Dear [Your Name Here],
At the TED Fellows program, we look for extraordinary young innovators, inventors and leaders—like you—from many categories of human endeavor: scientists of all sorts, engineers, artists, filmmakers, photojournalists, entrepreneurs, NGO founders, technologists, inventors, human rights activists and more. Our goal is simple: to help you accelerate your career.
Concerned about whether you have a chance of becoming a TED Fellow? Learn more about the program below. But first, read the fears and concerns that some of our most successful TED Fellows felt before they filled out that fateful online application.
“I didn’t think I was good enough. I applied on a whim because I didn’t think there was anything to lose. I still have apprehensions about whether I am good enough or not.” —Asha de Vos, TED Senior Fellow, marine biologist and blue whale expert, Sri Lanka
“When I first applied, I didn’t know whether I was truly qualified. But I figured I would let the staff decide, and not write myself out of the conversation before a word had been exchanged.” —Meklit Hadero, TED Senior Fellow, singer/songwriter/producer, U.S./Ethiopia
“I didn’t know if my projects were relevant to a program like this, or if my profile was a good fit.” —Camilo Rodriguez-Beltran, artist/scientist/entrepreneur, Argentina/Spain
“Was I gonna make it with so many other super-qualified people applying?” —Angelo Vermeulen, NASA mission commander/artist/engineer/scientist, Belgium
“I was worried I wouldn’t fit in.” —Eman Mohammed, peace activist and tour operator, Palestine/Israel
You’ve got until September 24 at midnight to apply for a TED Fellowship for the TED2015 conference in Vancouver in March. So apply! Really, you have nothing you lose. Except that many of you don’t, year after year, even though you want to. Instead of worrying about whether you’re qualified, imagine instead: that after careful consideration—including an interview and vetting process—you are selected out of the thousands who apply.
What are the benefits of being a TED Fellow? We offer unique experiences and services that help you grow your career while maintaining work/life balance. We prepare you to deliver your own TED Talk at the conference, taking you through the intensive presentation process. We give you world-class coaching, mentoring and public relations services, as well as an immersive pre-conference before TED itself. You become a part of the TED community, and get plugged into the dynamic Fellows network of nearly 350 extraordinary thinkers from about 90 countries. A private online venue lets you connect brain-to-brain on any topic, and this community has a well-deserved reputation of helping you in ways both quick and profound.
You can come from anywhere in the world. (We especially love applicants from the global South, from Africa, Asia, Latin America as well as Russia, China and the Middle East. But really, anywhere.) You are just as likely to be a woman as a man. You are 21-45 old, most likely—though as long as you are 18, you can apply.
It takes a few hours to fill out the application. So why not do it? Some of our successful Fellows have told us that they almost didn’t apply because they were intimidated. You might be thinking, “I don’t have a chance; I’m not good enough; I’m not qualified; I’ll be more ready next year, especially after I have completed X (my degree, a project, etc); I’ll never get in; I already got declined once*.” If any of the above have occurred to you, we want to encourage you to go for it. Perhaps these words from a current TED Fellow will help:
“It’s an intimidating program to apply for because the number of applicants is so high. It takes a certain level of confidence and audacity. In a good way.” —Katie Hill, clean energy activist, U.S.
If you are an innovator, if you’ve done something novel or significant, if you’ve made a documentary about an unjust situation, if your camera has documented the consequences of a war, if you are obsessed with studying one species, if you are making art from novel materials, if you’re starting a cool new company, if your NGO is serving people ignored by the world, if you’re a geneticist trying to foil an invasive species, if you are a stand up comedian whose work is deeply political, if you are a physicist studying the Big Bang, if you are an astronomer trying to discover new planets outside the solar system, if you are amazing in YOUR field of endeavor, we want to learn about you. Go ahead and apply. Your chances are much better than you think.
Looking forward to reading your application,
TED Fellows Director
*Reapply if you wish! Many Fellows have been selected after applying several times.