being a lead trainer at numerous workshops.

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Maya Terro

Maya Terro

Co-Founder and Executive Director, FoodBlessed

Maya is a political, social, and environmental activist, whose personal mission is to tackle hunger and food waste in Lebanon. Through her initiative FoodBlessed, Maya recovers fresh food destined for the dustbin, which is then packaged and distributed to those in need, including Lebanon’s large population of refugees from Syria and other countries in the region. Since the foundation of the organisation in 2012, Maya and a large team of volunteers have been able to distribute over 300,000 free meals to the hungry, and to rescue over 60,000 tons of food from going to waste. Maya also works as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) consultant, advising firms how to conduct business ethically, and give back to society. She’s won several awards including ‘CSR In Action’ – Lebanon (2012), King Abdullah II ‘Award for Youth Innovation & Achievement’ – Jordan (2014), LAU’s ‘Spirit of Service Award’ – Lebanon (2015), and MBC al Amal ‘Humanitarian of the Year Award’ – Dubai (2016).

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Media and creatives

Chevening Alumni are making waves across the creative industries from journalism and film-making, to fine art and design. (Pictured: John Momoh, Chairman and CEO of Channels TV, Nigeria)

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Milan Antonijevic

Milan Antonijević

Executive Director, Open Society Foundation Serbia

Milan is a prominent human rights defender and independent expert who specialises in issues relating to prevention of torture, advocacy, and EU integration. For nearly twenty years, he has been active in the protection of human rights – conducting trainings for civil society organisations, judges, prosecutors, and state institutions, as well as providing free legal aid to victims of human rights violations in national and international courts. Over the course of his career, Milan has worked with a large number of human rights organisations, contributing to the creation of multiple successful campaigns and educational initiatives on issues including media freedoms, war crimes, and LGBTQ rights. For almost a decade, Milan served as Director of YUCOM, an organisation that provides legal assistance to more than 2,000 victims of human rights violations annually. He is currently Executive Director of Open Society Foundation, Serbia, with the mission of supporting Serbian citizens and institutions to build an open society, equality, and democratic values.

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Milan Sekuloski

Senior Adviser, DCAF-Geneva Center for Security Sector Governance

Milan has over 15 years’ experience in project management, research, and advisory on issues related to security sector governance in the Western Balkans region, with a focus on cybersecurity, strategic management, and capacity building. He has worked in the military, parliament, OSCE, and now works for DCAF.

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Mousrur Shakil

Senior Staff Correspondent, Impress Telefilm Ltd Channel I

Mousrur has been a Senior Staff Correspondent for the last six years at Impress Telefilm Ltd Channel I, one of Bangladesh’s premium television channels. He does special reports for the channel and also, as a mentor, oversees many reports prepared by his junior reporters. He also hosts a talk show involving policy discussions with industry leaders. His areas of expertise are the apparel sector and migrant workers. His report on an organised scam by a large corporate group revealed a unique yet illegal way of money laundering that led the government agency to reevaluate their procedure of investigating financial crime.

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Nadia Cankja

Head of Information, Communication, and Cybernetic Sector, Ministry of Defence

Nadia Cankja specialised in computer engineering. Throughout her career, she has worked in several positions such as an intercommunication specialist, program and application specialist, software/hardware specialist, and recently she has been promoted as head of information, communication, and cybernetic sector.

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Nandita Palchoudhuri

Consultant-Curator of Indian folk art, craft, and performances

Nandita Palchoudhuri is a social entrepreneur, curating and consulting internationally in the field of Indian folk art, craft, and performance. She designs and delivers exhibitions, installations, educational workshops, seminars, and lecture-demonstrations using Indian folk techniques and traditional practices. This process helps to regenerate the craft and provide a sustainable livelihood for the highly skilled but often unemployed artisan. Nandita’s work is highly acclaimed. Her ‘Chandannagar Lights’ installations have been commissioned at the Thames Festival, Belfast Festival and Blackpool Illuminations Festival; and ‘Shola Craft’ featured at Edinburgh Festival. She has delivered several other craft-based presentations across the world including in France, Spain, Italy, China, and New Zealand. She also works on projects with Patachitra and UNAIDS.

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Naveen Jha

CEO, Deshpande Foundation

Naveen Jha has twenty years of experience in the development sector. He began working in Rajasthan with PRADAN and thereafter, he took over as CEO of a global philanthropic institution called Deshpande Foundation. As an Ecosystem Catalyst, Naveen drives multilateral collaborations with corporates, government, foundations, and academic institutions. He has continued to provide strategic guidance, to several organisations, start-ups and foundations. As a Ford Foundation Fellow Naveen has received his Masters at Heller School of Public Policy at Brandies University.

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Nirmal John

Editor – Emerging technologies and Cybersecurity, ET Prime

Nirmal John is Editor – Emerging technologies and Cybersecurity at ET Prime, a premium subscription based platform from The Economic Times, where he writes about new technologies and the upheavals they are unleashing in our lives. He is also the author of ‘Breach – Remarkable Stories of Espionage and Data Theft and the Fight to Keep Secrets Safe’, a book that seeks to democratise conversations around cybersecurity, that was published by Penguin Random House in January 2018.

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Oru Mohiuddin

Research Manager, International Data Corporation (IDC)

Oru Mohiuddin is a leading private-sector researcher and spokesperson, who specialises in analysing the impact of global political, economic, and environmental factors on businesses. She is currently working for IDC, a world-leading business intelligence organisation focusing on information technology. Prior to this, Oru worked at Euromonitor International, where she was responsible for a portfolio tracking modern business infrastructure including good governance, technology, and sustainability. As a leading expert in her field, Oru is regularly invited to present at conferences and deliver commentary on global, macro-economic issues to international media outlets. Oru is passionate about development and is keen to leverage her expertise in technology towards development-related aims.

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Pavithra Y Sundareshan

Founder and Managing Director, Vindhya e-Infomedia Private Limited

Pavithra is the Founder and Managing Director of Vindhya e-Infomedia – an Impact Sourcing BPO since 2006, sets the strategic direction for the company and its portfolio of services while nurturing a strong leadership team to drive her vision of employing and empowering persons with disabilities (PWD), women, and people from rural and disadvantaged sections of society. She is also a Founder Trustee at India Inclusion Foundation which focuses on the development of PWDs and inclusion in the country. Pavithra is a commerce graduate from Bangalore University; Executive General Management Program at IIM- Bangalore.

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Phil Goff

Mayor of Auckland

Phil has had a long and distinguished political career, spanning almost 40 years. In successive Labour governments, Phil served in a number of ministerial positions covering a wide variety of portfolios including Trade, Foreign Affairs, Defence, Disarmament, Justice, Education, Housing, and the Environment. He served as leader of New Zealand’s Labour Party, and as Leader of the Opposition, from 2008 to 2011. In 2016, he was elected Mayor of Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, with a pledge to tackle social issues, such as homelessness, and improve infrastructure.

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Predrag Puharic

CISO, Faculty for Criminal Justice, Criminology, and Security Studies, University of Sarajevo

Predrag studied criminal investigations and combines that with almost twenty years in IT with a focus on infosec and cyber security. He is an experienced educator in those fields, and he enjoys working with and educating children about online safety. He is passionate about cloud technologies, and is an F1 and Ferrari fan.

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Pyone Thet Thet Kyaw

Founder and lead designer, Virya Myanmar

Pyone Thet Thet Kyaw is a fashion designer and social entrepreneur who is the founder and lead designer at Virya Myanmar, an ethical fashion brand based in Yangon. Pyone’s unique designs make use of traditional fabrics and patterns to create modern clothing, bags, and shoes. Having herself worked in garment factories from a young age, witnessing the exploitative labour conditions faced by young, female, employees, Pyone was inspired to develop an alternative, ethical model of fashion production in Myanmar. Virya Myanmar is a social enterprise which provides work benefits, training opportunities, and safe working conditions for its female employees, who mainly come from underprivileged backgrounds. Pyone’s background is in international development and, prior to entering the social enterprise sector, she spent five years working as a governance advisor for the UK’s Department of International Development (DFID). She still offers her expertise in this sector as an independent governance consultant.

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Rahul Nainwal

Co-Founder and Director, iVolunteer

Rahul is an Entrepreneur and Design Thinker. He co-founded iVolunteer, India Fellow Social Leadership program, and social enterprise incubator UnLtd Delhi. He also started CashRelief.org – India’s first pilot on unconditional wealth transfer. Rahul is the founding participant at THNK, the Amsterdam School of Creative Leadership. Rahul completed his Engineering from NIT Rourkela and MBA from IRMA, Anand. He completed his Executive Education at Harvard Business School.

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Raisa Wickrematunge

Editor; Groundviews, Centre for Policy Alternatives

Raisa Wickrematunge is the Editor at Groundviews, a civic media initiative that uses a range of genres and media to highlight alternative perspectives on governance, technology, human rights, ethics, peace-building, gender, and other issues. As Editor, Raisa curates both the site and its social media presence. She has also represented Groundviews at international events, including the New York Times Democracy Forum and the CPI Global Workshop on technology and advocacy. Raisa is also an alumna of the US International Visitors Leadership Programme.

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Rajab Mohandis

Rajab Mohandis

Executive Director, Organization for Responsive Governance

Rajab has dedicated his career to the promotion of democracy, education, and good governance in South Sudan, working for a number of national and international civil society organisations. His work with Democracy International and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs contributed to mass civic education in the lead up to the 2010 Sudanese elections, and the 2011 referendum that resulted in South Sudanese independence. He is currently the Executive Director of the Organization for Responsive Governance, a leading civil society group that aims to promote democratically responsive governance as a driving force for stability and prosperity. Rajab participated in the 2018 African Union Elections Observation Mission in Zimbabwe. He imparts his expertise to South Sudanese students by doing part-time lecturing at the School of Public Service in the University of Juba.

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Rajamanohar Somasundaram

CEO, Aquaconnect; Founder, Hexolabs

Rajamanohar is addressing global inequalities through technological innovations. His company, Hexolabs Interactive, develops grounded technological solutions for the rural masses, while his other initiative, Socialabs, advises non-profits on appropriate technology development strategies to reach out to marginalised groups. He also co-founded Aqua Connect, South Asia’s largest aqua farmers’ network, which supports aqua farming communities on sustainability goals, technology transfer, and training. Raja’s impressive social entrepreneurship has been deservedly acclaimed: his team was named among the TR35 – TOP 20 Young Innovators in India and won ‘Social Innovator of the year 2012’ by MIT Tech Review India for the development of speech-enabled mobile solutions for the Indian market. He became a ‘TED Fellow’ in 2009 for his accomplishments in ‘Mobile4Good’ initiatives in emerging markets, and World Economic Forum recognised Raja as a ‘Young Global Leader in 2012’.

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Rajeev Mantri

Executive Director, Navam Capital

Rajeev is Executive Director of Navam Capital, an India-focused venture capital firm. Prior to founding Navam Capital, he worked as a venture capitalist at New York-based Lux Capital, focusing on investments in energy, water, and nanomaterials. He has contributed to articles on technology, investing, venture capital, and entrepreneurship in India to Mint, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The New York Times, MIT Technology Review, BioSpectrum, Roubini Global Economics, and others. He graduated with a BS in Materials Science and Engineering from Northwestern University, and an MBA from Columbia University, specialising in private equity and value investing.

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Raman Jit Singh Chima

Asia Pacific Policy Director and Senior International Counsel, Access Now

Raman Jit Singh Chima serves as the Asia Pacific Policy Director and Senior International Counsel at Access Now, working with the international non-profit organisation’s team of global public policy staff in protecting an open internet and advancing the rights of users. He was a founding volunteer with India’s landmark SaveTheInternet.in campaign for net neutrality and co-founded the Internet Freedom Foundation where he currently chairs the board of trustees. He assisted the legal team involved in the Supreme Court of India’s landmark Shreya Singhal v. Union of India judgment on internet free speech, and has been included in Forbes Magazine’s 30-Under-30 list of leaders in India under the Law and Policy category.

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Ramasubramanian Dharmaraj

Vice President in Consumer and Investment Management Division (CIMD), Goldman Sachs

Ramasubramanian is Vice President in Global Portfolio Solutions, a multi-asset investment team within Consumer and Investment Management Division (CIMD) of Goldman Sachs, focusing on investing in global emerging markets. He joined the firm in March 2007, in the Global Investment Research division, within the Asia-Pacific equity strategy and macro research team. Ramasubramanian’s academic background includes a management degree in Analytical Finance & Strategic Marketing from the Indian School of Business (ISB, Hyderabad) and a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Engineering from the Marine Engineering Research Institute at Kolkata.

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Ramil Iskandarli

Deputy Executive Director at Transparency International Azerbaijan National Chapter

Ramil has more than 15 years of project management and consultancy experience in rule of law, human rights, minority rights, legal research, access to justice, and monitoring and evaluation. He is the founder and chairman of the Legal Analysis and Research NGO, an organisation established to address human rights issues and contribute to legal reforms in Azerbaijan. He has also worked as a consultant for UNICEF, supporting their ‘Access to Justice for Children’ programme. Ramil has published a number of books on topics relating to law and human rights, including A Guide to the Republic of Azerbaijan Law (New York University School of Law) and Human Rights of Vulnerable Groups in Azerbaijan (e-book).

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Rauf Yousafzai

Freelance Journalist; Arab News, Newsline, and The Friday Times

Rauf Yousafzai is a freelance journalist who contributes to Arab News, Newsline, and The Friday Times. For the last five years he has written for various media outlets on militancy, transgender issues, and post-war trauma. He is based in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a region of Pakistan that borders with Afghanistan. His assignments on Talibanisation and governance have taken him to different parts of Pakistan and especially to former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Rauf hopes that the Chevening Fellowship will help him delve deeper into the issues he tracks, improve his analytical skills, and add a global perspective to his writings.

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Refilwe Nkomo

Multidisciplinary Artist, Curator, Educator, and Producer

Refilwe Nkomo is a Johannesburg based multidisciplinary artist, curator, educator and producer. She creates cultural and artistic interventions, programs and installations using various mediums at the intersection of arts and social justice. She co-founded We Are Here (WAH) and Izindlovu Collective and her research and performance have been the recipient of numerous awards. Her work has been presented in South Korea, Ghana, Botswana, Brazil, Germany and the United States of America.

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Ritu Sain

Indian Administration Service Officer, Director, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India.

She has held leadership positions throughout her professional career spanning 15 years at various levels of administration including being District Magistrate in two Districts of Chhattisgarh state. She was the first woman District Magistrate in Surguja district. She ideated and implemented innovative source-segregation based municipal solid waste management projects which led Ambikapur to become the second cleanest city in India. She is recipient of many prestigious awards including the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration for her work on sanitation.

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Ruby Dhingra

Anchor and Supervising Producer, New Delhi Television (NDTV)

Ruby works with New Delhi Television (NDTV), India’s leading national news network, as a Supervising Producer and Anchor. Her decade-long career encompasses ground-breaking reportage from conflict zones, as well as reporting on terror incidents, election campaign stories, and gender issues. Ruby is an Emmy-nominated producer and has handled both local and international assignments for the network, including coverage of the Arab Spring in 2011, the US Presidential elections in 2016, and ground reportage on the Kashmir issue since 2009.

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Rupal Desai

Deputy General Manager, L&T-Sargent & Lundy Limited

Rupal is working with L&T-Sargent & Lundy Ltd, a leading engineering and consultancy company offering solutions for the power sector. An electrical engineer from L.D. College of Engineering, Gujarat University, she has over 20 years of experience with the majority in the power sector. She is an IEEE member, and has co-authored a paper on emerging trends in power plants with digital solutions.

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Salil Mittal

Cyber Security Executive, Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited

Salil is a cyber security executive with over 14 years of proven leadership experience and has expertise in technology consulting, strategy, system design, and operations. Currently, Salil leads cybersecurity assurance for Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited in India, which is one of the largest technology start-ups with over 250 million subscribers in India. Salil is a telecommunication engineer who started his career in cyber security when this subject was still maturing globally and was at a nascent stage in India.

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Samrat Choudhury

Independent Journalist and Author

Samrat is an author and journalist from Shillong. A former editor of several mainstream broadsheet English newspapers in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru, he is currently writing a book on the Brahmaputra River which flows through Northeast India. The topics which interest him include the politics, history, and culture of this complex and diverse border region of India, and of the country as a whole. Samrat’s first book, a novel titled, ‘The Urban Jungle’, was published by Penguin Books in 2011, and nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize. He co-edited ‘Insider Outsider’, a volume of writings on issues related to migration and ethnic conflict in Northeast India by writers from the region, which was published in January 2019.

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Sana Gulzar

Freelance Multimedia Journalist

Sana Gulzar is a freelance Multimedia Journalist based in Islamabad, Pakistan. Until recently she was working as Planning and Multimedia Producer at the BBC Urdu Service in Pakistan, where she remained for almost seven years. During her time there, she was part of the launch team and also the Pakistan Producer for the BBC Urdu’s first-ever news & current affairs television programme, Sairbeen. Currently, she is a member of the visiting faculty at Iqra University, Islamabad teaching broadcast and multimedia journalism at the graduate level.

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Sania Chuhdary

Reporter, ARY News

Sania Chuhdary is a Reporter at ARY News, one of the leading news channels in Pakistan. She covers politics, security, and public issues for both TV and digital mediums. Sania has been working with mainstream Pakistani media for the last nine years. During this period, she has covered almost all the major terrorist activities that have occurred in Lahore. She has reported the stories of survivors and victims of terrorist attacks, suicide bombings, and hostage sieges carried out by militants. She has also focused on political unrest, accountability of politicians, including the former Prime Minister’s trial after the Panama scandal, general elections, and political transitions in the country.

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Saqib Tanveer

Digital Producer, Independent Urdu

Muhammad Saqib Tanveer is working as a producer with Independent Urdu, the Urdu service of The Independent UK. He has recently joined Indy Urdu after spending a long time with several national broadcast stations of Pakistan including Geo TV and Samaa TV. Some of his prominent work includes reporting on the 2016 US Presidential elections, the 2018 General Elections in Pakistan, documentaries on the Army Public School attack in 2014, and the historical background of Pakistan Day. In 2016, realising the effects of fake news, Saqib launched his own portal, FactNama, which aims to separate facts from fiction. FactNama, a not-for-profit organisation, is the first ever dedicated portal in Pakistan that has delved into countering misinformation.

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Sashane Perera

Project Manager, MAS Holdings (Pvt) Ltd

Sashane is currently a part of the core team that heads Linea NXT, a collaboration between MAS Holdings Pvt and Nike Nike Inc. As a project manager/innovator he drives the product innovation process with a big picture, long term view, while simultaneously challenging the standard for critical issues and details that are key to successfully delivering innovative performance products and platforms.

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Science and technology

Cheveners are at the forefront of scientific research and technological development around the world, tackling issues ranging from climate change and sustainable living, to cutting edge-financial technology. (Pictured: Rajamanohar Somasundaram, CEO at Aquaconnect)

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Shabbir Ahmed

Deputy News Editor/Bureau Chief, Times Now

Shabbir Ahmed works with Times Now, India’s leading English news channel, as Deputy News Editor. He reports from the Southern state of Tamil Nadu and heads the news station for the channel. During his 15 years as a journalist, he has covered a wide variety of topics, primarily focusing on governance, politics, crime, and socio-cultural issues. He has uncovered several scams of the ruling government in Tamil Nadu and has also exposed wrongdoings of many high profile political leaders from the state. Apart from covering the national and state assembly elections extensively, Shabbir has also widely reported on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue.

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Shabd Mishra

CEO, Renaissance eServices Ltd. (UK) and Renaissance eServices Pvt. Ltd.

Shabd Saran Mishra is a first generation entrepreneur who has bootstrapped his business over the last 14+ years focussing on the online education sector. He is an Instrumentation Engineer from University of Mumbai and a MBM from DEI University, Agra; currently responsible for new businesses, strategic partnership, and finance at Renaissance eServices. He is also a Member/Trustee of an environmental NGO – SPHEEHA, an academic advisor to Ranglok Sanskritik Sansthan which works on reviving the traditional theatre and dance forms of India. He has been pursuing Quantum Computing and promoted workshops relating to Child Abuse and Workplace Harassment.

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Shahira Abdel Shahid

Senior Advisor to the Chairman for Investor Protection, Financial Regulatory Authority of Egypt

Shahira is a financial expert with 35 years of experience in advisory services related to financial markets, including market regulators, stock exchanges, investment banking, and development banking. For more than 20 years, in her role as Senior Advisor to the Chairman at The Egyptian Exchange (EGX), Shahira provided expert technical advice to seven successive chairmen regarding strategies to enhance the leadership position of the EGX in Africa and the Middle East. She was instrumental in modernising EGX rules and regulations, introducing new products and services, promoting EGX among institutional foreign investors, and representing EGX in various international conferences, seminars, and workshops. In her current role as Senior Advisor to the Chairman for Investor Protection at the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA), Shahira provides advice on issues relating to investor protection and financial inclusion.

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Shameer Rasooldeen

General Manager, AF Jones Exporters Ceylon (Private) Ltd.

During the last 2 years as the head of the tea operation, Shameer has steered AF Jones Exporters Ceylon (Private) Ltd, a subsidiary of the Capital Maharaja Organisation in Sri Lanka to a topline growth of 167% through an innovative and scientific business approach. He is also currently the host of ‘Face the Nation’, a weekly current affairs show that covers issues of social and political relevance in Sri Lanka. Prior to this, Shameer was a journalist with News1st for 13 years, becoming the youngest director of English news at the largest private media organisation in Sri Lanka. He was adjudged Sri Lanka’s Outstanding Young Personality of the Year in 2014 and was an Asia21 young leader in 2016.

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Sheila Oviedo

Senior Product Manager, InterExchange

From journalism, to international relations, to finance, Sheila’s work has been united by a consistent interest in contributing to a more sustainable and resilient world. Sheila worked as a journalist and a national security analyst in the Philippines before she was awarded the Chevening Scholarship. After obtaining her master’s degree, Sheila worked in security analysis and, since then, she has gained nearly 10 years’ experience in the field of sustainability, environmental analysis, and social performance of publicly-listed companies. As Product Manager at Sustainalytics, Sheila was responsible for creating, managing and executing the vision and roadmaps for software applications used by analysts to produce environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) research.

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Shrija Agrawal

Associate Editor and leadership team, Mint

Shrija is the Associate Editor and part of the leadership team at Mint, one of India’s leading business newspapers. As part of her role, she conceived and runs the “Deals” vertical (M&A, private equity, venture capital, investment banking) which includes being the editorial lead for key properties such as Annual Mint Private Equity Conclave, Annual Mint Stressed Assets Investment Summit, and Annual Mint Dealmakers Forum. Shrija is a post graduate in broadcast journalism from Asian College of Journalism, Chennai. She has also done a financial management course from Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi.

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Silvia Iliana Ramírez Ramírez

Human Capital Director, Software Council of Nuevo Leon

Silvia is a computer scientist, lecturer, and programmer who is passionate about encouraging young people from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds to pursue science education. Since 2016, she has held the position of Human Capital Director at the Software Council of Nuevo Leon, a social organisation that promotes the use of information technology among industry, academia, and government for the economic and social development of the region. She is also the Mexican Director of ‘Beautiful Patterns’, a programme that develops computational thinking skills in girls between the ages of 13 and 17. In 2018, more than 600 girls from six Mexican states benefitted from this training. From 2014 to 2016, she was the leader of the Scalable Game Design Mexico programme, which received a Google RISE award in 2015, in recognition of its pioneering work, teaching computer science and programming skills to more than 6,000 children. Silvia has lectured in computer science and information systems at the Tecnológico de Monterrey since 2001.

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Sonia Bhaskar

Head of TV and Web Synergy, New Delhi Television (NDTV)

Sonia Bhaskar works with New Delhi Television (NDTV), India’s first and most prominent private broadcaster, as Head of TV and Web Synergy for the Group. She has been with NDTV for more than 19 years and has held different positions over the years. After 15 years of working in the broadcast medium, Sonia recently moved to join NDTV’s digital team. In her current position, she develops and executes digital and social media content and promotion strategies for television shows, events, and brand solution concepts for sponsors, for all channels of NDTV. She also handles content generation for many social campaigns that NDTV is associated with on health, sanitation, and environment.

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Suraj Sharma

CEO, Punarvasu Financial Services

Suraj leads Punarvasu Financial Services, an SME focused NBFC, of which he is the first CEO. Under his leadership, Punarvasu achieved profitability within a span of two years, an unprecedented achievement in the backdrop of the prevailing Indian financial services ecosystem. Suraj has, during his 16 years of experience, worked in varied roles including product development, sales, business development, underwriting, risk, compliance, risk and debt management, and has been instrumental in launching various pioneering products, like the low-cost branch model of DCB Bank. He has a degree in Dairy Tech and is also a PGDBM. His affinity for finance has led him to an executive degree from IIM Calcutta.

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Suranjali Tandon

Assistant Professor, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP)

Suranjali is Assistant Professor with the tax research team at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), an autonomous research institute of the Ministry of Finance (India) and a premier think tank. She is an expert in direct and international taxation. She writes extensively on corporate taxation and tax compliance. She has presented her work at notable international conferences. The focus of her work is taxation of digital economy. Over the past seven years she has co-authored several project reports, the recommendations of which have influenced policy. Suranjali was awarded a PhD in Economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2017.

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Swapnil Joshi

Regional Manager, Infrastructure, Green Initiatives, and Sustainability, Infosys

Swapnil Joshi has a distinguished professional career of over 16 years with a variety of roles working with multinational companies, first at Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI) and at present with Infosys. He has spearheaded business strategy and operational excellence initiatives globally. Swapnil’s led a worldwide network of the engineers to design control systems for the new Indian Research Station ‘Bharati’ in Antarctica. Swapnil drives the adoption of ‘green by design’ principles and practices to create high performance sustainable infrastructures. An alumni of the University of Pune, Swapnil has a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and a post graduate diploma in business management.

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Umut Ilkay Kavlak

Sector Manager and International Relations Officer, EU Delegation to Turkey

Since 2003, Umut Ilkay Kavlak has worked as a sector manager and international relations officer at the EU Delegation to Turkey where she managed institutional building projects in various acquis chapters and contributed to stakeholder and policy dialogue, parliamentary talks on draft laws, discussions in various committees between the EU, Turkey, and third countries. Her areas of responsibility covered intellectual property, consumer protection, company law, information society, and telecommunications. Her articles and case law translations were published and cited in several legal journals. Her OCIS research subject is, ‘Codification of Women and Children Rights from Late Ottoman Period to the Early Turkish Republic with Reference to the 1917 Ottoman Family Law Decree’.

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Uttaran Das Gupta

Deputy News Editor, Business Standard

Uttaran Das Gupta works with Business Standard, India’s leading financial daily, as a Deputy News Editor. He has been with BS for four years and writes on politics, cinema, and literature. His book of poems, Visceral Metropolis, was published in 2017 and his novel, Ritual, is forthcoming this year. He hopes that the Chevening Fellowship will help him complete a story on Bangladeshi bloggers in exile that he began in Berlin last year, and also gain perspective into how editorial teams in the UK work.

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Varun Madhok

Chief Financial Officer, Laburnum Capital

Varun is Chief Financial Officer of Laburnum Capital, an India-dedicated public markets investment fund with approximately $42 million of assets under management. Laburnum Capital is registered with SEBI as a provider of Portfolio Management Services and manages equity portfolios for high net-worth individuals and corporations. He oversees finance, operations, investor relations, compliance, and all other non-investment activity at Laburnum. He is additionally appointed as the Chief Compliance Officer of the firm. Varun completed his MBA from the Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode and received a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Delhi.

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Violeta Chagorovikj

Chief IT System Specialist, Ministry of interior – North Macedonia

Violeta studied at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and IT Technologies. After graduating, she started her job at the Ministry of Interior as an IT engineer, working as IT support for Interpol and Europol national units, and also in the area of information security, IAM, log, and SIEM management. In her spare time, she designs and makes jewellery.

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Vishal Pandya

Co-Founder, REConnect Energy

Vishal is co-founder of REConnect Energy – India’s largest cleantech energy services start-up. Vishal has around 12 years of experience in energy markets with expertise in renewable energy policies, predictive analytics, restructured power markets, and energy trading. His current role at REConnect Energy involves strategic business development, utility scale projects management, team building, growth hacking, and everything else required to keep his start-up growing!

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Zhao Qi

Award-winning documentary filmmaker

Zhao Qi is a Sundance and Emmy awards-winning documentary filmmaker from Beijing. His works include Last Train Home (2011 Emmy Awards), China Heavy Weight (2012 Golden Horse Award), Fallen City (2013 Sundance nomination) and The Chinese Mayor(2015 Sundance Special Jury Prize). Zhao Qi also worked as an executive director and commissioning editor in China Central Television for 19 years. He produced over 800 documentaries covering culture, history, politics, and environment. He served as chairman of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) Prize in 2010, and was nominated executive producer to supervise the CARE project, an international co-production among over 15 Asian countries from 2012 to 2014.

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Zhongjiang Ling

Production Coordinator for Western Operas, National centre for the Performing Arts

Following his work behind the scenes in ballet in Beijing, Zhongjiang is currently production coordinator for Western Operas in the Department of Production and Artistic Administration at the new National Centre for the Performing Arts. He has worked with over 30 opera productions and led the successful co-production of Andrea Chenier with the Royal Opera House, and Falstaff with the Wiener Staatsoper.

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Ziad Bahaa-Eldin headshot

Ziad Bahaa-Eldin

Former Deputy Prime Minister of Egypt

Ziad is an Egyptian lawyer, former politician, and legal expert. He is currently the managing partner in Thebes Consultancy, a leading provider of legal information and advisory services in Egypt and the Arab world. He was previously a senior member of government, serving as Deputy Prime Minister of Egypt, and was a founding member of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party. He served as an MP, representing Assiut in Upper Egypt. As well as a successful career as a practicing lawyer, Ziad was an adjunct lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the Cairo University between 1998 and 2004.

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