Preethi Herman, the Global Executive Director of Change.org, a global technology platform for social change, has been selected from a pool of over 20,000 people from 191 countries for a prestigious fellowship instated by the Obama Foundation, a Chicago-based nonprofit organisation founded by former US President, Barack Obama.
The Obama Foundation announced the names of the inaugural class of Obama Fellows on April 16, 2018.
The other fellows include civic leaders from the US, UK, Philippines, Hungary, and South Africa.
According to the website of the foundation, the fellowship program supports outstanding civic innovators from around the world to amplify the impact of their work and to inspire a wave of civic innovation. Additionally, the two-year, non-residential fellowship offers hands-on training, resources, and leadership development to equip the fellows to scale the impact of their work.
Preethi was among the 25 women changemakers selected by the Niti Aayog, MyGov.in and the UN as part of the #WomenTransform initiative. Shortlisted from nearly 1000 entries, these women were credited for havingdone phenomenal work in transforming themselves and the society around them.
Preethi Harman and the other fellows will “work with members of the Obama Foundation to gain real-world skills, tools, and experiences that will expand the impact of their work.”
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Recognising Preethi’s work, the foundation said that she is equipping a new movement of female leaders to engage their communities in addressing India’s toughest problems.
However, Preethi wasn’t always this motivated. Speaking to The New Indian Express, she said, “I was all over the place when I started out. Like every other good Indian child, I wanted to be a doctor because I wanted to serve people, but I didn’t realise whether I had the calibre or capacity for it. Obviously, I didn’t do well.”
She enrolled in a Mass Communication course and realised that she had found her calling. She went on to complete internships, where she admits that she gained the perspective she needed.
Now, Preethi and her team at Change.org, facilitate and help petition starters with campaigning. On record, about 2,000 petitions are registered and started every month, and the numbers have been increasing.
“I will be working with a group of civic innovators from around the world to inspire people to get involved in their communities. I can’t wait to get started,” shared Preethi on Twitter.
Navdeep Kang, an Indian-origin man from the US, is also one of the 20 people who have been selected for the Obama fellowship.