The members of the Board of Directors are:
President: Mrs. Rajita Kulkarni
Rajita is a humanitarian, an educationist, a writer, a leadership coach and a global leader. She is the President of the World Forum for Ethics in Business and a Board member in a number of non-governmental organisations at an Indian national and international level.
She helps organisations globally to achieve excellence in governance, finance and administration. She is committed to create global advocacy to inspire individuals and corporations to embrace an ethical way of life. She has been instrumental in leading a number of action-oriented initiatives towards this goal.
Apart from global responsibility of WFEB, her key current projects include the launch of the prestigious Sri Sri University in India, global design and roll out of the Transformational Leadership for EXcellence program that enables leaders to unleash their full potential and overseeing the administration of over 510 educational institutions that reach education to over 6,000 children (including schools, a college of journalism, a college of Ayurveda and an MBA school). Of these 421 are free schools reaching free education and mid day meals to 43,450 children in 12 states of India.
Her expertise lies in leading large, multicultural, multi country, diverse teams to unleash their full potential and fulfill their vision. She is a certified leadership coach and has trained CEO’s, current and ex Heads of Governments, Parliamentarians among others to sharpen their leadership skills towards creating increased public value.
She travels the world addressing various international fora to advocate the message of excellence, ethics and human values. Before committing her life to society five years ago, Rajita was a banker for 18 years with Citi. She held many international leadership positions in her career, last of which was Asia Pacific Head for Customer Advocacy and Training for the Retail Assets Business where her portfolio responsibility was annual revenues of 750 million US dollars, 16,000 employees and over 800 branches across 12 countries.
Considered an expert in her field of Leadership training and coaching, she designed 85 management exercises and learning tools. She has won 17 awards for professional excellence in her field and has done training and development for over 100,000 participants from over 50 countries.
Mr. Nirj Deva
Former Member of European Parliament, United Kingdom
Nirj Deva was born in Sri Lanka and holds Sri Lankan and British citizenship. He has a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He became in 1981, Chairman of the Bow Group (leading British political think-tank).
He was appointed Chairman of the Department of Transport/National Consumer Council Committee on Deregulation of Air Transport. This resulted in low-fare airlines in Europe.
In 1992, Deva was elected as Member of the House of Commons, and in 1999 as Conservative Member of the European Parliament, where he is vice-chairman of the Delegation for Relations with the Countries of South Asia, and member of the Committee on Overseas Development and Cooperation and the Foreign Affairs Committee.
He is a Fellow of Britain’s Royal Society of Arts, Hon. Life President of the EU-India Chamber of Commerce, and Patron of the International Monarchist League. Deva has backed many important education and health issues. In April 2005, he was Chairman of the European Parliament’s delegation to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development in New York, and delivered a paper on the future of the United Nations at the US Council on Foreign Relations.
Mr. Roland Glaser
Former CEO Minerva Schools, Switzerland
Roland Glaser is born and raised in Switzerland and holds a degree in history and mathematics from the University of Basel, Switzerland. From 1965 till 2002 he served as CEO and owner of the Minerva Schools Switzerland and helped to make it one of Switzerland’s biggest and most recognized private schools.
Mr. Ram Lakhina
Chairman, Netherlands India Chamber of Commerce and Trade (NICCT)
Ram Lakhina is the Founder and Executive President of the Netherlands-India Chamber of Commerce & Trade (NICCT). Earlier he was the President of the Indo Dutch Chamber of Commerce from 1979 to 2001.
He was the first Chairman of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO). He drafted the constitution of GOPIO and steered its adoption by the world body.
In 1980 he created the Foundation for Critical Choices for India to mobilize intellectual and material resources of Non-residential Indians/People of Indian Origin for identifying critical problems facing India and for suggesting policy options for the solution of those problems. He was the President of the Foundation from 1983 to 1991 and then again from 1994 to 2003. He is the President Emeritus of this organization at present.
The publishers of “The Indian”, based in Hong Kong, have named Ram Lakhina as one of the ‘100 Global Indians – luminaries, achievers and entrepreneurs’
Ms. Abha Joshi-Ghani
Senior Adviser, Infrastructure, Public-Private Partnerships and Guarantees, The World Bank
Abha Joshi-Ghani is currently Senior Adviser for Public Private Partnerships, Infrastructure Analytics and Guarantees at The World Bank. Prior to this she was Director for Leadership, Learning and Innovation at the Bank where she led the launching of the Bank’s Open Learning Campus, an online learning platform, and a series of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), exponentially expanding learning and capacity building for Bank staff and clients. She is the former head of Global Urban Development Practice at the World Bank where she led the Bank’s Strategy on Urban and Local Development. From 2016-2019 she was the Co-chair of the Global Future Council on the Future of Cities and Urbanization for the World Economic Forum with a focus on Smart Cities and City Innovations. She is coeditor of The Urban Imperative: Towards Competitive Cities, with Professor Edward Glaeser (Oxford University Press, 2014). Ms Joshi-Ghani has had a long career with the World Bank and has worked primarily on infrastructure finance and urban development in South and East Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. She has an M.Phil in Management and Finance from the University of Oxford.
Mr. Jo Leinen
Former Member of European Parliament
Jo Leinen was born in the Saarland at the German-French border. He concentrated on laws and economics at the Universities of Saarbrücken and Bonn. He continued his studies at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium and the Institute for World Affairs located in Connecticut, USA. Leinen began his career as a legal trainee at the Higher Regional Court Koblenz and soon after became a well-established lawyer in Freiburg/Breisgau. Before becoming an MEP, Jo Leinen was Minister for the Environment in the State Government of Saarland, Germany from 1985-1994. From November 1994 until September 1999, he played the triple role of Chairman of the Committee for European Affairs in the State Parliament of Saarland, Germany and member of both the Committee of the Regions and Congress of Regions of the Council of Europe. After being President of the Union of European Federalists (UEF) from 1997 to 2005 he was appointed the organization’s Honorary President. He served as a Vice President of the European Movement International (EMI) from 2003 to 2011, before becoming its President in November 2011.
Since July 1999 Mr. Leinen has been a Member of the European Parliament. He was a Member of the Convention for the Elaboration of a Charter of Fundamental Rights for the EU. From 2004 to 2009 he was President of the Constitutional Affairs Committee and from 2009 to 2011 he chaired the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.
He is a full member in the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and a substitute member of the Committee for Foreign Affairs and of the EP’s Working Group on EU-UN relations. He is also a full member of the Delegation for the relations with India and a substitute in the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.
Mr. Alojz Peterle
Former Prime Minister of Slovenia
Alojz Peterle has been a Member of the European Parliament since 2004 and is currently member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and substitute member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI). He is as well Vice-Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee and Member of Delegation to the EU-Croatia Joint Parliamentary Committee. Besides, he is President of the parliamentary group Friends of Turkey, President of MAC group, Co-chair of ENVI Health Working Group and Member of governing board of Knowledge4Innovation.
Previously Slovenia’s Prime Minister, the first since the country’s independence, Peterle also held the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs twice. He was Vice-President of the European People’s Party (EPP) and Head of the Slovenian National Delega- tion in the EPP.
In 2005 he was the appointed as Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman in Office for Central Asia. He was appointed from the European parliament as Member of the Observation Delegations in Azerbaijan, Cambodia and Ukraine. He was also appointed by High Representative/EC Vice-President Catherine Ashton as Chief Observer of the EU Election Observation Mis- sion to Nigeria and to Kenya.
Mr Peterle has been an active promoter of cancer care, in particular as President of the informal all-party forum, ‘MEPs against Cancer’.
Dr. Sanjay Pradhan
Chief Executive Officer, Open Government Partnership
Sanjay Pradhan joined the Open Government Partnership in May 2016. Sanjay supports the countries, local governments and thousands of civil society organizations working to make governments more open, participatory and less corrupt. He leads OGP’s policy dialogue with Heads of States, senior ministers and civil society organizations across the partnership, and serves as OGP’s global spokesperson.
Bringing a wealth of open government and innovation experience to the role, he previously served in three senior positions at the World Bank: as the Vice President for Leadership, Learning and Innovation, the Vice President of the World Bank Institute, and the Director for Governance. While at the World Bank, Mr. Pradhan tirelessly promoted open development. He led the World Bank’s Governance and Anticorruption Strategy, launched the Global Partnership for Social Accountability, incubated ICT-mediated citizen feedback to improve governance, initiated Open Contracting with Partners, and rolled out a flagship Collaborative Leadership for Development program to help government and civil society leaders undertake collaborative actions. During his tenure at the World Bank, Sanjay gained extensive experience working in Africa, South Asia, Europe and Central Asia.
Mr. Pradhan is a global spokesperson and distinguished speaker on open governance and anticorruption issues, appearing in major world forums including the TED Global Conference, the UN General Assembly, the European Parliament, the BBC World Debate, South by Southwest (SXSW), London Anti-Corruption Summit, IACC, and OGP Global Summits in Europe, Asia and the Americas. He has published widely, and was a principal author of the 1997 World Development Report, The State in a Chaging World. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics and Business and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Harvard University.
Mr. Madhu Rao
Former Vice-Chairman, Shangri-La Hotels
Mr. Rao has more than 20 years experience with Shangri-La. Prior to his current position, he was the managing director and chief executive officer. He joined Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts in 1988 as group financial controller. Named chief financial officer in 1997, he also serves as an executive director and chief financial officer of the holding company, Shangri-La Asia Limited.
Before joining the Shangri-La group, he spent 17 years, including 12 years as partner, at a leading chartered accountancy practice in Mumbai, India, responsible for the management consultancy practice of the firm. He is a graduate in commerce from the University of Mumbai and a fellow member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
Mr. Michael Steiner
Michael Steiner is a top diplomat of Germany, experienced in international negotiations and peacemaking.
He studied law in Munich and Paris, passed State Law Examinations and entered the German
Foreign Service in 1983. After positions in Kinshasa, Bonn, New York and Prague, he became
head of the Special Task Force for Peace Efforts in Former Jugoslavia in the Foreign Office,
German Member of the International Contact Group and later Principal Deputy High Representative in Sarajevo.
Following his Ambassadorship to the Czech Republik in Prague Michael Steiner became the Foreign and Security Policy Advisor to the German Federal Chancellor in Berlin in 1998. In 2002 he was appointed Under Secretary General, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
After this he served as Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations in Geneva and became German Ambassador to Italy and San Marino in Rome in 2007.
In 2010 he was appointed Special Representative of the German Government for Afghanistan and Pakistan and became Chairman of the International Contact Group. From 2012 to 2015 he was German Ambassador to India in New Delhi. Today Michael Steiner lives in Munich with his wife Eliese.