LeadNext: Ambassadors for a Global Future

The 2023 LeadNext fellows from Asia and the United States visited Stanford University in July 2023.
Group of young people posing for the camera The 2023 LeadNext fellows with Amanda Minami (front center); photo courtesy Nicole Ripley.

At the invitation of Nicole Ripley, Senior Program Officer of Leadership and Exchange Programs at The Asia Foundation, I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with the 2023 LeadNext fellows from across Asia and the United States on July 18, 2023. LeadNext is made possible by Amanda Minami, who has provided seed money for the initial three years of the program. According to The Asia Foundation website, the LeadNext Fellows: Ambassadors for a Global Future program is described as follows:

LeadNext builds a vibrant network of future leaders aged 18–25 from across Asia and the United States and supports their growth, impact, and capacity to address today’s greatest challenges.

With the profound structural changes that will transform geopolitics, global governance, the global economic order, and social landscape over the next decade, a new generation of globally minded leaders is imperative. The LeadNext program equips emerging leaders across cultures and disciplines with strong international networks, exposure to wide-ranging experiences, and leadership tools to thoughtfully steer the future.

Harnessing the innovation and energy of young leaders is essential. Positive and lasting change will depend on leaders who can move ideas and action forward to address rising inequality, find solutions to climate crises, mitigate conflict, and empower communities most vulnerable and insecure.


Young people listening to a presentation


There are four components of the LeadNext program: Leadership Training Intensive, Monthly Virtual Masterclasses, Global Leaders Summit, and Mentorship. The LeadNext fellows’ visit to Stanford, depicted in the photo above, was part of the culminating Global Leaders Summit. (Photo courtesy Nicole Ripley.) Prior to my talk on “What does it mean to be a global citizen?,” I had the chance to listen to self-introductions of the 20 LeadNext fellows, half of whom come from across the Asia-Pacific region and the other half from the United States. I was delighted to learn that several of them focus their work on educational issues that are also areas of focus of SPICE.

Phạm Nguyễn Đức Anh, from Vietnam, is a Leadership Development Fellow with Teach for Viet Nam in a rural secondary school and is focused on inequality and non-inclusion in the education ecosystem. Weeryue Chiapaoyue, from Laos, is a co-founder of the WESHARE Project, a fundraising program to provide supplies to underprivileged schools. Linda Kim, from the United States, promotes STEM careers at low-income high schools and represented her company at the 2022 One Young World Summit. Mohammad Tanvirul Hasan, from Bangladesh, advocates for youth leadership and education. And Samantha Powell, from the United States, supports Evanston public school students. During the session at Stanford and at a dinner reception later in the week, I felt so much energy from the LeadNext fellows. I agree with the LeadNext description above that “Harnessing the innovation and energy of young leaders is essential.”

I hope that there will be opportunities in the future for SPICE to partner with or support Phạm Nguyễn Đức Anh, Weeryue Chiapaoyue, Linda Kim, Mohammad Tanvirul Hasan, and Samantha Powell in their work with students and schools, and also ways to encourage some of my colleagues at FSI to collaborate with other LeadNext fellows.

A list of the 2023 LeadNext fellows follows: 
•    Phạm Nguyễn Đức Anh, Vietnam
•    Prakriti Basyal, Nepal 
•    Mel Britt, United States 
•    Weeryue Chiapaoyue, Laos
•    Temuulen Enkhbat, Mongolia
•    Andrew Farias, United States 
•    Ayesha Noor Fatima, Pakistan
•    Zeruiah Grammon, Papua New Guinea 
•    Mohammad Tanvirul Hasan, Bangladesh
•    Lorena James, United States 
•    Nishtha Kashyap, India 
•    Linda Kim, United States
•    Natalie Montecino, United States, 
•    Samantha Powell, United States
•    Brendan Schultz, United States 
•    Jia-Kai Eric Yeh Scott, United States
•    Melinda Anne Sharlini, Malaysia 
•    Edris Tajik, Afghanistan
•    Chenxi Zi, China


Two people standing next to each other


The LeadNext visit to Stanford was led by Nicole Ripley (person on the right) and Tessa Charupatanapongse (person on the left), Asia Foundation Program Associate; photo courtesy Nicole Ripley. I share their academic interests in global studies and international education development, respectively. I also hope to expand our collaborative work, and am so grateful to Nicole for her invitation to meet with the LeadNext fellows. 

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