TED Conference Introduces TED Fellows Program

Contact: Laura Galloway
Phone: +1 213.948.3100 or +1 212.260.3708
Email: [email protected]


Fifty World-Changing Individuals to be Selected Annually for New, Prestigious Fellowship Program; 20 move to Senior Fellows Three-Year Program

Long Beach, California, February 2, 2009 — Organizers of the TED Conference today announced the introduction of the TED Fellows program, a new international program designed to foster the spread of great ideas. Initially 50 individuals, selected for the world-changing potential of their work, will be invited to participate in the TED community each year. At the end of the year, 20 of these 50 will be selected to be TED Senior Fellows, participating in an extended three-year program will bring them to six consecutive conferences, along with additional benefits. The principal goal of the program is to empower the Fellows to effectively communicate their work to the TED community and to the world.

The TED Fellows program will focus on attracting applicants living or working in five parts of the globe: the Asia/Pacific region, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Middle East, with consideration given to applicants from the rest of the world. TED will seek remarkable thinkers and doers that have shown unusual accomplishment, exceptional courage, moral imagination and the potential to increase positive change in their respective fields. The program focuses on innovators in technology, entertainment, design, science, film, art, music, entrepreneurship and the NGO community, among other pursuits.

The program was inspired by the TEDAfrica 2007 conference in Arusha, Tanzania, in which 100 fellows participated in a first-of-its kind gathering that catalyzed a new generation of leaders — all entrepreneurial, fluent in technology and vested in creating change on the continent. The Arusha fellows brought with them new perspectives, enormous energy, enthusiasm and, through their ovation-generating talks, catalyzed the launch of many initiatives with other attendees. Propelled by their energy, TED decided to develop the TED Fellows program.

“Because TEDAfrica’s success in 2007 was due in no small part to the boundless energy and remarkable ideas of our fellows, we decided to create a permanent program to bring more amazing leaders into the TED Community. TED will help them communicate their ‘ideas worth spreading’ to a much larger audience,” said Tom Rielly, TED Community Director, who is responsible for the program.

Each Fellow will attend the prestigious TED Conference in Long Beach or Oxford, where they will have the opportunity to speak before or during TED and spread their ideas online through They will also receive exclusive communications training, a private social network and the opportunity to tell their ongoing stories on the new TED Fellows blog.

Each year, 50 Fellows will be selected to attend the TED (Long Beach) or TEDGlobal Conference (in Oxford, U.K.), approximately 25 at each location. TED Fellows will be awarded the opportunity to participate in the full spectrum of TED community offerings. An international selection committee representing the target regions will then choose the Senior Fellows. Three years from today, in addition to the 50 TED Fellows, there will be 60 concurrent TED Senior Fellows, with 20 joining each year, and 20 graduating to the Fellows alumni.

The first participants include

  • Erik Hersmann and Juliana Rotich, co-founders of, a website for citizen journalism covering crises such as the Kenyan post-election violence
  • Faisal Chohan, CEO of Cogilent Solutions and founder of, the leading job portal in Pakistan
  • Juliana Machado Ferreira, Brazilian CSI: Wildlife biologist who uses genetic markers to track, interdict and convict illegal songbird traffickers
  • Sara Mayhew, Canadian mangaka (manga artist)
  • Patrick Awuah, founder and President of Asheshi University in Ghana, which specializes in economics and computer science
  • Bola Olabisi, founder and CEO of the Global Women Inventors and Innovators Network
  • Katrin Verclas, founder of, a global network using mobile technology for social good
  • Taghi Amirani, award-winning documentary filmmaker from Iran
  • Yatin Sethi, Indian design researcher and children’s education activist
  • Kyra Gaunt, professor, ethnomusicologist and recording artist
  • Karen Baptiste, post-doctoral fellow from Trinidad and Tobago working on environmental justice
  • Tin Ho Chow, former Singaporean military officer and RISD industrial design student organizing design conferences for social change
  • Gerry Douglas, founder of Malawi’s Baobab Health Partnership, which builds touch screen terminals that allow non-doctors to diagnose, treat and correctly prescribe drugs for people with HIV
  • Esther Chae, Korean American actor and writer whose solo performance As the Arrow Flies draws on her life growing up in Korea and tells the story of a North Korean spy and the FBI agent who pursues her
  • A complete list of the 2009 Long Beach TED Fellows can be found at
  • The program is supported initially by the Bezos family, the Harnisch Foundation, private donors and Nokia, with additional in-kind support from Kodak, Lightscribe and To support the program, email [email protected].
    Details are available at For more information, please contact Logan McClure at +1 212.346.9333 or via email at [email protected].

    About TED
    TED is an annual event where some of the world’s leading thinkers and doers are invited to share what they are most passionate about. “TED” stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design — three broad subject areas that are, collectively, shaping our future. And in fact, the event is broader still, showcasing ideas that matter in any discipline. Attendees have called it “the ultimate brain spa” and “a four-day journey into the future.” The diverse audience — CEOs, scientists, creatives, philanthropists — is almost as extraordinary as the speakers, who have included Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Frank Gehry, Paul Simon, Sir Richard Branson, Philippe Starck and Bono.

    TED was first held in Monterey, California, in 1984. In 2001, Chris Anderson’s Sapling Foundation acquired TED from its founder, Richard Saul Wurman. In recent years, TED has expanded to include an international conference, TEDGlobal; media initiatives, including TED Talks and; and the TED Prize. TED2009, “The Great Unveiling,” will be held Feb. 3-7, 2009, in Long Beach, California, with a simulcast event in Palm Springs, California.
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