Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Founder, The Art of Living Foundation

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (b. 1956, India) is a revered spiritual leader and humanitarian. His mission of uniting the world into a violence-free global family has inspired millions of people worldwide to broaden their spheres of responsibility and work towards sustainable peace.

In 1997, he founded the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) to identify and foster on a global scale the fundamental human values shared by all societies, religions, cultures and civilizations. In Asia, Africa and Latin America, IAHV is working with marginalized communities to promote sustainable development, and has so far benefited over 30,000 villages and trained more than 65,000 local youth.

Sri Sri is also the founder of the International Art of Living Foundation (IAOLF, 1981), which is dedicated to uplifting humanity and bringing peace at all levels of society, starting from every individual. The initiatives of IAHV and IAOLF, both volunteer-based charitable NGOs, have benefited people from diverse walks of life in over 140 countries.

A leading figure in human development and social transformation, Sri Sri’s multifaceted initiatives include conflict resolution, disaster relief, interfaith harmony, violence prevention, women’s empowerment, environmental protection, and education for all.

He is actively engaged in promoting dialogue and reconciliation in war zones and post-conflict areas across the world, including in Iraq, Ivory Coast, Israel/Palestine and Kosovo, and in conflict-ridden parts of South Asia (e.g. Sri Lanka and Kashmir). He has also designed a number of self-development programs that enhance well-being and foster human values.

Sri Sri is the recipient of numerous awards, including seven honorary doctorates, and state honors from the Governments of Russia, Mongolia and India, in recognition of his tireless service to humanity. He travels to more than 40 countries every year to share his message of social responsibility, and that all great religious traditions share common goals and values.

In 2003, he initiated the Ethics in Business – Corporate Culture & Spirituality dialogue series to examine ways and means of strengthening human values and ethics in business.

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. In 1981 he became Chairman of the Bow Group (British leading 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.

Late Mr. Jules Goudsmit

CEO Acropoles SA

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. Erika Mann

Former Member of European Parliament

mann erikaErika Mann was initially elected to the European Parliament in 1994 for Lower Saxony in Germany. She is currently serving her third term and is a Member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany.

She is Chairwoman of the Delegation to the EU-Mexico Joint Parliamentary Committee. She is also a Member of the Committee on International Trade and is spokesperson for trade for her political family. As a substitute Member she sits on the Budgetary Control Committee and the Industry, Research and Energy Committee. She is also part of the delegation for relations with the United States.

Ms. Mann is Senator of the Max Planck Society (MPG), Board Vice-Chair of “Frauen für Technik neue Impulse” (women promoting technology), a German association based in Berlin. She is also the Chair and Co-Founder of the European Internet Foundation (EIF) and European Chairwoman of the Transatlantic Policy Network (TPN). Erika Mann is a member of the Board of Directors for the Salzburg Seminar. Erika Mann qualified as a teacher of further education early in her career and was researcher at the University of Hannover before becoming a business consultant in information technology.

She is patron of a primary school in Berlin, named after the famous Erika Mann, daughter of Thomas Mann, and an academician of the International Informatization Academy of the United Nations. In 2006 she received an award in Washington for outstanding transatlantic commitment, from the European-American Business Council.

Dr. Sanjay Pradhan

CEO, Open Government Partnership

Dr. Sanjay Pradhan is the Vice President of the World Bank Institute (since October 2008). Prior to this, he was the Director of Public Sector Governance for the World Bank. He was responsible for providing the strategic directions for the World Bank’s global work on improving public sector governance and combating corruption. He earlier served as the World Bank’s Sector Manager, Public Sector and Poverty Reduction for the South Asia region. Prior to that, he was responsible for managing the Bank’s unit supporting governance and public sector reform in 26 countries.

Dr. Pradhan was a Principal Author of the World Development Report 1997, The State in a Changing World. He presented the WDR in 20 countries, including press conferences, high-level seminars, and presentations to Heads of State and Parliament, including the British House of Commons. He is the author of numerous publications, including articles, books and policy papers.

Dr. Pradhan completed his PhD from Harvard University (1988), and his Bachelor’s degree from Harvard College, Harvard University (1982).

Mr. Madhu Rao

CEO Shangri-La Hotels

Madhu Rao is the managing director and chief executive officer of Shangri-La International Hotel Management Limited (commonly referred to as Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts).

Mr. Rao has more than 20 years experience with Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, which he joined in 1988 as group financial controller. He was appointed chief financial officer of Shangri-La Asia Limited in 1997 and continues to concurrently hold that position.

Previously, he was 17 years at a leading chartered accountancy practice in Mumbai, India, responsible for the management consultancy practice of the firm, including 12 years as partner. He is a graduate in Commerce from the University of Mumbai and a fellow member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.