These Are The 2018 TED Fellows, Finding Inspiring Solutions To Global Problems

Fighting sexual harassment, fake news, and myriad other global challenges, this cohort of innovators is the latest to be trained and featured by the innovation conference.

It’s both fitting and encouraging that in the year of #MeToo, three people working to combat the issue of sexual harassment and abuse have been awarded one of the top fellowships in the world. Laura Dunn, an attorney, founded a nonprofit to provide legal assistance to survivors and to advocate on their behalf. Working undercover as a journalist in the Middle East, Yasin Kakande has documented human rights violations against vulnerable populations, particularly women and young girls. And Jessica Ladd’s nonprofit Callisto develops technology to track and combat sexual assault on college campuses and in workplaces.


All three are members of the 2018 class of TED Fellows (Ladd is a senior fellow), a program established in 2009 to bring together global innovators to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems, from climate change to racial inequity to fake news. The 20 fellows and 10 senior fellows join 453 previous program participants from 96 countries; each member of the new class will participate in an extensive training and networking program, culminating in a talk at TED2018 in Vancouver in April.

“We work with the fellows to help them build the communication strategies around their projects,” says Shoham Arad, the TED Fellows program director. The whole idea, Arad adds, is to get fellows from different countries and different sectors talking with each other and working toward solutions that may be impossible to arrive at in silos.

Meet the class of 2018 here:


A photograph by Isadora Kosofsky. [Photo: Isadora Kosofsky/courtesy TED]
The photojournalist Isadora Kosofsky explores American social issues through documenting marginalized groups, from senior citizens to developmentally disabled populations and incarcerated youth.

Kaitlyn Sadtler [Photo: courtesy TED]
Kaitlyn Sadtler, a U.S.-based tissue engineer, is working on creating new regenerative medicines that employ the body’s natural immune system to quickly heal injuries and wounds.

Dr. Claire Simeone (center) places an endotracheal tube in an anesthetized California sea lion at the Marine Mammal Center. [Photo: Bill Hunnewell/© The Marine Mammal Center]
An American marine veterinarian, Claire Simeone is interested in how marine mammal health influences the health of both humans and the oceans.


DeAndrea Salvador [Photo: courtesy TED]
DeAndrea Salvador founded the nonprofit RETI to advocate for inclusive clean-energy policies that help low-income families in the U.S. reduce costs and source sustainably.

Antionette D. Carroll [Photo: courtesy TED]
Through her nonprofit Creative Reaction Lab, the U.S.-based Antionette Carroll designs racially equitable communities through education, training programs, and community engagement.

Mikhail Zygar [Photo: courtesy Ted]
In his native Russia, journalist and historian Mikhail Zygar set up Project1917, a digital documentary initiative to tell the complete story of the 1917 Russian Revolution.


Faith Osier [Photo: courtesy TED]
With malaria an entrenched issue in Kenya, the infectious disease doctor Faith Osier is studying how humans become immune to the disease in order to develop more effective vaccines against it.

Burcin Mutlu-Pakdil [Photo: courtesy TED]
Turkish astrophysicist Burcin Mutlu-Pakdil studies the structure and evolutionary dynamics of galaxies to get at an understanding of how the universe was formed.

Work by Kotchakorn Voraakhom [Photo: courtesy TED]
In her native Thailand, landscape architect Kotchakorn Voraakhom designs green spaces to protect vulnerable communities from the effects of climate change.


Olga Yurkova [Photo: courtesy TED]
Olga Iurkova, a Ukranian journalist and cofounder of, is training an international cohort of fact-checkers to catch fake news and curb media propagandizing.

Rola Hallam [Photo: courtesy TED]
Through CanDo, a social enterprise and crowdfunding platform, the British-Syrian doctor Rola Hallam created a way for local humanitarians to get healthcare to people in war-torn communities.

Essam Daod [Photo: Laurence Geai/courtesy TED]
The psychiatrist Essam Daod founded the nonprofit Humanity Crew to bring mental health aid to refugees and displaced people.


Adam Kucharski [Photo: courtesy TED]
After the recent outbreaks of Zika and Ebola, the U.K.-based scientist Adam Kucharski began creating new mathematical and computational approaches to understanding how epidemics spread, and how they can be controlled.

Laura Dunn [Photo: courtesy Ted]
Laura Dunn, an American attorney, set up SurvJustice as a way to equip survivors of campus sexual assault with legal assistance and advocacy tools. 

Work by Paul Rucker [Image: Paul Rucker/courtesy TED]
Using a multidisciplinary approach, artist Paul Rucker examines issues related to mass incarceration, police brutality, and the current social and economic impacts of slavery.


Lucy Marcil [Photo: courtesy TED]
Lucy Marcil, a pediatrician at Boston Medical Center, set up the nonprofit StreetCred to help families file taxes and get the Earned Income Tax Credit (the country’s largest anti-poverty program), while they sit in doctors’ waiting rooms.

M Jackson [Photo: courtesy TED]
The American geographer and glaciologist M Jackson is traversing the eighth most northern nations in the world to understand the cultural and societal impacts of climate change.

Yasin Kakande [Photo: courtesy TED]
Working undercover as a journalist in the Middle East, the Ugandan author Yasin Kakande has documented human rights abuses against migrant workers and other vulnerable populations, including women and girls.


Saran Kaba Jones [Photo: courtesy TED]
The Liberian advocate Saran Kaba Jones is strengthening water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure in rural sub-Saharan Africa through her nonprofit FACE Africa, which supports community-based efforts.

Romain Lacombe [Photo: courtesy TED]
Romain Lacombe, a French entrepreneur, founded Plume Labs, a company that manufactures personal pollution trackers that forecasts smog and pollution levels in real time.

2018 TED Senior Fellows


Moroccan architect Aziza Chaouni is dedicated to creating sustainable built environments in the developing world.

Using machine learning, American astronomer Carrie Nugent discovers and studies the asteroids nearest to Earth.

Zena el Khalil creates visual art and site-specific installations and performance pieces exploring the war-torn history of Lebanon.


As a quantum physicist, Shohini Ghose examines how the laws of quantum mechanics may help us build the next generation of computers and, perhaps, facilitate teleportation.

Jessica Ladds organization Callisto develops technology to combat sexual assault on colleges campuses and elsewhere.

Prosanta Chakrabarty travels the world, discovering and researching new species of fish in an effort to understand the fundamental aspects of biological diversity.


As a writer and filmmaker, Mitchell Jackson explores black masculinity, family relationships, and the criminal justice system in America.

Bektour Iskender founded Kloop, a nonprofit news publication in Kyrgyzstan, to train young journalists to cover politics and investigate corruption.

Jorge Manes Rubio has an eye for the overlooked; using photography, site-specific installation and sculpture, the Spanish artist re-imagines and revives forgotten spaces such as abandoned buildings and streets.


In Africa, the engineer David Sengeh is using cutting-edge tech and artificial intelligence to fight disease.


About the author

Eillie Anzilotti is an assistant editor for Fast Company's Ideas section, covering sustainability, social good, and alternative economies. Previously, she wrote for CityLab.