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Asia Foundation Selects 2018 Development Fellows

San Francisco, February 12, 2018 — The Asia Foundation today announced the 2018 class of Asia Foundation Development Fellows: Emerging Leadership for Asia’s Future following a highly competitive selection process. Representing 11 Asian countries and a wide range of disciplines, the 2018 Development Fellows are emerging leaders in their fields, bringing to the leadership program bold, innovative thinking and a deep commitment to addressing Asia’s most complex issues. Selected from over 1100 applicants (all under 40 years of age), the 12 fellows of the 2018 class represent Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.

Across the region, a new generation of reform-minded individuals are creating positive impact, drawing from their experiences locally and globally. The 2018 Development Fellows are an accomplished group of emerging leaders from diverse cultures, country contexts, and work environments, including government, law, NGO and civil society, finance, CSR, social enterprise, and the media. They are changemakers working on the frontlines to make all communities across Asia more inclusive and equitable.

The Development Fellows program is at the heart of The Asia Foundation’s mission, bringing exceptional individuals into a powerful network of emerging leaders working to improve lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Through the Foundation’s deep local expertise and sixty-year record of impact in Asia, this year-long fellowship is specifically designed to enhance each Fellows’ potential and abilities to address Asia’s critical development challenges, such as rising inequality, challenges of urbanization, pervasive conflicts, and violence against women.

Now in its 5th year, The Asia Foundation Development Fellows program includes 58 current and alumni Fellows across Asia, forming an active and inspirational network of the region’s most promising leaders.

“Our Development Fellows are entrepreneurial, creative, and willing to take risks. These are individuals with the unique combination of leadership skills, depth of substantive knowledge, and technical expertise that empowers them to solve problems in their respective societies and across Asia,” said Asia Foundation President David D. Arnold.

Meet the 2018 Development Fellows:

Apsari Dewi (Indonesia) is a specialist in Indonesian and International Criminal Law with 15 years of experience working as a public prosecutor and for the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic of Indonesia prosecuting general crimes, terrorism crimes, and transnational crimes.

Ashutosh Kumar (India) is the executive director of Jagriti, a non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurship across rural India and leader of a 15-day entrepreneurship course which takes place along a 5,000-mile train ride across India.

Dolgion Aldar (Mongolia) is a research professional focused on promoting evidence-based policy making in Mongolia, previously CEO of the Independent Research Institute of Mongolia (IRIM), one of the country’s first organizations to promote independent and third-party research.

Hansani Chapa Perera (Sri Lanka) is a lecturer of law at the Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology in Sri Lanka and founder of Hashtag Generation, which promotes representation of women and youth in politics.

LuanJiao Hu (China) is a researcher and lecturer at the University of Maryland, with a focus on disability studies, gender studies, and education for people with disabilities.

Melissa Chong (Singapore) is a program manager at the ASEAN CSR Network (ACN), a regional network of corporate social responsibility (CSR) organizations striving to build a responsible business community across Southeast Asia.

Natashya Gutierrez (Philippines) is an international journalist reporting on human rights and women’s issues in Southeast Asia, where she is Regional Correspondent for Rappler.

Nawmi Naz Chowdhury (Bangladesh) is a research and documentation coordinator at the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), a leading national legal aid organization, where she focuses on women’s rights and adolescent girls living in urban slums.

Sikieng Sok (Cambodia) is a STEM and computer technology educator, currently a curriculum developer for Saturday Kids, a program that teaches technological literacy to children.

Jessica Aung (Myanmar) is an investment professional and social entrepreneur dedicated to growing sustainable business in Myanmar.

Van Ngoc Ta (Vietnam) is the chief lawyer at Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, a charity that advocates for homeless, disabled, and rescued trafficked children in Vietnam.

Vaibhav Lodha (India) is the co-founder of ftcash, one of India’s fastest growing financial inclusion technology enterprises serving the underserved micro-merchants in India through digital payments and loans.

The 2018 program will consist of two intensive modules, including two weeks in Asia and another two weeks in the United States. Beginning in April with a Leadership Development Workshop in Korea, presented in partnership with the Korea Development Institute, the Asia program will continue to Sri Lanka where the Fellows will engage with various development practitioners to understand the mechanics of change on the ground. The program in Asia will be capped by the 2018 Development Fellows Forum, the first Asia Foundation Development Fellows Alumni gathering in Singapore, where Fellows from all five cohorts will gather and share expertise through fellow-led workshops. In September, the Fellows will visit San Francisco and Washington, D.C, for a leadership dialogue and exchange. A flexible professional development award of US $5,000 will also be provided to each Fellow to use throughout the Fellowship year.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region addresses five overarching goals—strengthen governance, empower women, expand economic opportunity, increase environmental resilience, and promote regional cooperation.

Read more about the Foundation’s work.

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Related locations: San Francisco
Related programs: Asia Foundation Development Fellows

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Media contact

Eelynn Sim, Director, Strategy and Programs
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