About Ashoka Bangladesh
Ashoka Bangladesh was launched in 1987 when we began supporting system change social entrepreneurs in the country, as Ashoka Fellows. To date, we have supported more than 90 men and women with creative new approaches for solving social problems and connected them into a dynamic peer network to help them grow their ideas and impact.
Today Ashoka is the world’s largest network of leading social entrepreneurs and ranks among the top 5 NGOs of the world.
Impacting millions of people and communities through their work, our Fellows include people like agriculture development activist Shykh Seraj, human rights defender Shahidul Islam Chowdhury (Uttaran), Philip Gain (SEHD) and Salma Ali (BNWLA). Working in socio-economic upliftment, people like Humaira Islam (Shakti Foundation) and Prof. Hosne Ara Begum (TMSS), author and activist of the rural ultra poor Runa Khan (Friendship NGO), among several others.
Currently, we have over 70+ Ashoka Fellows in wide-ranging fields such as farming, education, human rights, finance, local media, and women and youth empowerment, across Bangladesh. Our Global Academy members include Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus (Grameen Bank) and World Food Prize Awardee Sir Fazle Hasan Abed (BRAC) from Bangladesh
Ashoka Bangladesh functions as a collaborative network that supports and amplifies change by bringing together these changemakers.
In the course of our work, having witnessed the changing patterns in society over close to three decades, and the way our problems are increasing at a pace faster than we can solve them, we have realized that to truly make things better for everyone we need to head towards a world where everyone is a changemaker. And just like social entrepreneurs, the world needs everyone to start practising skills like empathy, teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving.
In the last couple of years, Ashoka has also worked closely with organisations like BRAC, Friendship, Toru, DNet and others to launch initiatives like the BRAC University Empathy Lab and the Frugal Innovation Forum on 'Scaling Opportunities for Youth.'
To this end, we believe that changemaking has to start young, and through our programs like Venture and Fellowship and #LeadYoung we find, develop, and support young changemakers, enabling them to be role models in their communities, and give them the skills to thrive in our changing world.
Yashveer leads the “Ashoka Young Changemakers” program at Ashoka. Ashoka Young Changemakers program was launched in the year 2018 to identify, select and build a global community of Teen Changemakers. Prior to this, he founded a youth non-profit to address talent inequity in the development sector and influence youth culture in India by inspiring and educating university students to pursue social innovation and entrepreneurship. Yashveer has co-authored a book #ChangeStartsYoung featuring inspiring stories of young changemakers from across India.
For his work, Yashveer has been recognized in "Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia" list in the year 2016. He was also awarded Youth Action Net 2012 Fellowship – as 1 of the 20 young social entrepreneurs representing 16 different countries by International Youth Foundation.
Yashveer earned his MBA at University of Oxford, where he was the only MBA student to receive Vice-Chancellor Social Impact Award 2014 for his initiatives as Co-Chair Social Impact, Oxford Business Network (OBN). As the President of Student’s Union BITS Pilani 2006-07, Yashveer co-founded the University VISION 2020 Plan.
Bill Drayton is a social entrepreneur with a long record of founding organizations, bringing big change, and service. As a student, he founded organizations ranging from Yale Legislative Services to Harvard’s Ashoka Table, an inter-disciplinary weekly forum on how society truly works. After graduation from Harvard, he received an M.A. from Balliol College in Oxford University and his J.D. from Yale Law School. Over ten years at McKinsey & Company, he brought significant structural changes to policy and organizations. He also taught at Stanford Law School and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He served in the Carter Administration White House and as Assistant Administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency, where he launched emissions trading and many other lasting reforms. He launched Ashoka in 1981. He used the stipend he received when elected a MacArthur Fellow in 1984 to devote himself fully to Ashoka. Bill is Ashoka’s Chair and Chief Executive Officer. He is also chair of three other organizations; Youth Venture, Community Greens, and Get America Working!
Bill has won numerous awards and honors throughout his career. He has honorary doctorates from Yale, NYU, and others; and he is a Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Council on Foreign Relations. He was selected one of America’s Best Leaders by US News & World Report and Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership. Other awards include the Yale Law School’s highest alumni honor, the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Achievement Award International; and the National Academy of Public Administration National Public Service Award.
Bill is an avid backpacker. He especially loves long, off trail, above the tree line immersions.
As Ashoka’s CEO, Bill brings history-based vision and a deep grasp of how things work to help Ashoka keep learning and keep changing big time so that it and its community can make the truly big contributions it can and must. He has overall management responsibility and, as one of three members of the Leadership Team, has special responsibilities for Purpose Teams (e.g. Young People, Climate), “Jujitsu” Partners and Metro Areas, Frame Change/Communications, organizational evolution, and Search/Talent.
(photo: (c) Yusuke Abe)