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Meet the class of 2022 TED Scholars

The TED Fellows program is delighted to announce the 2022 cohort of TED Fellows, whose work spans five continents and represents 14 countries, including, for the first time, Angola, Ethiopia and South Sudan. . This year’s TED Fellows include a technologist making education more accessible to multilingual families, an astrophysicist who discovered 60 new exoplanets in space, and an advocate who made COVID tracing safe for undocumented communities — for n’ to name a few.

Each TED Fellow has been selected for their remarkable achievements, the potential impact of their work, and their commitment to community development. The TED Fellows program celebrates its thirteenth year with a network of 532 fellows from more than 100 countries.

Meet this year’s extraordinary group of 20 visionaries.

Adetayo Bamiduro
Motorcycle financing contractor | Nigeria
Co-founder of the Metro Africa Xpress (MAX) mobile delivery platform, which gives Africans access to clean vehicles and improves the current gig economy model. MAX seeks to strengthen labor justice, provide sustainable living wages and tackle unemployment across Africa by enabling couriers to fund their own motorbikes, tuk-tuks and cars.

Melaku Belay performs an Agew ethnic dance incorporating eskista – meaning “dancing shoulders” – at the Fendika Center. He is joined by a music and dance ensemble and an eight-member Ethiocolor band. (Photo: Evy Ottermans)

Belay Melaku
Choreographer and dancer | Ethiopia
Cultural ambassador bringing global attention to the vibrant traditions of Ethiopian dance and music, innovating Eskista dance through original choreography. Belay is the director of the Fendika Cultural Center in Addis Ababa, a place that brings people together through traditional and contemporary Ethiopian arts.

Albert Cahn
Anti-surveillance lawyer | we
Lawyer and technologist fighting mass surveillance abuses by state and local governments with the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP). STOP is creating exemplary legislative changes in New York, such as securing COVID tracing for all residents — including undocumented people — and stopping the use of facial recognition software in schools.

Jessie Christiansen
Planet Hunter | Australia + United States
Researcher at NASA’s Exoplanet Science Institute, working with vast amounts of sky survey data to find exoplanets and reveal new information about the nature of planet formation.

Adjany Costa
Indigenous Conservation Champion | Angola
Ethno-conservationist working with the natives of the Okavango Delta headwaters to help them provide legal and economic frameworks to protect their lands, one of the last truly wild spaces in the world, which also protects the waterways that serve million people downstream. The youngest minister in Angolan political history.

Ryan Gersava

Social Innovator + Educator | Philippines
Founder of Virtualahan, an online vocational school providing inclusive training for people with disabilities, recovering drug addicts and others struggling to find employment, while enabling companies to become inclusive employers. Virtualahan is increasing salaries and employment opportunities for its students across the Philippines.

Lam Ho
Legal Aid Activist | United States + Vietnam
Founder and Director of Beyond Legal Aid, embedding pro bono lawyers within communities to support strategic litigation, particularly focused on empowering people who often have no recourse through the legal system. Beyond Legal Aid pushes the existing legal aid system by centering grassroots communities and dismantling traditional hierarchies in favor of two-way relationships.

Clementine Jacoby
Criminal Justice Technology Entrepreneur | we
Tech-for-good engineer and entrepreneur making real-time data available to justice agencies across the country through her organization Recidiviz, which makes complex and fragmented data usable, empowering leaders to act and track the impacts of their decisions.

Bree Jones
Fair Trade Real Estate Developer | we
Founder of PARITY, an equitable development enterprise building social movements to revitalize neighborhoods in hyper-vacancy and abandonment due to structural racism. Jones repositions undervalued neighborhoods through a community ownership model and holistic support.

Channing Gerard Joseph
Author and historian of queer culture | USA + Germany
Storyteller, journalist and historian illuminating the birth of gay liberation in 19th century Washington, DC, through the life of William Dorsey Swann, a former American slave and the world’s first self-proclaimed drag queen.

Autonomous robots created by Robert Katzschmann’s lab, like the one pictured here, are made of flexible and rigid functional materials. They perceive the world through intelligent and flexible electronics, which gives them a superior ability to travel to the deepest parts of the ocean. (Photo: Robert Katzschmann)

Robert Katzschmann
Soft Body Robotician | Switzerland + Germany + United States + Singapore
Robotician exploring the deepest oceans and underwater impacts of climate change using soft-bodied robots. Katzschmann’s robots, which closely mimic nature, are able to traverse high-pressure systems and obstacles on the ocean floor – places previously inaccessible with rugged navigational tools.

Olga Kitaina
Psychologist and entrepreneur | Russian Federation + United States
Psychologist improving the accessibility of mental health care in Russia, where the stigma against psychotherapy runs deep. Kitaina’s online platform, Alter, matches clients with an approved network of therapists.

Heejae Lim helps a student and his family at school through TalkingPoints, his online platform that has connected more than five million parents and teachers of underserved and multilingual students. (Photo: Heejae Lim)

Heejae Lim
Education Technology Entrepreneur | Korea + UK + USA
Pioneer in educational technology and founder and CEO of TalkingPoints, a communication app helping millions of multilingual and underserved families connect with their children’s teachers in their own language, reduce barriers to education and help students grow.

Monica Malta
Human Rights Champion | Brazil + Canada
Mental health researcher and human rights activist protecting Brazil’s most marginalized people, including the LGBTQ+ community, drug addicts, HIV-positive people and survivors of gender-based violence. In addition to providing resources to mitigate the impacts of violence, disease and addiction, Malta advocates for the protection of these communities through scientific research in the service of policy change and legal protections.

Micaela Mantegna
Video games lawyer | Argentina
Video game activist and evangelist pursuing studies in digital realities, particularly the metaverse. Mantegna is the author of work on how to create equity and protect our rights in these emerging spaces, which are rapidly becoming civic spaces of engagement.

Yohanis Riek

Doctor and entrepreneur | south sudan
General Surgeon reside in one of the main public hospitals in South Sudan, where 50% of the population lives below the poverty line and has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world. Through his non-profit healthcare organization Yo’ Care South Sudan, Riek provides healthcare to supplement South Sudan’s beleaguered system, which suffers from a severe shortage of qualified medical personnel.

Engineer Enzo Romero, who developed a bionic prosthesis for himself after being born without a hand, tests the functionality of an accessible prosthetic hand at the offices of LAT Bionics in Lima, Peru. (Photo: Enzo Romero)

Enzo Romero

Bionic Innovator | Peru
Technological inventor and researcher building prostheses incorporating personalized attachments and haptic feedback, such as vibration and pressure sensations that allow users to “feel” their new limb. LAT Bionics, Romero’s company, offers affordable prostheses.

Gautam Shah
Game Curator | Kenya + USA + India
Founder of Internet of Elephants, a company that creates immersive digital experiences based on scientific data from real wild animals to engage new audiences in conservation efforts around the world.

Jawad Sharif
Documentary director | Pakistan
Filmmaker bringing Pakistan’s suppressed cultural and indigenous identities to life through accessible documentary films. Sharif’s films chronicle the lives of forgotten traditional musicians and the plight of climate and conflict refugees struggling in a highly restrictive governmental and political environment.

Plants growing in a greenhouse of AquaFarms Africa in Conakry, Guinea, which produces fish, vegetables and fruits through aquaponics – the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics – and an innovative social franchise model . (Photo: Wiatta Thomas)

Wiatta Thomas
Food entrepreneur | Guinea + United States + Liberia
Agri-tech pioneer empowering young Guinean entrepreneurs through innovative models of social franchise ownership in aquaponics, a low-cost above-ground agricultural technology. Thomas aims to reduce barriers to market entry and create local economic value for pan-African empowerment.