Asia Society | Women Leaders of New Asia


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Nisha AgrawalNisha Agrawal is the CEO of Oxfam India. Since her appointment in March 2008, she has successfully led a complex change of management process that integrated the programs and staff of the six Oxfams that had been previously operating in India. She also led a highly consultative process to formulate Oxfam India’s new strategy entitled “Demanding Rights, Creating Opportunities” that lays out its vision, mission, and programs for 2010-2015. The strategy provides a direction and focus to Oxfam’s work in the seven poorest states of India and with the four most marginalized social groups (Women, Dalits, Tribals, and Muslims). It also provides a thematic focus in the four areas of economic justice, gender justice, essential services, and humanitarian work. Oxfam India is a rights-based organization that funds about 180 NGOs that work at the grassroots level to empower communities and ensure a life of dignity for all.


Margaret AlvaMargaret Alva is currently the Governor of the Indian state of Rajasthan. Prior to this appointment, she served as Uttarakhand’s first woman governor. She is also a senior leader of the Indian National Congress and was Secretary General of the All India Congress Committee. Ms. Alva served as a Member of Parliament for five terms from 1974 to 2004, after which she was appointed as Advisor to the Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training until 2009. She has spearheaded four major legislative amendments passed by the Indian parliament involving women’s rights, marriage laws, equal remuneration, and the reservation of quotas for women in local politics. She also helped draft the blueprint for policies ensuring the empowerment of women, which has been adopted by India’s central and state governments. She is the Founding President of Karuna, a nongovernmental organization working for women and children. Ms. Alva graduated with a B.A., B.L., Hon. Doctorate from Mt. Carmel College and Government Law College in Bangalore.


Kim AzzarelliKim K. Azzarelli is Senior Vice President of New Ventures at Newsweek and The Daily Beast & President of the Women in the World Foundation. Ms. Azzarelli has held senior legal, public affairs, and philanthropic roles in U.S. public companies, including Goldman Sachs, the Hain Celestial Group, and Avon Products, seeking to combine her experience in law, business, and philanthropy with her passion for women’s legal and economic empowerment. She is the Co-Founder and Chair of the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice at Cornell Law School and serves on the Board of the Avon Foundation for Women. Ms. Azzarelli is a graduate of Cornell Law School, Cornell University, and Friends Seminary in New York City, where she was born and raised.


Bunty ChandBunty Chand is Executive Director of Asia Society India Centre. Ms. Chand is overseeing the development of the Asia Society in India and is responsible for fundraising, development of diverse programs and establishing relationships and building support for the Centre with a broad array of institutions in India. She has worked with the International Catholic Migration Commission at a refugee camp in the Philippines and spent ten years with AT&T in U.S.A. and Hong Kong in the areas of sales and marketing, Strategy and Business Development, Human resources and Training and Development. She holds a Masters in business administration from George Washington University and the Asian Institute of Management, Philippines, a Masters in Special Education from Florida Atlantic University, and a Bachelors degree in history from Delhi University. She has lived and worked in the US, Philippines, Hong Kong, and Singapore.


Shirin Sharmin ChaudhuryShirin Sharmin Chaudhury is the State Minister of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs in Bangladesh. She is a Member of the 9th Parliament of Bangladesh. Having obtained a Commonwealth Scholarship, she completed her PhD in Law in 2000 from the University of Essex, UK. Dr. Chaudhury completed an LL.B (Honours) and LL.M. from University of Dhaka, securing First Class First position. She has taught at several universities in Bangladesh. She was the Editor of the Bangladesh Legal Decisions (BLD) Law Report Series, published by the Bangladesh Bar Council (2003-2009 July edition). She also worked with many human rights organizations and women rights organizations in promoting the cause of rights based approach. She developed dialogue/concept papers with various relevant NGOs and human rights organizations on human rights issues. Dr. Chaudhury was awarded Asia Society’s Humanitarian Service Award in 2010 for her role as a leader in advocating for the elimination of violence against women and mainstreaming women’s empowerment and employment in Bangladesh. Dr. Chaudhury is married to Syed Ishtiaque Hossain, a pharmacist. She is the mother of two lovely children, daughter Lamisa, 15, and son Ibtesham, 6.


Jade Taihee ChungJade Taihee Chung is the Executive Managing Director of Human Resources for General Electric, Global Growth & Operations, Korea, where she manages and supports all of GE GG&O’s HR strategy, management, development, and operations. Prior to her current position, she served as a regional HR director of Sun Microsystems, responsible for regional HR strategy and HR management support for 3,800 employees in 150 countries across growing markets in South & Eastern Europe, Latin America, India, and Greater China. Ms. Chung began her professional career in 1992 as a Human Resources generalist at Bechtel International, Inc. Later, she worked as a HRD specialist at Cummins Korea, Ltd., where she was rated a consistently high performer and received the Best Employee Award in 1998. In 1999, she joined Sun Microsystems as an HR business partner for Korea. She was then brought on board by British America Tobacco as a regional C&B leader in Asia for 1,500 employees. In March of 2003, she returned to Sun Microsystems as the head of HR in Korea. During her tenure, she led changes in management and strategies during the company’s large expansion. She implemented various HR programs, policies, C&B programs, talent management programs; and simplified HR operations and leadership development strategy, earning for Sun Microsystems the honor of Best Employer of Choice.


Ankhi DasAnkhi Das is the Head of Public Policy for Facebook India as part of its global public policy organization. She joined Facebook in October 2011 as part of Facebook’s ongoing investment in building a team of experts to represent the company in areas of public policy and to work with governments, policy makers, and regulators around the world. With over 16 years of public policy and regulatory affairs experience in the technology sector, Ms. Das leads Facebook’s efforts on internet freedom, human rights, internet governance, privacy, data security, and safety issues in India; as well as advances Facebook’s role in India’s social and economic growth. With regard to internet governance issues, MS. Das participated actively in the Indian delegation to the International Telecommunication Union’s WCIT-12 treaty conference on international telecommunication regulations, where she made important contributions to the Indian position. Ms. Das joined Facebook after a long tenure as Director of Public Policy at Microsoft India. She is a graduate of Loreto College, University of Calcutta, and has done post-graduate studies specializing in international relations and political science at Jawaharlal Nehru University. Ms. Das is based in New Delhi.


Vishakha DesaiVishakha N. Desai is Special Advisor for Global Affairs to the President of Columbia University and Professor of Professional Practice at the School of International and Public Affairs. She also serves as Senior Advisor for Global Programs to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Dr. Desai served as President and CEO of the Asia Society, a global organization dedicated to strengthening partnerships among peoples of Asia and the U.S., from 2004 through 2012. Before joining Asia Society in 1990, Dr. Desai was at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston as a Curator and the Head of Public Programs and Academic Affairs. She has taught at Columbia University, Boston University, and the University of Massachusetts, where she was given a tenured appointment. A scholar of Asian Art and a public intellectual, she has authored opinion pieces on political, cultural, and women’s development in Asia that have appeared in more than fifty publications around the world. Author of major exhibition catalogues and editor of a major scholarly publication on Asian Art History for the 21st Century, Dr. Desai is internationally recognized for her leadership in presenting contemporary Asian Art to western audiences. Dr. Desai holds a B.A. in political science from Bombay University and an M.A. and PhD in Asian Art History from the University of Michigan.


Serena Tricia FongSerena Tricia Fong
is Senior Director, Government Affairs & Communications, at Catalyst, Inc. In this role, she provides advice and recommendations about the development of Catalyst’s public positions on various social/government policies and advocacy strategies to support the advancement of Catalyst’s mission, vision, and business objectives. She monitors government actions and policies on current business issues and helps develop an organizational response to economic, political, and other current events/trends affecting women in business. She also leads a team to plan, execute, and increase the visibility of Catalyst through the Catalyst Speakers Bureau. Prior to working at Catalyst, Ms. Fong was a television news producer, working for a number of broadcast news programs airing on national news networks such as ABC, Fox News, and MSNBC. She graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Syracuse University.


Caren GrownCaren Grown
is Senior Gender Advisor in the Bureau of Policy, Planning and Learning, where she leads USAID’s efforts to integrate gender equality and female empowerment throughout the agency’s policies and programs. Dr. Grown is on leave as Economist-In-Residence at American University, where she also co-directed the Program on Gender Analysis in Economics. Formerly, she was Senior Scholar and Co-Director of the Gender Equality and Economy Program at The Levy Economics Institute at Bard College and Director of the Poverty Reduction and Economic Governance team at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). She is the author of several books on gender issues in trade, public finance, and development, and her articles have appeared in World Development, Journal of International Development, Feminist Economics, Health Policy and Planning, and The Lancet.


Attiya InayatullahAttiya Inayatullah
is a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan. She holds a PhD in Social Demography and Masters in Sociology and Anthropology. She is acknowledged in the fields of international relations, human rights, women’s empowerment, and population and social development at both the global level and in Pakistan. In recognition of her services, amongst others, she is the recipient of the coveted Ceres Medal, the only UN award for women, given for distinguished service in their field of recognition and has received the highest civil award in Pakistan for public service. Dr. Inayatullah has served as Minister for Women’s Development, Social Welfare and Special Education. She was successful in using her ministerial office to obtain political space for women at all three tiers of the democratic structure through constitutional amendments. Dr. Inayatullah is among the most senior parliamentarians with a record for initiating a range of women and child related legislation, which include the Domestic Violence Bill, Acid Throwing & Burns Victims Protection Bill, Corporal Punishment Prohibition Bill, Reproductive Health & Rights Bill, Marriage Act, Restraint Act and Child Rights Charter Bill.


IIndira Jaisingndira Jaising is currently the Director of the Lawyers Collective Women’s Rights Initiative, which focuses on the Elimination of Violence against women and is engaged in drafting a civil law on domestic violence.  She served as Solicitor General of India and was the first woman to be designated as a Senior Advocate by High Court of Bombay. Her career has focused on protection of human rights, rights of women and the poor working class. She has been associated with several Peoples Commissions and is currently engaged in assisting the Peoples Commission on Violence in Punjab to investigate the extra judicial killings, disappearances and mass cremations that took place during the period 1979 to 1990. Ms. Jaising is the Founder Secretary of The Lawyers Collective, an organization of lawyers and law students involved in servicing the unfulfilled needs of the victims of undeserved want. As the Founder-Editor of The Lawyers, a monthly journal published by Law Cooperative, she has attempted to spread awareness of legal rights among women, children and the working classes. She was conferred with the Rotary Manav Seva Award in recognition of her services to the nation in fighting corruption and as a champion of the weaker sections of the society.


Spenta Captain KandawallaSpenta Captain Kandawalla is Director of Captain Chemical Industries, the leading manufacturer of silicates in Pakistan. Concurrently, she is Managing Director of Kandex Sales Pvt. Ltd, which successfully introduced Honda automobiles into Pakistan. From 2000-2010 she served on the Board of State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan, one of the country’s largest state-owned enterprises and was the first woman in the long history of the corporation to hold this position. From 2004-2011 Ms. Kandawalla served on the Board of Engro Foods, Ltd. and during her tenure saw the company grow from its inception to a highly successful public company with global operations. Ms. Kandawalla is an active member of civil society. She is a Founding Trustee of The i-Care Foundation, Pakistan’s first Donor Advised Fund. She is Trustee of the Layton Rehmatullah Benevolent Trust, a renowned chain of 17 eye hospitals across Pakistan, which has to date treated 21 million patients completely free of charge. She is on the Board of Governors of Liaquat National Hospital, Chairperson of the Parsi General Hospital and is a Founder Trustee of AMTI Cancer Hospice. She has also served on the Pakistan Boards of World Wildlife Fund and United World Colleges. Ms. Kandawalla is a Founding Member of the Business Leadership Council of Wellesley College, and served as International Chair. She is a member of the Alumnae Leadership Council of Wellesley College, and a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Global Education of Wellesley College. She serves on the Advisory Council, Pakistan Scholars Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center. Ms. Kandawalla received a B.A. in Political Science from Wellesley College. She is married to Darius Kandawalla and has two daughters and three grandchildren.


Tushna KandawallaTushna Kandawalla is General Manager of Finance at Captain PQ Chemical Industries.  She grew up in Karachi and, after graduating from Brown University with a BA in1995, went on to work for Arthur Andersen in Boston. During her 3 years there, Ms. Kandawalla completed her MBA at Boston University and qualified as a Certified Public Accountant. In 1998, Ms. Kandawalla joined Home Box Office (HBO) in New York, where she worked for 6 years in the Financial Planning Group. In 2004, Ms. Kandawalla returned to Karachi to join her family’s business, Captain Chemical Industries (CCI), which is a leading producer of Silicates in Asia. Founded in 1951, CCI today has several manufacturing facilities serving local and global customers. Having worked in the Financial Planning, Strategy, Marketing and Human Resources areas, Ms. Kandawalla currently serves as the CFO.  In 2009, Ms. Kandawalla and her husband, Reza Mirza, co-founded SuperKids – a company which offers structured sports programs to schools.  SuperKids is the only company of its kind in Pakistan, with programs designed to encourage children to lead healthy, active lives and have fun while developing social and personal skills.  To date, SuperKids has provided instruction to over 2,500 children. Community service has always been a passion. Whilst living in the U.S., Ms. Kandawalla co-chaired the Friends of Layton Rahmatulla Benevolent Trust (LRBT) in New York. LRBT is a nationwide network of 17 purpose-built eye hospitals and has treated over 22 million patients completely free of cost. Ms. Kandawalla also chaired the Event Committee for Pakistan Human Development Fund in New York. Currently she serves as Area Chair (Pakistan) for Brown Alumni Schools Committee, a group of volunteers who conduct interviews for high school students applying to Brown. Her interests include learning about different cultures. She speaks four languages and has travelled extensively. She is married and has two sons.


Shinkai Zahine KarokhailShinkai Zahine Karokhail is a renowned women’s rights activist and an active elected member of the Afghan Parliament.  As Director and a Founding Member of Afghan Women’s Educational Center (AWEC), for over ten years she has worked on projects promoting child rights and women’s education and empowerment.  She is the Founder and Coordinator of the Afghan Civil Society and Parliamentarian Network of Women.  Ms. Karokhail has been vocal on issues of justice, human rights and women’s rights in her seven-year parliamentary career, building strong alliances within Afghan civil society which led to the Elimination of Violence Against Women bill.  Other legislative successes include the Gender Reform of Proposed Shi’ite Personal Law and her most important achievement is supporting the Ministry of Women’s Affairs in its endorsement of the National Plan of Action for Women in Afghanistan.  She works on the financial and budgeting committee of the Afghan lower house and created the gender budget line in the national budget of Afghanistan.  She is a board member of ACTA (Afghan Coalition for Transparency and Accountability) and the Gender Equality Platform (GEP). She was recently honored as a recipient of the Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Award for values-based Leadership in 2012 in New York by the East West Institute (EWI). Born in 1962, Ms. Karokhail studied medicine and political science.  She is married and has four children.


Monnita KomolvadhinMonnita Komolvadhin is a TV journalist and ASEAN News Editor at the Thai Public Broadcasting Service (ThaiPBS). She has focused on current, regional as well as world affairs during her more than 4 years at ThaiPBS. She is a news anchor for a news analysis program called “This is ThaiPBS” every weeknight from 9:15 to 9:45 pm. As part of the program, she interviews personalities in the region as well as leaders in the world. In March 2011, she interviewed His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and produced a series of reports and an hour-documentary on his spiritual journey as well as his political battles. In 2012, she interviewed Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Laureate on Burmese politics and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan when he visited Thailand to discuss national reconciliation. Between 1999 and 2005, she earned an MSc in Sociology and PhD in Gender Studies at the London School of Economics, sponsored by a scholarship from the Royal Thai Government. She did research and taught masters-level students at the Women’s Studies Center at Chiang Mai University for two years before assuming her full time post in journalism at ThaiPBS. In addition to her reporting at ThaiPBS, she is also active in using social media, especially Twitter and Facebook, and writes her own blog, developing and expanding her portfolio to digital journalism. She is also a guest lecturer on journalism at many universities.


Michael G. KulmaMichael G. Kulma is the Executive Director of Global Leadership Initiatives at the Asia Society headquarters in New York. In this capacity he directs the Society’s four major leadership initiatives: Asia 21 Young Leaders, Diversity Leadership Forum, Williamsburg Conference, and Women Leaders of New Asia.  He began his career at the Asia Society in 2000 working on policy issues related to Northeast Asia with a specific concentration on China. Prior to that, he lectured at a number of colleges in the New York City area, focusing on East Asian politics, foreign policy, and international relations. Dr. Kulma contributes regularly to print and broadcast media on Asia-focused issues. He was a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is a member of The National Committee on United States-China Relations.  He received a BA in economics from the University of Chicago, a master’s in public and international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh, and a PhD in political science from the City University of New York. He speaks Mandarin.


Gautam KumraGautam Kumra is a Senior Partner in McKinsey’s Delhi office and leads McKinsey’s Organisation Practice in Asia. He is also the Founder of McKinsey Leadership Institute in India, which aspires to develop global leaders from Asia. Mr. Kumra is Co-Founder and Member of the Governing Board of the Public Health Foundation of India – an innovative first of its kind public private initiative that aspires to substantially strengthen the public health system in India by developing human resources trained in public health and helping shape public policy in healthcare. Mr. Kumra is also a member of the IIM Ahmedabad Alumni Council and has helped shape the vision of the school and its funding strategy. He is the lead author of the CII-McKinsey report on the future of healthcare in India and has also co-authored the NASSCOM-McKinsey report on the future of the Indian IT services industry. Both publications have had a tremendous impact in raising the aspirations for the healthcare and IT services industries and in shaping their evolution. Mr. Kumra joined McKinsey’s New Delhi office in May 1993. He has done short stints with McKinsey’s offices in Chicago, New York, Vienna and Seoul. He received an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and a Bachelor of Technology degree in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi.


Li XinLi Xin is the Managing Editor of Caixin – China Economics & Finance, an English-language monthly magazine, and Caixin Online at Caixin Media Group. Both are leading sources of Chinese business stories for foreign readers. Prior to that, Ms. Li opened Caijing’s first bureau in the United States in 2006 as a correspondent of politics and economics. She interviewed a number of U.S. cabinet members, and conducted investigative reports on overseas activities of Chinese companies and entrepreneurs, ranging from lobbying to illegal immigration. Ms. Li moved back to China in 2007 to head Caijing Magazine’s English website. She was a documentary producer at China Central Television between 2001 and 2004. Her documentary, “Churches in China,” won the China Rainbow Award. Ms. Li received a B.A. in English from Tsinghua University and an M.A. degree in journalism from University of Missouri-Columbia.


Penny LowPenny Low is the founder of the award-winning global movement, the Social Innovation Park (SIP). SIP advocates a more inclusive, sustainable, and better world, through collaborative innovation and partnership with the public, private, and people sectors. A veteran Member of Parliament, she has chaired various Government Parliamentary Committees (GPCs).Ms. Low has received many awards, including honors by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum as a founding member of the prestigious New Asian Leaders and the Young Global Leaders, a Founding Curator of the Global Shapers Community, US-based Aspen Institute as an Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar, a Yale University Scholar, and Yale World Fellow. She has been consistently listed in Singapore Tatler’s Top 300, and is an alumnus of NUS, Harvard, Yale, and Tsinghua University.


Sabeen MahmudSabeen Mahmud is the Founder and Director of Peace Niche, a not-for-profit organization based in Karachi, Pakistan, that promotes democratic discourse and conflict resolution through intellectual and cultural engagement within and beyond the premises of its multipurpose space, called The Second Floor (T2F).  T2F is a meeting place and playground for poets, writers, artists, bloggers, entrepreneurs, students, and activists. A social entrepreneur committed to the intersection of the liberal arts, technology, and activism, Ms. Mahmud has created a hub for creative expression in the chaotic, troubled port city of Karachi. She has 20 years of experience in graphic design, new media, and technology, and is a co-founder of b.i.t.s., a boutique interactive media and technology consulting firm. She is also a blogger, civil liberties activist, a founding member of the All Pakistan Music Conference, the Citizens’ Archive of Pakistan, Aman Ittehad, and former President of the Karachi Chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE). She is the Secretary of the Pakistan chapter of the South Asia Foundation and a member of Citizens for Democracy, a people’s movement that aims to mobilize public opinion against the dangerously rising tide of religious intolerance in Pakistan. Ms. Mahmud is also a Fellow of the Asia Society’s India-Pakistan Regional Young Leaders Initiative, a forum designed to broaden the dialogue on India-Pakistan relations through a focus on next generation leaders.


Anja ManuelAnja Manuel is a partner at RiceHadleyGates, LLC. She served as Special Assistant to Undersecretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns at the U.S. Department of State from 2005 to 2007. In this role, Ms. Manuel had responsibility over Southand Central Asia Policy, Congressional outreach, and legal matters. She was part of the negotiating team for the U.S.-India civilian nuclear accord; helped to secure passage of the accord in the U.S. Congress, and was extensively involved in developing U.S. policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan. From 2001 to 2005, and from 2007 to 2009, Ms. Manuel was an attorney at the international law firm of Wilmer Hale, where she specialized in international litigation and arbitration, anti-corruption matters, and Congressional investigations. In her legal practice, Ms. Manuel advised clients on matters in China, India, Latin America, and Africa; participated in international arbitrations in Colombia and Poland; and worked on matters of public policy interest, including representing Senators McCain and Feingold in their defense of the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act before the Supreme Court and representing the German Economy Foundation Initiative in its efforts to set up a Foundation to compensate forced labor victims of World War II. In addition to her work with RiceHadleyGates, Ms. Manuel is a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University and teaches in Stanford’s International Policy Studies program.


Sheila Lirio MarceloSheila Lirio Marcelo is the founder of, the largest online care destination in the world with 7 million members in 15 countries. provides access to a variety of caregivers and educators to help manage challenges in the lifecycle of care that families face.  She developed her passion for technology as a management consultant at Monitor Company and during her tenure as a teaching fellow at Harvard Business School.  She has held several executive positions at internet companies, including VP, Product Management at and VP, General Manager at, an executive job search engine.  Ms. Marcelo has been honored Boston Business Journal as one of the “100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs” and as a “Leader in Diversity.”  She has also received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award and been named one of the 2009  “Top 10 Entrepreneurs” by Fortune at their Most Powerful Women Summit.  Ms. Marcelo is a Board trustee of the Philippine Development Foundation, a non-profit organization that works with the Philippine government on issues regarding education, innovation and entrepreneurship.  A frequent speaker on female entrepreneurship, women in technology, and female leadership, she founded to increase women’s roles in the global economy by providing mentorship, skill-building and inspiration to female leaders and entrepreneurs. Ms. Marcelo graduated Magna Cum Laude from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in Economics and received her M.B.A. and J.D. degrees with Honors and the Dean’s Award from Harvard University.  She resides in the Boston area with her husband and two sons.


Ann MorfogenAnn Morfogen served as Sony’s Chief Communications Officer in the U.S. from September 1994 through December 2010, reporting to the CEO. In 2011 she formed her own consulting business with Sony as a client. While at Sony she oversaw all U.S. corporate communications and public relations activities for the company’s electronics, entertainment and new media businesses, and directed global communications in collaboration with Sony’s Tokyo headquarters. She also served as President of the Sony USA Foundation, with responsibility for public affairs and philanthropic activities, including the operation of the Sony Wonder Technology Lab, an interactive museum for children. Before joining Sony, Ms. Morfogen served as Vice President of Media Relations for CBS Inc. from September 1988 through August 1994. As the senior communications officer for the company, she was responsible for all media relations activities for CBS, CBS Entertainment, CBS News, and CBS Sports, as well as related network, affiliate, sales and corporate operations. Prior to that she worked for CBS News for more than 10 years, and also held various positions in communications, public relations and management at CBS Entertainment in Los Angeles, and the CBS Television Stations. She has served on the boards of numerous professional organizations, and was the recipient of a NY Women’s Agenda Star Award in 2005.


Mu SochuaMu Sochua is a member of the Cambodian National Assembly. She returned to Cambodia in 1989 after 18 years in exile. In 1998, she was elected to the Cambodian National Assembly. She ran for a parliamentary seat in the Northwest of Cambodia (the most devastated region after the war), and won. In that same year, she became Minister of Women and Veterans’ Affairs, as one of only two women to join the cabinet. During her six years as Minister of Women’s Affairs, Ms. Mu campaigned widely for gender justice throughout Cambodia’s remote villages to end violence against women and halt the exploitation of female workers. To achieve these goals, she helped to draft the country’s law against domestic violence, negotiated an international agreement with Thailand to curtail human trafficking in Southeast Asia, and launched a campaign to engage NGOs, law enforcement officials, and rural women in a national dialogue. During her tenure, she campaigned widely with civil society and NGOs to encourage women at the grassroots to run as candidates for community elections, the first occurrence of its kind in the history of Cambodia. 25,000 women became candidates and over 9% were elected in 2002.


Kiran NadarKiran Nadar is the Chairperson of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and a Trustee of the Shiv Nadar Foundation. Besides being an avid art collector and a sports enthusiast, she is an acclaimed international bridge player. She has been recently acknowledged as a ‘hero of philanthropy’ by Forbes Asia Magazine in 2010 for launching India’s first philanthropic private museum of modern and contemporary art. The Shiv Nadar Foundation, working towards transformational educational initiatives, has established the SSN College of Engineering in Chennai, today among the top private engineering colleges in India, Shiv Nadar University, Vidya Gyan schools, Shiv Nadar School and the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art. Drawing from her diverse and rich experience in advertising and communications, Ms. Nadar plays a very important role in defining the architecture and the aesthetics of the Foundation’s initiatives. Ms. Nadar is also Member of the Rasaja Foundation, an educational, scientific and cultural institution created in 1984 by the late Jaya Appasamy, a renowned artist, art historian and art critic. As a representative of the Foundation, she has also been involved in a joint initiative with the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation to promote the education of the Dalit and Muslim girl child in some of the most backward districts in the State of Uttar Pradesh in India. She is one of the top Indian players of competitive bridge and as a member of the “Formidables” team, has not only won many laurels at the national level but has also represented India several times in international competitive bridge events. Ms. Nadar lives in Delhi, India with her husband Shiv Nadar, Founder of HCL and Chairman of the Shiv Nadar Foundation.


Shinto NugrohoShinto Nugroho is the Head of Public Policy and Government Relations for Google Indonesia. She leads and manages the policy work undertaken by Google in Indonesia and relationships with key government and other stakeholders. Prior to that, she was the special staff to the Indonesian Minister of Trade. Her work focuses on improving the regulatory framework of trade and investment. Prior to her shift into the public sector, she worked for the World Bank Group where she helped in drafting the Indonesian bankruptcy law and, later on, the establishment of Indonesia Commercial Court. She was also a Senior Associate for Makes and Partner, a leading Indonesian law firm specializing in Banking and Finance, where she was responsible for the debt rescheduling and restructuring of Bank Central Asia, Indonesia largest private bank. In 2010, she and other alumnae of Singapore International Fellowship, a scholarship given by the Singapore government to potential young leaders from ASEAN countries,   founded the Indonesia Bright Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to provide affordable education for children from poor and lower middle income families in eastern Indonesia. The organization uses technology as medium to enable children who otherwise would not be able to obtain their education to study and complete at least their primary school. She is also Founder and an active coach of the English Debating Society at the University of Indonesia. Ms. Nugroho graduated with a double degree on international law and international politics from University of Indonesia. She then earned her Masters of Law from Columbia Law School where she graduated as a Parker Scholar in international and comparative law. She later earned a British Chevening Scholarship and completed her second Master’s degree in social policy from London School of Economics. Shinto is Asia Society’s Asia 21 Young Leader.


Nilar OoNilar Oo is the Deputy Country Representative of the Myanmar at the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.  Ms. Oo has a Bachelor’s Degree in English literature from Rangoon Arts and Science University, and an International Diploma of Humanitarian Assistance from IDHA in Nairobi.  Ms. Oo worked as the Deputy Director for Operations and External Relations for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Myanmar, where she was responsible for strengthening and expanding IRC’s programs and liaising with Government Ministries. Before joining the IRC, she worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for more than 18 years. During 1995-1998, when ICRC withdrew its expatriate presence from the country, she represented the ICRC and was responsible for supervising the continuity of ICRC programs, as well as maintaining ICRC contact with Myanmar authorities. Ms. Oo was involved in the negotiation process and trust building with Myanmar authorities, which resulted in approvals for ICRC to increase activities in the country. Under ICRC’s mandate, she was involved first-hand in visiting detainees with ICRC in Myanmar and working towards the protection of civilians in conflict-affected areas. In June 2010, she founded a non-profit organization, Myat Myanmar (MMM) Humanitarian Assistance Group in Yangon. MMM is focused on providing vocational training and employment opportunities for single mothers, abused women, and marginalized women and girls who are at risk of being trafficked.


Oyun SanjaasurenOyun Sanjaasuren was appointed as the Minister of Environment and Green Development of Mongolia in August 2012, and has been a member of Parliament since 1998. She served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia from 2007-2008. As the Founder of the Civil Will Party, a third force liberal party, Ms. Oyun is the only female party leader in Mongolia and ranks top ten among the most popular politicians. She entered politics to carry on her brother Zorig’s plans for political and economic reform after his assassination in 1998. Zorig was the Minister of Infrastructure and Development at the time, and one of the main pro-democracy leaders in 1990. She founded the Zorig Foundation in 1998 to advance democracy and the rule of law, and to promote good governance in Mongolia. Ms. Oyun left behind a successful career in geology at Rio Tinto in the UK to become a tireless defender of transparency and accountability in governance. She has been a member of the Forum of Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum since 2003.


Rhodora Palomar-FresnediRhodora Palomar-Fresnedi is concurrently the Executive Director of Unilab Foundation, and Head of Corporate Affairs, Strategic Planning and Corporate Human Resources for Unilab. Her global career has seen her through various senior executive roles in Asia, Europe, and North America covering various disciplines. Of her roles, she is best known as the first Global Vice President, Head of Diversity for Unilever, setting several other firsts in the process. She became the first and the most senior Asian woman to work with the Board and the Executive Committee, based in the Corporate Centre in London, breaking barriers for others. For her work, she was externally recognized as one of the top Asian Women of Achievement in the UK in 2005, and Outstanding Filipino in Singapore in 2009. Her work continues to echo beyond her 17-year connection with Unilever, with her impact still felt today as Unilever continues to increase diversity at all levels in the organization and has its most diverse Board in its nearly 100-year history. Palomar-Fresnedi is a sought-after speaker and advisor on various topics including leadership development, global diversity, and CSR. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in mass communications, Magna Cum Laude, from Far Eastern University and a Master’s degree in management, with Distinction, from the Asian Institute of Management. She is married to Jojo Fresnedi, a management consultant, and has three teenagers.


Lakshmi PuriLakshmi Puri is Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Acting Head of UN-Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. She is responsible for the leadership and management of the Bureau supporting intergovernmental bodies, United Nations coordination, and external relations. Ms. Puri has more than 37 years of experience in economic and development policy-making, as well as in political, peace and security, humanitarian, and human rights–related diplomacy. Throughout her career, she has promoted the gender equality and women’s empowerment agenda, where she has been actively involved in pioneering efforts to analyze and advocate positive linkages between economic development and gender equality. She has worked on including a gender perspective in trade investment, migration and labor mobility, financial flows, environment and climate change, energy, agriculture and food security, and access to essential services, among other issues. Prior to her appointment at UN-Women, she was Director in the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Islands Developing States. Following a distinguished diplomatic career with the Government of India, she joined the United Nations as Director of UNCTAD’s largest division and led the work of the organization in making trade work for development. From 2007 to 2009, she was the acting Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD.


Kalpana RainaKalpana Raina is the Managing Partner of 252 Solutions, LLC, specializing in strategic advisory and implementation work. Previously, Ms. Raina was an Executive Vice President with The Bank of New York Mellon organization. During her 18-plus years at the bank, she was responsible for clients in the media, technology, healthcare and retail industries. She also spent time with the bank in India and London, where she managed the bank’s European offices. Currently, Ms. Raina serves on the Board of Directors of Real Netwoks, Inc., John Wiley and Sons, Information Services Group and The Yellow Media Group, which are all publicly-traded companies in the USA and Canada. She is also an advisor to and investor in women-owned businesses. She is a frequent speaker on women and leadership issues and is a member of Women Corporate Directors, the National Association of Corporate Directors, and The Belizean Grove. She was educated in India, Canada, and the U.S, and lives in New York.


Sonal R. ShahSonal Shah is an entrepreneur and innovator. She is a Senior Fellow at the Case Foundation working on Impact Investing. Shah was the Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the first White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation focused on investing in and scaling innovative models, leveraging technology, opening information in the social sector to solve some of the nation’s toughest challenges. Before the White House, Ms. Shah led Google’s global development initiatives for its philanthropy focusing on leveraging technology and information to help the world’s poor. Prior to Google, she was a Vice President at Goldman Sachs, Inc. where she worked with the Chairman and CEO in developing and managing the firm’s environmental strategy. She is the Co-Founder of an international non-profit, Indicorps, which offers fellowships for the Indian diaspora around the world to work on development projects in India. She also helped set up the Center for Global Development, where she managed the daily operations and developed the policy and advocacy programs for the Center. She worked at the Center for American Progress focusing on trade, outsourcing, and post conflict issues. From 1995-2002, Shah was an economist at the Department of Treasury. Shah received her M.A. in Economics from Duke University and B.A. in Economics from the University of Chicago.


Kumud SrinivasanKumud Srinivasan is Vice President of the Technology and Manufacturing Group, President of Intel India and General Manager of the Intel Architecture Group, India. In this capacity, she is responsible for general management of Intel’s operations in India, which includes location’s overall strategy, business-enabling operations, organizational development, engineering and innovation for market development, as well as managing relationships with government, industry, and academia. Previously, Ms. Srinivasan was Vice President and General Manager of IT for Silicon, Software and Services where she led the delivery of IT solutions and services for Intel’s hardware and software engineers. Ms. Srinivasan joined Intel in 1987 and has held several business and information systems positions within Intel’s manufacturing and IT organizations. She is a member of the Board of Advisors of the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University. Ms. Srinivasan received her Bachelor’s degree in economics from Calcutta University in 1981 and her Master’s degree in information and library studies from Syracuse University in 1984. In addition, she has completed doctoral coursework in information science at University of California, Berkeley.


Astrid S. TuminezAstrid S. Tuminez is Microsoft’s Regional Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs (LCA) in Southeast Asia. She is also an Adjunct Professor and the former Vice-Dean (Research) of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (National University of Singapore). Previously, at the U.S. Institute of Peace, she assisted in advancing peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Dr. Tuminez was also Director of Research for alternative investments at AIG Global Investment. In the 1990′s, she ran the Moscow office of the Harvard Project on Strengthening Democratic Institutions. She was also a Program Officer at the Carnegie Corporation of New York and a Life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is the author of Russian Nationalism Since 1856: Ideology and the Making of Foreign Policy and other publications. Most recently, she authored “Rising to the Top? A Report on Women’s Leadership in Asia,” a joint project with the Asia Society, The Rockefeller Foundation, and the Lee Kuan Yew School. She has been a U.S. Institute of Peace Scholar, a Freeman Fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar, a Harvard Kennedy School Fellow, a Distinguished Alumna of Brigham Young University, and a fellowship recipient of the Social Science Research Council and the MacArthur Foundation. Dr. Tuminez sits on the board of ASKI Global, an NGO that trains and finances entrepreneurship for migrant workers, and is on the International Advisory Board of the Asian Women’s Leadership University project.


Melanne VerveerMelanne S. Verveer is currently the Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS). She was appointed by President Barack Obama as Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues in 2009.  In her capacity as Director of the Department of State’s new office on Global Women’s Issues, Ambassador Verveer coordinated foreign policy issues and activities relating to the political, economic and social advancement of women around the world.  She mobilized concrete support for women’s rights and political and economic empowerment through initiatives and programs designed to increase women’s and girls’ access to education and health care, to combat violence against women and girls in all its forms, and to ensure that women’s rights are fully integrated with human rights in the development of U.S. foreign policy. Ambassador Verveer recently served as Chair and Co-CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international nonprofit she co-founded that invests in emerging women leaders and works to expand women’s roles in generating economic opportunity, promoting political participation, and safeguarding human rights.  Prior to her work with Vital Voices, Ambassador Verveer served as Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady in the Clinton Administration and was Chief Assistant to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton in all her wide-ranging international activities to advance women’s rights and further social development, democracy and peace-building initiatives.  She also led the effort to establish the President’s Interagency Council on Women. Prior to her time in the White House, Ambassador Verveer served in a number of leadership roles in public policy organizations and as legislative staff. Ambassador Verveer has a B.A. and M.A. from Georgetown University.  She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Women’s Foreign Policy Group, and numerous other organizations.


Wenchi YuWenchi Yu is a Senior Advisor of the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues in the U.S. Department of State. The Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues reflects President Obama’s priority to mainstream women and gender issues in U.S. foreign policy. Ms. Yu supports the Department’s effort on women’s economic empowerment through programs and initiatives that ensure women’s and girls’ equal access to full participation in society. Ms. Yu has led the launch of key initiatives such as the APEC Women and the Economy Summit, the Secretary’s International Council on Women’s Business Leadership, the US-China Women-LEAD Initiative, the Secretary’s Innovation Award for the Empowerment of Women and Girls, and the mWomen Initiative that uses mobile technology for effective development and women’s empowerment. Ms. Yu is also leading the White House Equal Futures Partnership initiative for the Department of State and manages the 57th UN Commission on the Status of Women meetings for the United States. Prior to joining the Department of State, Ms. Yu worked on China’s human rights in the U.S. Congress and women’s human rights issues at Vital Voices Global Partnership. She has testified before the U.S. Congress. Ms. Yu received an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Chicago. Wenchi is Asia Society’s Asia 21 Young Leader.