Khaliya Aga Khan

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(m. 2006⁠–⁠2013)
Alma materNew York University (B.A. 1999)
Columbia University (MPH 2006)
Muslim leader

Khaliya is an advocate for mental health and a Columbia University-trained public health specialist. Khaliya is a public health specialist and neuro-technologist focused on developing radical solutions to the global mental health crisis. The youngest member of The World Economic Forum's Expert Advisory on the Future of Health and Healthcare, Khaliya is also an active advocate and humanitarian. Khaliya was the recipient of both the 2016 Middelthon-Candler Peace Prize and the 2017 Clare Booth Luce Award for International Service. It is her belief that lasting peace and prosperity can only be achieved if the fundamental requirements for health, both physical and mental, are made available to those in need. In 2013, Khaliya co-founded Falkora, a non-for-profit mental health and neurotech initiative, as well as the soon to be released app, Tell Your Story. She is currently working on a book on the future of mental health with a particular emphasis on new modalities, such as psychedelics and neurotech. [1] An expert in global pandemics with a background in computer science, Khaliya sees mental health as among the most crucial social issues of the coming century. In addition to campaigning to expand the definition of mental illness so future funding can catch up with the scope of the problem, the organization is exploring how new technologies can leapfrog outdated approaches to mental well-being. Tech innovations, she believes, could not only reach a wider group of people in need within the U.S., but also reduce costs of mental health tools worldwide, sparking a necessary paradigm shift in mental health care. Falkora’s initiative helps put cross disciplinary approaches to mental health at the top of the political agenda in the United States and internationally. Actively involved with numerous social ventures, Khaliya is an investor in, and head of strategic partnerships for, Guardian Circle, an app that uses the power of crowdsourcing and social networks to keep individuals safe. Khaliya is also on the advisory committee for NeuroLaunch, the leading accelerator for neuroscience apps and Co-executive Producer for Breadhead, an explosive documentary about the looming worldwide epidemic of diet-related neurodegenerative disease. A graduate with honors of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Khaliya was on the board of the world’s largest private development network from 2006 through 2010 – work that took her to over 30 countries as a health specialist, and as part of diplomatic delegations throughout Africa and Asia. Prior, Khaliya was part of a research team focused on infectious disease and national security at the Council on Foreign Relations, and worked to negotiate lower-cost opportunistic infections drugs for YRG Care AIDS hospital in India. After receiving her B.A. with honors in European Studies and International Affairs at New York University, Khaliya worked two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bulgaria during the country’s rocky post-Communism transition period. [1]

Through her foundation, Falkora,[2] Khaliya is working to transform society's understanding of mental health issues and push for faster innovation in the field. Her advocacy has earned her a spot on the World Economic Forum's Futures Council on the Future of Health and Healthcare. She was on the braintrust for the Obama White House-sponsored 2016 United State of Women Summit,[3] where she was also a speaker. Other speakers at the daylong event included former President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Warren Buffett and Oprah Winfrey. Khaliya is on the leadership council for the 2017 Solve Global Challenge on Brain Health for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[4] She's also the permanent curator-in-residence on brain health and neurotech for The Near Future Summit.[5]

She's been the recipient of multiple awards, including the Middelthon-Candler Peace Prize, alongside Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in 2016 and the inaugural Clare Boothe Luce Award for International Service in 2017.

Personal life[edit]

A native of New York City, Khaliya graduated with honors from New York University and obtained a Master of Public Health from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. From 2006 to 2013, Khaliya was married to Prince Hussain Aga Khan, the son of Prince Karim Aga Khan (Aga Khan IV), spiritual leader to the world's 25 million Nizari Ismaili Shia Muslims. Since her divorce from Prince Hussain in 2013, she continues to practice Islam. [6][7] As part of her work as for the Aga Khan Development Network, Khaliya travelled throughout Africa and Asia on health and diplomatic missions. In 2005, she worked as a health consultant at Y.R. Gaitonde Centre for AIDS Research and Education in Chennai, India, and in 2004 she researched the links between infectious disease and national security for the Council on Foreign Relations. She also served in the Peace Corps in Bulgaria from 1999-2001, during the country's rocky post-Communist period. In her WIRED 2017 talk and again in her interview on CNN Money Switzerland, Khaliya claims she was the victim of a kidnapping.

Speaking engagements[edit]

Khaliya has spoken on mental health issues at WIRED UK's WIREDHealth conference,[8] as well as at the White House's United State of Women Summit.[3] She's also spoken at The World Economic Forum Family Business Summit, TEDxBeaconStreet,[9] the PSI Maverick Collective Meeting at the Palace of Their Royal Highnesses the Crown Prince and the Crown Princess of Norway, The Near Future Summit,[5] the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting,[10] Clinton Global Initiative, Nexus Global Youth Summit, Women's Entrepreneurship Day and The Novus Summit at the United Nations General Assembly,[11] amongst others.


Khaliya and her partner, author, architect and futurist Thomas Ermacora,[12] co-founded Falkora,[2] a not-for-profit mental health and neurotech initiative. The organization aims to catapult mental health to the top of the political agenda both in the United States and internationally and to harness technological innovations to tackle critical mental health issues.


Khaliya is currently working on a book on the future of mental health with a particular emphasis on new modalities, such as psychedelics and neurotech. [13]

Awards and Appointments[edit]

In 2016, Khaliya was the recipient of the National Monuments Foundation's Middelthon-Candler Peace Prize, alongside Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, who received the Justice Prize. Additionally, the James J. Dudley Luce Foundation awarded her the first annual Clare Boothe Luce Award for International Service in 2017. In 2016, she was appointed to The World Economic Forum's Expert Advisory Global Futures Council on the Future of Health and Healthcare.[14] Other members include Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England, and Peter Piot, the co-discoverer of the Ebola virus and Time's 2014 Person of the Year, and others.

Khaliya sits on the advisory committee for the world's leading accelerator for neuroscience apps, NeuroLaunch.[15] Khaliya was also on the founding board and continues to sit on the advisory board of Nexus Youth Summit,[16] a global initiative aimed at pairing promising young social entrepreneurs with the communities and capital needed to bring their projects to scale. Nexus has hosted over 20 summits across six continents and has thousands of members from around the world. Khaliya was also on the founding board of Venture for America,[17] a non-profit that pairs recent graduates with startups in economically depressed areas of the U.S. Since its inception in 2011, Venture for America has placed more than 500 fellows in 18 cities nationwide.

Khaliya is an investor in and director of partnerships for Guardian Circle,[18] a personal security app that was recently awarded the distinction of being the exclusive API provider for the Anu and Navaan Jain XPrize for Women's Safety.


Khaliya studied International Politics, European Studies, and Computer Science at New York University, graduating Cum Laude and with Departmental Honors in 1999. As part of her focus on Europe, she spent a year at Institut d'Etudes Politiques (SciencePo) in Paris and a semester at the Centro Linguistico di Firenze in Florence, Italy. At Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health, she focused on urbanism and community health, graduating with honors in 2006.


  1. ^ a b "Khaliya's Bio" (PDF).
  2. ^ a b "Falkora".
  3. ^ a b "United State of Women Summit".
  4. ^ "Solve Challenges - Brain Health".
  5. ^ a b "The Near Future Summit".
  6. ^ ""Recoding Communities" UN July 17, 2016 - speech by Khaliya". Falkora Secretariat. Retrieved 6 March 2018 – via YouTube.
  7. ^ Nexus Global Youth Summit (PDF) Retrieved 6 March 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ "WIRED Health 2017, London | WIRED UK".
  9. ^ "TEDxBeaconStreet".
  10. ^ "The American Public Health Association Annual Meeting".
  11. ^ "United Nations General Assembly".
  12. ^ "Thomas Ugo Ermacora. Creative & Strategic Director | Clear Village Creative Regeneration Specialists".
  13. ^
  14. ^ "The World Economic Forum".
  15. ^ "NeuroLaunch".
  16. ^ "Advisors | Nexus Global Youth Summit". Retrieved 2016-06-20.
  17. ^ "Venture for America Venture for America - Venture for America".
  18. ^ "Guardian Circle".

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