Jamil Ahmed is dedicated to improving the quality of journalism in Bangladesh via his role as CEO of Journalism Training & Research Initiative (JATRI), which provides training and support to journalists and researchers investigating social and economic issues of importance to society. In addition, Mr. Ahmed is a broadcast journalist and has his own TV show which identifies and addresses areas of corruption in Bangladesh. On his fellowship he explored best practices in journalism and leadership in the United States.
Mr. Ahmed returns home with innovative approaches to planning, developing, and implementing journalism programs and commitments to launch these initiatives in collaboration with organizations he visited in the United States. As a result of his fellowship, he will launch a new youth program called "NextGen Speaks Forum" that will promote dialogue among young people in Bangladesh and South Asia and encourage them to participate in public policy discourse and democratic processes. Additionally, as the founding secretary of "Eisenhower Fellowships Alumni of Bangladesh: EFAB" he will work with other Bangladeshi Fellows to strengthen the EF network in Bangladesh.
Click here to read Mr. Ahmed's program summary.
Recently appointed to Assistant Inspector General of the Highway Police, Amena Begam is responsible for ensuring the safety of highways in Bangladesh and effectiveness of the traffic management system. In addition, Ms. Begam is a founding member of Bangladesh Police Women Network, inaugurated in 2008, and was the conference coordinator for the first Asia Region Women Police Conference this past March in Dhaka. On her fellowship in the United States she explored how communities work with law enforcement agencies; best practices in U.S. police departments for addressing gender issues; and women's leadership and empowerment programs.
Ms. Begam returns home with many creative ideas about how to make the Bangladesh police force more community driven and responsive to local needs. She will share with her colleagues and superiors her findings and insights on best practices in community policing; ways to develop relationships between the police and communities to foster social change; and innovative models for citizen academies that educate citizens on policing and help build constructive relationships between community members and police officers.
Click here to read Ms. Begam's program summary.
In 2008, Zaki Hasan became the first country director for Room to Read Bangladesh and leads the program in supporting innovative classroom libraries in 275 schools in Bangladesh. The program currently reaches over 100,000 children with an aim at scaling this up across the country to ensure literacy and gender equality in education. Mr. Hasan also participates in several vital education reform forums and committees for the government and international organizations in Bangladesh. While on fellowship he explored innovations in education, social development programs in the United States, and best practices in leadership development.
For Mr. Hasan, the fellowship sharpened his thinking and exposed him to new ideas and trends regarding literacy, technology in education, and social entrepreneurship. As the youngest ever country director of an international NGO in Bangladesh, the fellowship had an "immense impact" on his understanding of leadership and work style. He will put this knowledge to use in making Room to Read an even more effective organization. Additionally, he plans to work with the other Bangladeshi Fellows to strengthen the EF alumni network in Bangladesh.
Click here to read Mr. Hasan's program summary.
Mehtab Khan (Maheen)
Maheen Khan is a well-known pioneer in the Bangladesh design industry, having created the market for pręt-a-porter garments featuring local traditional designs. She founded and is the managing director of Mayasir Limited, a fashion house whose innovative designs reflect contemporary interpretations of indigenous Bangladeshi style. She is also the founding chair of Arts Council Dhaka, which advocates and promotes long-neglected Bengal art. While on fellowship, she met with fashion designers; examined heritage textiles; studied folk arts promotion and related social enterprises; and visited museums and galleries featuring Central and South Asian Collections and Native American Arts.
In her role as an executive member of the National Crafts Council of Bangladesh, Ms. Khan will propose the adoption of practices to advance arts and crafts preservation. Building upon discussions she had and contacts she made in the NGO and corporate sectors in the United States, she will explore the development of new products and collections. Her goal in doing so is to develop products for specific markets and expand retail outlets for the network of over 3,000 rural artisans who benefit from her efforts to increase demand for handmade goods.
Click here to read Ms. Khan's program summary.
Mohammed Arifur Rahman
Mohammed Arifur Rahman is a recognized change-maker in Bangladesh. He played a key role in reorganizing and formulating national policies relating to the ship-breaking industry. As Chief Executive of Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), he leads a youth movement that helps keep the young away from drugs and at-risk behavior and become social entrepreneurs. In addition, he introduced community radio in remote coastal areas to give community members a voice of their own. On his fellowship, he examined organizations that address human rights issues and empower youth to transform society; community radio management and programs; and policy development and implementation for marginalized groups, including people with disabilities.
Mr. Rahman established several key relationships that will be instrumental in his future success, including an upcoming May 2013 visit by a graduate student from the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative who will study issues affecting rural families and develop case studies based on YPSA's experiences in Bangladesh. Another fellowship takeaway for Mr. Rahman is his keen interest in facilitating conversations among young politicians and elected leaders to enable them to be more proactive and successful in communicating with their constituents.
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One of the youngest and most promising experts in the field of emergency response and disaster risk management in South and Southeast Asia, Shashanka Saadi worked previously as Emergencies and Conflict Advisor for Asia with ActionAid International to improve the quality and impact of emergency response preparedness and resource mobilization. While on fellowship, he visited key institutions and policymakers to share best practices in disaster mitigation and climate change effects, focusing on natural hazard preparedness, tornado management, and disaster reduction, as well as initiatives to build the leadership capacities of women and marginalized groups in the field of disaster risk management.
Mr. Saadi plans to "replicate community software that efficiently organizes volunteers, donations and information, based on social media and used for recovery after any disaster." This will be done in partnership with USA Fellow Kevin Mulcahy, whom he met on fellowship. Mr. Saadi also intends to start a climate change and environmental protection awareness program in Bangladeshi schools in collaboration with Kanchana Weerakoon, 2012 Fellow from Sri Lanka and President of Eco Friendly Volunteers. In addition, he looks forward to working with other Bangladeshi fellows to strengthen the EF Alumni association.
Click here to read Mr. Saadi's program summary.
As director of a leading mid-market investment bank focused on helping small and mid-sized enterprises raise capital, Praveen Chakravarty also serves as a policy advocate in the areas of education, financial inclusion, and capital market reforms. While on fellowship, Mr. Chakravarty investigated public policy supporting capital markets development, looked at economic policy development in the U.S., explored mechanisms for developing entrepreneurial ecosystems, and learned about policies to mitigate financial exclusion and address financial disparities.
While on his fellowship, Mr. Chakravarty examined public policy support of capital market development, mechanisms for developing entrepreneurial ecosystems, and ways to mitigate financial exclusion and address financial disparities. He returns home with new insights on culturally diversity in America; the Dodd-Frank Act; local community assistance versus national welfare programs; and how the collection and analysis of data forms the basis for public policy in the United States, all of which will impact his work in the years ahead.
Click here to read Mr. Chakravarty's program summary.
Dr. Shrikar Pardeshi
Dr. Shrikar Pardeshi has worked for over a decade in the Indian Administrative Service, India's premier civil service, and is currently responsible for maintaining the civic infrastructure and creating a positive atmosphere for industrial growth in the twin cities of Pimpri-Chinchwad. While on fellowship, Dr. Pardeshi examined the issues of public transparency, technology-assisted service delivery mechanisms, solid waste management, disaster mitigation and management initiatives, urban water and other natural resource management, and public transportation.
Dr. Pardeshi returns home with renewed enthusiasm to form effective collaborations with local NGOs; explore innovative ways to utilize technology in the delivery of services to citizens; and develop a plan for sustainable waste and natural resource management. In addition, he will work closely with both city council members and citizens in Pune to make long-term sector plans to ensure the city's sustainability.
Click here to read Dr. Pardeshi's program summary.
Prof. Dr. Uday Salunkhe
Dr. Uday Salunkhe leads Weschool, one of India's top business schools, and is actively associated with universities and educational authorities at the national and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) level to improve the quality of management education. He has launched pioneering initiatives by way of academic programs and has initiated partnerships with universities/organizations across the globe, while at the same time connecting corporate India with rural India. While on fellowship, he looked at issues pertaining to academic leadership development; social innovation and entrepreneurship; future trends in management education; corporate leadership; and models for public and private drivers of social change.
While on his fellowship, Dr. Salunkhe gathered valuable insights on leadership development and learned about "breakthrough" practices that have nurtured innovation and entrepreneurship. He returns home to India and WeSchool with many new ideas on these issues but also plans to pursue collaborative ventures with Venture Mentoring Services of MIT and Harvard's Bio Design Lab. Dr. Salunkhe is also keen to nurture more "Teachers as Leaders" and invite more "Leaders as Teachers," another key area of focus during his fellowship.
Click here to read Dr. Salunkhe's program summary.
With over 15 years of experience as a reporter for New Delhi Television, Shivnath Thukral is now working for the Essar Group, a global conglomerate providing services in steel, energy and infrastructure. As Group President for Corporate Branding and Strategic Initiatives, he oversees program integration, engages with multilateral forums globally, and manages the implementation of the company's internal branding initiatives. While on fellowship, he explored the changing relationship between civil society groups, businesses and government as India shifts towards greater transparency, examined the legal framework of lobbying groups, and explored social media's influence on policy making.
Mr. Thukral plans to help develop a national disclosure and transparency framework for corporations involved in advocacy and public affairs with government agencies. He also intends to address sustainability parameters with the Essar Group and benchmark it to global standards; help set up a think tank for research on key issues challenging industries; and call for higher standards of credibility via self-checks across sectors. Mr. Thukral will also pursue a joint project with SocialSphere founder and USA alumni fellow John Della Volpe.
Read more about Mr. Thukral's fellowship experience and other items here: http://shivnaththukral.com
Click here to read Mr. Thukral's program summary.
Dr. Nipun Vinayak
Dr. Nipun Vinayak has worked for over a decade in the Indian Administrative Service, India's premier civil service, and is currently Deputy Secretary to the Government of India in the Cabinet Secretariat. Previously, Dr. Vinayak was Municipal Commissioner of Nanded, where he implemented policies which are moving the city of 10 million toward becoming the first clean and slum-free city in India. While on fellowship, he investigated state and city administration; delivery of health and human services; public sanitation systems; community development programs; and city infrastructure development.
Dr. Vinayak returns to India with renewed commitment and innovative approaches to address social and economic inequalities by promoting evidence-based policies; encouraging research and development; and advancing the convergence of academics and public policy. Most notably, he intends to promote civic engagement institutions and city clubs; the application of "New Urbanism" principles; development of independent living options for people with disabilities; restoration of tribal rights; and the modification of grade school curricula to make these more practical and socially meaningful.
Click here to read Dr. Vinayak's program summary.
Established by Zeba Bakhtiar in 2003, Sagar Entertainment is not a typical entertainment company. Sagar means sea and is focused on producing authentic images of Pakistani culture, traditions and religion. Ms. Bakhtiar is the sole proprietor and develops thought-provoking content from start to finish. She brings awareness to issues affecting those in rural and urban areas of Pakistan and is committed to using media to empower women. While on fellowship she studied how human psychology is used to spread a positive message, the techniques used to make content more effective, and how to apply distance learning tools in education and healthcare.
With knowledge and insights gained on her fellowship, Ms. Bakhtiar will be creating a series of films entitled "All Humanity is One" which will depict, through six separate stories, the impact of the war on terror on human relationships and circumstances between Pakistanis and Americans. She will also collaborate with students at Southern Illinois University to make a documentary film focusing on cross-cultural issues. In addition, Ms. Bakhtiar is exploring the possibility of collaboration among Pakistani and Native American musicians.
Click here to read Ms. Bakhtiar's program summary.
Farzal Ali Dojki
Known for his innovative ideas and commitment to social responsibility, Farzal Dojki is Founder & CEO of Next Generation Innovations, a software development, IT support and consulting firm specializing in new ventures. The company is working to establish a paradigm that focuses on "doing good for the society in which it operates" and encourages its employees to dedicate 5% of their billable hours to community service projects. Mr. Dojki focused his fellowship on visting start-up incubators, angel investors and venture funds to understand how their programs can be replicated in Pakistan, as well as organizations working to reduce the digital divide and foster entrepreneurship.
Mr. Dojki returns home with many ideas to foster entrepreneurial ecosystems within the domain of Information Technology, as well as Corporate Social Responsibility in the IT and ITES sectors. His anticipated tasks include presenting his findings to a broad range of audiences across Pakistan; collaborating with others in Pakistan to develop a "Plug & Play" in Karachi; becoming more involved in industry associations in Pakistan; and renewing his teaching activities with greater emphasis on "learning through practice" that will incorporate his fellowship findings.
Click here to read Mr. Dojki's program summary.
Najam Ahmad Shah
In his role as CEO of the Food Directorate, Government of Punjab, Najam Shah is responsible for food security for the 9 million people of Punjab and oversees the operations, finances, procurement, storage, and sale and export of millions of tons of wheat stock. As CEO of the organization he also addresses market failures through government interventions such as release prices of wheat and flour. On his fellowship, Mr. Shah examined factors that prevent foreign markets from engaging with Pakistan, how these markets can assist the Pakistani government in their economic regeneration plans, and how to effectively negotiate with foreign markets on behalf of the Pakistani people.
Mr. Shah plans to pursue collaborations with Fun Asia, Harvard Pakistan Students Group, and the South Asia Institute to develop an entrepreneurship network and generate new ideas and projects in Pakistan. He will utilize leadership lessons from his fellowship to help empower his subordinates, and will exchange ideas with his IAS counterparts in India on common problems and challenges. In addition, he will promote events with EF alumni on a local and regional basis for better cooperation, trade and commerce in Pakistan.
Click here to read Mr. Shah's program summary.
Managing a portfolio of targeted intervention projects worth US$53 million, Ms. Shazia Toor focuses on four strategic areas: infrastructure development, technology development, worker skill development, and business development. In addition, the promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) fall within her domain of responsibility. Ms. Toor has significant authority over her organization's direction and emphasizes empowerment and teamwork to achieve targeted objectives. While on her fellowship, she explored best practices for institutional development and strengthening, effective public-private partnerships, and efficient public service delivery mechanisms.
By the end of her fellowship in the United States, Ms. Toor had developed many contacts she plans to introduce to private sector representatives from Pakistan working in the areas of energy conservation, solar energy production, and indigenous manufacturing of solar panels. She is also planning to hold a webinar for representatives from industry on energy conservation and ISO 50001 certification in collaboration with DEKRA, a company she visited on fellowship.
Click here to read Ms. Toor's program summary.
Dr. Zeeshan-Ul-Hassan Usmani
With over 600 employees across five countries, Interactive Group is Pakistan's largest systems integrator. Dr. Usmani oversees the research and development requirements of the company's technical teams working on public safety and security, defense, healthcare, telecommunications, power and alternative energy, and IT infrastructure. He used his fellowship to explore using ICT to further economic development, understand the impact of programs using ICT for economic development, particularly in rural areas, and study relationships between governments and universities.
The fellowship proved to be a journey of self-exploration for Dr. Usmani. He learned new meanings of success, impact, and significance during the many "life changing encounters" he had. The lessons he had learned at GE Corporate University, Code for America, National Defense University, Pentagon, Facebook, Wikimedia, Google, Santa Fe Institute and Research Triangle Park will shape his vision and thinking for years to come. Dr. Usmani plans to launch a Pakistani version of Code for America, a nonprofit organization that harnesses the power of the web to help governments become more connected and inclusive, and his own company "Go-Fig" (Go Figure-it-Out) to address pressing societal issues via ICT solutions. He also looks forward to writing a book about his fellowship experience.
Read more about Dr. Usmani's fellowship experience and other items here: http://eisenhowerdiary.com/
Click here to read Dr. Usmani's program summary.
Responsible for all legal and policy reform at ICTA, Jayantha Fernando is one of three leaders of his organization's $83 million flagship program, the "e-Sri Lanka Development Project." He was instrumental in driving key policy and legislative reforms, most notably the Electronic Transactions Act (2006), Computer Crimes Act (2007), Payment Devices Frauds Act (2006), and Payment & Settlement Systems Act (2005). While on fellowship, Mr. Fernando explored legal issues surrounding government use of data centers and cloud computing services; cyber security concerns resulting from increased government use of ICT; and American perspectives on internet governance.
Mr. Fernando returns home with a long of list action items that will require, among other things, the further development of relationships he established on fellowship. Among these are working with the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Justice to support Sri Lanka's entry to the Budapest Cyber Crime Convention; collaborating with SAP to establish joint ventures, partnerships, and business links with Sri Lanka; and partnering with USA Fellow Brigitte Daniel and 2012 Fellow from Pakistan Farzal Dojki to organize an EF technology symposium & "hackathon."
Click here to read Mr. Fernando's program summary.
Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya
As one of only two pediatric neurologists in Sri Lanka, Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya plans, coordinates, and delivers patient care services in Sri Lanka's premier children's hospital, provides consultancy services to hospitals throughout the country, and trains and teaches postgraduate and undergraduate medical and paramedical professionals. While on fellowship, Dr. Padeniya learned about pediatric neurology and neurodisability service delivery systems, examined the role of the public and private sectors in healthcare delivery, studied healthcare financing, explored continuing medical education programs, and investigated healthcare sector occupation classifications and compensation practices.
Dr. Padeniya returns to Sri Lanka with a lengthy list of action items and collaborative partners, including the Child Neurology Society and George Washington Hospital. He will explore establishing standardization and securing certification procedures via the American Board of Pediatric Neurology and accreditation via Joint Commission International. Additionally, several clinicians with whom Dr. Padeniya met have made plans to visit his institution in Colombo, among them USA Fellows Debbie Gordon and Cliff and Sherri Dacso.
Click here to read Dr. Padeniya's program summary.
With a focus on preserving fundamental and constitutional rights of Sri Lankans, Saliya Pieris regularly takes on high profile cases in Sri Lanka's two highest courts, the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. Many of his cases involve direct challenges to state actions that curtail the fundamental rights of people, including political freedom and freedom of expression. While on his fellowship, Mr. Pieris studied the U.S. legal and judicial system with an emphasis on governance, mechanisms to protect civil liberties and human rights of Americans, and judicial independence and accountability.
Mr. Pieris' ambitious agenda upon his return home includes the strengthening of democracy, rule of law, and independence of the judiciary in Sri Lanka. He will also establish a mock trial program for school children similar to the Constitutional Rights Foundation program; set up law clinics for Sri Lankan law students; and write and give presentations about his fellowship findings. In addition, he plans to explore the possibility of expanding the American Bar Association's Rule of Law Initiative (ROLI) to Sri Lanka.
Click here to read Mr. Pieris' program summary.
A leading force in the environmental movement in Sri Lanka for almost 20 years, Kanchana Weerakon is founder and president of ECO-V with responsibility for managing all operations and conservation projects. Relying heavily on a network of over 400 volunteers around the country, she has succeeded in bringing attention to environmental challenges in Sri Lanka via her advocacy work and media presence. In addition to her work in Sri Lanka, Ms. Weerakon is involved in environmental programs in Europe and recently co-founded Journeys for Climate Justice in Australia. On fellowship she visited leading environmental organizations and agencies in the U.S. with the goal of increasing the impact of ECO-V and, more specifically, establishing a grassroots training institute for youth volunteers.
Ms. Weerakon identified several action items resulting from fellowship that she will pursue upon her return to Sri Lanka. Among them, she intends to initiate environmental education programs aimed at children in Sri Lanka with the support of Richard Louv's Children and Nature Network; work with The Climate Reality Project to initiate a program in Sri Lanka; and incorporate into Eco-V's programs some of the materials and information she received on environmental leadership and education programs in the U.S. In addition, she is pursuing collaborative ventures with Village Earth and the Crissy Field Center.
Read more about Ms. Weerakon's fellowship experience and other items here: http://ecofriendlyvolunteers.blogspot.com/
Click here to read Ms. Weerakon's program summary.
Born into a pioneering family of dance in Sri Lanka, Heshma Wignaraja continues the work and legacy of her grandparents, who brought traditional indigenous dance to the national and international stage beginning in the 1940s. The Chitrasena Dance Company is Sri Lanka's oldest and most prestigious dance company, having represented Sri Lanka internationally since 1952. In her dual roles as Artistic Director of the dance company and Director of the Board of its foundation, Ms. Wignaraja is responsible for choreographing, producing, and directing all productions as well as overseeing administrative staff and managing strategic planning for the foundation. While in the U.S. she explored modern dance choreography, latest techniques in dance training, and effective management of dance schools.
Ms. Wignaraja returns to Sri Lanka with plans to collaborate with many renowned dance companies in the U.S. both in performances and artistic content. National Geographic and two independent U.S. filmmakers want to profile Ms. Wignaraja and her company. She also plans to develop exchange/internship programs between The Chitrasena Dance Company and the dance companies she visited, as well as with Princeton University. Ms. Wignaraja also gained an understanding of how to develop an effective business plan, and will follow up with the people and organizations she met to create opportunities for her company to travel, perform, teach, and learn across borders.
Click here to read Ms. Wignaraja's program summary.