Vilas Dhar is President and Trustee of the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, a $1.5B 21st century philanthropy advancing artificial intelligence and data solutions to create a thriving, equitable, and sustainable future for all. Under his leadership, the Foundation bridges technological innovation and social impact with a commitment to justice and equity (see www.mcgovern.org). Vilas is an entrepreneur, technologist, and human rights advocate with a lifelong commitment to creating more robust, human-centered social institutions. Fusing his experience as a lawyer, an investor, and a philanthropist, he has dedicated his professional pursuits to exploring solutions for some of the world’s largest challenges like child labor, refugee crises, and data privacy and sovereignty.
A leading voice on equity in a tech-enabled world, Vilas champions a new social compact for the digital age that prioritizes individuals and communities in the development of new products, inspires economic and social opportunity, and empowers the most vulnerable. He is especially passionate about building public awareness about the potential opportunities and impacts of emergent technology on social infrastructure, corporate responsibility, and human behavior.
Vilas’ work has been published in the Harvard Business Review, Nature, The Independent, USA Today, Forbes, and Project Syndicate, addressing data for good, the role of philanthropy in AI, and how CEOs, policymakers, and civil society leaders can guide their organizations through the AI revolution.
Vilas serves on the Advisory Council at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI), the Board of Directors at AccessLex, as Expert Contributor to OECD.AI, Co-Chair of the Global AI Action Alliance at the World Economic Forum, Advisor to MIT SOLVE, Director of the Network of Engaged International Donors, and as a Trustee of the Christensen Fund. He has been named a Young Global Leader and Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum, and has previously served as a Senior Fellow of the Berggruen Institute, the Gleitsman Fellow on Social Change at Harvard University, a Practitioner Resident on Artificial Intelligence at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, and an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Illinois.
Vilas holds a J.D. from NYU School of Law, a Master’s in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and dual Bachelor's degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Illinois. His ongoing doctoral work at the University of Birmingham drives novel approaches to economic and policy infrastructure for a data enabled society to support and empower vulnerable populations.