The Asia Foundation Announces the 2022 Development Fellows

San Francisco, March 17, 2022 — The Asia Foundation announces the 2022 class of Asia Foundation Development Fellows: Emerging Leadership for Asia’s Future following a highly competitive selection process. Representing 12 Asian countries and a wide range of disciplines, the 2022 Development Fellows—nine women and three 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 are from Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.

The Asia Foundation Development Fellows program brings exceptional individuals into a powerful network of emerging leaders working to improve lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Now in its eighth year, the program includes 94 current and alumni fellows across Asia, forming an active and inspirational network of the region’s most promising leaders from diverse cultures, countries, and work environments, including government, civil society, academia, and social enterprise.

Meet the 2022 Development Fellows:

Fereshta Abbasi (Afghanistan) is a human rights lawyer and researcher working at Human Rights Watch to document ongoing abuses in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover in August 2021.

Mac Andre Arboleda (Philippines) is a cultural worker, publisher, and digital rights advocate, and is the founding president of the UP Internet Freedom Network, a nonprofit organization in the Philippines committed to digital rights advocacy through educational discussions, information campaigns, and special projects.

Kuenzang Dolma (Bhutan) is a lecturer at Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law, Bhutan’s first and only law school, where she has designed and developed alternative dispute resolution courses in negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.

Saro Imran (Pakistan) is a young transgender advocate and social entrepreneur for the socioeconomic development of marginalized communities, and in 2020 she launched the PINK Center, the first space for transgender entrepreneurs in Pakistan.

Randika Anjalie Jayasinghe (Sri Lanka) is a practitioner, researcher, and academic whose work focuses on waste upcycling and the circular economy, exploring creative and innovative ways to use discarded materials, particularly non-degradable materials not normally recycled through conventional methods.

Rina Komiya (Japan) is an international human rights practitioner focused on gender and refugee protection who has worked across Japan, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Jordan, and Bangladesh.

Lan Anh Lo (Vietnam) is a producer and news anchor for Vietnam’s national broadcaster Vietnam Television where she produces and hosts numerous primetime shows including the most-watched news program in Vietnam, the Good Morning Show, and the country’s first-ever show in English, Talk Vietnam.

Pankaj Prakash Mahalle (India) is co-founder and CEO of GramHeet, a social enterprise that aims to increase smallholder farmers’ income by providing integrated post-harvest services through a digital platform.

Patrya Pratama (Indonesia) is executive director of INSPIRASI Foundation, an Indonesia-based nonprofit established to improve school leadership, and part of the Global School Leaders, a network of like-minded organizations in developing countries.

Selvamalar Selvaraju (Malaysia) is a social entrepreneur and human rights advocate focused on the development and empowerment of underprivileged women, children, and minorities in Malaysia.

Irina Sthapit (Nepal) is an engineer, educator, and innovator who is passionate about empowering girls in STEM and actively works towards bridging the gender gap through her work with organizations like Nepali Women in Computing and her Instagram page @girlytoolz.

Mengdi Tao (China) is an advocate for women’s empowerment and children’s education currently serving as a program director at Laoniu Brother & Siter Foundation, where she is responsible for managing children’s welfare and family philanthropy projects in China and overseas.

This yearlong career advancement program takes on a multifaceted approach to leadership which includes two intensive Leadership Dialogue and Exchange programs, one in Asia and a second in the United States, The coursework explores the Fellows’ leadership styles, helps to develop their stories, and expand their innovative thinking. This April, Fellows will meet for the Asian Development study tour program, a webinar series led by development practitioners, recognized policy leaders, and local innovators.

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 is focused on good governance, women’s empowerment and gender equality, inclusive economic growth, environment, and climate action, and regional and international relations.

Read more about the Foundation’s work

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

Read our latest news, or insights from our blog.

Media contact

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

The Latest Across Asia

2024 Lotus Leadership Awards

Thursday, April 25, 2024, New York City

The Lotus Leadership Awards recognize contributions towards gender equality in Asia and the Pacific