Laureate Global Fellows


The Laureate Global Fellows program is a partnership of Laureate International Universities and the International Youth Foundation's YouthActionNet® program. Through the Laureate Global Fellowship, we are annually selecting 20 exceptional young social entrepreneurs who are carrying out high-impact ventures and providing them with mentorship and community that will allow them to have an even larger impact. Laureate Global Fellows hail from across the world and provide an interesting picture of the state of social entrepreneurship in many countries and issue areas. The fellowship works in partnership with local YouthActionNet programs based on Laureate campuses and allows us to reach an even greater number of young entrepreneurs.

Current and past classes of fellows can be found here. Applications for the fellowship generally open in February of each year, and close in April. More information can be found on the YouthActionNet website.

The 2017 Laureate Global Fellows hail from 17 countries and are impacting thousands of lives through their innovative work.

2017 Laureate Global Fellows

Ankit Agarwal

Ankit Agarwal

Project: Helpusgreen — India | Age: 28

With floral waste from religious institutions imposing a heavy pesticide burden on the Ganges River, Ankit founded Helpusgreen. The initiative now employs 128 women, who previously worked as scavengers, to upcycle the floral waste into organic fertilizer and incense, while generating much-needed income for themselves and their families.

Binayak Acharya

Binayak Acharya

Project: ThinkZone — India | Age: 29

Binayak founded ThinkZone to enable women in low-income communities to deliver quality early childhood and primary education programs through a technology-enabled school-in-a-box solution. To date, over 1,500 children have received quality education, with 45 women benefiting from livelihood opportunities.

Ankit Agarwal Binayak Acharya
Cristina Balbás Martinez

Cristina Balbás Martinez

Project: EscueLab — Spain | Age: 29

Recognizing that students’ attitudes toward science are shaped by age 14, Cristina co-founded EscueLab, which equips children, ages 6 to 14, with STEM skills through educational materials, teacher training, science clubs, and camps. In 2016, EscueLab reached 1,900 students, with a special focus on vulnerable children.

David Hernandez Sandoval

David Hernandez Sandoval

Project: 2da Mano-Ropa Solidaria — Costa Rica | Age: 29

Through 2da Mano-Ropa Solidaria, David empowers female heads of households with the skills and materials needed to repurpose and sell second-hand clothing. Since 2014, 43 women entrepreneurs in 18 communities have benefited from an 80 percent increase, on average, of income.

Cristina Balbás Martinez David Hernandez Sandoval
Dissa Ahdanisa

Dissa Ahdanisa

Project: Fingertalk Enterprise — Indonesia | Age: 27

Dissa founded Fingertalk Enterprise to end the stigma against the Deaf in Indonesia and reduce unemployment rates among Deaf youth. Fingertalk’s social enterprise model employs 30 Deaf individuals at various small businesses, including a Deaf café where all people can connect regardless of hearing ability.

Dysmus Kisilu

Dysmus Kisilu

Project: Solar Freeze — Kenya | Age: 28

Through Solar Freeze, a company that produces solar-powered walk-in cold rooms, Dysmus increases the incomes of smallholder farmers through preventing post-harvest food losses. To date, the initiative has benefited 1,000 youth and women.

Dissa Ahdanisa Dysmus Kisilu
Ignacio Rodriguez

Ignacio Rodriguez

Project: Epyx — Venezuela | Age: 28

With Venezuela experiencing the worst social, economic, and political crisis in its recent history, Ignacio founded Epix, a social venture dedicated to restoring empathy and connecting the nation’s citizens through the sharing of stories. Through its online platform, events, and social media outreach, Epix reached an audience of 43,000 in 2016.

Innocent Eliuseli

Innocent Eliuseli

Project: My Little Traveling Library — Tanzania | Age: 26

Innocent co-founded My Little Travelling Library to inspire a passion for reading and independent learning among rural primary school students in Mwanza, Tanzania. In 2016, over 2,400 youth in 15 schools benefited from the organization’s network of mobile handcart libraries delivering books and interactive reading lessons led by university student volunteers.

Ignacio Rodriguez Innocent Eliuseli
Innocentia Mthembu

Innocentia Mthembu

Project: Show Time Film Club — South Africa | Age: 29

Innocentia launched the Show Time Film Club to help disadvantaged children and youth discover their potential through gaining video production, storytelling, and citizenship skills. In 2016, 120 students developed skills they can use to pursue productive futures while connecting to their communities.

Ivonne Bocanegra

Ivonne Bocanegra

Project: Grupo Ambiental Tierra Amazónica-Gatia — Peru | Age: 27

Through Grupo Ambiental Tierra Amazónica-Gatia, Ivonne trains children, youth, and women as eco-entrepreneurs, and promotes environmentally-friendly behaviors and attitudes through awareness campaigns and events that have reached over 12,000 people.

Innocentia Mthembu Ivonne Bocanegra
Junto Ohki

Junto Ohki

Project: ShuR Group — Japan | Age: 29

As co-founder of the ShuR Group, Junto uses technology to transform the lives of the Deaf. Among its achievements, ShuR launched an online sign language dictionary with the world’s first sign language keyboard, making it easier for Deaf individuals to look up a word or sign.

Katia Zahwi

Katia Zahwi

Project: Architects for Change — Lebanon | Age: 24

Believing that architects are capable of not only designing buildings but strengthening communities, Katia co-founded Architects for Change. Comprised of 83 design students and recent university graduates, the collaborative implements participatory design solutions for cultural and public spaces.

Junto Ohki Katia Zahwi
Luiz Hamilton Ribas

Luiz Hamilton Ribas

Project: Social Action for Equality of Differences — Brazil | Age: 28

Luiz co-founded Social Action for Equality of Differences (ASID) to bring together companies, volunteers, people with disabilities, and care-giving institutions to create a more inclusive Brazil. In 2016, the organization provided 35 care institutions with management consulting to increase revenues, improve services, and expand their reach.

Maria Rosario Ahumada

Maria Rosario Ahumada

Project: Juno — Argentina | Age: 29

With low-income mothers often unable to leave their homes and children to earn a living, Maria founded JUNO. Through the social enterprise, 120 women now generate extra income through producing hand-crafted items from home.

Luiz Hamilton Ribas Maria Rosario Ahumada
Melanie Tran

Melanie Tran

Project: AbilityMate — Australia | Age: 21

Melanie co-founded AbilityMate to increase global access to assistive technology devices that help individuals with disabilities achieve greater independence. Combining 3D printing and open source technology with human-centered design, AbilityMate develops low cost, highly customized devices that support users’ mobility, communication, and ability to carry out everyday activities.

Mikayla Sullivan

Mikayla Sullivan

Project: KinoSol — United States | Age: 22

To help reduce post-harvest food loss in developing countries while creating entrepreneurial opportunities for subsistence farmers, Mikayla co-founded KinoSol. With KinoSol’s solar-powered dehydration technology, over 100 mostly women farmers in 39 countries are now able to preserve—and sell—fruits, vegetables, grains, and even insects.

Melanie Tran Mikayla Sullivan
Natalie Kyriacou

Natalie Kyriacou

Project: My Green World — Australia | Age: 29

Through My Green World, Natalie empowers educational institutions, children, and families with fun, creative ways of learning about and acting on global environmental issues. To date, My Green World has directly impacted 12,000 young Australians and indirectly reached over 900,000 people through its website and social media platforms

Nushelle de Silva

Nushelle de Silva

Project: Building Bridges — Sri Lanka | Age: 29

In the wake of the Sri Lankan civil war, Nushelle founded Building Bridges to provide ethnically diverse youth with the opportunity to express themselves and connect with others. In 2016, Building Bridges guided 200 students from rural communities across Sri Lanka in building empathy and collaborating through the creative arts.

Natalie Kyriacou Nushelle de Silva
Paul Matovu

Paul Matovu

Project: Vertical Micro-gardening — Uganda | Age: 27

Through Vertical Micro-gardening (VMG), Paul manufactures and sells vertical farms to low-income urban residents, particularly housewives and youth, enabling them to grow fresh, organic produce in a limited space while generating much-needed income.

Sylwia Wodzinska

Sylwia Wodzinska

Project: MamyGlos — Poland | Age: 27

Sylwia co-founded MamyGlos (Polish for “we have a voice”) to equip teenage girls in Poland to advocate for their rights and end gender discrimination in their schools and communities. Through workshops on activism and women’s empowerment, as well as creative media campaigns, MamyGlos empowers Poland’s next generation to take a stand for gender equality.

Paul Matovu Sylwia Wodzinska