Schmidt Futures Hosts Inaugural International Strategy Forum Global Summit

February 22, 2023

117 rising leaders from North America, Africa, Asia, and Europe announced at the first Global Summit

Helen Zhang named new Director of the International Strategy Forum at the Global Summit


Los Angeles, CA, February 22, 2023 – Today, Schmidt Futures announced the 2023 cohort of International Strategy Forum (ISF) Fellows during the first annual Global Summit. Composed of four regional cohorts, the 117 new Fellows convened in California from February 12-16 to commence their 11-month-long ISF Fellowship. The program is designed to build an interdisciplinary network of rising leaders and to strengthen democratic values, collaboration, and security as technology reshapes our world. 

The ISF Global Summit convened Fellows from across Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America by finding and connecting some of the brightest minds at the intersection of technology and geopolitics. Fellows engaged in interdisciplinary discussions about solutions to some of the hardest problems facing our world. Through a variety of panels, fireside chats, and regional and global talks, the Summit focused on four thematic areas: Emerging Technologies, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Civic Engagement & Democratic Resilience, and Security & Defense. 

The newly appointed Director, Helen Zhang, will oversee the new cohorts during their Fellowship. Zhang’s unique background spans technology, geopolitics, media, and public policy.  As a longtime Australian Foreign Service Officer, Zhang focused on Australia’s trade, national security, and political and economic agendas. In addition to her work in diplomacy,  her expertise includes her prior role as Manager of Global Public Policy at Google Search, as co-founder of Intrigue Media, and as an attorney, where she honed her skills in commercial law. A Fulbright Scholar with a Master in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School, Zhang will utilize her breadth of expertise to guide these networks of ISF Fellows in strengthening progress and security amid our changing world. 

“I am honored by the opportunity to lead this incredible group of trailblazers working toward solutions to the world’s toughest problems across technological and political disciplines,” said Helen Zhang, Director of ISF. “The Global Summit, where all new ISF cohorts came together for the first time, emphasized the importance of developing a network that promotes the interdisciplinary exchange of ideas, sparking the action needed to build a better world. It was inspiring to connect with our incredible Fellows at the Summit – I am excited by their passion and drive, and look forward to growing ISF and its role in shaping global affairs.”

Schmidt Futures is working to create the most talented and persistent network of exceptional individuals globally who want to serve others and match them with opportunity.  The first convening of ISF Fellows was in 2021, a coalition of non-traditional talent from boardrooms, newsrooms, laboratories, policy-making councils, governments, and foundations. Through its global community, Schmidt Futures equips ISF Fellows with knowledge, resources, and an interdisciplinary network. Fellows are nominated by a global community of advisors, partners, and alumni who look for rising leaders that embody four core values: curiosity, collaboration, empathy, and service.

ISF’s interdisciplinary network comprises a diverse range of Fellows representing 40 countries, focused on a variety of fields including health and social inequalities, water security, policy governance, geopolitical risk, consumer protection, climate change, technology for improved democracy, quantum & defense, and more. The 2023 Fellows include: 


North America 2022

  • Logan Ashcraft
  • Simone Askew
  • Samantha Bradshaw
  • Catie Cuan
  • Ryan Dukeman
  • Wren Elhai
  • Eliza (Rodica) Gheorghe
  • Morgan Hitzig
  • David Hoyt
  • Kat Yung Keung
  • Tony Kulesa
  • Jason Lapadula
  • Quinn Lorenz
  • Peter Machtiger
  • Jamaji Nwanaji-Enwerem
  • Nirav Patel
  • Aidan Penn
  • Devaki Raj
  • Megan Reiss
  • Rahaf Safi
  • Matt Sheehan
  • Irene Solaiman
  • Collin Stevenson
  • Francisco Javier Varela Sandoval


North America 2023

  • Mark Akpaninyie
  • Connor Brogan
  • Justin Bryant
  • Yangyang Cheng
  • Santiago Garces
  • Dana Gingrich
  • Kazumi Hoshino-Macdonald
  • Christopher Isaac
  • Elizabeth Landers
  • Edlyn Levine
  • Ana Lucic
  • Jane Darby Menton
  • Ahmad Nasir
  • Michelle Nedashkovskaya
  • Christine Ngaruiya
  • David Rader
  • Anand Raghuraman
  • Geo Saba 
  • Annie Shiel
  • Renee Smith
  • Shalonda Spencer
  • Arthur Tellis
  • Jennifer Walters



  • Jude Addo
  • Temitope Ajileye
  • Lione Alushula
  • Hanae Bezad
  • Linda Bonyo
  • Rekgotsofetse Chikane
  • Yusha Davidson
  • Safaa Garelnabi
  • Yakama  Jones
  • Cornelia Kruah-Togba
  • Melvyn Lubega
  • Thato Mabudusha Schermer
  • Tafadzwa Matika
  • Tesh Mbaabu
  • Vuyane Mhlomi
  • Sizwe Mkwanazi
  • Leah Molatseli
  • Lethabo Motsoaledi
  • Ndjodi Ndeunyema
  • Toni Oki
  • Ozioma Paul
  • Keitumetse Pule
  • Esther Soma



  • Takeya Adachi
  • Priyanka Bhide Mandrekar
  • Benjamin Bland
  • Clarence Cai
  • Linh Dao
  • Swetava Ganguli
  • Jun Kamei
  • Yuka Koshino
  • Kyoko Kuwahara
  • Kwun Chung (Nathan) Law
  • Belle Wen Xian Lim
  • Lucas Lim
  • Andrew Loh
  • Xinru Ma
  • Daisuke Nagayama
  • James Paterson
  • Matthew Shampine
  • Elizabeth Shaw
  • Nathanael Sumaktoyo
  • Na Sun
  • Pragya Sur
  • Ngoc Tran 
  • Aditya Vishwanath
  • Thom Woodroofe
  • Kimberly Yao
  • Jinghan Zeng
  • Aigerim Zhaparova



  • Colombe Cahen-Salvador
  • Emman El-Badawy
  • Jorge Félix Cardoso
  • Ulrike Franke
  • Ivana Jordanovska
  • Carolin Kroeger
  • Maciej Kuziemski
  • Tania Latici
  • Nino Macharashvili
  • Oksana Matiyash
  • Wilfrid Obeng
  • Kyle Parks
  • Mariia Puchyna
  • Donjeta Sahatçiu
  • Julie Scherpenseel
  • Luca Springer
  • Volodymyr Tarnay
  • Nima Sophia Tisdall
  • Ilana Wisby
  • Hanna Zinner

More details on each fellow including their areas of expertise can be found here: 




About Schmidt Futures

Founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative that brings talented people together in networks to prove out their ideas and solve hard problems in science and society. To learn more about our method and the diverse types of capital and tools that we deploy, visit


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