Sharmi Surianarain

India | Vice President, Lifelong Engagement

Sharmi is currently the Director of Africa Careers Network and Lifelong Engagement at African Leadership Academy. Sharmi heads up the careers and internships team, and leads the effort to connect ALA alumni to each other, to ALA, and to Africa. Sharmi joined ALA in February 2012 as the Director of Global Partnerships, and she was responsible for management of institutions and individuals supporting ALA as donors, corporate partners and visitors.

Sharmi has worked extensively on issues within education management, leadership, and skills development with public, private, and non-profit organisations in Southern Africa, the United States, and India.

At The Resolve Group, Sharmi has provided human capital advisory services to a variety of public and private sectors in Southern Africa. Her experience has ranged from leading a team to conduct a nation-wide assessment of public sector hospital managers for Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi, to designing national policies on skills development and technical training for the Government of Mozambique. Sharmi has also advised higher education institutions in South Africa on issues of institutional culture, diversity management, and transformation. Her role at Resolve Group was to design and help roll out a programm for school leadership, coaching and capacity development for twenty-one public schools serving disadvantaged learners across Gauteng.

At Pratham, a non-profit educational organization in India, Sharmi researched and evaluated the successful impact of the organization’s early childhood development programs for a series of UNESCO publications on urban education. She also conducted extensive research on the organization’s national network of donor and government partnerships as part of a research project on non-profit networks funded by the National Science Foundation in the United States.

Her time at The Learning Project, a charter school management organization in New York, she was responsible for strategic relations, fundraising, and donor management for the organization’s two charter schools in Greater New York. Sharmi’s fundraising efforts included securing a $500,000 federal grant for a permanent facility for the Greater Newark Charter School in Newark, New Jersey.

Sharmi has also published academic articles on issues of education policy delivery in developing countries, education management, and organizational behavior. Sharmi holds a B.A. degree from Harvard University, an M.Ed. in international education policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and an M.S. in organizational behavior from the Kellogg School of Management. Sharmi is currently the Vice President of the Harvard University Association of South Africa.