In honor of the upcoming 2017 TED Global conference, which will be held in Africa for the first time in ten years, CNN profiled the ten Africans included in the newest class of 21 TED Global Fellows announced by the media organization earlier this year. “We choose fellows not only based on their accomplishments so far, but also on their grit, their collaborative spirit, and their potential to break barriers as they build their careers,” explained Tom Rielly, program director of TED’s Fellows program. One example of those guidelines can be seen in the career of Egyptian microbiologist El Ghalid, who has dedicated her time to the study of fungal infections and treatment, as well as the direction of a non-profit for science education called ConScience.
From Liberia, TED has recognized Saran Kaba Jones, who launched FACE Africa in 2008. This organization has been focused on improving water and sanitation infrastructure in rural Sub-Saharan communities for almost a decade, and according to Jones, “FACE Africa has brought life-changing programs to more than 100,000 people in Liberia.” This is just the latest accolade for Jones, who has also received awards in the past from Time Magazine, The Guardian and MTV.
Abdigani Diriye is TED’s Somali representative, recognized for his leadership in the nation’s technology field. He is in charge of operating several tech startups in Somalia that focus on developing new technologies. Robert Hakiza from the Democratic Republic of Congo, co-founder of Young African Refugees for Integral Development, an organization focusing on rehabilitating Ugandan refugees through education, is also on the list.
Art was also represented in the list, specifically by Nigerian Wale Oyejide, who is an Afrobeat musician and menswear designer. His desire has always been to marry West African styles with global influences. Ugandan Adong Judith was also recognized by TED for her playwriting and film directing that incorporates African issues such as LGBTQ rights and the plight of refugees.