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Announcing the 2023 LeadNext Fellows: Ambassadors for a Global Future

San Francisco, January 10, 2023 — The Asia Foundation is pleased to announce the 2023 LeadNext Fellows: Ambassadors for a Global Future class.

LeadNext is The Asia Foundation’s dynamic new program focused on global citizenship for the 21st century. LeadNext builds a vibrant network of future leaders aged 18-25 from across the Asia-Pacific region and the United States and supports their growth, impact, and capacity to address today’s greatest challenges

Over the next decade, profound structural changes will transform our geopolitical landscape; it’s imperative that the next generation of leaders are equipped to navigate these evolving changes. Positive and lasting change will depend on leaders who can move ideas and action forward to address rising inequality, find solutions to climate crises, mitigate conflict, and empower communities. The LeadNext program equips emerging leaders across cultures and disciplines with strong international networks, exposure to wide-ranging experiences, and leadership tools to thoughtfully steer the future.

For decades, The Asia Foundation has invested in leaders at all levels, knowing that change depends on policies and programs and the people who lead them. The LeadNext program focuses on future leaders in the nascent stages of their careers.

Meet the 2023 LeadNext Fellows:

Phạm Nguyễn Đức Anh | Age 24 | Vietnam is a Leadership Development Fellow with Teach for Viet Nam in a rural secondary school and is focused on inequality and non-inclusion in the education ecosystem.

Prakriti Basyal | Age 25 | Nepal is a policy researcher at Daayitwa, supervising fellowship programs and collaborating with ministries and parliamentarians. Prakriti is committed to bringing innovative policy changes to her country and is passionate about international relations and foreign policy.

Mel Britt | Age 25 | United States is a field researcher and digital investigator at the University of California, Berkeley, and is broadly interested in democratization, global governance, and transitional justice.

Weeryue Chiapaoyue | Age 20 | Laos is a co-founder of the WESHARE Project, a fundraising program to provide supplies to underprivileged schools. He is an expert in cross-cultural communication and an undergraduate student in engineering.

Temuulen Enkhbat | Age 21 | Mongolia is the research and development lead at GerHub, an organization that works to find innovative solutions to emerging urban challenges in Mongolia. Enkhbatis an active member of Global Shapers Ulaanbaatar Hub and organizes youth leadership programs, and promotes the development of green spaces.

Andrew Farias | Age 24 | United States is a Lobby and Policy Fellow with the Asian Community and Cultural Center of Lincoln and recently completed a year as a Weitz Fellow with Nebraska Appleseed, fighting for justice and opportunity for all Nebraskans.

Ayesha Noor Fatima | Age 25 | Pakistan is a feminist activist and humanitarian working at the Ministry of Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives for the Government of Pakistan. She is Pakistan’s National Youth Assembly member and previously hosted radio programs on peace and inclusion.

Zeruiah Grammon | Age 20 | Papua New Guinea is an event coordinator for the University of Papua New Guinea Clean Generation Movement, a campaign aiming to create a movement of young people who are purposeful, virtuous, and responsible. She is also an undergraduate law student at the University of Papua New Guinea.

Mohammad Tanvirul Hasan | Age 23 | Bangladesh advocates youth leadership development and social awareness, passionate about fighting the root causes of social problems. Tanvir is an undergraduate student in Computer Science Engineering and works as a tech specialist for Neoncha Limited and Proteron Digital.

Lorena James | Age 23 | United States is a research analyst passionate about ecopreneurship, the intersection of social entrepreneurship, and environmental advocacy, and she is currently preparing for an MBA in sustainability. She is the founder of two green ventures, Z Spools, a sustainable 3D printing company, and 4ever Curly LLC, a low-waste hair care company for African diaspora women.

Nishtha Kashyap | Age 24 | India is an architect, designer, and social practitioner involved in social architecture, policy advocacy, and architectural activism. Kashyap is concerned with access to human rights and how architecture can address social and spatial inequalities.

Linda Kim | Age 25 | United States is a bioprocess engineer in the gene therapy industry, integrating her passions for medical innovation and social impact to help individuals and communities prosper. She promotes STEM careers at low-income high schools and represented her company at the 2022 One Young World Summit.

Natalie Montecino | Age 22 | United States is a Fulbright Fellow and documentarian conducting research on rural revitalization efforts in Okayama, Japan. She studies rural resilience and sustainable development with a focus on Japan and France and has experience working as a storyteller and independent writer in Colorado.

Samantha Powell | Age 21 | United States is a freelance writer for the healthcare public relations firm GCI Health and nonprofit Books and Breakfast, an organization supporting Evanston public school students. Powell is completing her undergraduate studies in sociology and global health, focusing on equitable, efficient communication and the role of perception and social forces.

Melinda Anne Sharlini | Age 25 | Malaysia is an intersectional feminist and gender justice campaigner advocating for gender-equal citizenship laws and immigration policies. She works as a program manager at Family Frontiers, a women’s rights organization advocating for the rights of Malaysian binational families.

Brendan Schultz | Age 25 | United States is the founder and director of United by Love, a nonprofit working on interethnic cooperation among youth in Southeastern Europe, Nepal, and Hawaii. Brendan is a former Hansen Leadership Institute Fellow, a Davis Fellow for Peace, and a YES Abroad Scholar to Macedonia.

Jia-Kai Eric Yeh Scott | Age 23 | United States is passionate about dissecting both the exercise of state power and the coalescence of anti-authoritarian, separatist, and anti-statist social movements in Southeast and East Asia. He currently studies Mandarin in Taipei, Taiwan.

Edris Tajik | Age 25 | Afghanistan is a Generation Change fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, currently interning with the National Committee on American Foreign Policy. He promotes peacebuilding and youth empowerment projects in Afghanistan, including through Model United Nations, and is currently completing his undergraduate studies in Political Science.  

Surayya Walters | 23 | United States is a leader, public speaker, journalist, social entrepreneur, researcher, and the founder of iDEIntity, a nonprofit promoting DEI in the startup ecosystem. She is passionate about entrepreneurship, education, and sociopolitical advocacy and hopes to blend these domains throughout her career.

Chenxi Zi | Age 25 | China is an environmental campaigner, philosophy student, and public narrative coach passionate about advocacy for the weak, women, and nature. She works for the oldest environmental organization in China, Friends of Nature.

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 contacts

Amy Ovalle, Vice President, Global Communications
[email protected]
415-743-3340

Eelynn Sim, Director, Media & Strategy
[email protected]
415-743-3318

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