Two Visionary Women Named ‘Asia 21 Young Leaders’

NEW YORK –  Two visionary women from the Philippines have been named by Asia Society as members of the 2017 class of Asia 21, the Asia-Pacific’s foremost network of young leaders.

Cherrie Atilano and Eleanor Rosa Pinugu are among the thirty professionals from 21 countries that were selected, representing the next generation of leaders in government, business, arts, media, and the nonprofit sector. They will travel to Melbourne, Australia in December for the Asia 21’s annual summit, where they will meet members of the 2017 class from 20 other countries as well as Asia 21 alumni. The goal of the summit is to explore opportunities for collaboration to create positive impact and change across the Asia-Pacific region.

Atilano is the founder and CEO of AGREA Agricultural Systems International, Inc., an agro-social enterprise that aims to help eradicate poverty for farming and fishing families in order to alleviate the effectiveness of climate change and establish food security in the Philippines. AGREA has been mobilizing communities, businesses, academia, local and national governments, and international partners to bring an “Ecology of Dignity” to farming and fishing communities on the island of Marinduque.  Previously, Atilano worked as a consultant with the Department of Agrarian Reform in the Philippines and helped to form a cooperative of 241 smallholder farmers in the country.

She is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper and Advisory Board Committee Member. She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneur in 2017, The Outstanding Women in Nation’s Service Award in 2016, and Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines in 2007, among others. She graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s in horticulture from Visayas State University.

Pinugu founded Mano Amiga Academy, a sustainable nonprofit school designed to provide high-quality education and development services to low-income communities. She is also the co-founder of Bistro 3846, a social enterprise that provides healthy meals to school children, employs the parents of the Mano Amiga students, and donates its profits to the Mano Amiga scholarship fund. Pinugu’s vision is to make quality education accessible to all children. She was named a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum and was chosen to speak at the IdeasLab session at the 2012 WEF annual meeting in Davos, where she received a grant of $10,000 from the Good Planet Foundation.

She is also one of the youngest recipients of The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service — considered the most prestigious award for women in the Philippines. Pinugu received her bachelor’s degree from Ateneo De Manila University and holds a postgraduate certificate in sustainable business value chains from the University of Cambridge.

“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 CEO Josette Sheeran. “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.”

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. Asia 21 alumni are proven leaders representing a variety of professional backgrounds and serve as mentors and potential collaborators. Filipino alumni include former Senator Paolo Benigno ‘Bam’ Aquino IV, Teach for the Philippines CEO Clarissa Delgado, IP Ventures CEO Jaime Enrique Y. Gonzales, and Bantay.ph co-founder Henry Motte-Munoz.

The members of the 2017 class are:

  • Cherrie Atilano (Philippines), founder, president, and CEO, Agrea Agricultural Systems International, Inc.
    Jieun Baek (U.S.), PhD candidate studying early dissenters in authoritarian countries, Oxford University
    Battushig Batbold (Mongolia), chairman of the board, Altai Holding LLC
    Serey Chea (Cambodia), director general, National Bank of Cambodia
    Robin Chiang (Taiwan/ Australia), venture partner, Welkin Capital Management
    Kushal Gurung (Nepal), founder and CEO, WindPower Nepal
    Asuka Hamakawa (Japan), executive director and co-founder, Earth Company
    Sayed Zafar Hashemi (Afghanistan), political counselor, Embassy of Afghanistan, Washington, DC
    Melissa Jardine (Australia), board director, Global Law Enforcement & Public Health Association
    Shougat Khan (Bangladesh), founder and chairperson, H.A. Foundation
    Raheel Khursheed (India), head of news partnerships for India and Southeast Asia, Twitter
    Sasibai Kimis (Malaysia), managing partner, Earth Heir
    Tenzing Lamsang (Bhutan), founder, CEO and editor-in-chief, The Bhutanese Newspaper
    Chenhui Liu (China), co-founder and COO, Apricot Forest
    Henry Makeham (Australia), associate, Linklaters LLP
    Sana Mir (Pakistan), captain, Pakistan national women’s cricket team
    “Allen” Ali Mohammadi (Iran), CEO and co-founder, Hippogriff AB
    June Park (South Korea), postdoctoral fellow specializing in U.S. foreign economic policymaking in Northeast Asia, National University of Singapore
    Cheryl Perera (Canada), founder and president, OneChild
    Eleanor Rosa Pinugu (Philippines), founder, Mano Amiga Academy
    Ruangroj “Krating” Poonpol (Thailand), managing partner, 500 TukTuks
    Shameer Rasooldeen (Sri Lanka), host, “Face the Nation”
    Santitarn Sathirathai (Thailand), head of emerging Asia economics research, Credit Suisse
    Jhuma Sen (India), assistant professor, Jindal Global Law School
    Sim Chi Yin (Singapore), photographer and filmmaker
    Mark Switkowski (Australia), executive director, Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Victorian State Government, Australia
    Yeganeh Torbati (U.S.), journalist, Reuters
    Guan Wang (China), news anchor and chief political reporter, CGTN
    Eugene Yi (U.S.), co-founder, Cortico
    Zhao Zhong (China), founder and board director, Green Camel Bell

This year’s Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit, presented in partnership with the Victorian Government, will convene in Melbourne, Australia from November 29 – December 1. Under the theme World Disrupted: Asia’s Future, members of the 2017 class and Asia 21 alumni will draw upon their combined expertise to generate creative, multidisciplinary approaches to shared challenges. They will share best practices in leadership and explore opportunities for collaboration to effect positive impact and change across the Asia-Pacific.

Asia 21 alumni are proven leaders representing a variety of professional backgrounds and serve as mentors and potential collaborators. They include CNN India Bureau Chief Ravi Agrawal; Siam Commercial Bank Executive Vice President Sutapa Amornvivat; former Philippines Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; Herald Corporation Chairman Ryan Hong; Moby Group Chairman Saad Mohseni; Academy Award-winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy; Rockefeller Foundation President Rajiv Shah; Afghan Ambassador to Australia Wahidullah Waissi; YTL Singapore Executive Director Ruth Yeoh; and Bank of America Merrill Lynch Head of Global Equities Distribution Soofian Zuberi.

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