As many as 17 Indians -- including Wadia Group chairman Jeh Wadia, SKS Microfinance CEO Vikram Akula, Bhatia Enterprises chairman Sabeer Bhatia, music composer A R Rahman, and sitar player Anoushka Shankar -- have been named the Young Global Leaders for 2008, in a list announced by the World Economic Forum on Tuesday.
As many as 245 leading executives, public figures and intellectuals -- all aged 40 or younger -- were chosen from around the world by the WEF.
The honour is bestowed each year by the WEF to recognise and acknowledge the top 200-300 young leaders from around the world for their professional accomplishments, commitment to society and potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world.
The Young Global Leaders for 2008 include 121 business leaders, as well as leaders from government, academia, the media and society at large from 65 countries. The new class represents all regions, including East Asia (64), Europe (58), the Middle East and North Africa (12), North America (45), South Asia (24), sub-Saharan Africa (21) and Latin America (21).
The Indians who feature on the list are:
- Vikram K Akula, CEO, SKS Microfinance
- Sabeer Bhatia, chairman, Bhatia Enterprises
- Anurag Behar, MD, Wipro Infrastructure Engineering Ltd
- Barkha Dutt, senior editor, NDTV
- Suhas Gopinath, CEO, Globals ITeS
- C V Madhukar, director, PRS Legislative Research
- Sandeep Parekh, executive director, SEBI
- Sachin Pilot, Member of Parliament
- Meher Pudumjee, chairperson, Thermax Limited
- Ratul Puri, executive director, Moser Baer India Ltd
- Allah Rakha Rahman, music composer
- Trilochan Sastry, founder, Association for Democratic Reform Centre for Collective Development
- Anoushka Shankar, musician, sitar player
- Pooja Shetty, director, Adlabs Films
- Joseph Sigelman, founder, PetroTiger
- Pia Singh, managing director, DLF Universal Retail
- Jeh Wadia, chairman, Wadia Group
"The World Economic Forum is a true multi-stakeholder community of global decision-makers. We need the Young Global Leaders to be a voice for the future in the global thought process and as a catalyst for initiatives in the global public interest," said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, in a statement.
Drawn from a pool of almost 5,000 candidates, the Young Global Leaders 2008 were chosen by a selection committee of 31 eminent international media leaders, including Thomas H Glocer, chief executive officer, Reuters, UK; Arthur Sulzberger, chairman and publisher, The New York Times, USA; Robert Thomson, publisher, Dow Jones & Company and The Wall Street Journal, USA; and Hisashi Hieda, chairman and chief executive officer, Fuji Television Network, Japan. The selection committee is chaired by Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
The 2008 Young Global Leaders (YGL) nominated represented over 65 countries and included Vikram Akula, chief executive officer and founder, SKS Microfinance, India; Steffi Graf, founder and chairperson, 'Children for Tomorrow', Germany; Wadah Khanfar, director-general, Al Jazeera Satellite Network, Qatar; Mugo Kibati, group chief executive officer, East African Cables, Kenya; Shakira Mebarak, singer and manager, Pies Descalzos Foundation, Colombia; and Michelle Peluso, chief executive officer, Travelocity.com, USA; among others.
"I feel greatly honoured for having been selected as one of the Young Global Leaders, and I am very confident that through this platform every YGL will be highly instrumental in empowering the youth and will be successful in bringing in significant changes. It's a great privilege for me to be associated with the prestigious World Economic Forum and I will make sure to use this opportunity to share my entrepreneurial spirit for reducing the unemployment of eligible youth in developing and underdeveloped nations," said Suhas Gopinath, chief executive officer and president, Globals ITeS, India.
The current community of Young Global Leaders represents over 60 countries and includes Larry Page and Sergey Brin, co-founders of Google, USA; Crown Prince Haakon of Norway; Malvinder M Singh, chief executive officer and managing director, Ranbaxy Laboratories, India; Hiroshi Nakada, mayor of Yokohama, Japan; Nicky Newton-King, deputy chief executive officer, JSE, South Africa; Carlos Danel, co-chief executive officer, Banco Compartamos, Mexico; and Jack Ma Yun, chairman and chief executive officer, Alibaba Group, People's Republic of China.
For a full list of Young Global Leaders, click here.