Australian ● Born 1981 ● Based in
London, The Hague, New York City, Sydney
Donning his earth suit for the first time (in this life), in 1981, Prashanth, (known to his Dutch mates as PJ), began something called life. Raised in Sydney, Australia, he began exploring what the hell that meant. Not having a clue, he dove head first into the big wide amazing world. His explorations have included writing with invisible ink, speaking under wet cement, travelling to unknown lands, pondering global issues, questioning the human condition and the obligatory long walks through unknown forests. One day, while writing a biography for himself on his own website he realised how ridiculous it is to sum up life in a short collection of words, especially when its your own. So he stopped writing and lived the life he was trying to summarise.
Geopolitical Strategist ● Writer ● Humanitarian
With a background in strategy, operations, and global politics, Prashanth Shanmugan is a geopolitical strategist, writer, and humanitarian.
Having experienced both war and peace firsthand, he is considered one of Australia’s most inspirational advocates of international humanitarian law. He is recognised as a ‘Face to Watch’ by The Sydney Morning Herald and praised as a “fire-bellied visionary who puts his ideals into action.”
At the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, he works across both Investment and Advisory Services with a strategic focus to promote sustainable private sector investment and development.
Previously, he has worked at Egon Zehnder International, and Royal Dutch Shell. At Shell, in the Netherlands, he was part of the scenarios team that developed the 2050 Energy Scenarios and he also led a project examining the interrelationship between the rule of law, development and investment.
He is an Australia Day Ambassador and is actively involved with the Australian Red Cross and has travelled extensively across Australia educating the community on the laws of war and the global role of the International Red Cross. Previously, he was the founding president of the UNSW United Nations Society and was vice-president of the Australian Institute of International Affairs.
While still at high school and combining his interest in the world with his passion for innovation and the future, he founded Australian Vision: 20/20, to engage in critical debate to identify and explore emerging changes, challenges, and opportunities facing Australia and the world.
A recipient of numerous honours and awards including the Centenary Medal, awarded by the Australian Government, which acknowledges the contributions made by individuals to the success of Australia’s first hundred years as a federal nation.
The Human Rights Commission awarded him the inaugural Human Rights Youth Medal, on Australia Day 2000 he was named Young Citizen of the Year, in 2001 he was selected by the United Nations as a Global Ambassador for the United Nations Global Atlas of Human Rights. He was a finalist in the Young Australian of the Year Awards and in 2005 he was awarded the Australian Humanitarian Award.
An avid writer, his writings & commentaries have appeared in several international publications. He co-produced and presented the weekly radio current affairs programme Perspectives on EastSide FM and was a commentator on the urban music and culture programme Alchemy on SBS Radio.
An accomplished and award winning speaker, he has addressed governments, corporations and academic institutions. A keen social observer and an advocate of global engagement he continually participates in critical debate and discussion to identify and explore emerging global trends, challenges and opportunities. By providing a unique insight into the nexus between global politics, international law and the global business environment, Prashanth is able to make complex international political, commercial, social and legal issues accessible to a broad audience with varying knowledge and experiences.
In 2008 he was invited by the U.S. Government to take part in its premier exchange program, the International Visitor Leadership Program. In 2011 he was selected by the U.S. State Department to participate in the Professional Fellows Program.
He graduated with honours in politics and international relations from the University of New South Wales and wrote a thesis on the changing nature of warfare. In 2007 he was awarded the Persia Porter/Lady Galleghan Scholarship to undertake an intensive course at the Åbo Akademi University in Finland on the challenges to international humanitarian law.
Though fiercely Australian, Prashanth is a proud internationalist who consciously crosses cultural boundaries to influence social change. A true globetrotter he has travelled extensively and has lived in Australia, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.