- Selected members of the year-long class contribute to the conversation on critical foreign policy issues while honing their leadership skills at the nonpartisan Aspen Security Forum.
Three South Asian Americans are among 32 selected for Aspen Strategy Group’s Rising Leaders Program which brings together young professionals between the ages of 25-35 to discuss policy solutions for many of the world’s most complex problems. “Hailing from diverse backgrounds and sectors, all Rising Leaders have one thing in common – their passion for national security and foreign policy, the group says. ASG’s mission is to convene decision-makers in resolutely non-partisan public and private forums to address key foreign policy challenges facing the United States. The selected members of the year-long class contribute to the conversation on critical foreign policy issues while honing their leadership skills at the nonpartisan Aspen Security Forum.
South Asians selected in the program include:
Akhil Bery, director of South Asia Initiatives, Asia Society Policy Institute: Bery’s research focuses on the U.S-India relationship and developments in South Asia. In addition, he also writes about the ongoing China-India rivalry in Sri Lanka and the implications for Sri Lanka’s debt situation. He is also a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations. Bery previously worked at Eurasia Group where he led the firm’s research on South Asia and advised clients on political and economic developments in India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, according to his ASG profile. He has also worked at McLarty Associates, where he lead the research for the India & South Asia practice, Fujitsu Research Institute in Tokyo, Japan, and at 9.9 Media in New Delhi India. He holds an M.A. in International Business and Policy from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and Walsh School of Foreign Service, and a B.A. in History from Franklin & Marshall College.
Akif Irfan, vice president, Goldman Sachs: As a portfolio manager on the Energy Infrastructure and Renewables Team, Irfan drives investment decisions and manages portfolio positioning with investments spanning the energy sector. “His career and academic background place him at the intersection of energy markets, environmental policy, and international relations,” ASG says. “With over ten years of industry experience, he is closely engaged with senior executives, policy experts, academics, and other leaders in the energy space. He also regularly shares his perspectives as a speaker at panels, webcasts, and investor forums as well as through thought pieces and white papers. Additionally, Irfan plays a leadership role for several foreign-policy-focused groups and globally-oriented humanitarian and cultural organizations including as an Advisory Board member for the Chicago-based Goldin Institute. He earned an MBA from Columbia Business School, an MA from Columbia University, and a BA from Northwestern University.
Anand Raghuraman, vice president, The Asia Group: Raghuraman helps lead the firm’s client servicing and growth in South Asia. “A trusted counselor to corporate leaders and global public policy teams,” ASG says he works “closely with The Asia Group’s leadership to set and advance business strategy for the firm’s South Asia practice.” He has played a critical role in expanding the firm’s strategic partnerships and on-ground presence in India. He also manages The Asia Group’s thought leadership on Indian technology policy, geopolitics, and trade. Additionally, he is a non-resident Fellow at the Atlantic Council South Asia Center, where he helps lead the U.S.-India Trade Initiative and U.S.-India Digital Economy Task Force. He is also an adjunct faculty member at the Edward and Cynthia Institute of Public Health. Previously, Raghuraman was a member of the Biden-Harris campaign’s South Asia Policy Working Group and a visiting fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, one of India’s leading think tanks. He was also a Brent Scowcroft Award Fellow at the Aspen Strategy Group and a Fulbright grantee based in Turkey. He graduated summa cum laude from Duke University with a bachelor’s degree in political science.