Chandrika Bahadur

Chandrika Bahadur

Chandrika Bahadur is a nonresident fellow with the Center for Sustainable Development in the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution. She serves as the chief executive officer at the Antara Foundation. The Antara Foundation supports public health delivery to improve maternal and child health and nutrition outcomes in rural India.

Bahadur’s career spans multilateral institutions, foundations, nonprofits, and with government in over 20 countries across the world, working at the crossroads of international policy, organizational leadership, and research. Most recently she was president of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Association and founder-director of the SDG Academy. In this capacity, she set up and ran the nonprofit that hosted the United Nations SDSN in New York and oversaw its operations in Paris, New Delhi, and most recently in Kuala Lumpur. She oversaw the design and implementation of the organizational structure and systems that underpin SDSN, a global network of over 1,700 universities across the world working with the UN to promote sustainable development. At the SDG Academy, Bahadur brought together expertise from around the world to create free, high-quality learning content on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), reaching over 800,000 learners globally.

Previously she helped set up Reliance Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Reliance Industries—India’s largest private sector entity—drawing up strategy for priority areas, program design, and institutional structure. She began her career at the United Nations as a policy specialist working on international trade, poverty reduction, and budgeting and planning for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and as part of the leadership team of the U.N. Millennium Project.

Bahadur’s policy interests lie at the interface of education, sustainable development, public health, inequality, poverty reduction, and, since 2020, in ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic intersects with Agenda 2030. From 2021, she has served as chair of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission India Task Force.

Bahadur has prior teaching experience at Harvard and Columbia Universities and has held visiting and guest faculty positions at the Vedica Scholars Program in Delhi; the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi; Harappa Education; the India Leaders for Social Sector Program; and the SDG Academy. She holds a master’s in public administration and international development from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, a master’s in business administration from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, and a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in economics from St. Stephen’s College at Delhi University.

  • Current Positions

    • Chief Executive Officer, Antara Foundation
    • Chair, Lancet COVID-19 Commission India Task Force
  • Past Positions

    • President, Sustainable Development Solutions Network Association
    • Founder-Director, SDG Academy
    • President, SDSN Association (2016-2020)
    • Director, Educational Initiatives, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (2013-2015)
  • Education

    • Master's in Public Administration and International Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
    • Master's in Business Administration, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad
    • Bachelor or Arts (Honours) in Economics, St. Stephen's College, Delhi University
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