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Asia Foundation Development Fellows

The Asia Foundation Development Fellows: Emerging Leadership for Asia's Future program provides highly qualified, young professionals from Asia with an unparalleled opportunity to strengthen their leadership skills and gain in-depth knowledge of Asia's critical development challenges. The year-long professional advancement program draws on The Asia Foundation's extensive 18-country network and deep expertise working with innovative leaders and communities across the region. The program is designed to be a multifaceted experience, involving intensive learning modules – short courses, conferences, and study tours in Asia and the U.S. – to enhance leadership skills, Asian development knowledge, professional networks, and international exposure. Read about the program and latest news.

Asia Foundation Development Fellows are highly talented individuals, under age 40, who have demonstrated outstanding commitment, integrity, and leadership potential within their professional fields and within their larger community. The 2015 class represent Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Korea, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Thailand, bringing together a diverse mix of backgrounds and incredible records of accomplishment. The 2015 program will be conducted in Singapore, Nepal, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. with a flexible small grant award of US $5,000 provided. Read more.

Sha Elijah AFDF

Sha Elijah Dumama-Alba, 33, Philippines

Sha Elijah Dumama-Alba is a Bangsamoro lawyer active in the current peace process in Southern Philippines. She is presently an attorney at the Civil Service Commission-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao committed to the progress of her homeland in Cotabato City. Since 2013, Sha Elijah also serves as a legal consultant to the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, a Presidential commission tasked with developing a draft on the Bangsamoro Basic Law. She also worked at the Department of Agrarian Reform-Office for Foreign Assisted Projects while in law school at San Beda College of Law, Mendiola. After passing the Philippine Bar in 2007, Sha Elijah joined Buñag & Uy Law Offices, specializing in taxation, corporate, and labor laws. In addition to an expertise in Philippine law, procedure, and jurisprudence, she has a background in government and a bachelor's degree in public administration from the University of Philippines, Diliman.

Mowmita M AFDF

Mowmita Basak Mow, 24, Bangladesh

Mowmita Basak Mow is the founder and president of Center for Leadership Assistance & Promotion (CLAP) Foundation. The non-profit organization develops training and mentorship programs for young leaders to serve minority communities for a more inclusive Bangladesh. She is also a social activist, journalist, and leader in women’s rights. Mowmita completed her bachelor’s degree in Asian Studies from the Asian University for Women, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in international development management at University of Bradford. She began her career as a human rights journalist at Dispatches International, and subsequently became a social entrepreneur and established the CLAP Foundation. Mowmita is associated with various national and international youth development organizations, and was recently awarded the global laureate fellowship by International Youth Foundation.


Zolzaya Batkhuyag, 30, Mongolia

Zolzaya Batkhuyag is a founder and head of the board of the Young Women for Change and Founder of Women's Leadership Institute. Since 2008, she has been a gender justice and human rights activist, leading numerous advocacy projects to raise public awareness and community building efforts. From 2011 to 2013, she produced the Vagina Monologues play by Eve Ensler for V-Day, a global movement for combating violence against women and girls, in Ulaanbaatar. She also led the election day monitoring project during the 2012 Parliamentary Election, and is active in media and speaking engagements on gender equality, such as TEDx Ulaanbaatar 2013.

Terith C AFDF

Terith Chy, 33, Cambodia

Terith is an executive officer at the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam). He joined DC-Cam in 2004 and has since met with thousands of survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime all across Cambodia to update them on developments at the Khmer Rouge tribunal and to inform them of their right to participate in the proceedings. Since 2008, he and his staff have assisted over 1,500 survivors of the Democratic Kampuchea regime to submit accounts of suffering under the regime to the tribunal. He is the author of a recently published monograph "When the Criminal Laughs," exploring the criminality and victim-offender interaction through the trial of Kaing Guek Eav (alias "Duch") before the UN-sponsored tribunal in Cambodia. Terith holds a bachelor's degree in Law from the Royal University of Law and Economics, a bachelor's degree from Norton University, a master's degree in Criminology from the University of Hull, England, and a master's of laws degree from the University of Hong Kong. He is a former Sohmen Human Rights Scholar and Fellow and has worked for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.


Amna Waheed Durrani, 29, Pakistan

Amna Waheed Durrani is currently a coordination officer at the Provincial Commission on the Status of Women in Peshawar. Her key areas of focus are advocating and lobbying for pro-women policies and legislative reforms for a more peaceful and progressive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where she comes from. From a young age, she aspired to become a civil servant in spite of many major obstacles and life events. After completing her bachelor's degree in political science and law from Frontier College for Women, she worked as a teacher and later joined a local organization working on community schools. She later moved to Islamabad to work with Sustainable Peace and Development Organization (SPADO) where she coordinated the organization's program for Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding. Amna also holds a master's degree in political science from the University of Peshawar.

Hasina I AFDF

Hasina Ibrahimkhil, 24, Afghanistan

Hasina Ibrahimkhil is the projects director and founder of construction contractor company, Ladies Construction Company (LCC). Since completing her degree in civil engineering from the University of Herat in 2006, she has worked in various positions at a number of U.S. companies involved in the reconstruction of Afghanistan including the United Nations office for Project Services (UNOPS), Development Alternatives Incorporated (DAI), Food and Agricultural Organization of United Nations (UNFAO), and others. She also holds a degree in Project Management Studies from American University of Afghanistan and has taken part in the Business Studies program conducted by Institute of Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW) in Kabul. Hasina is also a PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2) certified manager.

Jeong T AFDF

Jeong Tae Kim, 36, Korea

Jeong Tae Kim is an award-winning Korean social entrepreneur and innovator. He is CEO and president of Merry Year Social Company, a social innovation supporting organization that provides consulting services, incubating programs and impact investing to social enterprises and innovation projects. Prior to this, he worked for the United Nations for five years, travelling to many developing countries including Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan to implement capacity-building programs on electronic/mobile government and good governance. He has studied international organizations at Korea University, and received a master's of social entrepreneurship at Hult International Business School in London. Interested in addressing various social issues through innovation and entrepreneurship, he founded a social publishing company, Edit the World, in 2009, and initiated a UNESCO-certified organization, Books International, which develops locally contextualized children's books in local languages. He is also an author of several books including national bestseller Your Story Wins and What is Appropriate Technology?


Seng Pan, 28, Myanmar

Seng Pan is a Kachin ethnic from Northern Shan State in Myanmar. She is currently working with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as an Associate Field Officer / Head of Field Unit in the Bhamo office in Kachin, as part of its national staff. The operation comprises of an approximate 100,000 Internally Displaced People (IDP) response program in 160+ camps/locations in Kachin and Northern Shan States. She received a master's degree in Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding from Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia in USA in 2010. Prior to that, she worked for local NGOs and civil society organizations. Residing and working in one of the most refugee-generating countries in South East Asia, her current interest are the effects of socio-economic conditions in neighboring countries such as Bangladesh, India, and Thailand.

Nirjan R AFDF

Nirjan Rai, 35, Nepal

Nirjan Rai is a development practitioner with expertise in the areas of policy process, economic governance, and private sector development in Nepal. He is the executive director of Niti Foundation, a Nepali non-profit organization that promotes initiatives to strengthen policy engagement and ownership capacity in Nepal. Prior to this, he was with the Asian Development Bank where he contributed to developing their Country Partnership Strategy for Nepal, led the assessment of Nepal's policy and institutional framework in supporting sustainable growth, poverty reduction, and the effective use of development assistance. He also served as the focal person for ADB's private sector development initiatives in Nepal. Nirjan also worked for The Asia Foundation in Nepal where he managed research and programs on political process, local governance, and economic development. He has a master's degree in Public Policy from George Mason University, Virginia and a bachelor's degree from Bennington College, Vermont.


Kornchanok Raksaseri, 35, Thailand

Kornchanok Raksaseri is a journalist currently working as assistant managing editor overseeing foreign news for Econ News, a Thai-language economic magazine. Previously, she served as Political Editor at The Nation and continues to write columns for the outlet on social-media trends. As Vice President of the Thai Journalists Association (TJA) and the ASEAN Journalists Club, she develops coursework to enhance local journalists' capabilities. She is also a guest lecturer at Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University. She currently sits on the media reform committee set up by TJA, National Press Council of Thailand, Thai Broadcast Journalists Association and News Broadcasting Council of Thailand. Kornchanok received her master's degree in journalism and bachelor's degree in communication arts from Chulalongkorn University.

Ritesh S AFDF

Ritesh Singhania, 29, India

Ritesh Singhania is a strategy officer for Avani Bio Energy. A first-generation college graduate, Ritesh received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the National Institute of Technology, and received financial analyst training from the Chartered Financial Analysts Institute. He leveraged his educational background and professional experience in the manufacturing sector to develop a process to recycle scrapped railway track into spades, and set up a manufacturing unit in his hometown of Kolkata. He is also working with a social enterprise in the Indian Himalayas and developing the business to generate clean electricity from pine leaves; the enterprise currently operates the world's first pine needles-fed power plant, impacting more than 50,000 lives. Ritesh also received an International Development and Design Fellowship from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Muhammad Y AFDF

Muhammad Joni Yulianto, 33, Indonesia

Muhammad Joni Yulianto is a disability advocate and has advocated for the rights of persons with disabilities at the local and national levels in Indonesia since 2003. His knowledge of disability issues aided in his establishment of the Institute for Inclusion and Advocacy of Persons with Disabilities (SIGAB), an advocacy organization of persons with disabilities. SIGAB has become a leading organization in justice advocacy for disabled people, and established the first online platform providing disability and legal information. Muhammad received a master's of public administration from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, a master's degree in disability studies from the University of Leeds, and a bachelor's degree in special education from Yogyakarta State University. His expertise includes disability policy analysis, disability advocacy, training facilitation, and organizational management.

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