Born in Asia, raised in Africa and educated in Europe and the US, James Chen is a venture philanthropist with a global outlook. The importance of giving back was instilled in him by his father, Robert Yet-Sen Chen, whose lifetime of philanthropic work led to the creation of The Chen Yet-Sen Family Foundation, which focuses on improving early childhood literacy. As chairman of the Foundation, James continues the work his father started. He is also chairman of Wahum Group Holdings, a third generation family-owned manufacturing business, and the founder of his family office, Legacy Advisors Ltd.
Aside from his business activities, James has been gripped by one issue that has become both his focus and his passion: poor vision. The ability to see is a vital gateway to education, work and building a better life - but globally, 2.5 billion people still suffer from poor vision without treatment.
For the last 14 years, James has championed the cause, leading and funding work to drive new progress on an age-old problem. This journey has given him an understanding of the many challenges that must be solved, and his determination to tackle the problem from all sides has inspired a host of projects.
James is the co-founder of Adlens, which is revolutionising lens technology with adjustable focus eyewear. He founded Vision for a Nation, a charity supporting emerging nations - starting with Rwanda - in providing affordable glasses and primary eye care to their citizens. Finally, as the culmination of his work so far, James launched the Clearly campaign to inspire new innovation and promote greater awareness of the global vision issue.
James describes vision as the problem the world forgot. His personal mission is to see a world where everyone has access to vision correction within his lifetime.