Leading Development Experts From African, Asian, and Latin American Countries Join Aspen Institute’s 2021 New Voices Fellowship Program

January 25, 2021

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


Michelle Geis Wallace
+254 711 326 770

Andrew Quinn
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Washington, DC, January 25, 2021 — The Aspen Institute announced today the 2021 class of the New Voices Fellowship, welcoming a new cohort of pathfinding experts from Africa, Asia and Latin America to take up more powerful roles as advocates and policymakers in the global development discussion.

“The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that the global development discussion needs new thinking and new voices,” Fellowship Director Andrew Quinn said. “Our Fellows, who bring world-class expertise paired with lived experience of basic development challenges, have crucial insights into how policy can accelerate progress on the ground.”

The 2021 Class of New Voices Fellows includes 25 Fellows from 12 African, Asian and Latin American countries.  Ten of the 2021 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.

The 2021 class includes a Nigerian global health expert working on the COVAX project for worldwide coronavirus vaccine equity, a Brazilian human rights lawyer focused on abortion rights laws in Latin America and an Ethiopian mental health epidemiologist who has worked on equitable access to mental health care in underserved communities both in her home country and in Flint, Michigan.

The full list of 2021 Fellows and descriptions of their work can be found here.

Intensive Media and Advocacy Training

The 2021 New Voices Fellows come from Argentina, Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Together 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.

Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Open Societies Foundation, 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.

Since the program began, New Voices Fellows have been featured more than 50,000 times in media outlets have had their work featured in media sites ranging from the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and Al Jazeera to the Huffington Post, Africa Report, and AllAfrica.com. Fellows have been interviewed by news organizations including the BBC, CNBC, and National Public Radio (NPR), appeared in a host of influential media outlets throughout Africa and South Asia, and been invited to speak at events including TED and the Aspen Ideas Festival.

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.

Application to the Fellowship is by nomination only, and nominations will open in August 2021 for the next class.

2021 Aspen New Voices Fellows

Adekemi Adeniyan, Nigeria

Executive Director, DentalCare Foundation

Focus: Oral Health


Andres Constatin, Argentina

Associate and Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown University

Focus: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights


Elijah Addo, Ghana

Founder and Executive Director, Food for All Africa

Focus: Food Security


Francisca Mutapi, Zimbabwe

Professor of Global Health Infection and Immunity, University of Edinburgh

Focus: Infectious Disease/COVID

Habtamu Yesigat, Ethiopia

Director of Programs, Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD)

Focus: Food Security


Huguette Diakabana, DR Congo

Member, WHO Digital Health Technical Advisory Group

Focus: Health Systems


Juliet Otieno, Kenya

Founder, Mwanadada (CBO) / Mwanadada Communication



Kui Muraya, Kenya

Health Systems Researcher, KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme

Focus: Poverty and Gender


Loice Ombajo, Kenya

Physician and Infectious Disease Doctor, Center for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis – University of Nairobi

Focus: Anti-Microbial Resistance/COVID


Maji Hailemariam, Ethiopia

Research Assistant Professor, Michigan State University

Focus: Mental Health


Mariana Assis, Brazil

Human Rights Lawyer, Coletivo Margarida Alves

FOCUS: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights


Maymunah Kadiri, Nigeria

Founder and Managing Director, Pinnacle Medical Services

Focus: Mental Health


Nelson Olanipekun, Nigeria

Executive Director, Citizens Gavel

Focus: Judicial Systems


Nkasi Wodu, Nigeria

Peacebuilding Program Manager, Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta

Focus: Peacebuilding


Olanike Adeyemo, Nigeria

Professor of Veterinary Public Health and Preventive Medicine, University of Ibadan

Focus: Anti-Microbial Resistance/One Health


Oyeronke Oyebanji, Nigeria

Strategy Coordinator, Vaccine Research and Development, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations

Focus: Vaccines/COVID


Priyanka Jain, India

Campaign Coordinator, Aajeevika Bureau

Focus: Worker’s Rights


Renard Siew, Malaysia

Climate Change Advisor, Centre for Governance & Political Studies

Focus: Climate Change


Rene Sparks, South Africa

Western Cape RTCQI/CLI Provincial Project Coordinator, SEAD Consulting

Focus: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights


Robert Agyarko


Focus: COVID/Epidemic Preparedness


Roseline Orwa, Kenya

Founder / Director, Rona Foundation /Rona Centre

Focus: Women’s Economic Empowerment


Sonali Vaid, India

Co-founder and Director, Incluve Labs LLP

Focus: Human Rights and Health Systems


Taha Sabri, Pakistan

Founder,Taskeen Health Initiative

Focus: Mental Health


Tian Johnson, South Africa

Activist, African Alliance

Focus: Human Rights/COVID


Tijani Salami, Nigeria

Sisters Caregivers Project Initiative, Federal University of Technology Minna

Focus: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights


The New Voices Fellowship exists to shift power to people who are closer to the challenges they seek to solve. We also recognize the need for self-examination. As part of that process, New Voices has established an Expert Panel comprised of Senior Fellows and outside experts who will serve as advisers and hold staff accountable on our promises and our values. This group will advise us on a new strategic plan, and will produce an annual report on our program which we will share with our funders.   

The New Voices Fellowship

The New Voices Fellowship at the Aspen Institute is a groundbreaking initiative designed to bring more expert voices from the developing world into the global development discussion. Launched in 2013, and with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Open Society Foundations and other funders, the New Voices Fellowship is part of the Aspen Global Innovators Group. For more information, visit www.aspennewvoices.org.

The Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, CO; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.


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