Highly motivated international development expert with proven expertise in propelling programs through strategic planning, strategic communications, strategic partnerships and resource mobilisation.
Consultant not Contractor
Nowadays many use ‘consultant’ and ‘contractor’ interchangeably. I undertake ‘consulting’ work- meaning; I add value to initiatives or come up with new events, projects or programs that help organisations and their leaders advance strategy. I do not undertake ‘contractor work’ —where one is hired due to labor shortage within an organisation and entails doing more of the same.
Moderator not MC
I enjoy moderating high voltage discussions. As a moderator I represent the interests of the audience and I try to ensure that the audience is not short changed. In preparation of moderating a dialogue I put in as much if not more preparation than the invited panelists. Unfortunately I am not good looking enough to entertain invitations for being Master of Ceremonies (MC) or other decoration roles.
Speaker not Appeaser
It is a privilege to be invited as a speaker. I accept invitations when convinced that I bring unique value as a practitioner; perspectives as a globalist and attitude as catalyst. I also need to understand the purpose of the event. I try not to add to noise, nor to amplify it. I speak not to appease or to sell, but to stimulate new thinking where each member in the audience is conveyed the urge to push the envelope further.
Producer not Replicator
I enjoy producing documentary films that are forward looking and solutions oriented. The video documentaries I have produced cover sports & leadership; family philanthropy; oral history of organisations and visionaries. These have been filmed in Singapore, Australia, India and Morocco. These are primarily a part of the Corporate Social Responsibility program ‘Go! Inspire’ of my consulting practice ProCube Consultancy Services. Sunanda Asthana who is head, creative at our practice, has directed them all.
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Honesty, compassion and hard work have guided my path. I have made choices-professional and personal, where these values would not be compromised. Growing up around the world, I did not have to look far to see these values in practice- they made up every action of my parents. The journey of studying medicine and working with patients further re-enforced these. And finally specialising in cardiac surgery validated my steadfast belief in these.
Until 1999 I was on a well planned path of progressing in cardiac surgery and super-specialising in the surgical treatment of prosthetic valve endocarditis and then…
In the freezing winter of 1999, the Kosovo crisis caused an influx of close to half a million refugees into the Republic of Macedonia. I was practicing in neighbouring Sofia and felt compelled to take leave and help in the refugee camps of Macedonia with UNHCR. It was meant to be a short stint. I moved between the camps reviewing the triage of patients done by the medical teams. I was tasked with convincing NATO country delegations to evacuate the most complex medical cases. Simultaneously I led the evacuation of patients residing with host families in Macedonia.
I was amazed at my ability to convince government delegations against all odds to evacuate patients. I decided to quit cardiac surgery much to the dismay of near and dear and made a switch to international development work. The one person who believed that I had not lost it, was my now wife. And that was enough to fuel my imagination. Well aware of how the label of a ‘doctor’ tends to restrict one into a perception silo, I consciously moved away from the field of health into conflict resolution and negotiations.
Since then, I have successfully managed development portfolios in developing, transition and developed countries; emergency and non-emergency scenarios. Having the luxury of a successful track record (and a spouce who is smarter yet supportive) I think I have chosen my bosses well. I have searched for bosses who have vision; courage to challenge the status quo and feel secure enough as individuals to let people deliver outstanding results. In choosing bosses I have always tried to ensure that each day of collaboration enriches me. Gentcho Natchev taught me the importance of giving no less than 100% effort every day; Amin Awad the importance of clarity of vision and the importance of articulating it effectively; Marc Weller the importance of well crafted documents; Gaye Phillips the art of bringing adversaries together for a good cause and converting each contact into a supporter of the cause; Louis Loutan the value of a mid-fielder in winning a match. Through these bosses I had the privilege of working with UNHCR, UNICEF, European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI), Cambridge University, University of Geneva, and some multilateral and bilateral agencies. As I move up the food chain, it is becoming difficult to find the kind of bosses I would like to work for. However I shall not give up my drive to recruit worthy bosses!
An avid interest in under- performing and ‘failed’ projects led me to building expertise in propelling programs through strategic planning, strategic communications, strategic partnerships and strategic resource mobilisation.
I thrive in setting up complex partnerships and coalitions (private-public, public- media, private-academia, private- NGOs, inter-ethnic NGO coalition etc.). I enjoy equally negotiating agreements with senior policy makers and with grassroots activists. I have had the pleasure of leading country, regional and HQ based operations with diverse teams in Asia, Australia and Europe.
Most often I work at the interface of policy and politics.I am told that my diplomacy and innovation skills bring stakeholders closer to their goals. My ability to evaluate critically alternative courses of action and implement solutions decisively has helped me galvanize political adversaries in Macedonia and Sri Lanka; bring together the public and private sector to address HIV AIDS in Malaysia; establish think tanks in Europe and Asia; convince royalty to support harm reduction; set up parliamentary working groups on minority issues and set up an online portal that brings the Rights of the Child to Corporate Social Responsibility.
I founded ProCube Consultancy- a strategy consulting practice in the arena of international development, which operates globally. www.procube.org
I am now based in Geneva, Switzerland and operate globally. From 2011 to 2015, I led the transformation of the Geneva Health Forum from a health conference to a ‘Health Thought Fest’ of kinds. I established in the process a network of Swiss public bodies with a mandate in global health and a close collaboration with the WHO and other International organisations such as the ITU, ICRC, IATA etc.
For the last two years, I have also served as the Series Editor for the ten books, “Namaste, Series!” being published by The Indologist Pvt. Ltd, Singapore. Each book brings forward an inspiring story of social change from the global south.
At a personal level I take interest in supporting initiatives that are aimed at the girl child in low-income countries.
I also enjoy representing the interests of the audience as a moderator on high voltage discussion panels. I bust stress by cooking for friends.
It takes me more than 30 seconds to respond, when asked where am I from? Essentially, I am a third culture creature who grew up all over the globe, travelling, first with my parents, then for studies and then following my wife. At an early age I took to heart my father’s expression that one’s birthplace does not have to be one’s destination, but just the starting point for exploring the world…hence I continue to explore…