Melbourne, August 23: The Asia Society today announced the members of the 2017 class of Asia 21, the Asia-Pacific’s foremost network of young leaders.

Among the 30 young professionals residing in 21 countries were Indians Raheel Khursheed and Jhuma Sen.

Both of them along with 3 other South Asian leaders will be recognized during a 3-day Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit in Melbourne, to be held from November 29.

The organization selected individuals who represent the next generation of leaders in government, business, arts, media and the non-profit sector. Young leaders are selected through a highly competitive process based on outstanding achievement, commitment to public service and a proven ability to make the world a better place.

“Asia 21 really brings to life Asia Society’s mission to build bridges of understanding across the Asia-Pacific region, across different sectors and between Asia and the world,” said Asia Society president and chief executive Josette Sheeran in a statement.

“Our goal is not just to recognize the amazing work these young leaders are doing, but to connect them to one another so that they can take on some of the biggest challenges facing the Asia-Pacific region today,” she said.

Khursheed heads news partnerships for Twitter in India and Southeast Asia. In this role, he leads the development and rollout of civic tech products — such as Twitter Seva, Twitter Samvad and SmartFeed — that democratize information, help governments perform their jobs with accountability and transparency and enable meaningful citizen engagement.

Khursheed’s innovative product and partnerships work — from Twitter SMS alerts to live data on national television have dramatically altered how elections and politics are narrated in India, the Asia Society said.

He previously served as director of communications for India at, leading an effective strategy that seeded petitioning as an organizing tool, and organized the “Stop Rape” campaign that helped change rape laws in India, the organization added.

A cross-platform journalist and storyteller, Khursheed has worked in, written, produced, and broken stories for outlets such as Vice and PBS.

He has had the rare distinction of winning the 2017 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellowship at Harvard and the 2017 Yale World Fellowship in the same academic year, his bio noted.

“Throughout my life, the purpose of my leadership has been located in public service with an emphasis on democratizing information. I have been guided by my passion for organizing information so that it can be used by those who need it the most,” Khursheed said in the organization’s news release.

Sen is an assistant professor and assistant director at the Centre for Human Rights Studies at Jindal Global Law School. She is also the convener of the Indian Feminist Judgment Project — a project that writes alternative judgments using a feminist lens.

She was part of a judicial commission to recommend changes in laws related to sexual violence after the Delhi gang rape in 2013, and she has consistently worked at the intersection of gender, law, courts and constitutionalism.

Among other appointments, Sen has served as an associate with the Chambers of the Indian Supreme Court and the Calcutta High Court.

Sen holds an undergraduate law degree from Symbiosis Law School in Pune and a postgraduate law degree from U.C. Berkeley.

She has also been an American Association of University Women’s International Fellow, a member of Translocal Law Research Group at King’s College in London and a researcher with a Harvard University South Asia Institute project titled “The 1947 Partition of British India: Humanitarian and Demographic Consequences,” he bio said.

Additionally, she has been a visiting fellow with Cornell Law School, the Erik Castren Institute in Helsinki and the National University of Singapore.

 “Leadership is neither in leading, nor following, but in actively resisting, persisting, and never giving up”, Sen said.

Also selected as part of the 2017 class were Kushal Gurung of Nepal, Shougat Nazbin Khan of Bangladesh and Sana Mir of Pakistan.

Asia 21, now in its 12th year, has grown into a network of more than 800 young leaders from 40 nations, working together to shape a brighter future for the Asia-Pacific region.

Shalini Singh


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