Atlas Corps celebrates its 15th anniversary! It is time to celebrate the achievements of our amazing network of over 1,100 leaders from 110 countries and share stories on the global impact of our Alumni, Fellows, and Scholars.

Today we speak with Hilton Prize Scholar Shyam Kumar Katta (India, Org: Heifer International) from our inaugural cohort of the Hilton Humanitarian Prize Laureate Virtual Leadership Institute. Throughout his leadership experience in socioeconomic and development work, his contributions spans across many global issues such as women empowerment, rural economy, and sustainable incomes. Shyam is the Program Director at Heifer International, an international nonprofit that strives towards ending poverty by empowering local farmers and their communities.

Shyam, we are grateful for your impressive work towards eradicating poverty and hunger through empowering local farmers. Thank you for sharing with us your global impact, as well as your personal and professional growth. We wish you the best with this impactful work!

Name: Shyam Kumar Katta

Home Country: India

Current Organization: Heifer International

Role at current organization: Program Director

Social Issues that you have worked with: No poverty, Zero hunger, Gender Equality, Partnerships for the goals


Tell us about projects you have worked on?

In order to build a resilient life and to end hunger and poverty, my work encompasses many social issues such as women empowerment, rural economy, small holder farmers, capacity building, sustainable development, livelihood, gender equality, awareness of social change, access to opportunities, skills, and social capital. I have 18 years of diversified experience, to include my work with 4 international patents and 5 international publication, in empowering civil society towards capacity building with advanced expertise in corporate social responsibility management.

I also managed 18 Rural & Socioeconomic Developments projects under 10 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that target women empowerment, rural livelihood, sustainable incomes, agricultural value chains, climate resilience, and digital agriculture and biodiversity. In these projects, I strategized with 85 stakeholders, which resulted in impacting 2 million households across 8 states, 650 NGOs, commercializing 600 Farmer Producer Organizations, and 2,000 self-help groups.

Women Empowerment program in Bihar

Why is it important for you to work on rural and socioeconomic development projects?

I work towards partnership, permanence, and scale to reduce the living income and to end poverty because I care for humankind and am passionate in my heart about these social issues. Addressing social issues is a critical factor that leads to collective impact and social change in the community, and it is both my privilege and honor to do so. To thrive towards sustainable development, communities must be involved in the discussion of social issues, the enrichment of dialogue, thought processes and actions, as well as the design of social capital activities to create greater awareness and understanding of these problems.

Capacity Building for the Farmer Producer Organization Board of Directors

How has Atlas Corps contributed to your professional and personal accomplishments?

A big thanks to Atlas Corps. The small Atlas Corps Community is the beginning of the global change of social issues. I learned a lot and am still learning to diversify my experiences on every social issue. The global working knowledge, peer learnings, international network and contacts, and inspiring talks made me a strong leader. This Institute helped me to be more effective in whatever I do for the community.

What is your favorite Atlas Corps memory?

My favorite unforgettable memories was the Atlas Corps team’s Energy, Enthusiasm, and Passion towards educating, motivating, and preparing me to fight the battle against social issues.

Creating social capital for small holder farmers in Andhra Pradesh

What advice do you have for applicants and current Scholars?

If you are passionate about social issues, Atlas Corps will build your Leadership and create access for global networking.

What message would you like to send to individuals who support Atlas Corps?

As an individual, I am nothing in the battle against social issues, but with you, we are something of Confidence, Impact, and Sustainability.

APPLY NOW for the Hilton Humanitarian Prize Laureate Virtual Leadership Institute! Emerging social change leaders working exclusively at Hilton Prize Laureate organizations are invited to apply. This five-month online program includes keynote speakers, interactive workshops, self-led activities, discussion groups, and community-building activities with leading U.S. organizations and leaders. Hilton Prize Laureate Scholars will also work on an individual leadership project that benefits the Scholar’s current organization. In addition to engaging within the Hilton Prize Laureate community, the Hilton Prize Laureate Scholars will become members of the broader Atlas Corps Community of more than 1,200 professionals from 112 countries! The deadline is March 21 to be considered for opportunities starting in May 2022. Visit for more information.

Photos from the personal archive of Shyam Kumar Katta