Today, Vilas S. Dhar, a technologist, human rights advocate, and President of the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, was named a 2022 Young Global Leader (YGL) by the World Economic Forum. Dhar is being recognized as a visionary leader at the intersection of philanthropy, technology, and civil society, bringing a unique sense of humanity to an increasingly digital future. The Young Global Leaders are an esteemed cohort of individuals under the age of 40, whose members have gone on to become Nobel Prize recipients, heads of state, CEOS of Fortune 500 companies, and Grammy Award winners.
As the head of a 21st-century philanthropy, Dhar is driving an ambitious agenda connecting technological capacity to grand social challenges ranging from climate change to the delivery of front-line health services – all while reshaping philanthropy in the process. As a global expert on artificial intelligence (AI), Dhar co-chairs the Global AI Action Alliance at the World Economic Forum, has orchestrated an unprecedented philanthropic merger with a technology-focused foundation, and launched an in-house Data and Society team that partners with non-profit organizations to create pathways to data maturity at scale.
“Vilas is reimagining the role of civil society in shaping our shared digital future. He recognizes the urgent opportunity to foster relationships between philanthropy, governments, and the private sector to ensure technological tools are being harnessed for people and outcomes over product,” said Sir Bill English KNZM, former Prime Minister of New Zealand. “Vilas sees past the technology itself and pinpoints the precise ways in which tech, data science, and artificial intelligence can solve our most pressing human challenges.”
Dhar brings a dynamic professional background to the YGL Class of 2022. His career has included work as a human rights lawyer, CEO, and board director, and he has served as the Gleitsman Fellow on Social Change at Harvard University, an Expert on AI for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and a Senior Fellow of the Berggruen Institute. Dhar holds a J.D. from New York University School of Law, a Master’s in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and dual Bachelor’s degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Illinois. He is currently completing his doctoral dissertation at the University of Birmingham, where his research drives novel approaches to economic and policy infrastructure for a data-enabled society to support and empower vulnerable populations.
The Forum of Young Global Leaders supports visionary changemakers in accelerating solutions to global challenges. Dhar embraces the opportunity to work with fellow YGLs to build within the civil sector the same technological capacity and expertise that drives private sector advancements and to stand with communities to catalyze technological solutions. Through collaboration with civil society leaders, technologists, and policymakers across the YGL community, Dhar is determined to advance an ethically-grounded, tech-enabled future that amplifies the very best of our shared humanity.
The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation is a global 21st-century philanthropy bridging the frontiers of artificial intelligence, data science, and social impact to create a thriving, equitable, and sustainable future for all. The Foundation’s work focuses on bringing together academia, practitioners, and civil society to pursue the potential of AI and data science to address some of the world’s most urgent challenges.