The TED Fellows program is thrilled 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 for multilingual families, an astrophysicist who discovered 60 new exoplanets in space and a lawyer who made COVID-tracing safe for undocumented communities — to name just a few.
Each TED Fellow was selected for their remarkable achievements, the potential impact of their work and their commitment to community building. 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.
Motorcycle financing entrepreneur | Nigeria
Cofounder of mobile delivery platform Metro Africa Xpress (MAX), which provides Africans access to clean vehicles and is improving the current gig economy model. MAX seeks to build labor justice, provide sustainable living wages and fight unemployment throughout Africa by enabling couriers to finance their own motorcycles, tuk-tuks and cars.
Choreographer and dancer | Ethiopia
Cultural ambassador bringing global attention to the dynamic 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 venue bringing people together through traditional and contemporary Ethiopian arts.
Anti-surveillance advocate | US
Lawyer and technologist fighting the abuses of mass surveillance by state and local governments with the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP). STOP creates exemplary legislative changes in New York, such as making COVID-tracing safe for all residents — including people who are undocumented — and stopping the use of facial recognition software in schools.
Planet hunter | Australia + US
Researcher at the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, working with vast amounts of sky survey data to find exoplanets and reveal new insights into the nature of the formation of planets.
Indigenous conservation champion | Angola
Ethno-conservationist working with the natives of the headwaters of the Okavango Delta to help provide them with legal and economic frameworks for protecting their land, one of the world’s last truly wild spaces, which also protects the waterways that serve millions downstream. Youngest minister in Angolan political history.
Social innovator + educator | Philippines
Founder of Virtualahan, an online vocational school providing inclusive training to people with disabilities, recovering addicts and others who struggle to find employment, while simultaneously empowering companies to become inclusive employers. Virtualahan is increasing salaries and employment opportunities for its students across the Philippines.
Legal aid activist | US + Vietnam
Founder and director of Beyond Legal Aid, embedding pro-bono lawyers within communities to support strategic litigation, especially focused on empowering individuals who often have no means of recourse through the justice system. Beyond Legal Aid pushes the existing legal aid system by centering grassroots communities and dismantling traditional hierarchies in favor of bilateral relationships.
Criminal justice technology entrepreneur | US
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, enabling leaders to take action and track the impacts of their decisions.
Equitable housing developer | US
Founder of PARITY, an equitable development company building social movements to revitalize neighborhoods experiencing hyper-vacancy and abandonment due to structural racism. Jones is repositioning undervalued neighborhoods through a community ownership model and holistic support.
Channing Gerard Joseph
Author and queer culture historian | US + Germany
Storyteller, journalist and historian illuminating the birth of gay liberation in 19th-century Washington, DC, through the life of William Dorsey Swann, an American former slave and the world’s first self-described drag queen.
Soft-bodied roboticist | Switzerland + Germany + US + Singapore
Roboticist exploring the deepest oceans and the undersea impacts of climate change using pliable-bodied robots. Katzschmann’s robots, which closely imitate nature, are able to traverse high-pressure systems and obstacles on the ocean floor — places previously unreachable with hard-bodied navigation tools.
Psychologist and entrepreneur | Russian Federation + US
Psychologist improving the accessibility of mental health care in Russia, where the stigma against psychotherapy is deeply entrenched. Kitaina’s online platform, Alter, matches clients to a vetted network of therapists.
Education technology entrepreneur | Korea + UK + US
Education technology pioneer and founder and CEO of TalkingPoints, a communication app helping millions of multilingual and underserved families create connections with their children’s teachers in their own languages, decreasing barriers to education and helping students thrive.
Human rights champion | Brazil + Canada
Mental health researcher and human rights activist protecting Brazil’s most marginalized people, including the LGBTQ+ community, drug users, HIV-positive individuals and survivors of gender violence. In addition to providing resources mitigating the impacts of violence, disease and addiction, Malta advocates for protection for these communities by scholarly research in service of policy change and legal protections.
Video game lawyer | Argentina
Activist and video game evangelist pursuing scholarship in digital realities, especially the metaverse. Mantegna is authoring work on how to create equity and protect our rights in these emergent spaces, which are fast becoming civic spaces for engagement.
Medical doctor and entrepreneur | South Sudan
General resident surgeon at one of the major public hospitals in South Sudan, where 50 percent of the population lives below the poverty line and there’s the highest maternal mortality rate in the world. Through his health care nonprofit Yo’ Care South Sudan, Riek provides health care to supplement South Sudan’s beleaguered system, which has a severe shortage of trained medical personnel.
Bionic innovator | Peru
Technological inventor and researcher building prosthetics incorporating custom attachments and haptic feedback, such as vibration and pressure sensations that enable users to “feel” their new limb. LAT Bionics, Romero’s company, offers prosthetics at an accessible price.
Games conservationist | Kenya + US + India
Founder of Internet of Elephants, a company that creates immersive digital experiences based on scientific data from real wildlife in order to engage new audiences with conservation efforts around the globe.
Documentary filmmaker | Pakistan
Filmmaker reviving the suppressed cultural and indigenous identities of Pakistan through accessible documentary films. Sharif’s films chronicle the lives of forgotten traditional musicians and the plight of climate and conflict refugees who are struggling within a highly restrictive government and political environment.
Agribusiness entrepreneur | Guinea + US + Liberia
Agri-tech pioneer empowering young Guinean entrepreneurs through innovative social franchising ownership models in aquaponics, a low-cost, soilless farming technology. Thomas aims to decrease barriers to entry to markets and create local economic value for pan-African empowerment.