Leading Development Experts from African, Asian, and Latin American Countries Join Aspen Institute’s 2020 New Voices Fellowship Program

Program to change the global development media and advocacy discussion includes 25 Fellows from 16 African, Asian and Latin American Countries.

The Aspen Institute announced today the 2020 class of the New Voices Fellowship, a groundbreaking program which equips experts from developing countries to play a more powerful role as advocates and policymakers in the global development discussion.

“New Voices Fellows are uniquely positioned to influence global development policies,” Fellowship Director Andrew Quinn said. “Their world-class expertise, paired with lived experience of basic development challenges, gives them important insight into how policy can translate into progress on the ground.”

The 2020 Class of New Voices Fellows includes 25 Fellows from 16 African, Asian and Latin American countries. They include an HIV+ Bolivian activist who is fighting for improved healthcare systems across South America, a Rwandan scientist who used his own experience going hungry in a refugee camp to rethink Africa’s battle against malnutrition, and a Nigerian doctor who contracted – and survived – the Ebola virus in 2014, making her one of Bill Gates’ “Heroes in the Field” for global health.

Ten of the 2020 New Voices Fellows specialize in different aspects of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), part of a three-year New Voices effort to spotlight this crucial topic.

They include a male nurse from Ghana who is fighting the scourge of unsafe abortions by providing quality reproductive healthcare and training midwives, an Indian activist who has used her own experience with female genital mutilation (FGM) to launch a broader discussion of gender-based violence and sexual harassment, and a Nigerian youth advocate who has used social media to become one of her country’s foremost “influencers” on sexuality and reproductive rights.

“Sexual and reproductive health and rights are central to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and these Fellows bring new ideas that can transform discussions and shape real-world actions,” said Fellowship Associate Director Emily Kaiser.

Meet the Fellows

Intensive Media and Advocacy Training 

The 2020 New Voices Fellows come from Afghanistan, Bolivia, Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Myanmar, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe. They will undertake a program of intensive media and advocacy training and mentorship to reach a broader global audience through both traditional and new media, as well as speaking engagements.

During the program’s first six years, New Voices Fellows were featured over 6,188 times in media outlets and delivered numerous TED and TEDx talks. Under a training partnership with The Moth, a non-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling, New Voices Fellows have told their stories to live US audiences and through radio and podcast syndication.

Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Open Societies Foundations, the New Voices Fellowship was established in 2013 to bring the essential perspectives of development experts from Africa and other parts of the developing world into the global development conversation. 

In 2019, the program expanded to include a new, three-year project to spotlight experts involved with Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights with the support of an anonymous donor. Application to the Fellowship is by nomination only, and nominations will open in August 2020 for the next class.

This press release is also available to download.