Malvika Iyer

Alumni, Global Shapers Community

Dr. Malvika Iyer is an award-winning disability rights activist with a doctorate in social work. She is the recipient of the ‘Nari Shakti Puraskar’, the highest civilian honor for women from the President of India. She is an international motivational speaker, a corporate trainer, a TEDx speaker, a model for accessible fashion, an MC, and a global shaper at the global shapers community (an initiative of the World Economic Forum). She serves on the advisory board of India Inclusion Foundation.

Dr. Iyer’s powerful and uplifting speeches and her pioneering work have bought her numerous accolades and acclaim across the globe including an honor from the President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, a standing ovation for her motivational talk at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, and ‘Women in the World’ Emerging Leaders Award in association with The New York Times. She was selected by the Honorable Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi to take over his social media accounts on International Women’s Day. She also co-chaired the World Economic Forum India Economic Summit along with union cabinet ministers and business leaders. She is the recipient of the Young Achievers Award from National Association of Professional Social Workers in India. She has been the subject of over 300 international newspaper articles, TV interviews, books and magazines, earning her a spot among the 100 Change Agents and Newsmakers of the Decade.

An advocate for inclusion and gender, Dr. Iyer has 8 years of experience in motivational speaking, mental health advocacy and diversity training. She has given keynote speeches and TED talks, conducted workshops and seminars on resilience, breaking barriers, growth mindset, positive self talk, body positivity, and overcoming adversity. She has raised awareness on global issues such as inclusion, gender equality, mental health, child rights, universal design, and accessibility in educational institutions, private corporations, NGOs, and youth forums around the world. Some of her recent talks were given in Singapore, India, Norway, Indonesia and South Africa. She has a strong online presence with verified accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which enables her to engage one-on-one with millions of people.

She was 13 years old when she survived a bomb blast in India. She lost both her hands and severely damaged both her legs with nerve paralysis and hypoesthesia. Despite being bed ridden for 2 years, she appeared for her exams, topped her 10th grade and scored 97% with just 3 months of preparations. She studied Economics at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi followed by a Master’s degree in Social Work at the Delhi School of Social Work. She completed her M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Social Work at the Madras School of Social Work. She is a recipient of University Grants Commission National Eligibility Test for Junior Research Fellowship and Eligibility for Lectureship.

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