2012 Winner of $100,000 McNulty Prize Announced

October 11, 2012

Contact: Aprile Age
McNulty Foundation

International award given to organization bridging the gap
between rural talent and new economy jobs.

Washington, DC, October 11, 2012–– The Aspen Institute and trustee Anne Welsh McNulty today named Amit Bhatia the winner of the fifth annual John P. McNulty Prize. A committee of judges including Madeleine Albright, Olara Otunnu, Shashi Tharoor, and Anne McNulty selected Bhatia in recognition of his impact in training more than 50,000 students from rural and disadvantaged backgrounds to become English-fluent, tech-savvy, problem-solving new hires ready to fuel India’s new economy.

“By teaching the skills to take rural and semi-urban youth from education to employability, Amit and his company, Aspire, are democratizing opportunity in the world’s largest democracy,” said Anne Welsh McNulty. “The jury was inspired by his determined efforts to lead his country toward a better, more prosperous, and productive future.”

Author and member of India’s parliament, Dr. Shashi Tharoor, judge for the 2012 McNulty Prize, said, “We are a country where 540 million young people are under 25. In theory, while the rest of the world is aging, we should have one of the most productive and dynamic workforces on the planet. That’ll only happen if these young people are educated and trained by organizations like Aspire to take advantage of the employment opportunities that the 21st-century Indian economy offers them.”

Amit Bhatia, CEO of Aspire, gives youth studying in semi-urban and rural educational institutions the knowledge, skills, and behavioral skills to gain employment and succeed in their chosen career. Prior to founding Aspire, Bhatia served as CEO of WNS Knowledge Services, a division of WNS Inc, listed on the NYSE in 2007, and had successful stints at Freemarkets, American Express, and McKinsey & Co., where he created the McKinsey Knowledge Center. In 2007, after becoming an India Leadership Initiative Fellow of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, Amit decided to leave the private sector and found Aspire, a for-profit social enterprise created to address the critical gap between education and industry. India, a nation of 1.1 billion, has 320 million youths in schools and colleges. Unfortunately, less than 25 percent are employable due to knowledge, skills, and attitudinal gaps. To date, Aspire has trained over 52,000 students enrolled in 80 institutions across 16 Indian states.

“The McNulty Prize and Aspen Institute inspire us to stay on-course and ensure that young Indians walk out of schools, colleges, and universities more employable. India’s current demographics are once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the nation to reclaim its historic economic legacy as a golden bird by putting 500 million new job seekers to work by 2022,” said Amit Bhatia. “This honor strengthens our resolve to seize the demographic dividend, overcome social, economic, and educational challenges, and help youth win desirable careers.”

The McNulty Prize seeks to galvanize efforts to address the foremost social, economic, and political challenges of our time by recognizing the very best in high-impact work that Fellows from the Aspen Global Leadership Network undertake as part of their Fellowship. This work is assessed on creativity, impact, and sustainability.

The 2012 finalists included:
Architect and urban planning activist, HILDEGARD VÁSQUEZ, founded CAPTA to empower marginalized women with self-reliance and the practical skills to gain employment, break the cycle of poverty, and retain their homes in rapidly gentrifying communities.

Former top-level restaurant industry executives CHARLES LUYCKX & GARY CAMPBELL created FUEL to ensure meals reach needy public school students so that they are able learn at school. FUEL provides systems analysis, support, and training inside South Africa’s Dept of Education.

Rural development entrepreneur MARÍA PACHECO is working to end social and economic underutilization of women across Central America by connecting, bringing visibility to, and training women leaders in all sectors.

The winner was announced Wednesday, October 10, at an event in New Delhi hosted by Aspen Institute India and followed by a conversation between Dr. Shashi Tharoor and Aspen Institute CEO Walter Isaacson. The awarding will occur October 31 at reception at the Metropolitan Club in New York City.

Watch a video on the McNulty Prize 2012 Winner: click here.

Previous winners of the McNulty Prize include Dele Olojede (NEXT ­ 2011), John Danner (Rocketship Education ­ 2010), Patrick Awuah (Ashesi University ­ 2009), and Jordan Kassalow (VisionSpring ­ 2008).

About The John P. McNulty Prize
The John P. McNulty Prize celebrates the boldness and impact individuals around the globe are bringing to the toughest challenges in their communities and the world-at-large. Founded in 2008 by Anne McNulty in honor of her late husband John, the Prize aims to galvanize efforts to address the foremost social, economic and political challenges of our time by recognizing the very best in high-impact leadership. Each year, the winner is selected by an international jury that has included Madeleine Albright, Bill Gates Sr, and Sir Richard Branson and recognizes exceptional leadership projects undertaken by the Fellows of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. For more information, please visit http://www.mcnultyprize.org/

The Aspen Global Leadership Network is a growing, worldwide community of entrepreneurial leaders from business, government and the nonprofit sector — currently, nearly 1,500 “Fellows” from 45 countries – who share a commitment to enlightened leadership and to using their extraordinary creativity, energy and resources to tackle the foremost societal challenges of our times. All share the common experience of participating in the Henry Crown Fellowship or one of the dozen Aspen Institute leadership initiatives it has inspired in the United States, Africa, Central America, India and the Middle East.


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