Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani was today named Young Global Leader from India by the World Economic Forum (WEF), which said she “rose from sweeping floors in a fast food restaurant to become a top politician in India”.
Others who have been named Young Global Leader (YGL) in the past include British Prime Minister David Cameron, Alibaba Group chief Jack Ma, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Google chief Larry Page, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
In the list of 187 YGLs for 2015 from across the world, Irani is accompanied by 10 other Indians, including Gaurav Gogoi, an MP and son of Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
Announcing its latest list of YGLs, WEF said these leaders join “a community which has been growing in significance since it began 10 years ago.
“Current and former YGLs include 11 heads of state and government, 10 heads of Fortune 500 companies, 15 UN Goodwill Ambassadors, six Guinness World Record holders, four Oscar winners, three Olympic gold medallists, two Nobel Prize winners and an astronaut,” it added.
About Irani, WEF said she is a leader “who rose from sweeping floors in a fast food restaurant to become a top politician in India and the youngest member of the Narendra Modi cabinet”.
Every year, the WEF releases a list of outstanding young leaders, aged below 40 years, from around the world “for their professional accomplishments, commitment to society and potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world”.
There were 18 young global leaders in South Asia, out of which 11 were from India.
Besides, Smriti Irani and Gaurav Gogoi, other Indians in the list include, IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh; Ashish Goyal Portfolio Manager at Bluecrest Capital; GMR Group’s Kiran Kumar Grandhi; Krithi Karanth ED Centre for Wildlife Studies; Neha Kirpal Founder and Director India Art Fair and Shalini Puchalapalli CEO Lehar Foods (Pepsi).
Other Indians on the list are Shweta Punj, Associate Editor India Today Group/Co-Founder at Whypoll; Bain and Company’s Prashant Sarin and Ameera Shah Managing Director and CEO Metropolis Healthcare.
“The class of 2015, together with the community over the past 10 years, shows how the future of business and public leadership is becoming more gender-equal, more geographically diverse, more varied in its expertise and is challenging established ways to get things done,” John Dutton Director and Head of the Young Global Leaders Community at WEF said.
A third of this year’s Young Global Leaders (YGLs) come from Asia and about half come from emerging economies. The list of YGLs has a strong representation from women leaders and is split 50-50 between business and non-profit sectors.
The list includes 23 from East Asia, 17 from Greater China, 39 from Europe, 13 from Latin America, 16 from the Middle East and North Africa, 44 from North America, 18 from South Asia and 17 from sub-Saharan Africa.