About the New Voices Fellowship

The Fellowship offers development experts from Africa, Asia, and Latin America a year-long program of media support, advocacy lessons, training, and writing under the guidance of experienced mentors and trainers. On average, Fellows devote 10% of their working time towards the Fellowship over the course of the year.

The program helps Fellows sharpen their messages, elevate their stories, focus their media targets, and communicate their insights across a variety of media platforms – illuminating crucial perspectives for a broad worldwide audience in order to champion policy change.

Fellows come from a variety of disciplines, ranging from public health to education to poverty alleviation, agriculture, and community activism. All Fellows are experts in their field with a deep understanding of broad development challenges and a passion for communicating their views.


Fellows meet in Nairobi, Kenya or virtually for a week-long intensive media and advocacy boot camp.

March – May

Fellows complete one-on-one remote work with their selected mentor. Fellows and mentors focus on the Fellow’s customized program goals, such as publishing op-eds, giving speeches, and working towards tangible advocacy and policy objectives.


Fellows meet in-person or virtually for an intensive story-telling training.

July – September

Remote work continues as Fellows receive support to write, pitch, and publish Op-Eds, complete media appearances, advocate for their work and broader policy change, and share their stories with targeted audiences.


Fellows meet for the Aspen Institute’s foundational seminar program. Fellows also explore advance advocacy strategies and prepare for their futures as Senior Fellows.

November – January

Fellows receive continued support from their mentor until the next class is announced. At that time, Fellows graduate to become Senior Fellows and receive continued guidance and support from the New Voices Alumni Coordinators.

The Impact of the Op-Ed

Esther Ngumbi (NVF '15) is a Kenyan entomologist. She was appointed as an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois in 2018 because the Op-Eds she started writing as a New Voice Fellow set her apart from other researchers. Esther has been published in the New York Times, Al Jazeera, NPR, Scientific American, and All Africa, among many other outlets. In February 2021, she received the American Association of the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) Public Engagement with Science award, an accomplishment possible because of her prolific writing.

Meet the Fellow

Advocacy in Action

Dixon Chibanda (NVF '17), a Zimbabwean psychiatrist and founder of the Friendship Bench, had never conducted a major news interview. That changed after The Guardian published an article about his work during his Fellowship year. In the four years prior to Dixon's Fellowship, he averaged nine media appearances per year. In the four years following his Fellowship, Dixon averages 160 media appearances per year. Since the Fellowship, Dixon has had a documentary made about his work, has given a widely-viewed TEDTalk, and has been recognized by the WHO Director General for his innovative approach to treating mental illness. In 2019, his Friendship Bench was integrated into Zimbabwe's "National Strategic Plan for Mental Health Services: 2019 - 2023".

Meet the Fellow