Development Experts from Global South Selected for Aspen Institute New Voices Fellowship

January 23, 2018

The 2018 class includes experts in infectious diseases, community-led development, human rights, health and vaccinations, and environmental conservation

Contact: Michelle Geis Wallace
+254 711 326 770

Contact: Andrew Quinn
+1 202 736 2291

Washington, DC, January 23, 2018 — The Aspen Institute announced today the 2018 class of the New Voices Fellowship, a groundbreaking program designed to ensure experts from the developing world have a voice in the global development discussion.

The 20 new Fellows are leading public health specialists, doctors, scientists, activists, social entrepreneurs, policy experts, researchers, and economists, and come from 12 countries across Africa, Latin America, and Asia. The full list of 2018 fellows and descriptions of their work can be found below.

“Across the world, local experts and local communities are taking charge of their own futures,” said New Voices Fellowship Director Andrew Quinn. “These are the voices we should be listening for when we listen to the story of global development – because these are the voices that  show the way forward on humanity’s greatest challenges, including infectious disease, food security, good governance and climate change.”

Meet the Fellows

The 2018 New Voices Fellows come from Nepal, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Liberia, Mexico, Maldives, and South Africa. They will undertake a program of intensive media training and mentorship to reach a broader global audience through both traditional and new media, as well as speaking engagements.

This year’s fellows include:

  • a human rights expert from Uganda who built a center for human-trafficking survivors in Uganda;
  • a real-life “Slumdog Millionaire” from Pakistan focused on health and education in the slums, where he taught himself how to read using newspaper scraps;
  • a microbiologist from Nepal who has worked extensively in the growing global problem of antimicrobial resistance;
  • a physician from Mexico committed to social justice and service to marginalized populations;
  • a Nigerian social entrepreneur who founded of a food processing company and a consulting firm focused on improving nutrition in West Africa;
  • a Kenyan scientist who has extensively studied immune response in mother-to-child transmission of HIV; and
  • a Ugandan activist who fought against the 2009 Anti-Homosexuality bill.

During the program’s first five years, New Voices Fellows were featured over 2,000 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 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. Application to the fellowship is by nomination only, and nominations will open in August 2018 for the next class.

For more about the New Voices Fellowship, visit or email Follow all the fellows on Twitter here and the Fellowship at @aspennewvoices.

For press materials, visit

A complete list of the 2018 Aspen New Voices Fellows is below.

Brian Atuhaire – Uganda
Senior Program Officer for Vaccines and Immunization, PATH
Brian has over eight years’ experience in public health work having started his career as a frontline community health worker helping communities devastated by the two-decade civil war in Northern Uganda to access essential health services. He has also worked with various multi-lateral organizations including World Vision, USAID, and Makerere University in health programs management, health systems strengthening, research and academic fields. Brian currently works to advocate for inclusive and effective health policies for health equity.

Rodrigo Bazua – Mexico
HEAL fellow/Community Programs Coordinator, Campeneros en Salud
Rodrigo is a physician committed to social justice and service to marginalized populations, and he is currently working on managing Community Health Workers in Chiapas, Mexico. He is trained as a primary care physician, and is currently working in remote rural clinics with Compañeros en Salud, the Mexican sister organization of Partners in Health. He has been awarded the Gustavo Baz Award for Social Service in 2016, and the Excellence in Health and Nutrition Scholarship 2011-2016.

Stellah Bosire – Kenya
CEO, Kenya Medical Association
Born and raised in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa, she has lived in a community that was marginalized both socially and economically. Stellah is a Global/Public Health specialist and also has extensive experience managing healthcare businesses. She currently serves as an Executive Officer in the Doctors Professional Association of Kenya and is the Vice Chairman- HIV/AIDS Tribunal of Kenya. She sits on multiple Charity Boards among them Carolina for Kibera and the National Gay Lesbian Human Rights Commission of Kenya. Stellah will soon graduate with a post-graduate Masters in Business Management as she finalizes another post graduate study in Global Health Policy. She was named top 40 under 40 Influential Women in Kenya in 2017.

Clare Byarugaba – Uganda
Equality and Non Discrimination Coordinator, Chapter Four Uganda
Clare currently coordinates the Equality and Non-Discrimination program at Chapter Four Uganda, a civil liberties organization that focuses on the promotion of civil and political rights for all. Between 2012 and 2014, she coordinated a national coalition of over 50 organizations that used their collective power to fight against the 2009 Anti-Homosexuality bill. Her commitment to continue working on LGBTQ rights issues was tested when she was publicly exposed by a Ugandan media outlet weeks after the anti-gay law was institutionalized. This law, which was annulled by the constitutional court sought to criminalize LGBTQ individuals, including Clare, who are engaged in LGBTQ rights work with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Denis Chopera – Zimbabwe
Program Executive Manager Sub-Saharan African Network for TB/HIV Research Excellence
Denis is the Executive Manager for a TB/HIV research capacity development program (SANTHE) across six African countries. He is responsible for the implementation of the program objectives and strategic management, which aim to provide a platform for promising scientists to realize their goals of contributing to solving Africa’s health challenges. Having lost four siblings to AIDS while growing up, his goal is to make a positive impact in solving Africa’s health challenges. Denis strongly believes that HIV and TB research capacity building in Africa constitutes sustainable development on the continent and will go a long way in enabling Africans to contribute to solving their health challenges.

Quratulain Fatima – Pakistan
Project Lead of the Agency for Barani Areas Development
Quratulain is a policy practitioner working extensively in rural and conflict-ridden areas of Pakistan. Her focus is gender inclusive development and conflict prevention. She was the first woman to join the Pakistan Airforce, and only Pakistani woman to join the public service and military. Quratulain holds an advanced degree from Oxford, and is currently working on intersection of water, conflict, technology and gender. She has saved 24 minority religion sites in rural Punjab from illegal occupation, and was a core team member for UN-World Bank flagship study, “Pathways for Peace: Inclusive approaches to preventing violent conflict”. She was named BuildPeace Fellow 2017-18 and Oxford Global Leadership Initiative Fellow 2016.

Maxwell Gomera – Zimbabwe
Director of Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services Branch, United Nations Environment Program
Maxwell brings over 15 years of national and international experience in biodiversity, wildlife management and socio-economic development. He has extensive experience with natural resource management institutions in Africa, having worked in various capacities within the SADC region and in Zimbabwe. He also served as part of the UN Environment team which, in response to the multiple global crises of 2008 (fuel, food and financial), commissioned and produced a document “Global Green New Deal.” Elements of this document influenced significant investments in more sustainable industries, such as renewable energy within the G20 and more broadly.

Thilmeeza Hussain – Maldives
Co-Founder Voice of Women
Thilmeeza is a former Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations from the Maldives. She is a lecturer of sustainability and global warming and an environmentalist. Before serving as the DPR, she served as the Minister of State for Home Affairs – North Province and was among the team of young, enthusiastic members of the first democratically elected government in the country under former President Mohamed Nasheed. She strongly advocates for ‘sustainable development,’ encompassing social inclusion, economic empowerment, and the environment. 

Agnes Igoye – Uganda
Deputy National Coordinator-Counter Human Trafficking
Agnes serves as Uganda’s deputy National Coordinator for Prevention of Trafficking in Persons and heads Uganda’s Immigration Training Academy. She represents Uganda in several regional inter-governmental committees on migration, peace and security. She built a center for human-trafficking survivors in Uganda, trained over 2000 law enforcement to counter human trafficking, and fundraised and delivered over 92,000 textbooks for education of vulnerable children in Uganda. She was named one of the 100 most influential people in Africa by New African Magazine in 2015.

Abhilasha Karkey – Nepal
Medical Microbiologist, Oxford University Clinical Research Unit
Abhilasha is a leading microbiologist who has worked extensively on the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). She has conducted extensive studies on the epidemiology and evolution of enteric fever caused by Salmonella within Kathmandu, Nepal. Her research was awarded a graduate prize for outstanding contribution in public health 

Primah Kwagala – Uganda
Program Manager, Strategic Litigation, Center for Health, Human Rights and Development
Primah is a human rights lawyer who has handled cases involving patients, illegal detentions in health facilities, access to emergency obstetric care, access to free vital medicines, and has led teams to mediate cases between investors and communities to ensure human rights of residents are not sacrificed. She was a 2012 Advocacy Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University, and a 2014 Outstanding Health and Human Rights Activist at the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development.

Jenniffer Maroa – Kenya
Program Manager, African Academy of Sciences
Jenniffer spent 16 years focusing on HIV-1 basic science research. Her research broadly focused on understanding host innate and immune factors that modulate HIV-1 transmission and pathogenesis. Specifically, she investigated host immune responses in mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1 with a particular focus on breast milk transmission and explored antibody evolution in natural HIV-1 infection with the goal of informing antibody-based vaccine design. As the program manager for AESA H3Africa, her portfolio includes the management and implementation of four newly funded projects covering both infectious and non-infectious diseases.  She believes that Africa needs to invest in genomics work today to enjoy precision public health tomorrow. She is a passionate advocate for young girls’ access to information regarding their health.

Tlaleng Mofokeng – South Africa
Vice-chairperson, Sexual & Reproductive Justice Coalition
Tlaleng, a medical doctor, is a strong voice in the media in South Africa, communicating vital messages about sexual and reproductive health and rights. She is a regular guest on various radio programs, publishes a column in the Sunday Times, writes op-eds in the Daily Maverick and other publications, and has presented on Al Jazeera amongst other media appearances. She is an advocate for safe and legal abortion access, comprehensive sexuality education, sex work decriminalization, rights based approach to public health, and reproductive justice.

Bester Mulauzi – Malawi
Director of Program Development and Quality, Save the Children
At Save the Children, Bester manages a team of 11 senior expatriate staff in one of the most challenging contexts in the world. He is a member of the South Sudan leadership team charged with designing and leading child health and nutrition programs. As a spokesperson for the organization, he has given voice to the need for increased donor investments in South Sudan. 

Junaid Nabi – India
Fellow in Bioethics, Harvard Medical School
Junaid is a surgeon from the Kashmir, giving him a unique perspective on living between nations, and providing a voice to their concerns. He launched a non-profit organization that provides medical assistance and logistic support at natural or industrial disasters. He was selected as one of the youngest public intellectuals in Kashmir, and after the 2014 floods in Kashmir region, he was invited as a panelist to give a speech on public policy options that could mitigate the flood’s impact on infrastructure and clinical fallout from contaminated flood water. In 2017, he was selected as a Harvard Graduate School Leadership Fellow.

Ifeanyi Nsofor – Nigeria
Director of Policy & Advocacy, Nigeria Health Watch
At his current position, Ifeanyi is a leading voice for Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria and was appointed to Nigeria’s UHC Editorial Board. As a Global Health Researcher, Ifeanyi has worked in Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Zambia, and he the was co-lead for evaluation of the African Union Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA). He is skilled in modern teaching methods and has trained different cadres of health workers, journalists, and other health advocates. He has appeared in more than 40 radio shows, numerous TV shows, and moderated several panel discussions. Ifeanyi is also the CEO of EpiAFRIC, an Abuja-based public health consulting firm. He was a 2006 Fellow of the Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program and a graduate of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

Ndidi Nwuneli – Nigeria
Founder LEAP Africa, Co-founder AACE Food Processing & Distribution
Ndidi is a serial social entrepreneur who has worked in international development for the past 22 years.  As founder of LEAP Africa, one of Nigeria’s most credible leadership development organizations established in 2002, she has gained practical experience leading social change. She also co-founded AACE Foods, an agro-processing company, and Sahel Capital, an advisory and consulting firm focused on unlocking the agriculture and nutrition landscapes in West Africa. Based on her experience working at LEAP, AACE FOODS, and Sahel Capital, she wrote a book titled, “Social Innovation in Africa: A Practical Guide for Scaling Impact”, published by Routledge in 2016.

Ahmed ‘Kura’ Omar – Kenya
Deputy Country Director and Cofounder – The Boma Project
Cofounder of The BOMA Project, Kura designed and implements a data driven, high-impact, gender-focused poverty graduation program that targets ultra-poor women at the epicenter of extreme poverty, climate change and the true last mile of economic and social isolation. He is a passionate champion for the rights of women and girls and is catalyzing societal transformation that benefits women. The BOMA project provides women economic empowerment by giving them voice and authority in their households.

Muhammad Sabir – Pakistan
Founder and CEO SLUMABAD
Muhammad was born in the slums of Lahore. He expected never to go to school or make a meaningful life for himself, but taught himself how to read when he found shreds of newspaper and old books while collecting trash as a scavenger. As founder of Slumabad, he works for the welfare and development of Pakhiwas (gypsy and nomad) communities in Pakistan, through education, sanitation, and community developments. Muhammad has been named an Asia Society ‘Young Leader’ and one of 20 Acumen Fellows for Pakistan. He has also been dubbed a real life “Slumdog Millionaire” and has been profiled in numerous news segments, magazine pieces, as well as given a TEDx talk.

Naomi Tulay-Solanke – Liberia
Executive Director Community Healthcare Initiative INC. Liberia
Naomi has nurtured a career in female advocacy, and in working with underprivileged youths and slum dwellers in hard to reach communities in Liberia. She is a Harvard 2017 Human Rights Award recipient and a 2016 fellow of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.  To address menstrual hygiene management affecting girls’ retention in schools and women empowerment, she launched the Pad4Girls project, producing locally made eco-friendly, reusable sanitary pads.

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