SINGAPORE – Two Singapore based businessmen, Jeffrey Lu and Vivek Salgaocar, are in the Forum of Young Global Leaders Class of 2020, a community of global leaders under the age of 40.

Alongside them are 112 activists, academics, executives and political leaders from 51 countries.

Started in 2004 by World Economic Forum (WEF) founder Klaus Schwab, the Forum of Young Global Leaders focuses on addressing complex social issues such as conserving natural resources, connecting refugees to the global economy, and addressing global health issues.

Originally from the US, Mr Lu, 35, is currently the CEO and co-Founder of Engine Biosciences and director of biotech firm Enleofen.

Hailing from India, Mr Salgaocar, 33, is a director at the Vimson Group, a family-owned conglomerate with interests in mineral resources, real estate and financial services.

“It’s humbling to be included among such an illustrious global community of young leaders that represents a confluence of industry, thought leadership, policy, and advocacy,” he told The Straits Times in an interview.

“I look forward to drawing on this experience to help me work towards my goals of making a positive, sustainable impact on the mining and natural resources industries,” he added.

The Forum of Young Global Leaders boasts a growing membership of more than 1,300 members and alumni.

Some of its more illustrious past members include tech titan Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba, Mr Jimmy Wales, founder of online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, and actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

Nobel Prize winner in economics, Dr Michael Kremer, as well as prominent human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, wife of Hollywood star George Clooney, also feature on the list of alumni.

The WEF said the Class of 2019 travelled to Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp to provide entrepreneurship training to refugees and also managed to secure an US$80 million (S$111 million) grant to improve the livelihoods of nine million people in emerging markets.

Mr Lu and Mr Salgaocar will join the new class in a five-year programme, which kicked off on Wednesday (March 11) and includes executive education courses, group expeditions and opportunities to collaborate with a trusted network of peers.

Included in this year’s diverse group are other representatives from Asia such as Mr Chew Shou Zi, president of international business for electronic giant Xiaomi, Ms Grace Natalie Louisa, co-Founder of the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI), and Mr Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs in Pakistan.

Head of the Forum of Young Global Leaders Mariah Levin at the WEF hopes that this year’s class will create positive ripple effects that will benefit the international community.

“In response to a startling decline in trust in leadership over the past decade, these Young Global Leaders inspire the world through their dynamism, passion and integrity,” she said.

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