Recently I wrote about the new Acumen Fund Fellows Program, with a call for applicants. We were overwhelmed by the response: Some 600 candidates from 52 countries applied for the opportunity to spend a year with Acumen Fund, first for training at our New York office and then working to support an investment in the field. The applicant pool demonstrates the powerful desire among the next generation of leaders to merge financial and analytical skills and business experience with the social, political and environmental needs of our world.

After an intense three-month selection process, we are extremely pleased to announce our eight 2006 Fellows, who hail from Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.

• Jocelyn Wyatt
(U.S.) Previously India Country Director for Scojo Foundation
• Nadaa Taiyab (Sri Lanka) Former World Bank Consultant in Indonesia
• Keely Stevenson (U.S.) Created first online community for social entrepreneurs, Social Edge for the Skoll Foundation
• Fabrice Ndjodo (Cameroon) Former investment analyst with International Finance Corporation
• David Lehr (U.S.) Reuters Digital Vision Fellow, Stanford University
• Adrien Couton (France) Senior Associate at McKinsey & Company
• Eric Berkowitz (U.S.) Founder of management consulting firm ESB Partners
• Ayeleen Ajanee (Pakistan) Previously with Unilever, Pakistan

Our goal in creating the Fellows Program was to build an “entrepreneurial bench” of talented individuals for the social enterprise sector. Key to our ability in attracting and selecting these Fellows was the strong involvement of the Acumen Fund community. The support we’ve received from has been invaluable in launching the Fellows program, as well as in building our management capacity worldwide and in fueling new investments.

Again, we are delighted to be announcing this cohort of extraordinary individuals, who will be starting with us in September. Over the next few weeks, we will be posting more information on each Fellow on the Acumen Fund blog, as well as updates from each with observations and insights as they begin their work this fall. We hope to see the Fellows program serve as a model for developing leaders with the skills and moral imagination to build solutions from the perspective of the poor.