Title and Organization:
Anousheh Ansari is a CEO of the XPRIZE Foundation, the world’s leader in designing and operating incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges. Ansari, along with her family, sponsored the organization’s first competition, the Ansari XPRIZE, a $10 million competition that ignited a new era for commercial spaceflight. Since then, she has served on XPRIZE’s Board of Directors. Prior to being named CEO of XPRIZE, Ansari served as the CEO of Prodea Systems, a leading Internet of Things (IoT) technology firm she co-founded in 2006, and continues to serve as the executive chairwoman. She captured headlines around the world when she embarked upon an 11-day space expedition, accomplishing her childhood dream of becoming the first female private space explorer, first astronaut of Iranian descent, first Muslim woman in space, and fourth private explorer to visit space. Ansari serves on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Future Council and has received numerous honors, including the WEF Young Global Leader, Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and STEM Leadership Hall of Fame, among others. She is a UNESCO Good Will Ambassador and serves on the board of Jabil and Peace First, as well as several other not-for-profit organizations focused on STEM education and youth empowerment. Ansari also co-founded The Billion Dollar Fund for Women, announced earlier this month at the Tri Hita Karana (THK) Forum on Sustainable Development in Bali, Indonesia, with a goal of investing $1 billion in women-founded companies by 2020. She published her memoir, My Dream of Stars, to share her life story as inspiration for young women around the world. Ansari holds a BS in electronics and computer engineering from George Mason University, an MS in electrical engineering from George Washington University; and honorary doctorates from George Mason University, Utah Valley University, and International Space University. She is a Fellow of the second class of the Middle East Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.