Past World Fellows


ElsaMarie DSilva

ElsaMarie D’Silva is an Indian gender activist and is the Founder and CEO of Red Dot Foundation (Safecity) and is President of Red Dot Foundation Global. Safecity is a platform that crowdsources personal stories of sexual harassment and abuse in public spaces. This data gets aggregated as hot spots on a map indicating trends at a local level. Since Safecity started in December 2012, it has become the largest crowd map on the issue in India, Kenya, Cameroon and Nepal.  ElsaMarie is listed as one of BBC Hindi’s 100 Women and has won the Vital Voices Global Leadership Award, Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Niti Aayog’s #WomenTransformingIndia award and SheThePeople’s Digital Woman Award in Social Impact. Prior to Safecity, ElsaMarie worked in the aviation industry for 20 years as Vice President of Network Planning and Charters for Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines.


Parmesh Sahani

Parmesh heads the Godrej India Culture Lab, an experimental ideas space in Mumbai working at the intersection of academia, business and the creative industries to explore what it means to be modern and Indian. He also serves as the Editor-at-Large for Verve Magazine India, and is author of the book “Gay Bombay: Globalization, Love and (Be)Longing in Contemporary India.” Parmesh is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, a TED Fellow, an MIT ‘Futures of Entertainment’ Fellow, and a Utrecht University-Impakt Fellow. He holds a Master’s degree in Comparative Media Studies from MIT.

Nandita Das

Nandita is an award-winning Indian film actor and director who has leveraged her international profile to campaign on social issues concerning women, children and marginalized communities. She was the first Indian to be inducted into the International Women’s Forum Hall of Fame for her contributions to the arts. Firaaq, Nandita’s directorial debut feature film, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2008 and has traveled to over 50 festivals and won more than 20 awards. She was a member of the main jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005 and 2013 and the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2007. In 2008, she received the Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres award from the French government. In 2013, she supported the Dark is Beautiful campaign: an effort to draw attention to the unjust effects of skin color bias in India and previously served as Chairperson of the Children’s Film Society in India, working to further its vision of producing and distributing high quality films for children. Prior to launching her film career, Nandita earned her Masters in Social Work from University of Delhi and worked with several NGOs. She writes a monthly column for The Week magazine in India and has just completed work as an actor in a Spanish film, shot in Mumbai and Barcelona with an all-female crew.


Prodyut Bora

Bora is an Indian politician currently serving as a National Executive Member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), India’s principal opposition party. Previously, he was State General Secretary for BJP Assam, the National Convener of BJP’s Information Technology Cell, and a member of BJP’s National Media Cell. He directed a private software company for six years before entering politics.

Abhik Sen

Sen is a managing editor at The Economist Group in London, where he leads research and analysis on a range of issues influencing public policy, economic development and business across the world. Previously, he was an editor at Bloomberg. Sen has also worked as a journalist in Asia and headed the international operations of one of India’s leading media organizations. He is a trustee on the boards of two British charities active in the education and arts sectors.


Janam Mukherjee

Janam Mukherjee is a Program Fellow in Agrarian Studies for 2012-2013. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in the History and Anthropology Program in 2011. Dr. Mukherjee will spend his fellowship year at the program refining his dissertation, entitled “Hungry Bengal: War, Famine, Riots, and the End of Empire 1939-1946”, into a scholarly publication. His work looks at the interconnected events of this time period through the lens of hunger to reconstruct a complex account of the of India’s journey to independence.

Ayush Chauhan

Co-founder and Managing Director, Quicksand Chauhan heads up a multi-disciplinary design and innovation consultancy working at the intersection of business, development, and culture. He is also a Partner at the Box Collective, where he conceptualized and launched UnBox, the first interdisciplinary festival in Delhi bringing together leading voices from across the world for inspiration, debate and reflection.

Ruchi Yadav (India) 
Senior Program Officer, The Hunger Project 
With a background in advertising, human rights, and the women’s movement in India, Yadav’s focus is to empower elected women representatives at the grassroots level as key change agents in local institutions of government across seven states in India.


Alexander Evans

Alexander Evans is a Senior Fellow at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and a counselor in the British diplomatic service with particular expertise on South Asia. He has worked at the Department of State as senior advisor to Ambassador Marc Grossman, and previously to the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He focused on U.S.-Pakistan relations and developing a political process in Afghanistan. He was appointed an officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2010 and is currently the Henry A. Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy at the Library of Congress. During his fellowship at Yale, he will teach courses on diplomacy and US foreign policy in South Asia.

Monika Halan

Editor, Mint Money
Monika Halan is editor of India’s second largest business newspaper, Mint Money, which has an exclusive partnership with the Wall Street Journal. She is a media personality well-known for her financial expertise.

Sonali Kochhar

Medical Director, India, Institute for OneWorld Health. 
A medical doctor and clinical researcher, Sonali Kochhar leads efforts to develop safe, affordable, and accessible drugs and vaccines for diseases prevalent in the developing world, including HIV/AIDS. She previously served as Medical Director for the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative.

Habib Ur Rahman (Afghanistan)

Head, Center for Regional Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
An influential policy maker, Habib Ur Rahman has been a senior advisor in the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development.

Chrishan Thuraisingham (Sri Lanka)

Senior Fund Portfolio Manager, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria 
A public health financing specialist with a background in international capital markets, Chrishan Thuraisingham manages a $500 million portfolio of grants across Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, and East Timor for the Global Fund.

Adrien Couton (France)

CEO, Naandi Community Water Services
As CEO of the largest operator of community water systems in India, Adrien Couton is applying entrepreneurial solutions to water challenges. He previously managed the Acumen Fund’s global water and agriculture portfolios.