The Asia Society, a global nonprofit that fosters connections between Asia and the U.S., has appointed Josette Sheeran as its new president. Sheeran, who is leaving her post as vice chairwoman of the World Economic Forum, will start June 10. Sheeran succeeds Vishakha Desai, who joined Columbia University Jan. 1 as President Lee Bollinger’s special advisor for global affairs and as a professor in the school of international and public affairs. Asia Society executive vice president Tom Nagorski has served as acting head since Desai left late last year.
Prior to her position at the World Economic Forum, Sheeran was the executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme; she has also held senior positions with the U.S. government, working with almost every country in Asia throughout her diplomatic career. Her online TED talk on ending world hunger has attracted over a million views.
Founded in 1956 and headquartered in New York, the Asia Society also has major centers in Houston and Hong Kong, with smaller offices in Los Angeles, Manila, Mumbai, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney and Washington, D.C. The Asia Society Museum in New York hosts exhibitions of historical and contemporary work by Asian and Asian American artists. Currently on view are selections from the museum’s private collection, photos and a video by Cambodian artist Vandy Rattana, and 17th-century Chinese paintings.