Health Care

Listening to New Voices in Global Development

February 26, 2013  • Andrew Quinn

GHD Malawi - John Cary

At a recent Global Health and Development trip to Malawi. Credit: John Cary

Andrew Quinn is the director of the Aspen Global Health and Development’s New Voices Fellowship.

Journalists generally have a rule of thumb: if you are covering something, consult with the people who know the topic best.

But when it comes to global development, this rule is often hard to apply.

While legions of experts and speakers can hold forth on development issues, very few themselves come from the developing world – creating a conversation that is too often long on theory and short on personal experience.

To help broaden the discussion, the Aspen Institute in January launched the New Voices Fellowship, a new program aimed at identifying trailblazing experts from Africa and other parts of the developing world and helping them to reach a broader audience of journalists and policy makers with their stories of what works, and what doesn’t, in global development.

 “These unsung heroes can bring ‘ground truth’ to our development efforts and guide us to ever greater effectiveness and impact,” said Peggy Clark, executive director of Aspen Global Health and Development which is launching the program with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Over the next few years donors and governments will make decisions to fund, or not fund, major investments in research, global health and sustainability. The New Voices fellows will give us insights into the most critical programs, solutions and innovations based on their own experiences and research.”

The New Voices Fellowship joins a family of Aspen Institute programs designed to foster leadership and promote innovative solutions to major global challenges.

The New Voices Fellowship program will select 10-12 Fellows per year, and offer a range of support including traditional media training, social media skills building, story-framing and expert coaching in public speaking. It is also developing partnerships with key media outlets to help the Fellows get their messages out through op-eds, blogs, essays, speeches and interviews.

Candidates for the 12-month non-resident Fellowship should be leaders in fields including medicine, education, agriculture and science who have both a compelling personal vision of development and a record of concrete professional achievement.  Prospective fellows should have stories to tell and want to reach a global audience – whether through the pages of newspapers like The Guardian or at high-profile international events like TED.

The New Voices Fellowship is also aimed at building a community of professional peers who can encourage, support and educate each other and mentor up-and-coming development experts from developing countries.  Through trips to fellowship training courses and off-site meetings, the Fellows will establish links to one another and to Aspen, working together to amplify important new voices in the discussion of global development priorities and objectives.

For further information about the New Voices program, please contact Fellowship Director Andrew Quinn at