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EICBI EuropeIndia40 leaders

2022 class of #EuropeIndia40 Leaders

The 14 women and 14 men who made it to the 2022 class of EuropeIndia40 leaders list came from all walks of life and represented 16 different nationalities

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#EuropeIndia40, an initiative of EICBI, which is in its 4th year, covers the stories of leaders below the age of 40 and their contributions to promoting EU India / UK India relations. This 2022 Class of EuropeIndia40 leaders is part of the EUIndia60 campaign, which celebrates 60 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and the European Union (EU) in the year 2022

The list was first unveiled in a virtual ceremony held on December 9, 2022. Subsequently, at the EU India Leaders Conference 2023 held on July 5, 2023, hosted at the European Parliament in Brussels, few of the EuropeIndia40 leaders received their certificates during this significant event.

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For the virtual ceremony, Ambassador of the European Union to India, HE Ugo Astuto, nominated Ms Renita Bhaskar - Minister Counsellor (Head of Trade and Economic Affairs) - Delegation of the European Union to India for announcing the 2022 class of #EuropeIndia40 Leaders list. Ms Ovessa Iqbal, First Secretary (Political, Extradition, High Commission of India, London also spoke to the EuropeIndia40 leaders. 

The 14 women and 14 men who made it to the 2022 class of EuropeIndia40 leaders list come from all walks of life and represent 16 different nationalities - Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, UK. The list was released on 9th December 2022 during the virtual ceremony that EU Embassy in India and Indian Embassy in London attended.

Virtual Certification ceremony of 2022 Class of EuropeIndia40 leaders. 
Ms Svenja Hahn, Member of the European Parliament - Germany, who is also from the 2021 Class of #EuropeIndia40 leaders, shares her congratulatory message with the 2022 Class of #EuropeIndia40 leaders

The 2019 Class of EuIndia40 leaders was released at the European Parliament in Brussels on 10th April 2019. Please find the 2019 class here - The 2020 Class of EuropeIndia40 leaders was released virtually on 27th November 2020 with the participation of leaders from the UK Parliament, EU Parliament and the Indian Parliament. Please find the 2020 Class here - The 2021 Class of EuropeIndia40 leaders was released virtually on 5th November 2020 with the participation of leaders from the UK Parliament, EU Parliament and the Indian Parliament. Please find the 2021 Class here -  The 2020 and 2021 Class of leaders were later given their certificates at the European Parliament during the Europe India Leaders Conference on 28th June 2022

Presenting the 2022 class of EuropeIndia40 Leaders. 
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Mr Ajmal Fawad - INDIA

Deputy Director (Europe)  - Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)

Ajmal Fawad previously promoted Indo-German trade and investments in various engineering sectors to develop India-Europe bilateral relations through a decade-long association with the German Engineering Federation (VDMA). He has headed the North India office of VDMA and is currently responsible for enhancing India’s international engagements and business relations in Europe as Deputy Director of CII. He has been featured through interviews and engineering articles in various renowned publications, including Construction Business Today in 2022, Construction Times in 2020, Equipment Times in 2018 and NBM&CW in 2016.

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Mr Aleks Koha - ESTONIA

CEO and Founder - Promoty

Aleks Koha is the CEO and Founder of Promoty, a leading influencer marketing platform in the EU and UK. Promoty has enabled thousands of creators to pursue their passion and earn a living, and aims to bring that opportunity to India as well. Recently, Promoty has announced a partnership to expand to India to bring its technology to the Indian market. He is excited about exploring this emerging market for influencer platforms using their technology, high-calibre partners and expertise in influencer marketing.

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Co-Chair, Conservative Friends of India

Ameet Jogia is a young and upcoming British Indian politician in the UK. Ameet has been an activist for the Conservative Party for over 20 years. He was first elected as a Local Councillor in his local town of Harrow in 2014 and re-elected in 2018 and 2022. By background, Ameet is a Special Advisor to the Conservative Party, specialising in community engagement. As a Political Aide to the Lord Popat of Harrow, he has supported Lord Popat in his role as the former Minister of the Crown for Business and Transport in the Lords and his current role as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Rwanda and Uganda.  Ameet is the Co-Chair of the Conservative Friends of India, the largest affiliate group for the Party. The group works to strengthen bilateral links between the Party and India by engaging with the British Indian diaspora. In June 2022, Ameet was awarded an MBE by Her Majesty The Queen for Political and Public Services

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Mr Cathal Burke O'Leary - IRELAND

PhD Candidate - Ireland India Institute, Dublin City University

Cathal Burke O'Leary is currently writing a PhD thesis, a comparative study of the state-building process in India and Ireland. The thesis analyses the path to establishing the institutions and apparatus of an independent state after seceding from Britain twenty-five years apart. The work finds unusual parallels between the two countries despite the enormous geographical, political, and cultural gulf between them, such as with Ireland’s position as a small island on the edge of Europe and India as a dominant power in South Asia. The thesis aims to contribute towards understanding these commonalities.

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Mr Devmalya Sarkar - UNITED KINGDOM

Doctoral Research Scholar - University of Cambridge

Devmalya is a HealthTech innovation strategist, bio-designer, and open innovation enabler. Over the past decade, Dev has contributed to improving meaningful innovation in health and care across diverse clinical areas for global corporations, start-ups, innovation labs, think tanks, and venture acceleration groups in India, the UK, and the US. Currently, he is a Cambridge Trust, RADMA-UK, and Trinity-Henry Barlow (honourary) doctoral research scholar at Cambridge University’s Institute for Manufacturing (IfM). Dev’s research and practice interests include innovation management, frugal innovation design and deployment, open innovation frameworks, strategic partnerships, pipeline evaluation, business development, and market access in health technology and digital health.

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Dr Giovanni Ciotti - ITALY

Research associate - Center for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, Universität Hamburg

Giovanni Ciotti is trained in Indology from Bologna, Cambridge and Pondicherry. He is currently a researcher at the Center for the Study of Manuscript Cultures (Universität Hamburg), where he is also the spokesperson for the “Palm-Leaf Manuscript Profiling Initiative” at the Cluster of Excellence – Understanding Written Artefacts. He coordinates the scientific activities of more than a dozen scholars from the fields of the humanities, information and natural sciences across Germany, Italy and India. These initiatives aim to develop an innovative, comprehensive and integrated approach to studying Indian palm-leaf manuscripts, one of the world’s most prominent handwritten artefacts of the past.

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Ms Hana Onderkova - CZECH REPUBLIC

Head of IP - European Business and Technology Centre (EBTC)

Hana Onderkova, from Czech republic, arrived in India 14 years ago and has worked in the field of intellectual property. She worked as a patent research associate for one of India's top IP research companies and, later, as a patent attorney for a tier 1 law firm based in Delhi. She uses her understanding of India's IP and innovation ecosystem in her current role as Head of IP at EBTC to advise companies operating in the Europe-India business corridor. She is also an IP expert for the EU-funded project, India IP SME Helpdesk, to assist EU companies as they expand to the Indian market.

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Ms Hilda-Hedvig Varga - ROMANIA

Independent Researcher

Hilda-Hedvig Varga is a Romanian independent researcher who holds BA in Philology with Hindi as a Minor and MA in Religious Studies. She also holds a PhD in Philosophy, and her thesis focused on the Hindu rites of passage (samskara). She has written several scientific articles on Indian culture. She is also the author of the first grammar book dedicated to the Hindi language written by a Romanian for fellow Romanians (2021). The same is true for the Hindi language course book for beginners, also a premiere for the Hindi language-teaching landscape in Romania (2022).

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Ms Ipsita Das - INDIA

Managing Director - Moet Hennessy India Pvt Ltd

Ipsita Das has worked for over 15 years in multinational companies and technology startups, such as Maersk and Uber, before joining Moet Hennessy (LVMH) in India. The company manages the Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s luxury portfolio of wines and spirits and also operates the Chandon winery in Nashik. In 2022, Ipsita was selected in Business World’s 40 under 40 Disrupter list. She is the Vice President of the Indo-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IFCCI), one of India's most active bilateral chambers that promotes beneficial trade relations between India & France. She also sits on the Board of the International Spirits and Wines Association of India (ISWAI).

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Ms Iuliana Das - ROMANIA

President - Rabindranath Tagore Cultural Centre

Iuliana is the President of the Rabindranath Tagore Cultural Centre and is the organiser of the Namaste India Festival. Since 2010, this festival has been the biggest event promoting Indian culture in Romania. Other activities of the centre include the "West meets East" concert series, film screenings, exhibitions, book launches, lectures and classical music and dance tours organized in various cities of the country. She is also a dedicated yoga practitioner and Odissi dancer. She utilises her professional background in IT to offer cross-cultural communication training for corporations working with teams based in India.

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Ms Julia Karst - GERMANY

Project Head - Deutsche Gesellschaft fϋr Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Julia Karst has a background in international development. She leads Project Her&Now, a bilateral Indo-German cooperation project promoting women entrepreneurship in India, which has been funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation and implemented jointly with the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in India. Under Project Her&Now, over 900 women entrepreneurs across 12 states of India have been supported to start or scale up their businesses. She has advised the Indian Government at the national and state level on designing effective policies for women's entrepreneurship promotion. She works closely with ecosystem stakeholders in India to build a more inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem in India and to change mindsets on women's entrepreneurship.

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Mr Louis Peinow Pedersen - DENMARK

Project Manager - COBO Consult

Louis Peinow Pedersen connects impactful and sustainable nordic organisations with India through cultural understandings and business relations. He holds a degree in Modern India and South Asia Studies and Cross-Cultural Studies from the University of Copenhagen and Delhi University, where he also acquired Hindi. Currently, he is a project manager at COBO Consult, and his work involves business development, partnerships, and innovation based on human perspectives and social sciences. He joined the research project HumanImpact at the University of Copenhagen and carried out fieldwork in rural and semi-urban villages of Jharkhand and Bihar to analyse the impact of last-mile connectivity for the wifi-company Bluetown.

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Ms Marijana Janjic - CROATIA

Translator and Educator - Words and Fairies

Marijana Janjić teaches Hindi and translates literature from Hindi and Sanskrit. She has edited, co-authored and translated several books related to Indian cultures, such as the Bhagavadgita (from Sanskrit), modern Hindi and English literature and many more. She holds a PhD in philology with a focus on analysing English elements in modern Hindi. She is currently the Head Editor at Bibliotheca Orientalica. She has organised numerous cultural events related to India to create a bridge between Croatian and Indian people.

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Dr Niharica Raizada - LUXEMBOURG

Head of Research/ Actress - Asian Heart Institute/ India Film Industry

Niharica Raizada is a Luxembourger actress. She was crowned Miss India UK 2010 and runner-up at Miss India Worldwide 2010. She is a Medical Scientist by qualification. She studied MRes in Translational Medicine at Imperial College London, then did research in Cardiology at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore) under a Fulbright scholarship. She got training in acting from New York Film Academy. She is trained in Indian classical music and ballet. She is the honorary cultural and arts ambassador between the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Republic of India

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Mr Nitesh Kumar Jangir - INDIA

Co-founder and Director - InnAccel Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

Nitesh K. Jangir is an Electronics Engineer focusing on Embedded System Design, with experience that includes stints in defence, industrial automation, medical devices etc. He is the co-founder of Coeo Labs-InnAccel, a medical device company with a vision to prevent preventable deaths in emergency and critical care. He is an active innovator and has filed and granted sixteen medical devices and artificial intelligence patents. He is a Commonwealth Innovation Award Winner, CRISP Fellow University of Oxford, CES IFC Women Health Tech 2021 award, Forbes 30 Under 30 (India and Asia), Acumen India Fellow, a Leaders in Innovation Fellow-Royal Academy of Engineers UK, Top 20 of Impact hallmarks Impact Person of the decade 2010-20 and an INK Fellow.

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Ms Patrycja Pendrakowska - POLAND

Founder and President of the Board - Boym Institute

Patrycja Pendrakowska is the President of the Board at the Michał Boym Institute for Asian and Global Studies. The Boym Institute is an independent think tank uniting researchers, Polish ex-diplomats and policy-makers, lawyers and economists working on Asian affairs across the EU. At the think tank, she works as a Sinologist focusing on China’s foreign policy and political ideas and participates in various activities supporting relations with India. She is pursuing her PhD studies at the Humboldt University in Berlin. She is a founding member of the WICCI's India-EU Business Council, which is based in Mumbai and regularly contributes to the policy papers published at the Observer Research Foundation and the Colaba Conversations.

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Ms Pradnya Bivalkar - GERMANY

Senior Project Manager - Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH

Pradnya Bivalkar has been contributing to furthering a better understanding of Indian affairs in Germany and vice versa through professional engagements with various stakeholders, especially in the field of media and politics in India and Germany. She has urged them to look through a non-binary prism and understand its complexity. She has also analysed and commented on socio-political events in India in the German media. Through her PhD Project, which will soon be published as a book, she has looked at the changing socio-political realities in India and their portrayals in contemporary Hindi cinema.

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Ms Priya Vijaykumar Poojary - INDIA

Lecturer - Manipal Centre for European Studies, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE)

Priya Vijaykumar Poojary is a Lecturer at the Manipal Centre for European Studies, teaching EU politics to Master students, and she is also the program coordinator for MA European Studies. Her work focuses on EU foreign policy with a specific focus on EU-India relations. She has co-edited a book titled ‘Contours of India-EU Engagements: Multiplicity of Experiences’, and she holds a couple of research journal articles, book chapters and newspaper columns to her credit. She has been a Marie-Curie EU Co-fund visiting fellow at Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS) and a beneficiary of the Erasmus+ teaching fellowship at the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland and the University of Wroclaw, Poland. She is also the Coordinator of the Association of European Studies in India (AESI). She organises the EP to Campus program funded by the Former Members of the European Parliament Association (EPFMA). She has co-organised several conferences and workshops, such as a Winter School on EU-Asia Relations in 2022. Presently, she is a Schuman Trainee at the Directorate-General for the External Policies of the Union-Unit for Asia, Australia and New Zealand (AANZ), European Parliament.

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Mr Rahul Ramnarayan Venkit - BELGIUM

Founder - Confluence Allstars & Brussels Bollywood Choir

Rahul Ramnarayan Venkit is the founder of Confluence Allstars, which builds bridges between India and Europe through music. Since 2015, the platform has undertaken various efforts to promote peace and a sense of community, such as performing live Indian music in Belgium, producing intercultural fusion music, and launching the Brussels Bollywood Choir. Among its published work is a rendition of Vaishnav Janto to mark 150 years of Gandhi Jayanti and an instrumental version of Bharat Humko by A R Rahman.

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Mr Rajarshi Rakesh Sahai - NETHERLANDS

CEO - Biliti Electric (Europe)

Rajarshi Rakesh SAHAI as a business leader, has successfully led organisations in electric vehicles, shared mobility, MaaS, smart cities, VC, and strategy consulting sectors, across UK, India and the EU. He is an Erasmus, British Commonwealth and Swedish scholar with professional and academic interests spanning urban planning, finance, strategy, public policy, energy and transport across top institutes in India, the UK, and the EU. He is an investor in India and Europe and has brought Indian businesses to the EU & UK and vice versa. He has been a part of several panels, speaker assignments, trainings, trade delegations, and policy consultations with the EC, the UK, India, Sweden and Germany

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Political Director - Labour Party Business Group/ Partner - Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

Ravi Nayer is a barrister and partner at an international law firm, BCLP, specialising in commercial disputes. He has spent over a decade working with minority ethnic people on mental health, race discrimination and policy change. He was appointed to audit the Windrush Scheme by the Home Secretary.  He has a background in teaching law at Oxford and bringing his experience to multiple charities, such as Barnardo’s and Mind. Most recently, he has helped to found Indian organisations within the Labour eco-system and to feed into Labour’s approach to the South Asian diaspora, on which he is often asked to speak. He is the Political Director of Labour Business. 

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Mr Roland Ferenczi - HUNGARY

Lecturer and Librarian - Library and Information Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (LICHAS); Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE)

Roland Ferenczi is a historian and Indologist working as a librarian in the Oriental Collection of the Library and Information Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (LICHAS), and occasionally teaches courses on Tamil history and language as a visiting lecturer of the Eötvös Loránd University’s (ELTE) Indology Department in Budapest. In 2022 he achieved his PhD degree at the ELTE and the Universität Hamburg (UHH) in a cotutelle doctoral program. His research interest focuses on the early Old Tamil Caṅkam literature, the political geography of the Cēra kingdom, the early puṟam anthologies particularly the Patiṟṟuppattu, and the Indo-Roman trade. Ferenczi has published scientific papers on ancient Tamil history in both Hungarian and English in Hungarian and international journals, edited volumes, and scientific magazines. He regularly translates classical Tamil poetry into Hungarian.

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Dr. Saswati Das - INDIA

Assistant Professor - ABVIMS, Central Health Services

Dr Saswati Das is working as an Assistant Professor and is a Specialist in Biochemistry (Chemical Pathology) at ABVIMS, Central Health Service in New Delhi. She oversees a broad portfolio of chemical pathology diagnostics, endo-biochemistry and quality management. She is an award-winning physician-scientist and a Lean Six Sigma Expert. She is a member of the European Federation of Laboratory Medicine and is currently collaborating with Karolinska Institute. She has been recognised by the American Society of Chemical Pathology's 40 Under Forty Program for 2022 and by Pathologist Magazine’s UK's Pathologist Powerlist 2022.

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Ms Selena Della Ragione - FRANCE

Ferangee Dance Company

Selena Della Ragione is a dancer specialising in the Locking dance form (funk-style dance). She has worked in Bollywood and is studying Bharatanatyam. She enjoys both Bharatanatyam and Locking and fusing dance and dress styles. She is interested in encouraging and involving European people in Indian culture and broadening Indian perspectives on European cultural diversities. She currently teaches dance in schools and help create awareness of Desi Hip hop. She has also created a dance solo titled "Warrior", a fusion of locking and Bharatanatyam dances inspired by Indian Goddesses and demons to fight against cancer.

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Ms Sofia Imad - FRANCE

Junior Fellow - Artha Global

Sofia Imad is a public health professional with over ten years of experience working at the intersection of science and policy. She has worked for four years in India and currently leads the Centre for Public Health in a Mumbai-based think tank. Before this, she launched a new tuberculosis drug regimen in India and other Asian countries for a French pharmaceutical company. She is also a founding member of the Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry India-EU Business Council.

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Mr Stephan Beutner - GERMANY

Social Secretary to the Ambassador at the Embassy of India, Berlin and Chairman, DIG Berlin e.V./ Indo-German Association Berlin e.V.

Stephen Beutner is the Social Secretary to the Indian Ambassador at the Embassy of India in Berlin, Germany and the Chairman of the Indo-German Association Berlin e.V /Deutsch-Indische Gesellschaft Berlin e.V. (DIG Berlin e.V.). He works on strengthening Indo-German and EU relations on different levels and fields: From ministerial level to student exchanges, Diaspora events; from the political area to economic, cultural and scientific in his professional and private life to ensure a closer relationship based on mutual understanding build on respect, knowledge and interest. He mediates between Indian and German/EU cultures to ensure successful cooperation for the benefit of countries and their people.

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Dr Subhamoy Mandal - INDIA

Assistant Professor - Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur

Dr Subhamoy Mandal is an Assistant Professor at the School of Medical Science and Technology, IIT Kharagpur and visiting faculty fellow at the Chair for Computer Aided Medical Procedures, Technical University of Munich. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) appointed him as a Research Ambassador (2022-25). He is actively facilitating multiple Indo-European research collaborations and student exchanges with several universities and industrial partners in Germany, France, Poland etc. He has been part of the ATLAS Consortium (an Industry-Academia collaboration supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research), which, has pioneered an augmented reality-assisted surgical navigation system and was awarded the German Medical Award 2020 in the category of Medical Innovation-Product.

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Ms Varda Taneja - INDIA

Vice President - Invest India

Varda Taneja is a leader in the field of public policy and has played an instrumental role in supporting and facilitating European business interests in India. She has worked with Global CEOs of international companies to help them build a successful business case for an Indian market entry vis-àvis other competing markets. She has led the planning and execution of business interactions of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India at various international fora such as the World Economic Forum, and Davos. She has been a part of the accompanying delegation for other Head of State / High-level Visits. She has also represented India across multiple global platforms and events for policy discussions, panel discussions and outreach events. Her passion and efforts have won her the recognition of BusinessWorld Disrupt 30 under 30.

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