Pooja is an engineer turned educator who finds joy and purpose in building infrastructures that support a citizenry of changemakers, enabling them to do whatever they can, with whatever they have, wherever they are.
Centering community-building as a fundamental approach to her social impact work, Pooja has been working extensively in the fields of arts for social impact, conflict transformation, and refugee and migrant empowerment.
As GATHER International Director, Pooja, who is based in Bangalore, will be responsible for connecting, mobilizing, and supporting the multinational GATHER network to take individual and collective action to build justice and peace.
This is a natural extension of Pooja’s rich experience bringing groups together across borders to work together towards change, as well as her history with Seeds of Peace (she worked as a counselor at the Seeds of Peace Camp from 2017 to 2019).
Pooja is a natural at mobilizing communities, whether through her work at the Community Arts Network, the international organization Letters of Love that she founded, or her most recent efforts to create a COVID squad to respond to needs in India.
Her relentless drive to work with the youth especially have found her in varying degrees of engagement at UNHCR HQ-Geneva, Graduate Institute-Geneva, Facebook-NYC, Oregon University, Swarthmore College-Philadelphia, GD Goenka University-New Delhi, GITAM University-Vishakapatnam, Cummins College of Engineering-Pune et al. She is a TEDX speaker, a GATHER Fellow 2018, was awarded the Rex Karmaveer Global Fellowship and the Karmaveer Chakra Award in 2019 and was selected, trained, and certified as an anti-hate speech Trainer by the Commonwealth of Nations and Council of Europe.
When not doing any of the above, Pooja spends her time dancing, scuba diving, writing, jumping rope or being a good friend.
“I strongly believe in the power of the individual and the collective in creating systemic changes and equitable societies in which all people thrive.”