The Asia Foundation Announces 2023 Development Fellows

San Francisco, January 3, 2023 — The Asia Foundation announces the 2023 class of Asia Foundation Development Fellows: Emerging Leadership for Asia’s Future following a highly competitive selection process. The 2023 Development Fellows are emerging leaders in their fields, bringing bold, innovative thinking and a deep commitment to addressing complex issues across Asia and the Pacific. The 13 fellows selected for the 2023 class are from Australia, Cambodia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Timor-Leste.

The Development Fellows program brings exceptional individuals into a network of emerging leaders working to improve lives across the Asia-Pacific region. Now in its ninth year, the program includes 107 current and alumni fellows across Asia-Pacific, forming an active network of the region’s most promising leaders from diverse cultures, country contexts, and work environments.

Meet the 2023 Development Fellows:

Shaleh Al Ghifari (Indonesia) is a public interest lawyer based in Jakarta, Indonesia, focusing on providing access to justice for vulnerable and marginalized communities.

Jan Mikael de Lara Co (Philippines) works in strategic political communications, heading the communications unit for the Liberal Party of the Philippines, and is an award-winning poet.

Flavio Maria de Fatima Simoes (Timor-Leste) works for the Asia Development Bank to provide strategic advice to the Government of Timor-Leste, to align Timor-Leste’s rules, laws, and regulations with those of the ASEAN Economic Community Pillar.

Dorjjantsan “Jack” Ganbaatar (Mongolia) is a queer rights activist, lecturer, researcher, and author and currently serves as the health program manager at the first and only LGBT Centre in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Nadine Kezia Ngaminya Highfield (Australia) is a lawyer admitted to the High Court of Australia and the ACT Supreme Court. Highfield is a proud Wangkatha woman from the Eastern-Goldfield’s region of Western Australia.

Tanzila Khan (Pakistan) is an entrepreneur, disability activist, and writer and leads sessions on inclusive creativity, overcoming barriers, and inclusion within businesses.

Maha Marakkalage Ruvini Perera (Sri Lanka) is a human rights lawyer, activist, and development practitioner passionate about social justice, human rights, women empowerment, strengthening democracy, reconciliation, and transitional justice in Sri Lanka.

Shirijung Hang Rai (Nepal) is an educator, innovator, campaigner, and international relations enthusiast currently working as the manager at SkillLab and serves on the Board of Directors at Samaanta Foundation, a comprehensive national-level fellowship for deserving students to promote education, equality, and empowerment.

Yasmin Sattar (Thailand) is an assistant professor at the faculty of Political Science, Prince of Songkla University, Pattani Campus. Her research focuses on politics in the Muslim world and conflict situations in the deep south of Thailand, particularly of Muslim Thai and Malay women there.

Rotha Suong (Cambodia) is a storyteller, filmmaker, producer, and creative director at Minor Act, a media production organization that works with youth to produce transformative social justice media content.

Shazia Usman (Fiji) is a writer, storyteller, feminist activist, and communications professional leading strategic gender equality-focused communications that amplify the voices and choices of women, girls, and gender non-binary people in Fiji and the Pacific.

Lastiana Yuliandari (Indonesia) is the founder and director of Aliet Green, a female-run social enterprise with a mission to work with local farmers, especially women, to improve their incomes and family livelihoods.

Antaraa Vasudev (India) is the Founder of Civis, a nonprofit platform that works to enable effective dialogue between governments and citizens on draft laws and policies.

This yearlong career advancement program includes two intensive Leadership Dialogue and Exchange programs in Asia and the United States. The coursework explores the Fellows’ leadership styles, helps them develop their stories, and expands their innovative thinking. The fellowship will commence in Laos in February.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia-Pacific. 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 theFoundation’s work. 

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Media contact

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

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