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About us

Advisory board

Adam Sharpe

Adam2Adam is a branding and communications professional with a passion for training, facilitation and public speaking. He has worked with some of the world’s biggest brands to strengthen critical soft skills including communication, critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and leadership. He is the founder of 21CW, a training and development consultancy specializing in 21st Century Skills development for leaders and organizations.

Adam was born and raised in London, but his career took off after arriving in Asia in 2009 where he became an events producer, fundraiser and community-builder, raising money for children’s homes on the Thai-Burmese border and launching a secret live music community in Bangkok known as Sofar Sounds. Adam first encountered Rapid Asia in 2012 while working for MTV EXIT where he helped to build their regional youth networks and programming, managing over 200 days of events and training programs to over 600 youth leaders, empowering youth to deliver education and engagement on human trafficking to over 80,000 people. The experience gave him a deep knowledge of prevention and engagement in both urban and rural contexts.

After MTV EXIT closed its doors in 2014, his youth engagement work continued when he developed a campaign to prevent rape and sexual violence on Thai university campuses for the Thailand Institute of Justice, before joining UNESCO to design and promote intercultural dialogue and youth-led peace-building initiatives across the Asia-Pacific. Adam played a key role in strengthening the Asia Pacific Inter-agency Network on Youth, an informal membership network of UN agencies and INGOs established to increase the effectiveness of UN work on youth development. We are proud to have Adam Sharpe join our advisory board to help strengthen our brand strategy, communications and learning programs.

Michael Bäk

Michael BäkMichael was appointed to Rapid Asia’s Advisory Board early 2015 as Advisor on Social Development issues. He is a Bangkok-based social development and inclusion expert and political economist with more than 17 years of experience in Asia, including 13 years with USAID, collaborating with change agents in government, civil society, and business. He currently serves as a Strategic Advisor for the United Nations Resident Coordinator and UN Country Team in Thailand.

Michael was appointed to Rapid Asia’s Advisory Board early 2015 as Advisor on Social Development issues. He is a Bangkok-based social development and inclusion expert and political economist with more than 17 years of experience in Asia, including 13 years with USAID, collaborating with change agents in government, civil society, and business. He currently serves as a Strategic Advisor for the United Nations Resident Coordinator and UN Country Team in Thailand.

After a short career in controversy management and risk communications, Michael joined USAID serving in numerous leadership and strategic roles including as Director of two USAID/Indonesia technical offices and senior Asia regional advisory roles on LGBT human rights, vulnerable populations including internal displacement and migration, governance and conflict mitigation/peace building.

In the early 2000s, Michael was responsible for developing psycho-social and care/support services to survivors of three brutal terrorist attacks in Bali and Jakarta. As the first US Government official in Aceh after the 2004 tsunami, he led USAID’s initial on-the-ground response and subsequently developed inclusive community-based humanitarian recovery projects. He worked for years addressing the negative impacts of violent conflict across Indonesia including designing and leading inclusive peace-building support to the Aceh Peace Process for which the USAID Administrator awarded him for his “humanitarian efforts in Indonesia and his commitment to human rights, demonstrated by his courageous efforts to bring peace to Aceh after 30 years of civil war.”

In 2007, Michael joined USAID’s regional platform in Bangkok to lead support to the MTV EXIT (End Exploitation and Trafficking) campaign, advancing USAID’s leadership in the innovative use of social media, celebrity, live concerts, and television for purposes of social impact. Other responsibilities included major achievements in democratic governance in Thailand, addressing critical Post-Nargis needs in Myanmar, and sensitive civic participation activities in China, Vietnam, and across ASEAN.

After leaving USAID he routinely consulted for the United Nations, foundations, bilateral development agencies and businesses working in areas of civil society capacity building, advocacy, sustainability, social inclusion and democratic governance. He is a Principal Shareholder and Director/Creative & Collaboration with London-based Strategic Asia Global and is on the Board of Directors of New York-based B-Change Insights. He has a BA from Kalamazoo College (Kalamazoo, USA), a Certificate from Nagoya Gakuin University (Nagoya, Japan), and a MA from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (Washington, DC, USA). He is fluent in English, French, Bahasa Indonesia, and Melayu, previously fluent in Japanese and varying abilities in Thai and Spanish.