SDG Talents for innovative solutions

The 1,000 SDG Talents, who will participate in UNLEASH LAB 2018 will represent diverse backgrounds and aspirations. They represent their entire generation and act as champions on behalf of the SDGs.

Whoare the talents?

  • Creative and innovative people from all regions of the world
  • Passionate about solving some of the world’s pressing challenges
  • Excited about engaging in co-creation with peers and experts
  • Academics, entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and technical experts
  • Primarily 20 to 35 years old

Meet the SDG talents of UNLEASH LAB 2018

1,000 talents were selected to participate in UNLEASH. We would like to introduce you to some of them!


Rez Gardi, New Zealand/Kurdish

“Currently, only half of refugee children receive primary education. No child should have to pay the cost of conflict by missing out on schooling. Yet we see whole generations of refugee children who have to leave their homes and schools, and other children on the move unable to secure an education.

I was born a refugee in a camp in Pakistan, and none of the children had any access to local schools. There is no future for countries affected by conflict unless their children receive an education that gives them the tools and skills to be empowered to make positive change.”


Jeffry Pacayra Acaba, Philippins

“I have been living with HIV for quite some time now, but the journey towards accepting one’s HIV status and sharing my status without any fear of being ridiculed or ostracized has never been always easy. Being a gay man myself, I have to always grapple on how people would react should they know that I am both gay and living with HIV. In a country like the Philippines, where I live, social ambivalence towards people like me exists through media and other communication channels.”


Dr. Mamadou Sy, Senegal

“My life as a doctor is a nightmare. I’m the one who diagnosed a young girl with breast cancer and performed an amputation on a young man because of diabetes. The prevalence of non-communicable diseases is rising fast in low-income countries. Because of the white shirt I wear, people forget that there is a heart under my clothes. So, I decided to use my status of physician, which gives me the trust and the respect of my community, to raise awareness.”


Howto become a SDG Talent

UNLEASH picks talents based on five criteria.

Demonstrated commitment to solving some of the world’s pressing challenges

Possession of a creative and innovative mindset

Proven track record of making contributions to solving social causes

Willingness to engage in co-creation with peers and experts

High proficiency in English with the ability to engage in complex discussions


Howwe select SDG Talents

Diversity is key and ideas rule. UNLEASH picks talent based on their application but also with a target for an even split across regions, between genders, and between background. We strongly encourage everyone who fits our criteria to apply – the ideas, insights and passion is the most important to us.