About Mehret Mandefro

Mehret Mandefro is an Emmy-nominated producer, writer, and serial entrepreneur who champions the creative arts as a path to developing a more just society. Her track record in both using narrative to shift culture and scaling media businesses secured her a spot on Variety’s list of most impactful women in global entertainment. Drawing on her training at Harvard University in Medicine and Anthropology as the foundation to approaching social issues as a storyteller, Mehret works at the intersection of art and science leading the the multi-media production company Truth Aid Media and founded the research enterprise Truth Aid Impact. She describes this body of work as “audiovisual medicine”.

She has since set up A51 Pictures in Ethiopia as well as the Realness Institute in South Africa, and was formerly Executive Producer of Kana Television in Ethiopia, which was subsequently acquired by Canal+. Her latest media venture, TBTM Studios, turns culture into currency using blockchain technology featuring Africa’s leading voices.

Mehret’s films and television shows span documentary and fiction and have been featured on multiple outlets, including Netflix, PBS, Amazon Prime, and Showtime. Her most recent film The Cost of Inheritance broadcast on PBS and is currently streaming. Other work includes, How It Feels to Be Free (American Masters), Sweetness in the Belly (Amazon Prime), the Sundance and Berlinale Audience Award winner Difret (Netflix), the New York Times Critic’s Pick Little White Lie (PBS) and Ethiopia’s first-ever teen drama television series Yegna (Kana/Canal+).

A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the American Television Academy, Mehret is a sought-after speaker and has a widely watched TED talk about the impact of the creative industry on economic growth in Africa.

Mehret has a BA in Anthropology from Harvard University, an MD from Harvard Medical School, a MSc in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as a Fulbright Scholar, and a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Temple University. She was a White House Fellow in the Obama Administration.


  • MSc in Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • PhD in Cultural Anthropology, Temple University
  • BA in Anthropology, Harvard University
  • MD in Medicine, Harvard University

Professional Fields

Work History

  • President, Truth Aid
  • Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund
  • Executive Producer and Director of Social Impact, Kana Television
  • Chief Medical Officer, Amida Tech

Mehret's Links

Related Articles

Meet More Fellows