Fellows

The Sanders Institute Fellowship is comprised of leaders dedicated to transforming our democracy through the research, education, outreach and advancement of bold, progressive ideas and values.

Dr. Jane O'Meara Sanders

Co-Founder/Fellow   

Jane O’Meara Sanders is an entrepreneur in the public realm, a community activist, youth advocate, wife, mother and grandmother.  She has been a political advisor and strategist throughout the years to her husband, Vermont Senator and U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Together they have four children and seven grandchildren. Family has always been, and continues to be, the mos... Read More

Prof. Robert Reich

Fellow   

Robert Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century.  Reich has written eighteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock,""The Work... Read More

The Honorable Nina Turner

Fellow   

Offering a powerful narrative of overcoming adversity, former Sen. Nina Turner is a gifted orator who puts political and social trends in unparalleled perspective. She’s committed to advocating for progressive ideals and values, a vocation she views as bigger than political affiliation. Most recently a national surrogate for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) during the turbulent 2016 Dem... Read More

Harry Belafonte

Fellow   

Harry Belafonte is a legendary and multitalented artist and activist. He was the first black performer to win an Emmy Award and the first recording artist to sell over a million copies of a single album with Calypso (1956) featuring his hit “Day-O.” Born in Harlem in 1927, Belafonte spent time with his maternal grandmother in Jamaica before returning to Harlem for high school. After a ... Read More

Prof. Jeffrey Sachs

Fellow   

Jeffrey D. Sachs is a world-renowned economics professor, bestselling author, innovative educator, and global leader in sustainable development. He is widely recognized for bold and effective strategies to address complex challenges including debt crises, hyperinflations, the transition from central planning to market economies, the control of AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, the escape fro... Read More

Dr. Cornel West

Fellow   

Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual.  He is a Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University.  He has also taught at Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris.  Cornel West graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton.  He ... Read More

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

Fellow   

Tulsi Gabbard grew up in Hawai'i in a multi-ethnic and multi-faith family. A practicing Hindu, she is of Asian, Polynesian, and Caucasian descent. As a teenager, she co-founded an environmental non-profit called Healthy Hawai'i Coalition, focused on educating children about protecting Hawaii’s environment.  An advocate for environmental policy, Tulsi was elected to the Hawai‘i St... Read More

Bill McKibben

Fellow   

Bill McKibben is founder and senior adviser emeritus of 350.org. His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages. He’s gone on to write many more books, and his work appears regularly in periodicals from the New Yorker to Rolling Stone. He serves as the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental ... Read More

Danny Glover

Fellow and Board Member   

Actor, producer and humanitarian, Danny Glover has gained respect for his wide-reaching community activism and philanthropic efforts, with a particular emphasis on advocacy for economic justice, and access to health care and education programs in the United States and Africa.  He has served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program, focusing on issues of poverty, dis... Read More

Ben Jealous

Fellow   

Benjamin Todd Jealous is a Partner at Kapor Capital, where he invests in social impact tech startups that narrow gaps in opportunity and access for underrepresented communities and eliminate barriers to full participation across the tech ecosystem. Jealous is the former president and CEO of the NAACP, where he successful state and local movements to ban the death penalty, outlaw racial profiling,... Read More

Dr. Stephanie Kelton

Fellow   

Stephanie is a leading authority on Modern Monetary Theory, a new approach to economics that is taking the world by storm. She is considered one of the most important voices influencing the policy debate today. Her book, The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and Creating an Economy for the People, shows how to break free of the flawed thinking that has hamstrung policymakers around the world. ... Read More

Michael Lighty

Fellow   

Michael Lighty is considered a preeminent spokesperson and expert on Medicare for All. For 29 years, Lighty has organized, written and spoken on the subject. Most recently, he served as Healthcare Constituency Director for Bernie 2020. From 1994 until 2018, Michael worked for the California Nurses Association/NNU where he coordinated campaigns for an HMO patients’ bill of rights, clean m... Read More

Yanis Varoufakis

Fellow   

Yanis Varoufakis served as Minister of Finance of Greece in 2015. Varoufakis has taught economics at a number of universities around the world including the University of Essex and the University of East Anglia, the University of Sydney and the University of Athens, and the University of Texas at Austin. Varoufakis also spent a year as a Fellow at the University of Cambridge and was the Economist-... Read More

Shaun King

Fellow   

Today, there are crucial conversations rippling across North America—conversations happening on social media, on campuses, in the streets and around dinner tables. In greater numbers, people are talking about real empowerment and liberation for historically disadvantaged groups. When it comes to the Black Lives Matter movement, they’re talking specifically about human dignity for African Ame... Read More

Robert Pollin

Fellow 

Robert Pollin is a Distinguished Professor of Economics and Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.He is also the founder and President of PEAR (Pollin Energy and Retrofits), an Amherst, MA-based green energy company operating throughout the United States. He has worked recently as a consultant for the U.S. Department of Energy, th... Read More

Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz

Fellow   

Hon. Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto is the Mayor of San Juan City. Cruz was born and attended elementary and high school in Puerto Rico. Cruz completed her Bachelor's degree at Boston University and her Master's degree at Carnegie Mellon University.  Cruz worked as a Manager and Human Resources Director for various companies after graduating. Following 12 years in the US, Cruz returned to Pu... Read More

Dr. James Zogby

Fellow   

Dr. Zogby co-founded the Arab American Institute in 1985 and continues to serve as its president. He is Managing Director of Zogby Research Services (ZRS) engaging in ground-breaking public opinion research across the Middle East. In addition to holding positions in the Jackson '84 and '88, Gore 2000, Obama 2008, and Sanders 2016 campaigns, Zogby has served on the Democratic National Committee s... Read More

Simon Sinek

Fellow   

Simon Sinek is an unshakable optimist.He believes in a bright future and our ability to build it together. Described as “a visionary thinker with a rare intellect,” Simon teaches leaders and organizations how to inspire people. With a bold goal to help build a world in which the vast majority of people wake up every single day feeling inspired, feel safe at work, and feel fulfilled at... Read More

David McWilliams

Fellow   

David McWilliams is an economist, author, journalist, documentary-maker and broadcaster. He is Adjunct Professor of Global Economics at the School of Business Trinity College Dublin. David is ranked 10th most influential economist in the world. He has devoted his entire professional life to the objective of making economics as widely available and easily understandable on as many platforms and to... Read More

Niki Ashton

Fellow   

Born and raised in Thompson, Manitoba, Canada. Niki is the daughter of immigrant parents who settled in a northern mining town on the traditional territory of the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation. From an early age, Niki championed human rights issues in her community. Niki's education underscored her desire to think globally and act locally. At the age of 22, she pursued the nomination of her party ... Read More