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The Rockefeller Foundation Announces 2016 Global Social Innovation Fellows

NEW YORK—The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to announce today the 2016 Fellows for The Rockefeller Foundation Global Fellowship Program on Social Innovation.

The 21 fellows include some of the world’s most promising innovators across various sectors, including leaders from NGOs, development agencies, social enterprises, philanthropies, and the private sector.

Over the course of a year, fellows will convene for intensive collaborative workshops in Colombia, South Africa, and Indonesia. At the workshops and throughout the year they will share lessons from their work and gain tools to begin transforming the systems at the root of some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

The fellowship embodies two themes that are fundamental to the way The Rockefeller Foundation approaches innovation:

  • Bring People & Ideas Together. Innovation requires combining ideas, approaches and partners who can look at problems in new ways. The 2016 Fellows are an exciting and diverse group of innovators with backgrounds in international development, law, education, human and civil rights, politics, medicine, public health, venture capital, agriculture, and ecology.
  • Thinking in Systems. The Fellowship pushes the boundaries of social innovation by building the capacity of fellows to pursue systems entrepreneurship. Systems entrepreneurs not only develop solutions to pressing problems, they help transform the systems—political, educational, legal, environmental and others—that are the root causes of those problems.

“The Rockefeller Foundation believes that bringing people together to catalyze change at the systems level—across organizations, issues and sectors—is one of the keys to developing breakthrough innovations that can scale and create lasting change,” said Saadia Madsbjerg, managing director at The Rockefeller Foundation. “We congratulate this year’s remarkable group of fellows, who have demonstrated a commitment to transforming systems in order to build greater resilience and more inclusive economies.”

“We congratulate this year’s remarkable group of fellows, who have demonstrated a commitment to transforming systems in order to build greater resilience and more inclusive economies.”

The Rockefeller Foundation Global Fellowship Program on Social Innovation is conducted in partnership with the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. The program was originally designed by Dr. Frances Westley, chair in Social Innovation at the University of Waterloo. The fellowship also works in close partnership with the Centre for Global Studies at the University of Victoria, the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University, and the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience at the University of Waterloo.

“We are delighted to have this chance to partner with some incredible institutions in putting the program together,” says Dr. Francois Bonnici, Director of the Bertha Centre. “The Rockefeller Global Fellowship Program represents a fascinating new way of thinking about social innovation—one that locates the Global South in co-presence and mindful exchange with international movements towards systems change. The Global Fellows themselves are a truly inspiring group of people.  We continue to learn a great deal from their insight, commitment, and diversity.”

The 2016 Rockefeller Foundation Global Fellows on Social Innovation are:

  1. Abbie Jung, Co-Founder, Synergy Social Ventures
  2. Ada Chirapaisarnkul, Founder and Managing Director, Thai Young Philanthropist Network (TYPN)
  3. Benjamin Hay, Strategy and Investment Director, Virgin Unite
  4. Cesar Buenadicha, Lead Specialist, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
  5. Danielle Jolicoeur,  ‎Regional Resilience Advisor for North, West & Central Africa, Mercy Corps
  6. Degan Ali, Executive Director, ADESO
  7. Edouard Munyamaliza, Executive Director and Founding Member, Rwanda Men’s Resource Centre (RWAMREC)
  8. Hital Muraj, Corporate Affairs Manager for East, Central Southern Africa, Cisco Systems
  9. Isabel Rullan, Co-Founder and Managing Director, ConPRmetidos
  10. Margaret Henry, Program Director, Sustainable Food Lab
  11. Maxwell Young, Vice President of Global Communications and Marketing, 100 Resilient Cities
  12. Monica Picavea, CEO of Oficina da Sustentabilidade and President of the IBEST—Instituto Brasileiro de Estudos para a Transição
  13. Do Van Nguyet, Founder and Director, Live and Learn for Environment and Community
  14. Nick Tilsen, Executive Director, Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation
  15. Nighat Dad, Founder, Digital Rights Foundation
  16. Nilesh Heda, Founder, SAMVARDHAN
  17. Pablo Jaramillio, Co-Founder and CEO, Enseña por Colombia
  18. Racheal Njeri Mwaura, Kenya Programme Lead of the Health in Africa Initiative and Health, World Bank Group
  19. Ratri Sutarto, Director for Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN), Mercy Corps
  20. Smita Rakesh, Chief Operating Officer, Ashden India Renewable Energy Collective (AIREC)
  21. Sodzi Sodzi-Tettey, Senior Technical Director, Africa, Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)

For more information, please contact Dr. Warren Nilsson at