More than 90 extraordinary young men and women from across Asia gathered in Manila this week to kick off the 2018 Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit, Asia Society’s annual conference recognizing emerging talent in politics, business, journalism, and humanitarian work from Australia to Afghanistan and points in between.
Following an all-day team-building exercise in Intramuros, the historic heart of old Manila, on Tuesday, the class of 2018 and more than 60 alumni convened on Wednesday for wide-ranging discussions on the importance of leadership in shaping Asia’s future. The day concluded with dinner, drinks, live music, and conversation in Manila’s fashionable Bonifacio Global City.
On Thursday, Asia 21 young leaders convened for a series of talks and panel discussions centered around navigating key issues in our turbulent world. Philippines Senator Benigno “Bam” Aquino and Vice President Leni Robredo delivered talks on the challenges facing their country in the coming years, while Asia 21 members of the class of 2018 joined alumni for conversations about artificial intelligence, fake news, and combating violent extremism. The summit concluded on Friday with additional sessions and a chance for the young leaders to share what they had learned over the previous three days.
The 2018 Class Members of its Asia 21 Young Leaders Program, is described as an unparalleled network of accomplished young professionals from across the Asia Pacific region, representing the new generation of leaders in government, business, arts, media, and the nonprofit sector.
The new class adds to a dynamic pool of more than 900 influential professionals under the age of 40 (at the time of selection) from 40 nations who are engaged in thought leadership, dialogue, friendship, and meaningful collaborations for positive impact on both local and global levels.
Among the Leaders chosen are two from India: Roshan Paul, Co-Founder and CEO
Amani Institute, said, “Leadership is not the charismatic visionary leading the pack, but the guide who helps the stragglers keep up. In that sense, everyone can be a leader … stepping up, and showing up even when you don’t want to, is the key to leadership.”
Roshan Paul is co-founder and CEO of Amani Institute, a new model of higher education that helps people build impactful careers. In just five years, Amani has become a $1 million financially sustainable nonprofit with offices in Kenya, Brazil, and India. Prior to Amani, he worked with Ashoka for 10 years. He is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Behavioral Science. He has lectured at over 40 universities globally, including Harvard, Georgetown, and Johns Hopkins. He gave the commencement speech at the University of San Diego in 2015 and a TEDx talk at TEDxAmsterdamEd and TEDx Bangalore Salon. His writing has been published in Forbes, Stanford Social Innovation Review, MIT’s innovations journal, and more. He has also written two books: Such a Lot of World, a novel, and Your Work Begins at No, a collection of essays on social impact education.
Paul holds a master’s in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, a bachelor’s from Davidson College, and a certificate in creative leadership as a founding participant of THNK: The Amsterdam School for Creative Leadership.
Roopam Sharma, FRSA, is a Research Scientist and Innovator at Eyeluminati, India. Roopam says, “Leadership to me is applying practical, innovative, and sustainable approaches to benefit society in general, with an emphasis on those who belong to the bottom billion of the socio-economic pyramid … and helping people live a better life.”
Roopam Sharma, FRSA is an Indian scientist and innovator, creating social impact through disruptive technological inventions to solve perennial problems. He is best known for his work on Manovue, the world’s first intelligent personal assistance system for the visually impaired. Manovue combines vision intelligence and the internet of things in the form of an inexpensive wearable device, delivering a technology that replaces Braille and empowering more than 94 percent of visually impaired people.
Sharma is the youngest person ever to be recognized as one of the top innovators under 35 by MIT Technology Review (2016) and was awarded the Gifted Citizen Prize in 2016, an international prize that honors the best social entrepreneur with an ability to benefit 10 million people over the next six years. He recently received the National Youth Award, the highest youth honor in the country given by the president of India for his contribution to the field of national development and social service through research and innovation. He earned a bachelor’s of technology in computer science and engineering at Manav Rachna University.