TED Conferences introduces TED Fellows Program

Fifty World-Changing Individuals to be Selected Annually for New, Prestigious Fellowship Program; 20 move to Senior Fellows Three-Year Program

Organizers of the TED Conference today announced the introduction of the TED Fellows program, a new international program designed to foster the spread of great ideas. Initially 50 individuals, selected for the world-changing potential of their work, will be invited to participate in the TED community each year. At the end of the year, 20 of these 50 will be selected to be TED Senior Fellows, participating in an extended three-year program will bring them to six consecutive conferences, along with additional benefits. The principal goal of the program is to empower the Fellows to effectively communicate their work to the TED community and to the world.

The TED Fellows program will focus on attracting applicants living or working in five parts of the globe: the Asia/Pacific region, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Middle East, with consideration given to applicants from the rest of the world. TED will seek remarkable thinkers and doers that have shown unusual accomplishment, exceptional courage, moral imagination and the potential to increase positive change in their respective fields. The program focuses on innovators in technology, entertainment, design, science, film, art, music, entrepreneurship and the NGO community, among other pursuits.

The program was inspired by the TEDAfrica 2007 conference in Arusha, Tanzania, in which 100 fellows participated in a first-of-its kind gathering that catalyzed a new generation of doers — all entrepreneurial, fluent in technology and vested in creating change on the continent. The Arusha fellows brought with them new perspectives, enormous energy, enthusiasm and, through their ovation-generating talks, catalyzed the launch of many initiatives with other attendees. Propelled by their energy, TED decided to develop the TED Fellows program.

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TEDAfrica 2008 suspended, a temporary setback for South Africa

According to an email from Chris Anderson, the curator of the TED Conference, TEDAfrica due to be held in Cape Town at the end of September 2008 has been suspended. This news has also been posted on the TED Blog where I have already posted a comment and I encourage you to do so as well. This is a sad moment for Africa and more so for South Africa, which would have been the 2nd country to host the amazing TED Conference.

Last year I was blessed and honoured to attend TEDGlobal in Tanzania as a Blogger and Fellow. There were many, many connections and friendships established at this conference. George Ayittey described it as the most important conference about Africa at the beginning of the 21st century. And I agree wholeheartedly with him on this statement because never before has so many experts NOT politicians come together in support of Africa. There was a real sense of urgency among the speakers as the the aid vs investment debated heated up over the four days in Arusha.

Anyway why is this a setback for South Africa? We need to shift the focus from all the crap from Eskom, crime, Jakob Zuma, Zimbabwe and more. TEDAfrica in Cape Town would have been a dream come true for me because it represent an affirmation in our country and continent’s direction. The momentum built with the launch of the Next Einstein event in Cape Town, is a testament to the African’s ability to cope under the most severe circumstances. The students from the AIMS 2008 graduation represent the hope for future generations. So I held my breath when I first heard of the TEDAfrica announcement. But now we need to stand together more than ever before. The people on the TEDGlobal group on Facebook and members of the TED discussion group on Google need to find ways of following up and following through with promises made in Tanzania.

Remember we are the Cheetah’s and not the Hippo’s! Cheetah’s do not ask for permission from government to create value and opportunities for others. We are entrepreneurs and we stand on our own feet and make our own decisions. My dream would be that we can finally launch the annual African Bloggers Conference and an bi-annual TEDAfrica, maybe hosting the first one again, as originally planned in Cape Town in September 2009. In the mean time spread the word about TED Talks.


TEDAfrica in Cape Town opens for registration

I learned from Erik Hersman over at WhiteAfrican.com that TEDAfrica is open for registration. This is technically the 2nd TED conference in Africa, although its the 1st to named TEDAfrica, a new annual conference focussed on bringing together the Cheetah generation with global visionaries in one mega conference. I also echo his sentiments that if this is even close to TEDGlobal in Tanzania, in 2007, it’ll be a huge success. And in the words of George Ayittey, these conference will rank as the most important events at the beginning of the 21st century for Africa.

To all the TEDGlobal Fellows I look forward to meet you again in my country, and one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town.

TED Africa Cape Town 2008