Our Team

Akhil Gupta
Founder and Director
Akhil was inspired to conceive of the UEF mission during his two years at Harvard's Advanced Leadership Initiative. The University’s rich intellectual resources catalyzed seminal insights which spurred him to gather and share wisdom more broadly with a wider audience.

From 2015 until 2020, he held the posts of Senior Fellow and Guest at Harvard University. Prior to Harvard until 2015, he served as Chairman of Blackstone India. He joined The Blackstone Group as Senior Managing Director in 2005 and commenced its India operations.

Akhil received his MBA from the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University in 1981 and a B.Tech degree in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.

Akhil currently serves on the Advisory Council of the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, on the Dean’s Leadership Council at Harvard Divinity School, and on the Advisory board of Harvard University’s Human Flourishing Project.
Allen Simon
Research and Writing Associate
Having graduated with an MTS degree in Religion and Literature from Harvard Divinity School in Spring of 2018, Allen is still living in the Boston area as he continues to work on UEF projects. Most notably, he has been working with Mr. Gupta on a book which will explore common threads across the world's major religious traditions. Allen also holds a B.A. in Religion from Rice University (2016).
Donald E Frederick
Associate Advisor
Donald advises UEF on topics such as flourishing, religion, and technology. Donald is generally interested in concepts of flourishing, technology, and how to harness the latter to promote the former.In addition to advising UEF, Donald is an Associate of Harvard’s Human Flourishing Program and does tech consulting and builds start-ups. Donald received his PhD in psychology from the University of Chicago where he also received masters in computer science as well as divinity. His undergraduate degrees are in history and comparative religion.
Christine Fandrich
Director, Research & Innovation
Christine Fandrich is UEF’s Director of Research & Innovation where she is responsible for developing UEF’s research agenda on human flourishing and for advancing programmatic innovations. Currently, she is a doctoral candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University where she focuses on cognitive complexity and human development. Previously, she was the Coalition Engagement Manager of Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative. She has also worked for various international organizations addressing human rights and refugee issues in Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. She holds an Ed.M. in International Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, an MA in Global Affairs and Public Policy from the American University in Cairo, and a BA in Political Science from Syracuse University.

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