Asia Leaders Fellowship (ALF) holds an inaugural gathering in Japan

The Asia Leaders Fellowship (ALF) is a community of 30 new leaders in the region who share a belief that Asia needs a place of dialogue, where “do-ers” can form meaningful and purposeful connections, articulate Asian ideas, and discuss Asian issues from Asian perspective. At the inaugural gathering in Japan, 24 entrepreneurs, investors, executives of major conglomerates, and artists engaged in a discussion to understand the different realities of the region and to find better solutions to shared challenges.

*This initiative is promoted under the framework of Asia Pacific Initiative Forum (APIF).


ALF recently held its first annual meeting in Karuizawa and Tokyo, Japan, from December 14 to 16, 2023. ALF was established by Teruhide Sato and Lin Kobayashi, both board members of the International House of Japan (IHJ), along with 5 other founding members. Their awareness of the necessity for a dialogue platform among leaders of the current generation led to the creation of ALF, with the aim of passing on a hopeful Asia to future generations.

By creating a community that engages Movers and Shakers (people who actually take action and make change happen) who are active on the front lines of society, the goal is to foster innovation and curate collaboration that transcends national borders.

Problems to be solved

Asia is poised to be the center of the 21st century, but it also faces challenges due to its diversity and the complexities that arise from it. ALF acknowledges that the ways in which innovation and change occur are different from the past, and institutions have not kept pace with the reforms and dynamism happening on the ground.

In addition, there are still very few international gatherings originating from Asia, and the reason behind the establishment of this project is the awareness of the need for a new community-based approach that is different from the conventional one when considering the future of Asia.

ALF has been selecting 30 participants (Fellows), led by the seven founding members, in order to provide a place for dialogue where leaders of the current generation, who can actually take action and effect change, can openly share and discuss issues and propose solutions. The selection process was based on two strict requirements: the Fellows must be in a leadership position with decision-making authority, talent, and energy, and must have a mindset that allows them to think with a “we” instead of “I”.


Unlike conventional conferences, ALF does not have panel discussions or keynote speakers. The main focus of the meeting is to reflect the voices of “movers and shakers,” mainly those in their 40s who are actually leaders of the current generation.

For this first annual meeting, we called on people who have proven their leadership in various fields, including entrepreneurs, investors, and top executives of major conglomerates. Of the 30 Fellows who agreed to participate in the program, 24 came from 10 countries and regions, mainly in Asia. (*Indonesia, South Korea, Myanmar, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, the Philippines, Malaysia, the United States, and Japan)

The participants are as follows (in alphabetical order of first name)

– Adriel Chan: Vice Chairman, Hang Lung Group & Hang Lung Properties
– Arif P. Rachmat: Co-Founder & Executive Chairman, Triputra Agro Persada Tbk (TAP Group)
– Dina Shin: Head of Asia – Business Development; Asia Investments, WestCap
– Elora Hardy: Founder & Creative Director, IBUKU
– Grace Chen: Founder & Director, Graceful Media
– Jerry Ng: Founder & Chairman, Bank Jago
– Kai Fong Chng: Permanent Secretary, Singapore Smart Nation and Digital Government Office
– Kent Ho: Founder & General Partner, S28 Capital
– Nix Nolledo: Director, Eden Holdings
– Ong Yee Min, Amelia: CEO, OSK Ventures International
– Soohyun Bae: Director, Envisioning Partners
– Sunjay Kapur: Chairman, Sona Comstar
– William Tanuwijaya: Co-Founder & Co-Chairman, GoTo
– Win Win Tint: Group CEO, City Holdings

– Sangyeob (Max) Han: CEO & Managing Director Sopoong Ventures
– Shoukei Matsumoto: Ancestorist/Buddhist Monk
– Yosuke Tsuji: Representative Director / President / CEO, Money Forward

Founding Members:
– Jennifer Zhu Scott: Founding Partner, IN. Capital
– Joon Sung Park: Co-CIO & Managing Director, Legend Capital
– Lin Kobayashi: Co-Founder & Chair of the Board, UWC ISAK Japan
– Nikhil Sawhney: Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Triveni Turbine
– Ryu Suliawan: Vice President, Digital at AYANA Hospitality
– Taejun Shin: Founder & CEO, Gojo & Company
– Teruhide Sato: Founder & CEO, BEENEXT Capital

Discussion Facilitator:
– Joel Sandhu: Project Manager, Global Public Policy Institute

Annual Meeting Discussion

At the first annual meeting held in December 2023, we dared not to set a specific theme, but instead gave top priority to building deep trust among the leaders and listening to their respective ideas.

The session began with an “Ancestor Session,” in which Shokei Matsumoto, a monk of Komyoji Temple of the Hongwanji sect of Shinshu Jodo, explained why we are here today, tracing our roots back to our ancestors. This session provided an opportunity for each participant to reflect on the question, “How can we become good ancestors?”

The session was followed by a session on “the past,” in which time was spent deepening relationships of trust through dialogue about values passed down in the family, the axis of life that each participant holds dear, and the encounters and events that have shaped who they are today.

The session on the “present” also included a discussion of the challenges facing their home countries, the measures needed, and a future in which young people can have hope. The discussion included essential and thought-provoking topics from the perspectives of current leaders, such as the fragmentation following the military coup in Myanmar, political challenges in India and Indonesia, and challenges in South Korea, which is struggling to cope with its declining birthrate and aging population. Other issues discussed included concerns about China’s prolonged rule, the possibility of Taiwan contingency, and the societal transition in Hong Kong, including its impact on other Asian countries.

There was also a discussion about Japan, the host country of this year’s meeting, which is currently lagging behind in innovation and the promotion of diversity.

On the final day, discussions focused on the theme of “the future,” with participants expressing interest in such issues as “fostering next-generation leaders,” “correcting educational disparities,” “environmental issues,” “supporting societal transition,” and “passing on family business values” highlighting common themes that ALF can contribute to in the future.

In addition to the above discussions, this year’s annual meeting was also an opportunity for participants to sit in zazen meditation, to face themselves, and to ask thought provoking questions with the hope of drawing out the individual stories and inspirations in the participants’ heads. Some participants shed tears as they spoke of their journey so far and their thoughts on future generations, thus fulfilling the initial goal of deepening the connection among participants. On the evening of the second day, after watching a Wadaiko (Japanese Drums) performance, all the participants played a concerto together, and left Karuizawa with a sense of unity that is hard to describe.

Comments from the project leader and participants

“When we think about the future of Asia as a whole, we believe that building a community based on trust is the first step. In the words of Shigeharu Matsumoto, one of the founders of IHJ, ‘Cultural exchange begins and ends with people,’ and I am convinced that ALF, where like-minded participants gather, will help to solve Asia’s problems.” ― Mr. Teruhide Sato (Japan / Co-Chair of ALF)

“It was very meaningful to get to know people who share the same values of wanting to do something for Asia. Personally, I would like to deepen discussions on issues that transcend national borders, such as Indonesia’s deforestation and other environmental problems in Asia.” ― Mr. Arif P. Rachmat (Indonesia)

“While I come from the design world, it was enriching to meet people from the business and entrepreneurial world and with whom I could quickly open up and discuss big things. I have been thinking about what Shoukei-san said, that the way to be a good ancestor is to give our descendants the freedom of possibilities, to make the most directions accessible, so that they can choose from their priorities in each of their generations.” ― Ms. Elora Hardy (Indonesia)

“Listening to the diverse range of people and ideas has been a great experience. It’s not often that you find yourself in a situation where individuals from such varied backgrounds come together. I believe there is so much Excellence in Asia, and this community has the ability to tell that story on a broader scale.” ― Ms. Grace Chen (Hong Kong)

“It was a great learning experience for me in terms of knowing about how different people deal with business, life, and family. Asia, including India, shares common values and culture, and I am confident that ALF will further develop as a community by leveraging the networks and experiences of the participants. For me, being a Good Ancestor means passing on traditions and humanitarianism to the next generation.” ― Mr. Sunjay Kapur (India)

“I have been running a startup for the past 16 years, and I am happy to be here at ALF at a time when I am looking for my next Ikigai after stepping down as CEO. It was very meaningful and a great serendipity to discuss the future of Asia with people from very different backgrounds, experiences, and walks of life. We need to be grateful for what our past ancestors gave us and we also have to be responsible for leaving as many options for the future as possible.” ― Mr. William Tanuwijaya (Indonesia)

“What really interested me was deep sharing and idea exchange in a small intimate group, and also understanding things that you don’t really read on the news. I believe this interaction will lead to co-creating a bigger impact for Asia.” ― Ms. Win Win Tint (Myanmar)

Future plans

The annual meeting this year has helped to foster trust among the core members of the community and to confirm common values. In the future, we will continue to discuss the themes that we have focused on as common issues.

For more information, please contact us using the contact form below.


Future plans

The annual meeting this year has helped to foster trust among the core members of the community and to confirm common values. In the future, we will continue to discuss the themes that we have focused on as common issues.

It was also decided with the consent of the participants that the second annual meeting will be held in Korea in 2024, with plans to hold annual meetings in other Asian cities after 2024. Based on this discussion, a theme will be established and the participation of guests, policy makers, experts, and entrepreneurs will be considered accordingly.
The contents of this discussion will be made available on the ALF website in April 2024.

For more information, please contact contact us.