Eisenhower Fellowships Welcomes 21 Innovators from Around the World

  • 2018 innovation fellows final

Twenty-one creative global professionals from five distinct fields of innovation have been selected as the 2018 Eisenhower Innovation Fellows. These ascendant leaders from around the world will embark on a seven-week journey across the United States to engage in transformative exchanges of ideas with leading innovators in their fields.


During their fellowships, these mid-career international leaders develop concrete projects to create positive and sustainable change across professional disciplines, national borders and cultures after they return home. The 2018 Innovation Fellows will focus their projects in five areas: the future of work, education, health and life sciences, energy and the environment and design--the 21st Century design of new systems that ties together all the other fields.


The 21 Innovation Fellows are creative visionaries and disruptors who are working to make the world a better place. They include:


  • A winner of Taiwan’s 2018 Innovation Award for his innovative work in transforming waste glass into the environmentally green building material it calls “glass stone.”


  • An award-winning female scientist from Peru who is bringing newborn and maternal care to nearly 800 women in the Amazon Basin region.


  • A tireless advocate for children’s literacy who opened over 100 libraries across 17 islands in eastern Indonesia.


  • A food entrepreneur who provides sunflower cooking oil at low prices to about six million consumers across Tanzania.


  • An Australian venture capitalist and startup champion who established his country’s only fintech accelerator.


Eisenhower Fellowships Chairman Robert M. Gates said the Innovation Fellows will apply what they learn from their peers and in their meetings with experts in their respective fields to maximize their potential and produce sustained impact long after their fellowships are completed.


“We welcome these exceptional leaders into the dynamic global network of Eisenhower Fellows around the world who are working to enhance international understanding and generate a positive impact in their countries,” said Gates, former U.S. Secretary of Defense.


“This remarkable group of change agents is committed to solving some of the most pressing global issues of our day,” said George de Lama, president of Eisenhower Fellowships. “Their Eisenhower fellowships will allow them to exchange ideas and best practices with leading American innovators and bring action-oriented solutions back to their communities.”


The 2018 Innovation Fellows are:


Mariana Calenda | Argentina

Entrepreneur ∙ INTEAL


Toby Heap | Australia

Founding Partner ∙ H2 Ventures


Andre Wongtschowski | Brazil

Head of Operations ∙ World-Transforming Technologies


Steven Guanpeng Dong | China

Chairman and Dean ∙ Academy of Media

and Public Affairs,

Communication University of China


T.A. Wu | Chinese Taipei

Director ∙ Spring Pool Glass


Carl Acolatse | Ghana

Co-Founder & CEO ∙ MindNET  Technologies


Neha Kirpal | India

Social Entrepreneur

Global Alliances, CitiesRISE


Elvera Makki | Indonesia

Director & Country Head of Corporate Affairs

Citi Indonesia


Nila Tanzil | Indonesia

Founder & CEO ∙ Taman Bacaan Pelangi

(Rainbow Reading Gardens)


Faisal Hakki | Jordan

Managing Partner ∙ AB Ventures


Rogito Nyangeri | Kenya

Founder ∙ Alterfina


Magaly Blas | Peru

Director Mama River Program, Associate Professor, Researcher ∙ Cayetano Heredia Peruvian University


Agnieszka Skonieczna | Poland

Team Leader ∙ Directorate for Financial and Economic Affairs ∙ European Commission


Wei-Lin Lai | Singapore

Deputy Secretary ∙ Ministry of Education


Tan Yinglan | Singapore

CEO & Founding Managing Partner ∙ Insignia Ventures Partners


Alberto Benbunan | Spain

CEO ∙ G8 Ventures


Himesh Fernando | Sri Lanka

Director of Innovation ∙ Hemas Holdings PLC


Brigitha Faustin | Tanzania

Founder & Managing Director ∙ OBRI Tanzania


Bhume Bhumiratana | Thailand

Consultant ∙ Securities and Exchange Commission


Chi Hieu Nguyen | Vietnam

CEO ∙ Innovative Education Group


Natasha Oppenheim | United Kingdom

CEO ∙ No Desire to Retire


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