Rwitwika Bhattacharya is the CEO of Swaniti Initiative, a non-profit that delivers development solutions to elected officials. As the CEO of Swaniti, Rwitwika spearheads programs to support parliamentarians and legislators in constituency management and knowledge creation of development issues. Prior to Swaniti, Bhattacharya was working at the World Bank on labour economics as an Associate. She has worked for organizations like UNFPA and FICCI in the past. She is a graduate of Harvard Kennedy School’s Master’s in Public Policy program and Wake Forest University’s Political Science Program. Her publications include Frontiers in Development Policy: A Prime in Labor Policies (World Bank, 2011) and Global Business School Network (Harvard Business Publishing, 2011). She frequently blogs for the Times of India.
Rakhi Paliwal is only 23 years old but she is a pioneer in her community. Not only is Rakhi the youngest Vice President of the Upli-Oden Panchayat, Khamnore Block in Rajsamand district of Rajasthan, but also the first woman in her community who has studied law and drives a motorcycle.
Rakhi travelled 50 kilometres every day to attend her law college in Udaipur and is determined to ensure no one in her village defecates in public. Currently, more than 50 per cent of her village does not have access to private toilets. Today, Rakhi is active in social media, where she regularly shares her Panchayat activities and hopes to create websites and connect all the Panchayats in Khamnore virtually. She wants her Panchayat to achieve complete sanitation standards by the end of 2013.
Kushagra Priyadarshi is a lawyer who made a transition from mainstream transaction lawyering into the policy space, an area until now dominated by bureaucrats and economists. He is presently working with the Ministry of Finance in India. Last year, the Ministry initiated the biggest financial sector reform in the country’s history. As an ardent policy enthusiast, a significant part of Kushagra’s professional life is taken up by this project. Prior to his stint with the Ministry, he was working as a Senior Associate with Amarchand & Mangaldas, India’s premier law firm. At Amarchand, Kushagra was involved in several high value M&A, PE and financing transactions. In particular, he advised two biggest Indian conglomorates in their multi-billion dollar restructuring plan.
Kushagra read for a graduate degree in law from the Harvard Law School and completed his undergrad from the National Institute of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata. He is also a compulsive swimmer and when he is not working he is busy reading philosophy and has recently acquired a penchant for learning Urdu.
A sustainability geek by profession, an actor by heart, and an entrepreneur in the making, Himanshu is engaged with the Planning Commission as a project leader, tasked with creating a sustainable and an Import Independence pathway for India by 2047, marking 100 years of India’s independence, through his project India Energy Security Scenarios – 2047.
The project has been nominated for the Prime Minister’s Civil Services Award. Having worked with Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Mr. B.K. Chaturvedi during his tenure at the Planning Commission, Himanshu has already authored a chapter in the 12th Five Year Plan of India, thus becoming the youngest to do so. He has been deeply associated with the US Department of Energy and the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change in the capacity of project manager responsible for organizing various multilateral and bilateral dialogues between India and other countries.
He is an Electrical Engineering graduate from IIT Kharagpur and has worked with the French Nuclear Power Major, Areva, in the past. He runs an India-wide network of energy professionals, YEC, with a membership base of 900 in 8 months. Himanshu also provides pro-bono consulting to Akshara Theatre, one of the oldest theatres in India.
Elected to Government in 2010, Rebecca held the portfolios of Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and for the Cost of Living, and was promoted to the role of Minister for Human Services in 2014. In these roles, Rebecca developed and launched a Small Business Strategy for Tasmania that provided programs and support for small business to increase market share and reduce costs. Rebecca also worked to develop a Cost of Living Strategy for Tasmania, the first state in Australia to do so. This strategy used compressive research to develop an evidence base for the implementation of a range of programs aimed at helping people manage their cost of living expenses.In the role of Minister for Human Services, Rebecca helped develop policy the Labor party took to the March 2014 state election outlining ways to improve participation in the workforce for vulnerable Tasmanians as well as continuing to support disability and housing clients of the Tasmanian Government. Since the March 2014 election, Rebecca has held the portfolio of Shadow Minister for Health and Human Services in the Labor opposition in the Tasmanian Parliament.
Rebecca graduated from the University of Tasmania in 2004 with a combined Commerce and Arts degree with majors in international business management and marketing, journalism and political science.
Nina has a background in foreign affairs with a focus on China and she is currently employed as an adviser in the office of Tanya Plibersek, Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development. Nina is originally from Pennsylvania in the US where she studied Mandarin Chinese, East Asian Studies and Mathematics as an undergraduate at Bryn Mawr College. After finishing her first degree, Nina ran a study abroad program based in Beijing for a subsidiary of National Geographic, CET Academic Programs.
Following a relocation from China to Australia in 2010, Nina spent three years working closely with Prof Allan Fels on the design and development of international programs at the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) aimed at senior officials from China, India and the Pacific. In 2013, she completed her Master’s degree in International Relations at the University of Melbourne for which a research component and thesis focused on Chinese investment in arable land in Africa.
Cordell works for the Trade branch of the State Government of Victoria. This team facilitates Victorian exports and attracts investment through the development of trade strategies to key markets such as India,China and South East Asia.
Cordell holds a Bachelor of Arts in French and International Studies and a Master of International Relations, both from the University of Melbourne. During his undergraduate degree, he spent a year studying at Sciences Po in Paris. Cordell also completed the Graduate Studies Program at the United Nations in Geneva and a security studies intensive at the University of Delhi.
Cordell is the tutor for the subject ‘Contemporary India’, run by the Australia India Institute at the University of Melbourne, where he also teaches a course in International Politics. In 2013, Cordell completed the Australia Indonesia Youth Exchange Program and co-founded the Melbourne University Indonesian Studies and Language Association. Cordell speaks French and is currently learning Bahasa Indonesia. He grew up near Byron Bay where he enjoyed stories of his parents’ adventures in India, often over a cup of chai.
Dr. Andrew Charlton was Senior Economic Adviser to the Prime Minister and Australia’s senior representative to the G20 Leaders Forum from 2008 to 2010. He previously worked for the London School of Economics and the United Nations and received his doctorate in economics from Oxford University. His research covering international economics, trade and development has been published in leading international journals including the American Economic Review, World Trade Review and World Economy.
He is the author of two books, Fair Trade for All, (Oxford University Press, 2005), co-authored with Joseph Stiglitz, and Ozonomics (Random House Australia, 2007), and two quarterly essays ‘Man-Made World’ (2011) and ‘Dragon’s Tail’ (2014). Since 2010, he has worked in various commercial roles for Wesfarmers Ltd. In 2011, he was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
Alistair is a Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory and represents the electorate of Ginninderra. Alistair is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and holds the following shadow portfolios: Planning and Infrastructure; Transport; Urban Services; and Heritage. He was first elected to the Assembly in 2008 and re-elected in 2012. Prior to his election, Alistair worked as an Adviser at the National Headquarters of the Returned and Services League of Australia. Alistair has a Bachelor of Commerce from the Australian National University. He is married and has one child.
Alex Kats has over 15 years’ experience working in and around Australian government institutions, and has worked in all three tiers of government. He is currently the Project Manager for Workforce and International Development at Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA), a leading professional association representing the local government sector across the country. In recent years, he co-wrote a national strategy on future-proofing local government, and has organised annual forums on combating skills shortages and enhancing Indigenous employment in the sector. He has also co-written reports on matters of diversity in the local government sector, including the use of language, literacy and numeracy in regional areas, and mature age talent retention. He has also started working with partner organisations to develop capacity-building programs for local government officials across the Asia-Pacific region.
This comes on the back of nearly five years at the Australian APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Study Centre, where he organised many more than 30 AusAID and other government-funded capacity development and best practice programs in Australia and across. Alex was also involved in activities associated with Australia hosting APEC in 2007. Previously, he worked for a federal MP, both in Melbourne and in Canberra, as an advisor, speech writer and coordinator of many of the committees that the MP was on. He has also lived in London, New York and Jerusalem for short periods, where he worked for government departments and other public sector institutions.
Alex has been an active volunteer within the Jewish community and at large communal events, including international film and writer’s festivals and sporting events such as the Sydney Olympics and Melbourne Commonwealth Games. In 2011 he was selected as a participant on the Young Professionals Services and Leadership Trip to India, following which he worked temporarily at the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, co-organising the then Premier’s State Visit to India.