The Leaders Asia-Pacific program is a non-residential leadership development and community engagement program that seeks to inspire, empower, and connect emerging leaders in the region. Together, Leaders accelerate positive and lasting change in their communities, in the Asia-Pacific region, and across the world.
About the Program
The Leaders Asia-Pacific program focuses on building a tightly-knit cohort, while simultaneously supporting individuals, uniting leaders from across Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia, and Oceania to engage in values-based leadership discussions, skillbuilding for social change, and hands-on workshops. To date, the program has built a network of 270 leaders, across 36 nations and territories, working across various sectors and issue areas.
Leveraging the full power of the Obama network, Leaders participate in virtual skill-building workshops, network building opportunities, and a variety of moderated conversations with issue-area experts, while focusing on individual growth as a leader rooted in values. Upon completion of the program, Obama Leaders become part of the Obama Foundation’s global alumni community, a new generation of civically active, positive role models who are prepared to create tangible solutions to the challenges of our time.
Get to know the 2023 Leaders below! To learn more about how this program began, read about the program design workshop we hosted in 2019 with 21 Leaders from the region.
MEET THE LEADERS
Aotearoa, New Zealand
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Pūhoro Charitable Trust
Naomi Manu is the founder and chief executive officer of Pūhoro Charitable Trust. Pūhoro Charitable Trust is a science, tech, engineering, and math (STEM) academy working to develop a community of future Māori technologists, engineers, entrepreneurs, scientists, innovators, and thought pioneers. The academy is the largest Māori STEM program in Aotearoa and has received national and international recognition. Since its inception, the program has grown to have over 1,500 young Māori participants and is forecasted to have 5,000 young Māori pursuing STEM pathways before 2027. Naomi is motivated to improve youth outcomes and is committed to designing a scalable program that ensures intergenerational benefit for young Māori and their families.
Aotearoa, New Zealand
Filmmaker and Funding Advisor, NZ on Air
Heperi Mita is a Māori filmmaker and funding advisor for NZ on Air, an independent government funding agency delivering quality and diverse public media throughout New Zealand. Heperi works to affect change from within the system, advocating for representation and equity in the telling of Māori and Polynesian stories. He focuses on the representation and portrayal of Indigenous identity and intellectual property ownership. Born to a family of filmmakers, Heperi saw firsthand the lack of ownership and autonomy given to Indigenous creatives. This experience drives his passion for challenging colonial dominance and for promoting the proliferation of Indigenous stories through cinema in order to promote awareness and understanding of minority perspectives.
Aotearoa, New Zealand
Co-Founder, SaySo Project
Kii Small is the co-founder of the SaySo Project, a digital journaling platform for young people in Aotearoa who lack access to mental health and wellbeing services due to their location or other factors beyond their control. The project provides users with a safe space to start, curate, and create their own journal safely, securely,and without barriers. Previously, Kii worked in the philanthropic sector for five years, funding mental health initiatives across the country on behalf of public and private entities. He believes that every story is more than just a data point, instead he views each story as being its own universe that deserves to be treated as such. With this understanding, Kii is passionate about building and maintaining platforms that allow people to share their stories for the better of their wellbeing, without geographical or financial barriers.
TIMOTHY LO SURDO
Founder, Asia-Pacific Center for Future Generations
Timothy Lo Surdo is the founder of the Asia-Pacific Center for Future Generations. The center is a think-and-do-tank dedicated to strengthening the region’s resilience to existential risks—prioritizing accountability to future generations within political, economic, and social systems. Timothy is also the founder of Democracy in Colour, Australia’s first racial and economic justice organization led by people of color. Under his direction, the organization raised $3.05 million in fundraising, engaged over 100,000 individuals in anti-racism and economic justice programs, and grew to over 65,000 members. Tim also is director of Plan International, a development and humanitarian organization that works throughout Africa, the Americas, and Asia to advance children’s rights and equality for girls, and at the helm of a number of other organizations working in human rights, climate, and international development. Timothy is passionate about people-powered change, building capacity and leadership within our own communities, and advancing a more just, fair and sustainable world.
Deputy Director, This Life Cambodia
Se Chhin is the deputy director of This Life Cambodia, an organization that provides communities with the tools, training, skills, and initial support required to address development challenges and break free from poverty. Se leads and manages operations for the non-profit and is responsible for all program activities, budgeting, and reporting. In 2020, Se led a research project in Cambodia on alternatives to child imprisonment. The Ministry of Social Affairs endorsed Se’s research and partnered with This Life Cambodia to launch a child diversion program that prevented 20 children from serving prison sentences for minor offenses. Se is motivated by his passion for keeping young people out of jail and his desire to help incarcerated women and their children.
Country Director, Epic Arts
Sokny Onn is the country director for Epic Arts, a nonprofit that uses the arts to explore and celebrate diversity through creative experiences. Epic Arts works with people of all abilities and backgrounds to promote equality via inclusive education, community, and social entrepreneurial programs. As the country director, Sokny plays a crucial role in building relationships with policymakers and government sectors to create a more inclusive society. Sokny strongly believes that culture and the arts are essential tools in furthering the development of Cambodia. As an advocate for inclusive arts, she hopes that through her work and global networks, she can spread the message that every person counts. Her passion is to build leaders who are serving people with disabilities and committed to social inclusion.
RATU FILIMONE TUIVANUALEVU
Senior Climate Adaptation Officer, Office of the Prime Minister
Filimone Tuivanualevu is engaged with the Climate Change Division in the Government of Fiji, working with key stakeholders and development partners to aid the development of national climate adaptation and loss and damage policy. He also oversees Loss and Damage, climate adaptation, and adaptation funding for UNFCCC and represented his country as a climate negotiator at the 2021 and 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conferences in the United Kingdom and Egypt, respectively.
Growing up in a coastal village in Fiji, he has seen firsthand the devastating impacts of climate change on his island’s shorelines, houses, and the livelihoods of his neighbors. Filimone aspires to be a voice for the voiceless in the efforts to address the climate crisis.
Consultant, TeMoteatena Consulting
Tekau Frere is an advisor at the Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner, supporting regional countries and organizations that are preparing to engage in the United Nations ocean processes. For six years, Tekau worked with UN Permanent Missions to help developing states across small islands of the Pacific on various ocean-related processes, including securing a dedicated Sustainable Development Goal on oceans, making sustainable commitments via the SAMOA Pathway, and navigating Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) negotiations. Prior to this work, she previously served as an advisor to the Minister of Environment and Mining, in addition to the Minister of Land-Use Planning and Public Works in French Polynesia, where she worked on climate change, marine, and land-use planning policies. Her passion is rooted in fostering cross-sector collaboration on environmental policy related to the ocean and climate.
Federated States of Micronesia
Project Manager, F.S.M. Dept. of Environment, Climate Change and Emergency Management (DECEM)
Chandra Legdesog is the project manager for the Federated States of Micronesia’s National Department of Environment, Climate Change and Emergency Management. In this capacity, Chandra is in charge of the Third National Communication to the UNFCCC, a United Nations project that details her country’s climate mitigation, vulnerability to climate change, and adaptation measures, in addition to the challenges the nation faces in achieving sustainable development. As part of this role, she also works to ensure that the national department continues to serve and uplift local communities in ways that respect culture, values, and heritage. Chandra believes sustainable development is vital in a changing environment and is committed to joining hands with those at the forefront of sustainability efforts to work toward a future of healthy islands.
Assistant Director for Communications, University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability
Kyle is the assistant director for communications at the University of Guam’s Center for Island Sustainability, which provides expertise and serves as an honest broker of information on an array of sustainability issues for Guam and Micronesia. As the Assistant Director, Kyle helps to inform and organize local movements in order to promote sustainability. Most recently, he helped coordinate the Conference on Sustainability which welcomed attendees from around the world. For the past sixteen years, Kyle has hosted and produced the most listened to radio show in Guam, The Morning Blender with Kyle Mandapat, and starred in, and produced, many television projects for FOX6, PBS, and ABC7. He is proudly CHamoru and Filipino, and holds steadfastly to the belief that through the reinstitution of traditional Island wisdom, along with modern innovations, Guam’s community can steer towards a prosperous future.
Professor of Mathematics Education, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and Apprentice Navigator and Education Specialist, Polynesian Voyaging Society
Dr. Linda Furuto is a professor of mathematics education at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and an apprentice navigator and education specialist with the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS). She and her team established the world’s first program in ethnomathematics to strengthen the early childhood to postsecondary education pipeline and create alternative science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) pathways to traditional learning goals. Linda recently circumnavigated the globe on the Hōkūleʻ canoe using celestial navigation techniques on the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage with fellow PVS members. She believes that by collectively expanding our perspectives on how we intentionally navigate and wayfind, we can create a world where every child knows who they are, where they come from, and where they are going through values-based STEM education.
Owner, Moʻo Strategies, LLC and Managing Partner, ʻAʻAliʻi Alliance
Summer Keliipio is the owner of the social enterprise Moʻo Strategies, a consulting business focused on creating systemic change so Hawaiʻi can become a beacon of hope for the world. She is also the managing partner of ʻAʻAliʻi Alliance, an informal partnership of social entrepreneurs who are addressing the most enduring challenges facing Hawaiʻi, including aloha ʻāina and food security; learning and growth across all ages; protecting and strengthening vulnerable populations; community-based economic development; and the wellbeing of individuals, families, communities, and ʻāina. As the managing partner, she bridges organizations and community members through authentic engagement and relationship building. Summer is dedicated to, and passionate about, Indigenous values, knowledge, and worldviews.
Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region
Regional Business Transformation Manager, Manulife
Randell Aranza is a regional business transformation manager for Manulife in Hong Kong. In this role, Randell has spearheaded initiatives to shift the culture around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the workplace. Randell also spearheaded an LGBTQ+ Inclusion study in Hong Kong, in collaboration with other non-profit organizations, to document the progress of workplace inclusion in the city. This became a springboard for wider conversations and efforts within the community and for the Equal Opportunities Commission to run programs in support of its findings. Being a son of domestic helpers in Hong Kong, his first-hand experience being an ethnic minority and member of the LGBTQ+ community motivates him to create real impact within the communities he serves.
TING YAN CHEUNG
Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region
Project Supervisor, Caritas Hong Kong
Ting Yan “Bonnie” Cheung is a project supervisor at Caritas Hong Kong, where she works to bridge the opportunity gap of students from low-income families. In this role, Bonnie oversees the Jockey Club Healthy Neighbourhood Kitchen Project, which supports families living in subdivided units by reimagining and co-creating shared cooking, leisure, exercise, and work spaces among neighbors residing in small living spaces. Bonnie’s own experience growing up in Hong Kong inspired her to pursue social and youth development work. Bonnie believes that “the problem is the problem, the person is not the problem” and that many issues can be addressed through a trans-disciplinary, strengths-based approach.
Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer, Think.Web
Anantya is the co-founder and co-chief executive officer of Think.Web, an Indonesian digital and creative technology marketing business. As co-CEO, Anantya leads the company’s operational success and the expansion of its business units. Think.Web has helped companies such as Unilever, Nestle, Diageo, and Acer enter the digital market by creating impact through technology and creative innovation. Driven by her passion for gender inclusion, Anantya expanded the company to include a portfolio that focuses solely on women’s projects called Think.Women. Previously, she was the co-managing director for Girls in Tech Indonesia, a social network enterprise focused on promoting more women in the tech world, from 2012-2018. She is also active as a visiting lecturer at several universities, especially in the advertising and communication department. Anantya is passionate about supporting women micro-entrepreneurs who want to advance their businesses through digital and critical thinking skills.
CORNELIUS DAMAR HANUNG
Asia Advocacy and Campaign Officer, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
Cornelius Damar Hanung is the Asia advocacy and campaign lead for CIVICUS—a global alliance of civil society organizations and activists dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society worldwide—where he leads a portfolio of research and advocacy to safeguard civic space and fundamental freedoms. Hanung works with civil society networks in the region to document human rights violations related to protests and demonstrations, and helps determine what civil society and protesters need to protect their human rights. He also works to share their demands and stories by giving them a place to campaign, communicate, and build networks. Cornelius values meaningful participation and collective power as a tool to protect human rights for all.
APRIL IMAM PRABOWO
Founder and Director, Katalis Institute and Academic Physician, Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta
April Imam Prabowo is the founder and director of Katalis Institute, a non-proﬁt organization that promotes a multidimensional approach to primary health care advancement in Indonesia through education, research, and advocacy. The institute’s work is centered on building an equitable, climate-resilient, and environmentally sustainable health care system in Indonesia. A medical doctor trained in Family Medicine and Global Health, April also teaches at the Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta, where he led various initiatives on primary health care advancement with local, national, and international partners that led him to receive multiple scholarships. He is one of the primary architects of the university’s COVID-19 mitigation and emergency response. His work is driven by his core belief in health for all and by all, and he is eager to break down silos to promote multisectoral actions and health in all policies.
Programs and Grants Manager, Laureus Sport for Good Foundation
Kaho Shinohara is a programs and grants manager for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, an organization that uses the power of sport to transform children and young people’s lives. In her role, Kaho manages a sports for development portfolio which includes the Play Academy with Naomi Osaka, a program that aims to change girls’ lives through play and sport. She also supports organizations in implementing procedures to safeguard young people involved in sports. Kaho previously worked for the International Paralympic Committee as well as the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, where she helped 30 countries develop and carry out educational initiatives to transform people’s perspectives of individuals with disabilities through the field of Para sport. Kaho is passionate about inspiring younger generations to drive social change through sport.
Republic of Korea
Manager, Future Initiative Center, Kakao Corporation
Saejong Lee is the founder of Fireside, a community of over 100 company founders and aspiring entrepreneurs dedicated to spreading a “pay-it-forward” culture, and supporting underserved communities, particularly naturalized immigrants, in Korea. Saejong also operates an education platform where university graduates, young professionals, and budding start-up founders learn strategic problem-solving and management skills to accelerate their respective careers and businesses. As a university student, Saejong founded the Korean Peninsula Policy Consensus to encourage dialogue among Korean youth on politically sensitive matters concerning North-South Korean relations, as well as to work on political agendas with the Ministry of Unification. Currently, Saejong is also a manager at the Future Initiative Center within the office of the CEO at Kakao Corp.
Republic of Korea
Co-Founder and Director, Plan 1.5
Sejong Youn is the co-founder and director of Plan 1.5, a non-profit organization that advocates for better and stronger climate policies in key sectors like energy, industry, finance, and transportation. He formerly worked at Solutions for Our Climate, a non-profit climate organization in Korea, where he oversaw the Climate Finance Program, which focused on phasing out coal financing from public and private financial institutions. In 2020, Sejong represented the 19 activists of the Youth4Climate Action group in filing a constitutional case against the government and the national assembly before the Korean Constitutional Court, demanding better climate mitigation policies. He is a lawyer by profession, and he spent his early career practicing law in the fields of environmental regulation and international dispute resolution. Sejong’s work is driven by the belief that expanding the consensus on the urgency of the climate crisis will lead to meaningful improvements in the way we deal with the issue.
UN WA LOK
Macao, Special Administrative Region
President and Director General, Language Exchange and Culture Promotion Association
Un Wa Lok is the president and director general of the Language Exchange and Culture Promotion Association (LECPA). The work of LECPA includes cultural education, multicultural integration, global citizenship education, and the promotion of United Nations international days and languages. In her role, Un Wa directs her team in organizing events, cultural-awareness campaigns, and activities that advocate for social changes in local communities, especially marginalized groups. In addition, Un Wa works at the Macau Productivity and Technology Transfer Center, managing projects to assist small and medium-sized enterprises with technical and vocational education and training. Un Wa is also a member of the UNESCO SDG4Youth Network. Un Wa’s goal is to raise awareness of global issues and cultivate global citizenship through the lens of culture.
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, PichaEats
Kim Lim is a co-founder and chief executive officer of PichaEats, a humanitarian venture on a mission to serve great meals while helping Malaysian refugees rebuild their lives. The organization identifies families with cooking skills, trains them to become professional chefs, assists with branding and marketing efforts, and coordinates the logistics so that the food can reach catering clients. Since its inception in 2016, PichaEats has collaborated with 35 chefs, catered 350,000 meals, and spurred 2.5 million Malaysian ringgit in profits for refugee families. Kim is passionate about how social entrepreneurship can become a tool to alleviate poverty, provide access to quality education, and restore dignity. She is determined to use business models to address the lack of access to jobs and education for refugees in Malaysia.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Project ID
Kelvin Tan is the founder and chief executive officer of Project ID, a social enterprise that promotes student leadership, social-emotional learning, and youth employment. As CEO, Kelvin oversees a staff of 12 in the implementation of career and leadership programs for young people in under-resourced communities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he collaborated with Teach For Malaysia to create soft-skill modules for distance learning in rural communities. As a classroom teacher, Kelvin experienced firsthand the inequities faced by students from low-income communities, which motivated him to launch Project ID. He believes that beyond academic performance, students must build critical soft skills and good mindsets to achieve success.
Co-Founder, Public Lab Mongolia
Tsenguun Tumurkhuyag is a co-founder and chair of Public Lab Mongolia, a youth-led organization that promotes youth involvement in accomplishing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals through community research, open data management, and environmental education programs. She is a passionate advocate for urban water security and is now working on Mongolia’s largest water focused project under the framework of the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Mongolia Water Compact. As a Sustainability Specialist at Millennium Challenge Account-Mongolia, Tsenguun contributes to design development, procurement, contract management, and stakeholder engagement of wide-ranging interventions that improve the long-term sustainability of Ulaanbaatar city water supplies. As part of her volunteering efforts, Tsenguun is working to establish the Mongolia Chapter of International Water Association’s Young Water Professionals.
Vice President and Researcher, Palau Community College Pacific Academic Institute for Research
Christopher Kitalong is a researcher with the Pacific Academic Institute for Research. Christopher applies his expertise in pharmacology to Palauan traditional plant medicines. This includes identifying plant species and exploring the origin and distribution of these plants, which results in the phytochemical, pharmacological, and clinical assessments of these herbal medicines. He is also vice president at Palau Community College. Christopher is focused on developing capacity in the Pacific to enhance the region’s community health and natural resources through cultural and modern scientific research. He is also passionate about training young members of the scientific community.
Papua New Guinea
Lawyer and Pro Bono Consultant, Ashurst PNG
Emma Minimbi is a lawyer and pro bono consultant with Ashurst PNG. She also practices law at Dowa & Piam Lawyers based in the Western Highlands Province. Emma leverages the law to work towards eradicating gender-based violence, sorcery accusation-related violence, and other forms of violence against women and girls in Papua New Guinea. Emma is also a public officer and chairperson of Roni Pingrui Community Development Association, an organization working to eliminate violence against women and provide equal opportunity for women and girls in Kintau Village and Wurup in Jiwaka Province. Emma aspires to establish a working National Human Rights Institution in Papua New Guinea for the long-term development of gender equality and human rights, with an inclusive focus on rural Papua New Guineans. She is driven by the belief that every woman and girl has a right to be free from gender-based violence, and that it can be achieved through the access to education and economic empowerment opportunities in a patrilineal society.
TRINA ALEJANDRA FIRMALO
Municipal Mayor, Municipal Government of Odiongan, Romblon
Trina Alejandra Firmalo is the municipal mayor of Odiongan, Romblon. She was elected in 2016 and has been re-elected twice in 2019 and 2022. Her previous roles include chief of staff at the Provincial Government of Romblon, as well as political affairs officer in the House of Representatives. During her tenure, Trina has focused on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the local public sector through training employees—professionalizing the civil service, and carrying out governmental reforms such as addressing the municipality’s personnel service excess and establishing formal, specialized offices. As a community leader, Trina values planning, consulting, and people’s participation. She is passionate about institutionalizing programs that ensure maximum impact and continuity, as well as empowering others to be leaders in their own groups and communities, especially women and young people.
EUGENIE NICOLE HUIBONHOA
Political writer, Senate of the Philippines
Eugenie Nicole Huibonhoa is a political writer in the Philippine Senate. In Eugenie’s role, she does speechwriting, policy communications, and research. The scope of her work covers health, education, labor, good governance, and human rights. She meets with youth constituents across the country to discuss the most pressing issues affecting them. She also helped organize and manage campaigns for the passage of landmark laws like the Mental Health Law, the Expanded Maternity Leave Law, and the Safe Spaces Act against sexual harassment in public spaces. Eugenie is passionate about achieving genuine social justice that is felt in the everyday lives of Filipinos. She is equally passionate about holding public officials accountable for the power that they hold.
ABU AL-RASHEED TANGGOL
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science and Director, Center for Local Governance Studies, Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology
Abu Al-Rasheed “Boggs” Tanggol is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, where he teaches courses in public administration, public policy, and peace and conflict resolution. He also serves as the director of the University’s Center for Local Governance Studies, which partners with local government units and national government agencies to provide demand-driven training and development initiatives to support government programs. Through various roles, Boggs has been involved in peace and conflict resolution since 2007 and in public policy since 2013. Boggs,a member of the Moro and Lumad Indigenous communities, is passionate about the right to self-determination for Indigenous peoples in Mindanao and improving governance and public policy in Mindanao.
Head of Social Programs, Bettr Group
Suyin Tay is the head of social programs for Bettr Group, an award-winning social enterprise dedicated to changing lives through coffee. The company uses holistic training programs— including mental, emotional, physical, and technical training—to support women and youth from economically and educationally oppressed backgrounds to launch careers in the specialty coffee industry and transform their lives. Her work in the Asia-Pacific region also includes serving as a curriculum design consultant for Generation, a non-profit founded by the McKinsey Social Initiative that connects education to sustainable livelihoods, and serving as a convenor of Singapore’s Youth Mental Wellbeing Network. She previously worked for the Ministry of Education, where she taught history and English literature as a Subject Head. She is profoundly committed to the human condition and interested in how interdisciplinary solutions can generate long-term change.
Partnerships and Policy Manager, Open Government Products
Shawn Ten is the Partnerships and Policy Manager at Open Government Products (OGP), an experimental technology unit of the Singapore Government. In this role, Shawn focuses on learning best practices in high-performing organizations and testing their methods for application in public service. He leads efforts to transform traditional work processes through the incorporation of design, technology, and entrepreneurial methodologies. Shawn also serves as the policy lead for a health care enterprise product that revolutionized workflows for an allied health profession in Singapore. In his personal time, he is a volunteer editor of The Birthday Book Junior, a program to foster creativity and encourage children ages five to twelve to become published authors. Shawn is dedicated to ensuring future generations aspire to contribute to the public good.
Business Development and Partnership Lead, Generation Thailand
Pin Kasemsiri is the business development and partnership lead for Generation Thailand, where she is working to expand partnerships and bridge the gap between employers and education institutions, serving the 250,000 graduates and 7 million people in Thailand at risk of losing their jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pin previously co-founded CareerVisa, a social startup and career resource center for more than 30 Thai colleges that supports over 10,000 young people in their professional journey. As an exchange student, Pin observed a shortfall in career service support in Thailand compared to other colleges abroad, which prompted her to develop a peer network of students to leverage and share employment resources from exchange institutions. She believes social entrepreneurship is a powerful tool to inspire individuals to make social change.
Project Officer, Mae Fah Luang Foundation
Cho Luangprasert is a project officer for Mae Fah Luang Foundation, a non-profit organization established to improve the quality of life for those living in poverty and deprived of opportunities in Thailand and Asia. He provides eco-friendly charcoal-burning technology to lychee farmers, creating a novel revenue stream. His work is a part of Roi Jai Rak project, a narcotics mitigation program that applies alternative development approaches to address drug trafficking in the Golden Triangle. Cho also established a community rice mill to match local demand with local supply, creating upstream price stability for Ito rice by buying rice at a 15 percent premium of farm-gate prices. By living in the communities he serves, Cho is working to establish a deep understanding of farmers’ lives and helping transform the agricultural sector in Thailand. He is passionate about reducing income inequality through structural change.
Founder & Executive Director, WildAct
Trang Nguyen is the founder and executive director of WildAct, a non-profit dedicated to inspiring, motivating, and empowering individuals to engage in science-based conservation of threatened species and ecosystems. Under her direction, WildAct launched Vietnam’s first-ever certificate course in conservation, and the program has 72 graduates to date. WildAct is the first organization in Vietnam to have a gender officer who works to mitigate and respond to gender-based violence in the conservation sector. Trang previously worked undercover with local authorities to apprehend wildlife traders in South Africa, Mozambique, Cameroon, and the Ivory Coast. She also wrote a conservation-themed children’s book published in the United States and nine other countries across the world. Trang is inspired by the belief that humans are fundamentally the solution, not the cause, of wildlife conservation efforts, and that people from all ages and different sectors can join hands to protect and conserve our natural world.