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media releases - Unisa researcher selected as a Young Global Leader

Geneva, Switzerland, 11 March 2008 – The World Economic Forum today announced that Sunette Pienaar of Unisa’s centre for Corporate Citizenship has been selected as a Young Global Leader 2008. She is the incumbent of the Murray & Roberts Chair for Collaborative Governance and Accountability at the Centre where she is responsible for research and training on the governance and accountability of infrastructure Public-Private Partnerships as fundamental driver for sustainable growth.

This honour is bestowed each year by the World Economic Forum to recognise and acknowledge the top 200-300 young leaders under the age of 40 from around the world for their professional accomplishments, commitment to society and potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world. The Young Global Leaders for 2008 include 121 business leaders, as well as leaders from government, academia, media and society at large from 65 countries. The new class represents all regions, including East Asia (64), Europe (58), Middle East and North Africa (12), North America (45), South Asia (24), sub-Saharan Africa (21) and Latin America (21).

“The World Economic Forum is a true multi-stakeholders community of global decision-makers. We need the Young Global Leaders to be a voice for the future in the global thought process and as a catalyst for initiatives in the global public interest.” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

Drawn from a pool of almost 5,000 candidates, the Young Global Leaders 2008 were chosen by a selection committee of 31 eminent international media leaders, including Thomas H. Glocer, Chief Executive Officer, Reuters, United Kingdom; Arthur Sulzberger, Chairman and Publisher, The New York Times, USA; Robert Thomson, Publisher, Dow Jones & Company and The Wall Street Journal, USA; and Hisashi Hieda, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Fuji Television Network, Japan. The selection committee is chaired by H.M. Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kindom of Jordan.

The current community of Young Global Leaders represents over 60 countries and includes Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Co-Founders of Google, USA; Crown Prince Haakon of Norway; Malvinder M. Singh, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Ranbaxy Laboratories; India; Hiroshi Nakada, Mayor of Yokohama, Japan; Nicky Newton-King, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, JSE, South Africa; Carlos Danel, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Banco Compartamos, Mexico; and Jack Ma Yun, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Alibaba Group, People’s Republic of China.

“It is our belief that this community of committed individuals can actually change the status quo. They are not only a preview of what effective, collaborative leadership in the 21st century might look like, they are actually putting it into practice today, “ said David Aikman, Senior Director and Head of the Forum of Young Global Leaders. “It is our privilege to work with such inspirational leaders and to bring them together in a global network that builds their insights and skills even further, providing them with a global platform to tackle the key challenges of our generation.”

Established in 2004 by Professor Klaus Schwab, The Forum of Young Global Leaders is a unique, multistakeholder community of the world’s most extraordinary young leaders, who dedicate a part of their time to jointly address global challenges and who are committed to devote some of their knowledge and energy to collectively work towards a better future. As part of their engagement, the Young Global Leaders give their time to task forces to initiate, develop and drive innovative solutions on important, globally-oriented issues, including health, education, the environment, global governance and security, and development and poverty.

Dr Sunette Pienaar founded Heartbeat, Centre for Community Development in 2000. She is currently the Executive Chairman of the board. In partnership with business, government and civil society, Heartbeat empowers orphaned and vulnerable children to reach their full potential through quality service provision, development and capacity building. The organisation currently reaches 11 000 orphaned and vulnerable children in South Africa, to be scaled up to 22 000 by the end of 2008 towards a target of 50 000 by 2010. Dr Pienaar is the Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of 2006 and a Paul Harris Fellow.
For more information and a detailed list of all Young Global Leaders, please visit

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organisation committed to improving the state of the world. The Forum provides a collaborative framework for the world’s leaders to address global issues, engaging particularly its corporate members in global citizenship.

Incorporated as a foundation, and based in Geneva, Switserland, The World Economic Forum is impartial and not-for-profit; it is tied to no political, partisan or national interests. The Forum has NGO consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.


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