Altru Institute began with the experience of founder Mariam Azarm, who spent 25 years at the United Nations in New York managing events for the Security Council. In this capacity of working with diplomats and celebrities, she built a global network of lasting contacts and insights. She was one the two staffers assigned to manage the high security sessions during with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were being developed.
Educated in Switzerland and then in the US at Princeton University, Mariam was a writer for Art publications and ran a gallery. With a home in Klosters, she was active in sessions at the World Economic Forum. The impetus for a think tank came from the general frustration of large institutions to help innovation at early stages and she felt there was a lack of collaboration to help nascent ideas.
Early retirement gave her the opportunity to pursue this idea. With childhood friend and London philanthropist Gilly Norton, she founded the Klosters Forum in 2015. Altru co-founder Brett Johnson, who had attended the first Klosters Forum, was greatly impressed with the collaborative model and felt it could be scaled globally for significant impact.
Brett's career experience has been in new venture development and innovation and in organizing conferences and in communications, publishing, Internet fields, med tech and biotech fields.
Together they founded the Altru Institute, focused on the notion of Altruism by addressing the most complex challenges by bringing together innovators and changemakers for collaboration.
Since that time, the organization has attracted hundreds of thought leaders to its Salons in New York and its Summits in Davos and Washington and has built a global network of talented thought leaders who share their view on the importance of collaboration.
A small staff is supplemented by an impressive network of volunteers who serve in advisory capacities.