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Here’s How Tomorrow’s Leaders Will Improve the World




The world’s most driven researchers, innovative entrepreneurs, activists and promising political leaders between the ages of 30 and 40 are today joining the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders Class of 2021.

The Forum of Young Global Leaders was founded in 2005 by Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, to create a world where leaders take responsibility for a sustainable future, while meeting increasingly complex and interrelated challenges. Today, there are 1,400 members and alumni from more than 120 countries. Notable members include prime ministers Jacinda Ardern and Sanna Marin, President Carlos Alvarado Quesada of Costa Rica, actor Yao Chen, lawyer Amal Clooney and filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu.

YGLs are active in today’s most exciting and dynamic fields and focus on impact. In the past year they have worked on more than 30 COVID-19-related initiatives, including expanding the use of free public digital health services, launching data challenges to build an ecosystem that can help tackle the pandemic, creating mobile intensive care shelters, opening mental health support platforms and working on vaccine development

The class of 2021 is gender equal and has representatives from 56 countries. Members will take part in a five-year programme, which offers executive education courses, expeditions and opportunities to collaborate and test ideas among a trusted network of peers.

“The YGL Class of 2021 is comprised of thoughtful and courageous leaders who will shape a more sustainable and inclusive post-pandemic era,” said Mariah Levin, Head of the Forum of Young Global Leaders.

“We are delighted to welcome the class of 2021 at a time when cultivating responsible leadership is needed more than ever to steer us through the multiple challenges the world is facing,” said Nicole Schwab, Board Member of the Forum of Young Global Leaders.

Meet the 2021 YGL Class

Academia and Research

  • Abasi Ene-Obong, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, 54gene, United States of America
  • Dalal Saeb Iriqat, Vice-President for International Relations, Arab American University-Palestine, Palestinian Territories
  • Devi Sridhar, University Lecturer in Global Health Politics, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Ibram X Kendi, Director of the Center for Antiracist Research, Boston University, United States of America
  • Izkia Siches, President, Medical College of Chile, Chile
  • Lu Chaoyang, Professor, University of Science and Technology of China, People’s Republic of China
  • Peter Biar Ajak, Visiting Fellow and Adjunct Faculty, Africa Center for Strategic Studies, United States of America
  • Tom Crowther, Professor of Global Ecosystem Ecology, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • Wu Chen, Deputy Director, Department of International Collaboration, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, People’s Republic of China

Arts, Media and Sports

  • Adriana Cargill, Independent Journalist, United States of America
  • Christoph Bornschein, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, TLGG (Torben, Lucie und die gelbe Gefahr), Germany
  • Faouzi Khlifi (known as El Seed), Artist and Founder, El Seed Studio, Tunisia
  • Hu Ge, Actor, Hu Ge Studio, People’s Republic of China
  • Jessica Mauboy, Artist, Parade Management, Australia
  • Li Ni, Vice-Chairman and Chief Operating Officer, Bilibili Inc., People’s Republic of China
  • Lukas Nelson, Singer, Songwriter, Philanthropist, United States of America
  • Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Captain, Bangladesh Cricket Team, Bangladesh
  • Nathalia Arcuri, Founder/President, Me Poupe, Brazil
  • Rohan Ramakrishnan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, The ASEAN Post, Malaysia
  • Wang Guan, Chief Correspondent, CGTN, People’s Republic of China

Banking and Investment

  • Brian Kaufmann, Portfolio Manager; Head, Private Investments; Management Committee Member, Viking Global Investors, United States of America
  • Catherine Lenson, Chief Human Resources Officer, SoftBank Investment Advisors (UK), United Kingdom
  • Cristina Fonseca, Chief Executive Officer, Cleverly, Portugal
  • Daniel Ahn, Managing Director, Chief US Economist, Head of Markets 360 and North America, BNP Paribas, United States of America
  • Gregoire Pictet, Chief Executive Officer, Pictet North America, Banque Pictet and Cie, Switzerland
  • Lee Seung Gun, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Viva Republica (Toss), Republic of Korea
  • Luis Felipe Cervantes Legorreta, Principal and Head of Mexico Office, General Atlantic, United States of America
  • Mohammad Salem Omaid, Chief Executive Officer, Azizi Bank, Afghanistan


  • Andrey A. Guryev, Chief Executive Officer, PJSC PhosAgro, Russian Federation
  • Anne-Laure De Chammard, Group Chief Strategy Officer, ENGIE Group, France
  • Claudia Vergueiro Massei, Chief Executive Officer, Siemens Oman, Oman
  • Dana Juffali, Business Development Director, Khaled Juffali Energy and Utilities, Saudi Arabia
  • Erica Alessandri, Member of the Board, Technogym, Italy
  • Gareth Wong, Chief Executive Officer, Mitbana, Singapore
  • Haley Lowry, Global Sustainability Director, Dow, United States of America
  • Kishin Rk, Chief Executive Officer, RB Capital, Singapore
  • Laure Forgeron, Managing Director – Head of Facultative Underwriting EMEA, Swiss Reinsurance Company, Switzerland
  • Liam Sobey, Vice President of Merchandising, Sobeys, Canada
  • Matthew Chamberlain, Chief Executive, London Metal Exchange, United Kingdom
  • Mohamed Al Hashemi, Country Head, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Majid Al Futtaim Group, Majid Al Futtaim Retail, United Arab Emirates
  • Nari Kahle, Head, Transformation and Operational Excellence, Volkswagen, Germany
  • Nirvana Chaudhary, Managing Director, Chaudhary Group, Nepal
  • Ricardo Weder, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, JUSTO, Mexico
  • Roongchat Boonyarat, Director, Chief Executive and Operating Officer, Malee Group, Thailand
  • Rose Damen, Managing Director, Damen Yachting; Non-Executive Member of the Board, Damen Holding, Netherlands
  • Shreevar Kheruka, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Borosil, India
  • Sophie Kim Seul Ah, Founder, Market Kurly, Republic of Korea
  • Srikanth Bolla, Chief Executive Officer, Bollant Industries, India
  • Sylvia Wiesner, Vice-President Foods DACH, Unilever, Germany
  • Tanit Chearavanont, Director, Siam Makro, Charoen Pokphand Group, Thailand

Civil Society and Social Entrepreneurship

  • Amit Paley, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, The Trevor Project, United States of America
  • Anulika Ajufo, Principal, Soros Economic Development Fund, United Kingdom
  • Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, President, Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad (AFPAT), Chad
  • Jessica Jackson, Chief Advocacy Officer, Reform Alliance, United States of America
  • Jocelyn Formsma, Executive Director, National Association of Friendship Centres, Canada
  • Roberto Patiño, Chief Executive Officer, Convive, Venezuela
  • Sangu Delle, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Africa Health Holdings, Ghana
  • Sinéad Burke, Chief Executive Officer, Tilting the Lens, Ireland
  • Zolzaya Batkhuyag, Founder and Head of Board, Women for Change, Mongolia
  • Wawira Njiru, Founder, Food for Education, Kenya

Global Health and Healthcare

  • Arvan Chan, Regional Vice-President, International and Corporate Operations, Centene Corporation, United States of America
  • Burcu Ozturk, Chief Financial Officer, MLP Saglik Hizmetleri, Turkey
  • Conrod Kelly, Executive Director, Global Social Determinants and Population Health, Merck and Co., United States of America
  • David Alexander Walcott, Founder and Managing Partner, Novamed, Jamaica
  • Qian Zhuang, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Zhiwo Explore Education and Technology, People’s Republic of China
  • Shiho Azuma, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Lily MedTech, Japan
  • Terrence Kommal, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Medical Expert Consulting Group, South Africa
  • Vasudha Vats, Global Commercial Lead/Senior Director, Pfizer, United States of America
  • Vivek Ramaswamy, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Roivant Sciences, United States of America

Professional Services

  • Ameya Prabhu, Managing Partner, UAP Advisors, India
  • Alexis Crow, Global Head, Geopolitical Investing, PwC, United States of America
  • Emily Serazin, Managing Director and Partner, Boston Consulting Group, United States of America
  • Esraa Al-Buti, Partner, EY, Saudi Arabia
  • Laura Gersch, Member of the Board of Management, Corporate Pensions, Allianz Lebensversicherungs, Germany
  • Lucy Cooper, Managing Director/Head of Innovation, Europe, Accenture, United Kingdom
  • Luiza Mattos, Partner; Head of Healthcare South America, Bain and Company, Brazil
  • Megan Greenfield, Partner, McKinsey and Company, United States of America
  • Sanae Lahlou, Director of the African Business Unit, Mazars Maroc, Morocco

Public Figures

  • Adriana Ortiz, President, National Handcraft Institute (IPA), Paraguay
  • Alanoud Bint Hamad Al-Thani, Managing Director, Qatar Financial Centre Authority, Qatar
  • Alberto de Belaunde, Congressman, Congress of Peru
  • Amélie de Montchalin, Secretary of State, European Affairs, Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France
  • Andrew Bragg, Senator for New South Wales, Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia
  • Fawaz Farooqui, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Culture of Saudi Arabia
  • Gadeer Kamal-Mreeh, Member of the Knesset, Israel
  • Garlin Gilchrist II, Lieutenant Governor, State of Michigan, United States of America
  • Lea Wermelin, Minister for Environment, Denmark
  • Maleeka Bokhari, Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice of Pakistan
  • Martin Guzman, Minister of Economy, Argentina
  • Ronald Lamola, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, South Africa
  • Tendayi Achiume, Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), United States of America
  • Vera Daves de Sousa, Minister of Finance, Angola
  • Virginijus Sinkevicius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, European Commission, Belgium


  • Achmad Zaky, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Bukalapak, Indonesia
  • Aditi Avasthi, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Indiavidual Learning, India
  • Alexander de Carvalho, Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer, Public Group International, United Kingdom
  • Anneliese Schulz, Regional President, Asia-Pacific and Japan, Software AG, Singapore
  • Clarisse Iribagiza, President, DMM.HeHe, Rwanda
  • Elham Al Qasim, Chief Executive Officer, Digital14, United Arab Emirates
  • Francesca Chia, Chief Executive Officer, GoGet, Malaysia
  • Gazal Kalra, Co-Founder, Rivigo, India
  • He Zhengyu, Principal Scientist, Ant Group, People’s Republic of China
  • Hitesh Wadhwa, Vice-President – Strategic Initiatives, Tech Mahindra, India
  • Hriday Ravindranath, Chief Technology and Information Officer, Global Services, BT Group, India
  • Kira Radinsky, Co-Founder, Diagnostic Robotics, Israel
  • Obi Ozor, Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Kobo360, Nigeria
  • Paul Rivera, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Kalibrr Technology Ventures, Philippines
  • Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, Vice-President, International Rides, Uber, Netherlands
  • Suren Aloyan, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Dasaran, Armenia
  • Xue Peng, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Beijing Tongcheng Biying Technology, People’s Republic of China
  • Yifan Li, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Hesai Tech, People’s Republic of China

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Vaccination, Jobs, and Social Assistance are All Key to Reducing Poverty in Central Asia



As the pace of economic recovery picks up, countries in Central Asia have an opportunity to return to pre-pandemic levels of poverty reduction – if they put in place the right policies. This was the overall message shared by World Bank economists today at a regional online event “Overcoming the Pandemic and Ending Poverty in Central Asia”.

In the early 2000s, Central Asian countries were among the world’s best performers in poverty reduction. Starting in 2009, however, the pace of progress began to slow and even stagnated in some of the countries. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted a region already struggling to generate inclusive growth and end extreme poverty. Now in the second year of the pandemic, poverty rates in Central Asia are falling again, but with high inflation and low vaccination rates, the poor and the most vulnerable continue to suffer from food insecurity, uncertainty, and limited employment opportunities, especially for women.

“Central Asia is recovering from the first shocks of the pandemic, albeit in uneven ways,” said Will Seitz, World Bank Senior Economist in Central Asia. “Migration and remittances, key drivers of poverty reduction in the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, are quickly returning to 2019 levels. Labor markets are also recovering, and work disruptions are much less common. However, the region is yet to get on a stable poverty reduction path.”

Among policy priorities to reduce poverty, the World Bank is focused on three key areas: widespread vaccination, increasing employment and wages, and strengthening social assistance programs to support the most vulnerable. To support labor market recovery, the World Bank economists outlined short-term and medium-term measures, including the need to invest in green jobs and encouraging the creation and growth of firms.

It was also stressed that employment alone will not address all drivers of poverty, and strong safety nets are essential to protect the most vulnerable. Compared with other middle-income countries, Central Asian governments typically provide smaller shares of their populations with social assistance.

“Along with ensuring fair, broad access to effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines, Central Asian countries need to urgently address vaccination hesitancy, as it threatens to slow down the recovery,” said Tatiana Proskuryakova, World Bank Regional Director for Central Asia. “For every million people vaccinated, global GDP recovers on average nearly $8 billion. We are expecting advanced economies with relatively high vaccination rates to demonstrate much better growth rates than developing economies with low vaccination rates.”

Among the main reasons behind vaccine hesitancy in Central Asian countries are worries about vaccine contraindication and safety. While people with pre-existing health conditions in other countries are usually prioritized for vaccination, in the Central Asia region they are more likely to be hesitant to get vaccinated. Providing the public with accurate information on the safety of vaccines and encouraging people with pre-existing health conditions to be vaccinated may help address hesitancy issues.

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Vietnam’s Development Agenda Receives Additional Boost



Vietnam’s push to enhance competitiveness, reduce its carbon footprint, and improve lives and livelihoods has been given a boost with the approval of an AUD 5 million grant by the Australian Government.

This grant represents additional funding to the ongoing Australia – Bank Partnership in Vietnam (ABP), which focuses on a wide range of policy areas designed to support the country’s development agenda.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on Vietnam’s reform agenda and exacerbate inequalities, which are more pronounced and harder to close for ethnic minorities, for women and for other marginalized groups. Responding to this, Australia’s extended collaboration with the World Bank will continue to support Vietnam’s quick economic recovery and help achieve its development goals,” said Australia’s Ambassador to Vietnam HE Robyn Mudie.

The ABP will continue its work on gender equality and the sustainable development of the Mekong Delta. In addition, it will also help address new priorities set out in the country’s recently adopted Socio-Economic Development Strategy and Socio-Economic Development Plan, including the transition to a low carbon economy, social equity and inclusion, and innovation-driven growth.

“The ABP will continue providing high-quality advisory work, enabling Vietnamese policymakers to pursue substantive reforms,” said Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director for Vietnam. “These reforms are needed both for recovery from the economic costs of COVID, but also to set a solid basis for the pathway to higher income status.”

The ABP was established in 2017 with an initial funding amount of AUD 25 million. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the ABP responded quickly and provided an additional AUD 5 million to support Vietnam to respond to, and recover from, the pandemic. The program leverages expertise from Australia and the World Bank Group to support the Government of Vietnam in strengthening its development policies and programs.

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Cotton sustains more than 100 million families worldwide



Women workers clean cotton in Multan city in Pakistan. © FAO/Aamir Qureshi

A single metric tonne of cotton provides jobs for five people on average, often in some of the world’s most impoverished regions; that adds up around 100 million families across the globe. 

To recognize these and other contributions, the United Nations is marking World Cotton Day, this Thursday. 

Cotton is an important means of livelihood for millions of smallholders and attracts export revenues to some of the poorest countries. This makes the sector a key contributor to reaching the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

For the UN, this natural fabric “represents so much more than just a commodity”, it is “a life-changing product.” 

Important source 

Cotton is a major source of income for many rural laborers, including women. With this World Day, the UN wants to raise awareness of the critical role that cotton plays in economic development, international trade and poverty alleviation. 

The initiative also wants to highlight the importance of sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all. 

Resilient and multipurpose 

As a crop resistant to climatic changes, cotton can be planted in dry and arid zones. It occupies just 2.1 per cent of the world’s arable land, but it meets 27 per cent of the world’s textile needs. 

Around 80 per cent of cotton is used in the clothing industry, 15 per cent in home furnishings and the remaining 5 per cent mostly accounts for non-woven applications, such as filters and padding. 

Almost nothing from cotton is wasted. In addition to textiles and apparel, food products can be derived from it, such as edible oil and animal feed from the seed. 

Other uses have been developed recently, like using cotton-based filaments in 3D printers, because they conduct heat well, become stronger when wet, and are more scalable than materials like wood. 

The ‘Cotton Four’ 

The idea for the World Day was born in 2019, when four cotton producers in sub-Saharan Africa – Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali, known as the Cotton Four -proposed a celebration on October 7, to the World Trade Organization

With the UN officially recognizing the date, it became an opportunity to create awareness of the need of market access from least developed countries, to foster sustainable trade policies and to enable developing countries to benefit more from every step of the value chain. 

For years, UN agencies have worked towards this goal. 

For instance, since 2003, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the World Trade Organization have helped the Cotton Four to improve production local processing capacity, as well as to discuss the trade reforms needed to address high trade barriers.  

Another UN agency, FAO, has long offered developing countries technical and policy support. One example is the +Cotton project, a cooperation initiative with Brazil that helps Latin American producers with innovative farming methods.

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