Monday, February 2, 2009

"Unveiling the TED Fellows program"

I first heard of the TED Fellows program soon after Christine and I came back from TED2008. It was a program to invite people from the nonprofit sector, education and the arts, who add to the great diversity and excellence of TED but typically cannot afford to attend.

Our good friend, Adrian Hong, is one of TED Fellows for this year. There were 40 selected and our colleague from the NetKAL program, Esther Chae, was also part of this first class. Too bad we can't join them since we are busy with our newborns. We hope to be at TED2010 next year!

An article on this new program, "TED reaching out to "remarkable" people in hard-luck lands"

More from Tom Rielly
's email:

Unveiling the TED Fellows program

Greetings TEDsters --
It's my pleasure to share with you the first “Great Unveiling” of TED2009: our new TED Fellows program. At TEDGlobal 2007 in Arusha, Tanzania we were struck by the remarkable conversations and collaborations inspired by the 100 fellows who attended. We saw the founding of several companies, including Black Star Line SA by speaker Herman Chenery- Hesse and TEDGlobal fellow June Arunga; the emergence of new NGOs such as, founded by Fellows Erik Hersman, Juliana Rotich and Ory Okolloh; and U.S. TEDsters setting up offices and hiring a TED Fellow in Tanzania. Scientists met with artists and designers, tech bloggers spoke with environmental activists, and filmmakers bonded with economists. Those exceptional people continue to write Africa's "Next Chapter."

Since then we've been seeking a way to bring the TED Fellows’ passion, energy and the ideas worth spreading to every TED conference, with the hope that their world-changing ideas and proven potential will meld with the talent and experience of the TED community.

Introducing TED Fellows, our new international program that will bring 50 eclectic, up-and-coming world-changers to our Long Beach and Oxford conferences each year. Twenty of those fifty will be invited back, starting the next year, as TED Senior Fellows, joining the community for a three-year term including six conferences. All TED Fellows will receive special benefits including pre-conference programs, training from world-class communications professionals, the opportunity to give short TEDTalks at TED University, the opportunity to spread their ideas on, a private social network and more. Of course, TED will cover their conference fees, travel and lodging.

We’re targeting individuals aged 21-40 from all of TED’s many disciplines, including of course, technology, entertainment and design but also science, humanities and the arts, entrepreneurs, NGOs and political and community leaders. We’re focusing on candidates from five regions of the world: Africa, Asia/Pacific, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Middle East. However, anyone 18 and over is welcome to apply. The first application cycle begins February 23rd, 2009.

Meet our first 40 fellows here. The complete list is also at the bottom of this email. If you’d like to read more about them, you can download a PDF of the TED Fellows Program Guide.

These men and women were selected for their achievement but especially for their promise. Each of them shows real potential to create positive change in their field -- whether it's technology, entertainment, design, music, art, science, business or the NGO community -- in their country, and even around the world.

I would like to thank the Bezos family, the Harnisch Foundation and Nokia for their visionary inaugural support of the program, with in-kind participation from TED friends Kodak, Livescribe,, and SubscriberMail.

There are many opportunities for TEDsters to get involved and contribute. Find more information at


Tom Rielly

TED Community Director

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