This website is meant to help (myself, mostly) keep track of a peripatetic global career and life. To have a place I can point to for those interested in my published writing, and to help those interested in requesting me to speak at their institutions understand where and what I’ve spoken about before.

My Bio

A former cricket journalist (and failed cricket player), I’ve spent my life questioning the status quo, and built a career around connecting global citizens to solve social problems across boundaries. Right after finishing college, I turned down a traditional job to work in the social sector. Ten years later, I co-founded Amani Institute, a new model of higher education, to help others do the same all over the world – build lives and careers where they don’t have to choose between making a living and making an impact. I co-led the organization from an idea to an award-winning social enterprise with offices in Kenya, Brazil and India and projects in more than 30 other countries around the world. Amani Institute has, to date, helped nearly 10,000 people from 65 countries step into or accelerate their careers in social impact. It has also supported more than 250 organizations, from large global UN departments to small local businesses, and everything in between, to increase staff capacity, motivation, and impact. I stepped down as CEO in 2021, but remain an active Board member. Based on this work, I co-authored the Amazon #1 bestseller The New Reason to Work: How to Build a Career that will Change the World in November 2021.

The seeds of Amani Institute were cultivated while I worked at Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, the global pioneer of social entrepreneurship, for almost a decade. Starting by co-launching Ashoka’s Youth Venture program in India, I helped create or manage several other initiatives to help the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, including the Ashoka Peace initiative, the Ashoka Globalizer, Ashoka’s Fellow Security program, Senior Fellows program, and organizational expansion to Japan.

I graduated with a BA in International Relations from Davidson College, a Master’s in Public Policy (with a certificate in disaster response) from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a certificate in Creative Leadership as one of the founding participants of The Amsterdam School for Creative Leadership. During my studies, I also spent a semester as an exchange student at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia as well as summers volunteering in development organizations in Tanzania and Colombia, and as a journalist in Mumbai. I have thus studied or worked in every continent apart from Antarctica.

At Harvard, I trained with Dr. Marshall Ganz in the storytelling techniques that went on to transform the Barack Obama Presidential Campaign in 2008, and since then I’ve been conducting “storytelling for social change” workshops with leading non-profits and universities. Along with Dr. Ganz, I co-created a new course on negotiating narrative conflict called Public Narrative: Conflict, Continuity, Change. I also helped teach two courses on social entrepreneurship, including a social enterprise incubator where I guided five start-up ventures through the development of their business plans.

I delivered the Commencement (graduation) speech at the University of San Diego in May 2015 and TEDx talks at TEDxAmsterdamEd and TEDxBangaloreSalon. I also gave a graduation speech at my high school alma mater in 2018, addressing students who weren’t even born when I graduated!

In October 2014, I published my first novel, Such a Lot of World. In July 2017, Amani Institute published my second book: a compilation of my published essays in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, called “Your Work Begins at No”. (This book is only available on request.)

My writing has also been featured in a number of publications, ranging from books (the Dream of a Nation anthology) and academic journals (Innovations, Stanford Social Innovation Review, The Kennedy School Review) to newspapers (The Times of India, Business Standard, The Hindu, Rediff.com), magazines and websites (Forbes.com, CSRWire, Changemakers.com, India Today, Outlook Traveller, Travel Mag).

I’ve been lucky to guest-lecture at more than 50 universities and conferences around the world, and have served on the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Behavioral Science. In November 2017, I received a Leadership in Education award from the World Education Congress, in November 2018, I was inducted into the Asia 21 Young Leaders fellowship, and in September 2019, I was inducted into the BMW Foundation’s Global Responsible Leaders Network.

I am also the creator of the Acting Global project on Facebook and Instagram, which tells stories of people living and working beyond boundaries in a closing world.

I firmly believe that as more and more people commit to working with purpose, we will solve our social problems, improve how business is done, and lead fulfilling lives. Generally, I’m juggling passions for social innovation in difficult parts of the world, travel, cricket, and books. Every now and then, several of these passions come together in unexpected ways and in those moments – life seems to be complete.


2 Responses to About

  1. Tai Sunnanon says:

    Roshan, congratulations on the Amani Institute, sounds quite promising. I’ll be teaching a module at HKS on social entrepreneurship this Spring.

    I’m happy to be a thought partner should you need any support.

    tss@post.harvard.edu | 617-990-6861

  2. Nidhi Arora says:

    Dear Roshan,

    It was great to read about you and your work here. I hope you remember interacting with me and Anirban (Dhriiti) during 2005 as part of the Changelooms Award selection process (jointly instituted by Ashoka and Pravah).

    Amani Institute is a great concept and there is so much synergy possible with our work at Dhriiti in India.

    Would love to talk more about this. Is there an email id where i can write to you?


    Co-founder , Dhriiti

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