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The Asia Foundation Selects 2020 Development Fellows

San Francisco, January 16, 2020 — The Asia Foundation today announced the 2020 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 2020 Development Fellows—seven women and five men—are emerging leaders in their fields, bringing bold, innovative thinking and a deep commitment to addressing Asia’s most complex issues. The 12 fellows selected for the 2020 class are from India, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam.

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. Now in its seventh year, the program includes 82 current and alumni fellows across Asia, forming an active and inspirational network of the region’s most promising leaders.

Across the region, a new generation of young leaders are creating positive impact, drawing from their experiences locally and globally. The 2020 Development Fellows are an accomplished group of emerging leaders from diverse cultures, country contexts, and work environments, including government, civil society, academia, and social enterprise.

Meet the 2020 Development Fellows:

Jaideep Bansal (India) is an environmental and social impact specialist and is COO at Global Himalayan Expedition, a social enterprise conducting impact expeditions to bring solar energy to remote Himalayan villages.

Erdene Elbegdorj (Mongolia) serves as a member of the Citizens’ Representative Parliament of Bayanzurkh District in Ulaanbaatar, and is an advocate for democratic governance, the rule of law, and human rights in Mongolia.

Ifrah Faiz (Pakistan) is a pilot and the first female para-trooper from Pakistan’s General Duty Pilot branch, and currently works in the development sector for women’s empowerment and refugee support as district project coordinator with the Pakistan Peace Protective.

Sara Hayat (Pakistan) co-founded Climate Action Pakistan which has organized 39 climate strikes across the country to demand climate action be prioritized by the government. She has consulted on climate change, migration, and human rights for Oxfam International and Amnesty International.

Ma. Laurice Jamero (Philippines) is a climate resilience researcher leading the Resilience Collaboratory at the Manila Observatory, where she works closely with local governments across the Philippines to support their climate and disaster risk assessment efforts.

Akharakit Keeratithanachaiyos (Thailand) is an international affairs strategy advisor at Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission, providing policy advice and support on cross-border criminal intelligence, asset recovery, and corporate compliance.

Nga Le (Vietnam) is a social entrepreneur, deputy group CEO sports industry pioneer XLE Group, acting CEO of the Vietnam Basketball Association, and founder of She Will Be Strong, which empowers Vietnamese women be more confident, and mentally and physically fit.

Jorginha Ximenes Martins (Timor-Leste) is a legal advisor for the Ministry of Health of Timor-Leste. She works on projects to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and families in Timor-Leste, human rights and justice, and gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Amuda Mishra (Nepal) is the founder and executive director of The Ujyalo Foundation, a feminist organization working on women’s leadership and empowerment, and has worked on projects promoting sustainable development, gender-inclusive leadership, and community empowerment in Nepal since 2013.

Dae Hyeon Park (Korea) is the founder and CEO of Woorion, an NGO and social network that connects North Korean refugees living in South Korea to educational opportunities, scholarships, job openings, housing, social services and support, and other important information regarding resettlement and life in South Korea.

Soukdalone Phommathep (Laos) is a primary school teacher and teacher development specialist working on education reform in Laos. Driven by her passion for education quality, she also contributes to several other key areas, including professional development for curriculum writers, and establishing a school where children’s voices guide educational priorities.

Collins Santhanasamy (Malaysia) is a medical doctor, the founder of M Exchange, country director for Magical Light Foundation, and is passionate about empowering communities through the development of innovative healthcare solutions that contribute towards building community resilience.

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.

For media inquiries, please visit our  News Room. Engage us with #AsiaDevFellows on Facebook, Twitter,  LinkedIn, and Instagram.

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Media contact

Eelynn Sim, Director, Strategy and Programs
[email protected]

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