International Alumnus of the Year named new VP of Asian Development Bank

Published 9 September 2020
Ashok Lavasa Ashok Lavasa

Southern Cross University graduate and International Alumnus of the Year Ashok Lavasa has been appointed as the new Vice President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Mr Lavasa has had a long and distinguished career in civil service, previously working as one of three Election Commissioners of India. In that role he oversaw the push for systemic voter education and greater electoral participation, helping mobilise the Indian general election in May 2019, involving more than 900 million voters over 75 days.

He has also previously served in a range of senior posts including as Union Finance Secretary of India; Union Secretary for the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change; and Union Secretary for the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

This week he begins his new role Asian Development Bank’s Vice President for Private Sector Operations and Public - Private Partnerships, succeeding Diwakar Gupta whose term ended in August. The Asian Development Bank provides loans, technical assistance, grants, and equity investments to promote social and economic development with a vision of a more prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while helping eradicate extreme poverty in the region.

Southern Cross University Vice President (Engagement) Mr Ben Roche congratulated Mr Lavasa on his new role.

“As Mr Lavasa’s Alma Mater, Southern Cross University is deeply proud of Ashok’s achievements to date and the significant position of influence he now presides over at the Asian Development Bank,” Mr Roche said.

“Ashok Lavasa now has a significant opportunity to apply his deep held values and sense of social justice to the greatest challenge of our time – how do we create sustainable livelihoods for all the peoples of the world, particularly the most populous region that is the Asia Pacific.

“On behalf of the Southern Cross family of 66,000 alumni, 20,000 students and staff – we wish him every success in his new role at Asian Development Bank.”

Mr Lavasa studied his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) at Southern Cross University in Australia from 1996 – 1997. He returned to Southern Cross University’s Lismore campus in October last year where he was awarded International Alumnus of the Year. The Award recognises individual alumni who push boundaries, create change, and lead the thinking to make a better world.

Reflecting on his career to date Mr Lavasa shared wisdom gained from almost four decades as a public servant in India.

“The world faces three challenges: preserving, promoting and strengthening democracy; proceeding with development, especially in impoverished countries, while preserving the environment; and finding resources,” he said.

“So, in the process of preserving the environment I don’t accept that development should not take place. Remember the International Labour Organisation moto, poverty anywhere in the world is a threat to prosperity everywhere.

“I would urge a university like Southern Cross to work in this direction: that while we employ technology for development, how do we maintain the ethics or the ethnical core that is going to save this world and planet?”

Media contact: Media team scumedia@scu.edu.au