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The TED Blog shares interesting news about TED, TED Talks video, the TED Prize and more.



Updated: 2017-09-20T02:41:33Z

 



WordPress.comStanding for art and truth: A chat with Sethembile Msezane

2017-09-18T17:12:55Z

Sethembile Msezane’s sculptures are not made of clay, granite or marble. She is the sculpture, as you will see in her talk — which you can watch right now before you read this Q&A. We’ll wait. The fragility of the medium combined with the power of her messages make for performances that literally stop people […]In 2014, Sethembile Msezane created a character based on her own Zulu traditions, and posed as her character, silently, in front of a statue of Louis Botha, creating a rich dialogue between South Africa’s colonial, apartheid-era history and her own. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED Sethembile Msezane’s sculptures are not made of clay, granite or marble. She is the sculpture, as you will see in her talk — which you can watch right now before you read this Q&A. We’ll wait. The fragility of the medium combined with the power of her messages make for performances that literally stop people in their tracks and elicit strong reactions. I ask Msezane about what goes into her productions and the practical realities of physically embodying her artwork that is a powerful and often uncomfortable commentary on the reality of being a black woman in post-apartheid South Africa. That was a great and moving talk — congratulations! How do you feel? Thank you! It’s been a positively overwhelming experience. To have an idea, allow it to manifest through various experiments and for other people to identify with it even if it’s years later after its inception is encouraging. The crowd at TED conferences is a fairly progressive one, but how would you describe the broader reception of your art, both on the site of your performance and off it? Well, there’s always different responses to my work. Sometimes people focus on only scraping the surface of my practice by focusing on the female body, choosing to exoticise, sexualise or even moralise it. But then something interesting begins to happen when they start to ‘see’ the person inside the body in relation to symbols in the landscape and in dress. At times, their own insecurities become revealed to them. They start to comment on the society we live in and the effects of symbols such as statues living among us. Putting your body out there as vessel for your messages is incredibly brave. Have you ever felt like you were in physical danger during any of your performances? Yes, there’s always an anxiety just being a regular woman walking down the street. So when my body is standing on a plinth in public spaces, this is not a foreign feeling. Sometimes I’m surrounded by crowds, and there’s movement that could cause me to fall off. At times people touch my body, which of course is not welcome. This speaks to how we, particularly men, have been socialised to think they are entitled to women’s bodies. I remember one time, however, when I was more scared for a colleague and friend of mine who was filming my performance The Charter. A man was passing by and noticed the performance. He started spewing out all kinds of hatred in relation to my body and the symbolic gestures being performed in that space. His hatred grew and he started displaying his prejudice and homophobia by insulting my friend. He didn’t physically harm us, but he used his words as a weapon, and that cut deep. Could you describe what goes into each performance? Conceptualisation? Writing? Research? Staking out the location? Help with pictures and video? My process is never constant; various circumstances come into play in formulating the performance. I guess in the beginning I’d get fixated on an idea and start doing more research about it…online, books, films, magazines, music etc. Concurrently, I begin to source materials and costumes to construct wearable sculptures in my studio. In between sourcing materials, I make site visits, interview people and write my observations to formulate a solid concept. I think now I realise not all of it was based solely on research — some of it was intuitive or came about in my drea[...]



5 reasons to convince your boss to send you to TEDWomen this year

2017-09-16T14:08:40Z

Every year at TEDWomen, we gather to talk about issues that matter, to learn and bond and get energized. This year, we will be reconvening on November 1–3 in New Orleans — and we would love for you, and your amazing perspective and ideas, to join us and become part of this diverse, welcoming group that’s growing […]Inspiration, challenge, community — when we listen to great ideas together, great things can happen. Photo: Stacie McChesney / TED Every year at TEDWomen, we gather to talk about issues that matter, to learn and bond and get energized. This year, we will be reconvening on November 1–3 in New Orleans — and we would love for you, and your amazing perspective and ideas, to join us and become part of this diverse, welcoming group that’s growing every year. Join us at TEDWomen 2017 >> However, there’s a challenge we’re hearing from some of you — especially those who’d like to attend in a professional capacity. And it’s this: It’s hard to explain to your boss how this conference can contribute to your professional success and development. What we know from past attendees is, TEDWomen is an extraordinary professional development event — sending people back to work refreshed, connected and full of ideas. We’d love to encourage more people to attend with professional growth in mind. So, if you’re interested in attending TEDWomen, here are some talking points to support you when you ask for your share of the staff-development budget: 1. At TEDWomen, you’ll learn tools to craft better messages, to listen and connect more deeply, to problem-solve and spark new ideas. What you hear onstage — and from fellow attendees — will spark new thinking that you can bring back to your team. (Many TEDsters, in fact, schedule a team meeting for the week after TED to download what they learned.) As one attendee wrote: “Amazing and inspiring overall. I’m leaving a better person because of it.” Join an audience of curious and enthusiastic lifelong learners and doers. Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED 2. TEDWomen is where some of the boldest conversations are happening — which can help you kickstart the conversations your organization needs to have. You’ll hear about new markets and new power structures, learn how people are engaging with diversity internally and externally, and get new ideas for leveraging technology. Because you never know where your company’s next great idea may come from. As one attendee told us: “I am a VP at a Fortune 500 company and this conference was life-changing for me. There are so many execs who have the experience, money and resources to help drive the causes that were discussed.” 3. The TEDWomen community is a powerful network, offering connections across many fields and in many countries. VC Chris Fralic once described the benefit of attending TED in four words: “permission to follow up.” TEDWomen is not a place for high-pitched networking — it’s designed to be a place to connect over conversations that matter, to plant seeds for collaborations and real relationships. As one attendee said: “I connected with so many people with whom I am able to help grow their work and they are going to work with me to grow mine. I think it is terrific that TED provides such meaningful resources for attendees to connect and converse.” Well, we make no promises that you too will get a selfie with Sandi Toksvig, left, host of the Great British Bake Off, but yes, connections like this happen at TEDWomen all the time. The audience and speakers are all part of the same amazing community. Photo: Stacie McChesney / TED 4. Finally, it’s just a great conference — offering TED’s legendary high quality, brilliant content and attention to detail at every turn, at a more approachable price. Attendees tell us things like: “Single best and most diverse event that I’ve been to”[...]



“World peace will come from sitting around the table”: Chef Pierre Thiam chats with food blogger Ozoz Sokoh

2017-09-13T22:58:40Z

Two African cooks walk into a bar; 30 seconds later they are arguing over whose country’s jollof rice is better. Or so the corny joke would go. The truth is, I really had no idea what would happen if we got Senegal-born chef Pierre Thiam (TED Talk: A Forgotten Ancient Grain That Could Help Africa […]Chef and cookbook author Pierre Thiam, left, sits down with food blogger Ozoz Sokoh to talk about the West African rice dish jollof — beloved in Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana and around the world. But who makes it best? They spoke during TEDGlobal 2017 in Arusha, Tanzania. Photo: Callie Giovanna / TED Two African cooks walk into a bar; 30 seconds later they are arguing over whose country’s jollof rice is better. Or so the corny joke would go. The truth is, I really had no idea what would happen if we got Senegal-born chef Pierre Thiam (TED Talk: A Forgotten Ancient Grain That Could Help Africa Prosper) and Nigerian jollof promoter Ozoz Sokoh to sit down together for a friendly chat. Based in New York, Pierre is a world-renowned chef who grew up in Senegal and is known for his exquisite dishes and his passion for spreading African cuisine across the world. He informed me that my interview request was the third jollof-related one he had granted in a week, the previous ones coming from the BBC and Wall Street Journal. It totally makes sense that in the heat of the jollof wars that now erupt every few weeks, mostly on Twitter, usually between Nigerians and Ghanaians, pundits are turning to a Senegalese chef for their take on the dispute. Jollof, after all, is named for the Wolof people, the largest ethnic group in Senegal; the country does have some claim. Ozoz for her own part is an accomplished cook (she declined to be called a chef because it’s like a professional certification, apparently), food blogger and photographer, and probably one of the biggest promoters of jollof rice in Africa right now, an obsession that has since burst out of her Twitter timeline into a dedicated blog and the well-attended World Jollof Day festival. Was she down to interview Pierre about the jollof controversy? Of course. In fact, Ozoz had come from Lagos armed with homemade Nigerian spices, snacks and a jollof T-shirt for Pierre. I apologize in advance to everyone who was spoiling for some sort of fiery showdown; this isn’t it. And I will admit to influencing their conversation slightly, by suggesting to them that the jollof question was merely an interesting pretext for a broader and infinitely more useful conversation about African cuisine that both of them were incredibly suited to have. What you are about to read is what happened next. Ozoz: I think that it’s amazing that we’ve had all these ingredients for centuries but our preference is to default to what isn’t homegrown. You were talking about fonio yesterday, and I think there is an appreciation that we need to develop for homegrown products. Apart from fonio, what other things do to think we should be going crazy about? That are locally grown and could have transformative effects on food security. Pierre: There are countless, you see. Millet is one of them. Sorghum is another one. The leaves too, especially in Nigeria where there are so many interesting leaf vegetables that are highly recommended for diets, and many cultures don’t know them as much as Nigeria does. So there is an opportunity there to share this knowledge. People talk about moringa, but moringa is just one of them. Ozoz: One of my concerns is how do we get people in remote, non-urban areas to realise the value of what they have around them. Pierre: Actually I don’t think it’s people in rural areas who have this problem. It’s people in urban areas who like to mimic the westerners’ way of eating and look down on the rural way of eating. Take fonio, for instance — you find it in Northern Nigeria and the Southern part of Senegal a lot, but in Lagos, Abuja, Dakar, you have to look for it. So the rural[...]



This is how to make Pierre Thiam’s fonio sushi

2017-09-13T16:56:25Z

If you’ve seen Pierre Thiam’s TED Talk about fonio, then you saw that part when he actually handed food out to the audience, yes? For those who didn’t know to sit in the front rows to receive that blessing (or couldn’t be there in the first place), and don’t mind rolling up their sleeves in […]Pierre Thiam’s fonio sushi recipe wraps chunks of fresh vegetables in a mixture of the ancient fonio grain and sweet potato.  Photo: Ryan Lash / TED If you’ve seen Pierre Thiam’s TED Talk about fonio, then you saw that part when he actually handed food out to the audience, yes? For those who didn’t know to sit in the front rows to receive that blessing (or couldn’t be there in the first place), and don’t mind rolling up their sleeves in the kitchen, Pierre has shared the recipe and cooking instructions for anyone who would like to re-create his fonio sushi. No, I haven’t tried it yet, but if you can procure all the ingredients, especially the fonio, obviously, it looks super easy to make! Here we go. To make Fonio Sweet Potato and Okra Sushi, you are going to need: 1 cup cooked fonio 1 cooked and mashed sweet potato 1 tbsp. rice vinegar Salt to taste 1 carrot, cut into sticks and blanched 1 cucumber, seeded and cut into sticks 2 cups young okra, trimmed on both ends, blanched and shocked in iced water 1 package nori seaweed sheets, toasted In a large bowl, combine cooked fonio, sweet potato and rice vinegar. Season with salt. Lay a bamboo sushi mat on a smooth surface, and lay out seaweed sheet on sushi mat. Using a paddle or your hands, lay out the fonio-sweet potato mixture evenly and thinly, leaving about 2 inches of the seaweed edge farthest from you uncovered. Lay out the fonio mixture evenly on top of the nori rice sheet, leaving space at the far end for rolling. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED Lay cucumber sticks in a row at the edge nearest you. Lay out a row of carrot sticks next, then a row of okra. Moisten the far edge of the nori with fingers dipped in water. Take the edge closest to you and roll the nori sheet as tightly as possible until you have one complete roll. Lay out a row of cucumber, a row of carrot and a row of okra, then carefully roll everything together, using the bamboo mat for support. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED Press the moistened edge against the roll to seal, and place the roll seam side down. Run your knife under warm water, to prevent sticking, and carefully slice the roll into 6–8 pieces. Neaten up the edges, then slice the roll, using a damp knife to prevent sticking. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED Serve with soy sauce and wasabi, and garnish with spice if you like; when preparing the sushi for the TEDGlobal audience, Pierre used dehydrated dawadawa. This recipe serves four. Enjoy. Pierre Thiam garnishes his fonio sushi with dehydrated dawadawa for spice and color. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED [...]



The big idea: 3 reasons to be kind to educators

2017-09-12T18:35:35Z

Any dedicated educator can tell you: A teaching job extends far beyond the hours of the school day. Molding the minds of future leaders while simultaneously ferrying them across the rapids of childhood and adolescence — and dealing with the economics of the job — is a calling not for the faint of heart. Here […]Any dedicated educator can tell you: A teaching job extends far beyond the hours of the school day. Molding the minds of future leaders while simultaneously ferrying them across the rapids of childhood and adolescence — and dealing with the economics of the job — is a calling not for the faint of heart. Here are three solid reasons to give teachers the love and support they deserve. 1. Being a teacher is tough (just about everywhere) Loving teaching and being a teacher are two different, but not mutually exclusive things when money can play a deciding factor. Teachers from around the world struggle with similar financial issues, no matter their longitude or latitude. Through our TED-Ed network, we caught with up 17 public school teachers from Kildare to Kathmandu, Johannesburg to Oslo and beyond, on how their salary influences their livelihood. “I took a pay cut to become a teacher. It is a calling, not a job. Teaching is a privilege that is not for the infirm of purpose or seekers of large pay-stub totals. If I didn’t wake up before my alarm so I can get to school early, I’d be worried. The fact is that I do wake each morning excited for what the day holds for my classroom — the challenges as much as the triumphs — which for some can be a simple as reading a first sentence.” —  a 6th grade teacher from Markham, Canada “I am happy but financially strapped. I don’t eat at restaurants; I can’t afford it. I am not a demanding guy, so my income seems sufficient for now, but I can’t sustain my life on it.” — a computer teacher from Kathmandu, Nepal “Though I love my job, the stress that comes with it along with the stress of money problems sometimes makes me consider leaving, even though I don’t think I would feel as fulfilled as I do right now. We scrape by, and make the best of what we have, and we are happy for now.” — an elementary school music teacher from Georgia, United States Many teach for love of education, to shape the minds of the coming generations; not for the love of money. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='586' height='360' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/L2LNK2MW_xQ?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'> 2. Educators don’t just teach, they manage a flurry of feelings As kids age into their late teens, they simultaneously embark on an emotional journey that often plays out during school hours. Heartbreak, arguments with friends, troubled home life, struggles with mental health and schoolwork, never-before-experienced emotions, and numerous other factors typically crop up during and in-between classes. Without a parent or guardian at hand, it’s left to the teachers and school staff to tend to the emotional well-being of students. Amid administrative duties, endless grading and planning lessons that may forever impact the students they teach, educators must manage a room full of budding young adults who aren’t always ready to sit quietly and be taught. Patience and consideration is tested on a daily basis, no matter how much love a teacher has for their craft and their students. Stress is inevitable in any job, of course. But there’s opportunity for a special, haunting stress to form — one born from the knowledge that the future’s sitting just feet from the chalkboard, in its most formative years; to not acknowledge these demands, within limits, is to not recognize teachers as human beings first. In addition to all of this, some believe e[...]



Can cities have compassion? A Q&A with OluTimehin Adegbeye following her blockbuster TED Talk

2017-09-12T18:16:25Z

Urban gentrification in Lagos is displacing hundreds of thousands of people who do not fit into the administration’s resplendent vision for the future. Their crime? Poverty. In what was one of the most moving talks of TEDGlobal 2017, OluTimehin Adegbeye calls us to consider the human cost of progress, specifically for the former inhabitants of […]For 12 spellbinding minutes, OluTimehin Adegbeye gave us a moving, challenging talk on cities and communities — and who gets to belong. She spoke at TEDGlobal 2017 on August 30 in Arusha, Tanzania. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED Urban gentrification in Lagos is displacing hundreds of thousands of people who do not fit into the administration’s resplendent vision for the future. Their crime? Poverty. In what was one of the most moving talks of TEDGlobal 2017, OluTimehin Adegbeye calls us to consider the human cost of progress, specifically for the former inhabitants of Otodo Gbame, a coastal Lagos fishing community that was forcefully demolished to make way for a prime beachfront development. In 12 minutes of fearless oratory, punctuated with ironic humor and stories, Adegbeye makes the case for why cities must have consciences. We asked for more details about the Otodo Gbame situation, and how to think about creating cities that don’t leave their people behind. How did you come to be invested in the subject of cities pushing out the poor? Was it before or after Otodo Gbame? Definitely after Otodo Gbame. I had been vaguely aware of some of the anti-poor policies and actions taken by successive governments in Lagos, but the demolition of Otodo Gbame was the first incident that really woke me up to the injustice and urgency of the situation. My initial involvement was the result of feelings of helplessness; I didn’t know what I could do, so I volunteered to write about it. But the more stories I heard in trying to write, the clearer it became to me how the structures that allowed anti-poor violence to exist unchallenged were not all that different or separate from those that allowed misogyny, or any other kind of violence really, to thrive. So my involvement became less about a desire to ‘help’ others and more about trying to dismantle systems that hurt me too, whether directly or by allowing me to be complicit in unchecked violence. You are an activist with many causes. Why did you choose this one to be the subject of your talk? I chose this topic because of the urgency of the situation. The demolitions and forced, systematic evictions in Lagos are happening with increasing regularity under the current government, so my hope is that the talk will lead to increased scrutiny of the actors who are responsible for these displacements, and eventually the abandonment of a model of “development” which prioritizes profits over people. You said that these forced evictions are unconstitutional, but they happen anyway. I’m aware that there was a court ruling in favor of the displaced Otodo Gbame residents. Are you close enough to the situation to describe the current legal status of the issue? Will those people see some sort of vindication at some point? Or is justice too much to hope for? The latest update I have is that the Lagos state government is appealing the ruling in favor of Otodo Gbame and other waterfront communities. I’m not sure what the grounds of the appeal are/will be, but since the people of Otodo Gbame have still been neither compensated nor resettled, it doesn’t seem like the executive is particularly interested in justice. There are certain agencies within the government who have announced intentions to collaborate with informal settlements and waterfront communities to pursue in-situ upgrading, but very little if any concrete action has come of this. Do you think the Lagos state government hears, feels this at all? Have you seen any reactions or indications that [...]



TEDWomen update: One year on, an extraordinary story of understanding and forgiveness

2017-09-06T18:39:28Z

When we started TEDWomen in 2010, we felt strongly that we wanted to include a series of talks we called “Duets” in which we would forego the traditional TED Talk model and present pairs of speakers instead of solo ones. There is no question that the Duets sessions are often among the most popular and […]Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger speak during TEDWomen 2016. Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED When we started TEDWomen in 2010, we felt strongly that we wanted to include a series of talks we called “Duets” in which we would forego the traditional TED Talk model and present pairs of speakers instead of solo ones. There is no question that the Duets sessions are often among the most popular and provocative. One such talk, given last year in San Francisco, was one that we knew was going to be controversial from the outset because it was going to take us into entirely new territory… not only at TEDWomen but also online as men and women in every part of the world are struggling to come to terms with the global epidemic of sexual violence. In this groundbreaking duet TED Talk, we heard the story of an extraordinary partnership that developed between a victim of sexual violence and her perpetrator — as they each searched for a path to understanding and forgiveness. I learned about Thordis Elva from an Icelandic friend who told me that a friend of hers had reconnected, after many years, with her high school boyfriend who had raped her. Not to pursue the romance which had, of course, ended immediately, but to try to make sense of what had happened so that she could stop the blaming and shaming that threatened to take over her life. As my friend recounted the plan Thordis had come up with to begin an online dialogue with Tom (who had been an exchange student from Australia), I could begin to see the potential for a TED Talk that would reveal a new possibility for millions of victims of sexual violence. I started a phone dialogue, first with Thordis, over a period of two years, as the conversation with Tom was underway. I’d hear from her from time to time about the insights she was gaining as well as the emotional rollercoaster of their reconnection, which eventually led them to meet in person and complete a healing process that transformed both of their lives. They were ready to share their story, knowing that the impact would be huge but somewhat unpredictable. This was new territory — a rapist standing on a stage next to the woman he raped, telling their story of reconciliation and forgiveness together, to the world. It was a tough road getting them ready for that moment. We sent many drafts of their TED Talk back and forth, trying to condense 20 years of their lives into 16 minutes. Many times, it wasn’t clear if they and their families (both had life partners) would go forward, but the more they wrote and talked and put their discoveries about themselves and about the nature of sexual crimes, the more they felt compelled to share it, hoping that it might provide a new path to healing for others. I was almost as nervous as they were when they took the stage in San Francisco, knowing that it was potentially explosive to have a confessed perpetrator of a sexual crime standing in front of an audience who most certainly included many victims of similar violence. One of every three women experiences sexual violence in her lifetime. The audience was quiet and leaned into the experience of hearing this unique story told with authenticity and conviction. They stood to applaud when the talk ended and both Thordis and Tom broke into tears backstage. Here’s the talk if you haven’t seen it: src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/lang/en/thordis_elva_tom_stranger_our_story_of_rape_and_reconciliation" width="854px" height="480px" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> TEDWomen was Thordis and Tom’s first experience talking publicly [...]



Great shorts: The lineup of short films and video played at TEDGlobal 2017

2017-09-01T19:48:57Z

How does TED complement a program of speakers sharing bold ideas, tough truths and jaw-dropping creative visions at TEDGlobal 2017 in Arusha? With interstitials: the beautiful, funny, inspiring, silly, short video breaks screened in between speakers. Pulling from a global pool of creativity, talent and thoughtfulness, this year’s TEDGlobal interstitial lineup boasts many films directed, […]How does TED complement a program of speakers sharing bold ideas, tough truths and jaw-dropping creative visions at TEDGlobal 2017 in Arusha? With interstitials: the beautiful, funny, inspiring, silly, short video breaks screened in between speakers. Pulling from a global pool of creativity, talent and thoughtfulness, this year’s TEDGlobal interstitial lineup boasts many films directed, produced, written or prominently featuring African and diaspora artists. Enjoy the sixteen interstitials shown at TEDGlobal 2017 that got our creative juices flowing, our dancing shoes tapping and our hearts beaming. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='586' height='360' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/7QwjURBSIPA?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'> Title: “We are KOKOKO!” The short: Meet KOKOKO!: The energetic and explosive musical group creating new sounds with instruments they make, inspiring a thriving alternative dance in Kinshasa, D.R.Congo. (We edited it down for the TED stage.) Creator: La Belle Kinoise src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/106288950" width="586" height="330" frameborder="0" title="Ethiopia!" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen> Title: “Ethiopia!” The short: A mouth-watering (and toe-tapping) look into the making of injera, False Banana and Coffee Arabica and other staples of Ethiopian coffee. Creators: Directed and Edited by Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='586' height='360' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/1TLyi7hN-Y4?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'> Title: “Herencia de Un Pueblo (Inheriting a Legacy)” (trailer) The short: Set in the vibrant Peruvian town of El Carmen, this film highlights the people, town and dance legacy of African descendants of the diaspora. Creator: Directed by Carmen Román src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/161458411" width="586" height="330" frameborder="0" title="A Small Escape" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen> Title: “A Small Escape” The short: An animated film about a pair of scissors trying to escape a kitchen that will leave you cheering for your craft supplies! Creator: Directed by David Sandell src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/196683500" width="586" height="330" frameborder="0" title="WoodSwimmer ( Bedtimes Music Video )" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen> Title: ”WoodSwimmer” The short: Practically hypnotic, “Woodsimmer” is a music video made entirely of cross-sectional photographic scans of pieces of hardwood, burls and branches. Creator: Directed by Brett Foxwell class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='586' height='360' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/wmN3vFIukk4?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'> Title: Sons of Kemet, “In the Castle of My Skin” The short: An imaginative dance video with fun choreography to match an upbeat tune. Creator: Directed by Lebogang Rasethaba. Production Company: Arcade Content src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/199153256" width="586" height="330" frameborder="0" title="ASA - L'Appel &agra[...]



Manifestos and destinies: Notes from Session 8 of TEDGlobal 2017

2017-08-31T00:56:58Z

It’s the last session, can you believe it? This is the part where we declare our intent to take all we have learned and proceed with purpose to change the world. But first, a few big statements from inspiring speakers to wind us up — the kind of statements that will send us out in […]Ameenah Gurib-Fakim became the sixth president of Mauritius in 2015 (slightly to her surprise). Now, she’s using her platform to build capacity and highlight the biodiversity of her home country. She was interviewed onstage by Stephanie Busari of CNN at TEDGlobal 2017: Builders. Truth-Tellers. Catalysts., on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, in Arusha, Tanzania. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED It’s the last session, can you believe it? This is the part where we declare our intent to take all we have learned and proceed with purpose to change the world. But first, a few big statements from inspiring speakers to wind us up — the kind of statements that will send us out in fighting shape, ready to take on any challenge. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, poodles and labradors … this is the last session of TEDGlobal 2017, in Arusha, Tanzania. And since we’re already in party mode, Sauti Sol open the session with three of their hottest numbers back to back — “Live and Die in Africa,” “Sura Yako,” and “Kuliko Jana.” The impossibly wonderful East African superstars Sauti Sol play at TEDGlobal 2017. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED This kicks us into a few minutes of audience feedback, with a lineup for the mic and 60 seconds each on the clock — including a solid shout-out to Ghada Wali, a report from the flooding in Houston, Texas, and a stirring manifesto from Ory Okolloh. An excerpt: We are called upon to decolonise our spaces, our education and our minds. We are called upon to resist We are called upon to be courageous We are called upon to own our culture (and by own I mean get paid). Nigerian music is leading the way — hi, Sauti Sol! We are called upon to make democracy work. Development is not inconsistent with freedom. In the final session of TEDGlobal 2017, another president graces the stage — this time, here in person. Maritius’ president, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, is the only woman president on the continent, and the only Muslim female head of state currently in office. But this is hardly her only remarkable achievement. Gurib-Fakim is also a biodiversity scientist; in fact, well before she imagined she might be tapped to be president, she gave a TED Talk in 2014 about her five favorite plants. We will save the full details of her interview with CNN’s Stephanie Busari for a separate post, but we can tell you that save for one or two deflections, the president acquitted herself well. Not bad for someone who, three years ago, did not even aspire to sit in the president’s house. In the past 50 years, 37 languages from sub-Saharan Africa have become extinct, and 315 languages across Africa are currently listed as endangered by UNESCO. Yvonne Chioma Mbanefo recollects how as a child she would get into trouble in school for speaking in her native tongue, Igbo — and says that “in many schools across Africa today, children are still being punished for speaking their indigenous languages.” For parents who realise the importance of preserving identity by teaching their children their native language (since many kids in Africa are taught English or French in school, not their local language), teacher-quality learning materials are scarce. It’s why Chioma Mbanefo has created micro-language lessons and illustrated dictionaries to help children learn the Igbo language. Next stop: more languages. Yvonne Chioma Mbanefo created language lessons to teach her kids — and the world’s kids — her own native language, Igbo — to preserve it for generations to come[...]



Tradition is not a frozen thing: Notes from Session 7, Power up

2017-08-30T16:24:36Z

Human potential is a double-edged sword; it can be turned to great good or great evil. This session is about the discovery, liberation and channeling of human potential in ways that make the world around us a better place. But first, Alsarah & the Nubatones introduce us to East African retro-pop. As Alsarah says from […]Alsarah and the Nubatones bring a new twist on traditional East African pop. As Alsarah tells it: “Tradition is not a frozen thing, it’s not a stagnant thing. Tradition is merely a conversation between you and the future about your past.” They perform at TEDGlobal 2017: Builders. Truth-Tellers. Catalysts., on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, in Arusha, Tanzania. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED Human potential is a double-edged sword; it can be turned to great good or great evil. This session is about the discovery, liberation and channeling of human potential in ways that make the world around us a better place. But first, Alsarah & the Nubatones introduce us to East African retro-pop. As Alsarah says from stage mid-set: “This music is not traditional, but it is rooted. It’s pop, but it’s got feelings. It’s got messages. It knows where it’s come from and it’s ready to go anywhere it needs to go.” Today is a joyful homecoming for William Kamkwamba who stole the hearts of the TED audience with his windmill here in Arusha in 2007 when he was only 14 years old. Since then, he’s co-written a book, graduated from African Leadership Academy and Dartmouth, travelled the world, is working with farmers to get their crops into supermarkets, and more. “My dream,” says Kamkamba, “is to continue the work I’m doing, trying to find the ways of solving some of the problems people are facing in my community or the world in general.” Host Chris Anderson and William Kamkwamba re-unite onstage in Arusha, 10 years after William’s pioneering talk here at age 14. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED Decades of study exists on mosquitoes and the diseases they transmit. Nonetheless, malaria still plagues hundreds of millions of people every year, and kills more than a million, mostly children under the age of five, in sub-Saharan Africa. We still know very little about mosquitoes, says Fredros Okumu, who catches mosquitoes for a living. Okay, so he catches them to study them. As mosquitoes build resistance to insecticides, new ways must be found to control their populations. After some rather intense study of mosquito biology (that involves baring legs in 12-hour shifts to invite the insects), Fredros’ research team have developed some rather unconventional methods for targeting and culling the malaria vector that has been described as the most dangerous animal on the planet. Fredros Okumu studies the deadliest animal in the world: the mosquito. We know very little about this vector for malaria and other diseases, even as it develops resistance to our pesticides. (And real talk, one way you study mosquitos is to let yourself get bitten over and over.) Photo: Ryan Lash / TED By building local scientific capacity, Africans can find solutions to the continent’s problems, says audience member Kevin Njabo, who takes the stage to admit that he almost became one of the four of five Africans who never return to the continent after an education abroad. He urges more people to do so: “For every skilled African who returns home, nine jobs are created in the formal or informal sector.” Audience member Amy Dickman gets onstage to tell the inspiring story of how her organization helped convert traditional lion killers into lion protectors (read more). Photo: Bret Hartman / TED Africa is a young continent: 41% percent of the population is under 15, according to the UN’s population division. But as the young demographic expl[...]



Cities are great when they work: Notes from Session 6, Urban 3.0

2017-08-31T19:15:52Z

Cities are a constellation of dreams — dreams that are constantly dying and being born. Cities are living things, with character and distinct personalities. Africa’s cities teem with these dreams. Who gets to decide which ones live, and which ones die? To become an architect, Christian Benimana had to go far away from home. There […]Architect Christian Benimana hopes to build a network of architects and planners who can help Africa’s booming cities grow in resilient, sustainable and equitable ways — balancing growth with human values that are uniquely African. He speaks at TEDGlobal 2017: Builders, Truth Tellers, Catalysts, on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, in Arusha, Tanzania. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED Cities are a constellation of dreams — dreams that are constantly dying and being born. Cities are living things, with character and distinct personalities. Africa’s cities teem with these dreams. Who gets to decide which ones live, and which ones die? To become an architect, Christian Benimana had to go far away from home. There were no schools of architecture in Rwanda, so he travelled to Shanghai, where he observed that, though impressive, China’s urban city and housing infrastructure was built at great human and environmental cost. Rwanda now is witnessing a great building boom of its own, and Benimana has made it his mission to advocate for a model of architecture that is uniquely African, sustainable and equitable. From the coastal slums of Lagos, to Burkina Faso, Benimana cites examples of his ideal. A pan-African movement of architects, designers and engineers on the continent and in diaspora, learning, sharing and inspiring each other, is gathering steam. Benimana wants us to imagine future African cities not as vast slums but as the most resilient, the most socially inclusive places on earth. “This is achievable,” he says. “We have the talent to make it a reality.” In Agblobloshie, a community in Accra, people descend on a scrapyard to mine the electronic waste that is deposited there for recyclable materials. Without formal training, these scrap dealers often teach themselves the workings of electronics by taking them apart and putting them together again. On the other hand, Ghana is teeming with technical graduates with little real-world experience because there are no jobs. DK Osseo-Asare and his co-founder at Low Design Office wondered what would happen if they brought these two groups together. The result: a growing maker community where makers engage in peer-to-peer and practical, hands-on education, motivated by what they want to make. Designer DK Osseo-Asare wondered: What would happen if we linked a community of trained engineers in Accra with the self-taught techies who mine local scrapyards for parts? Amazements. Behind him is the symbol of sankofa, which often means “go back and get it” — a representation of mining what we have to make something new. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED While global pundits talk about a theoretical future of sharing economies, Robert Neuwirth studies the way they work right now, right here in Africa — and have for centuries. Think of it as mutual-aid capitalism. In Nigeria, Igbo traders take on apprentices who work for them for a number of years. When the apprenticeship ends, the trader “settles” the apprentice — sets them up in business with working capital and a couple years of rent. It’s perhaps “the largest business incubator platform in the world.” Neuwirth also describes a money merry-go-round — call them group grants, kitty parties — in which everyone puts money in a pot, and once a week or month, one person gets the money to do as they please. It sounds a lot like the Yoruba Ajo system, an[...]



Repatterning culture, identity, language: Visual thinking from Session 5

2017-08-29T21:52:09Z

The speakers in this session are artists, designer-scientists and visionaries who are remaking the world around them. Their weapons are scope, shutter, paint, brush, font, code, blood and bone. And they are not afraid to use them. Who are they and what do they want? It’s time to find out. Self-styled “wild woman” Thandiswa Mazwai came […]Thandiswa brings a rocking, soul-deep performance to kick off Session 5 of TEDGlobal 2017 on Tuesday, August 29, 2017, in Arusha, Tanzania. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED The speakers in this session are artists, designer-scientists and visionaries who are remaking the world around them. Their weapons are scope, shutter, paint, brush, font, code, blood and bone. And they are not afraid to use them. Who are they and what do they want? It’s time to find out. Self-styled “wild woman” Thandiswa Mazwai came off as both fierce and vulnerable in tonight’s performance with her band. Some people in the audience reported getting goosebumps. Brrrrr. Others report . To recover, we watch this lovely short film featuring TED Fellow Walé Oyéjidé, a lawyer turned fashion maven for the menswear line Ikiré Jones. Their vision brings traditional African prints to tailored menswear, blending cultures, traditions and signifiers to make gorgeous stuff. Over the past century, our world has organized itself around fossil fuels — “arguably the most valuable material system we’ve ever known,” says Natsai Audrey Chieza. But that system is coming to an end — not only because we’re within sight of running out of fuel, but because our dependence on petroleum has wreaked havoc on our planet and our economies. In her work, Natsai images a world that transitions off fossil fuels and onto biological materials that do the same tasks, are endlessly renewable, and recycle like a dream. As a first step, she shows how naturally occurring bacteria can be used to dye textiles at industrial scale (replacing disastrously dirty oil-based dyes). We have a chance to build a new industry from scratch, she says, that works in symbiosis with the environment. As she sees it, the future of materials will be grown, fermented and recycled. Natsai Audrey Chieza imagines a world beyond fossil fuels — not just in our cars and homes, but in the many industrial processes that depend on petroleum. Imagine instead an industry based on biology, that grew itself and used itself up with no waste? Photo: Bret Hartman / TED After a visit to the library in search of Arabic and Middle Eastern texts turned up titles about terrorism, fear and ISIS, Ghada Wali resolved that she would not leave her culture, nor the Arabic script, to disappear. The one tool in her arsenal was graphic design, and while she initially wasn’t sure how that would help, she drew on her recollections of the visual medium’s power to spread messages that led to the downfall of two dictators in her home country of Egypt. With the weapon acquired, all Wali needed now was a mission. “My eureka moment was to find a bilingual solution for Arabic education, because effective communication and education is the road to more tolerant communities.” The solution that she designed is an appealing mashup of colourful Lego and the Arabic script: a game that teaches people Arabic by assembling Lego blocks. The concept has morphed into merchandise, a mobile app and, very soon, a book. “This book is the final product that I would like to eventually publish and translate into all the other languages in the world,” she says, “so that Arabic teaching and learning becomes easy, fun, and accessible globally.” “If you look online at a map of a township in South Africa or a remote village in Nigeria, you’ll see a few roads, surrounded by a lot[...]



A hard look: Exploring tough truths in Session 4

2017-08-29T15:42:02Z

TED is known for its inspiring talks. And all of the previous sessions before this have been inspiring, you have no idea. Humans, however, shall not live by endorphins alone. Sometimes, we need a stern lecture. Or a biting sermon. Sometimes, we need to reflect on a somber piece of art or music. Sometimes, we […]Dancer Qudus Onikeku and kora player Tunde Jegede, accompanied on the tabla, collaborate during Session 4 at TEDGlobal 2017, on Tuesday, August 29, 2017, in Arusha, Tanzania. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED TED is known for its inspiring talks. And all of the previous sessions before this have been inspiring, you have no idea. Humans, however, shall not live by endorphins alone. Sometimes, we need a stern lecture. Or a biting sermon. Sometimes, we need to reflect on a somber piece of art or music. Sometimes, we need to be told the truth. Sometimes, sit down, be humble, and contemplate what it means to be human, and our place in the universe. Sometimes, what we really, really need is a good, hard kick in the butt. That is what the speakers in this session came to do. Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò, a professor of African political thought, wonders how a continent that is home to some of the largest bodies of water in the world — the Nile, the Niger, the Congo, the Zambezi, the Orange rivers — can be said to have a water crisis. “Including in countries where the rivers are?” he asks. “Africa does not have a water crisis; it has a knowledge crisis regarding its water, where and what type it is, how it can be tapped and made available where and when needed to all and sundry.” According to Taiwo, a lack of knowledge is what stands between Africa’s current state and a future of prosperity. He posits that Africa must become a knowledge society, which is difficult since the continent currently loses its best and brightest to more favourable climes. “We must find a way to make knowledge and its production sexy and rewarding. Rewarding not in the crass sense of money-making but in terms of making it worthwhile to indulge in the pursuit of knowledge, support the existence of knowledge-producing groups and intellectuals, ensuring that the continent is the immediate locus of knowledge production, distribution, and consumption and that instead of having its depositories beyond Africa’s boundaries, people once more from the rest of the world, even if in virtual space, come to learn from us. All this we do as custodians on behalf of common humanity.” I did say he is a professor. At Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò, says: “We must find a way to make knowledge and its production sexy and rewarding.” Photo: Bret Hartman / TED Africa’s informal economy is really what keeps it running, creating jobs at four times the pace of the formal sector. And they get zero kudos for it, says Niti Bhan. In fact, the informal economy has been much maligned and even criminalised, because African governments cannot be bothered to distinguish between unrecorded and illegal trade. “This criminalization of the informal sector can easily cost each African economy between 60% to 80% addition to the annual GDP growth rate.” Informal businesses often pay local levies and all kinds of dues, but are almost always targeted for extortion and impoundment by government officials, and denied loans by lenders. Instead of penalising them for their social status and punishing them for their contributions to the economy, Bhan insists that we must begin to recognise and include the people, skills and occupations that fall into this forgotten segment of the economy in order to harness its true potential, create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and lift millions out of poverty. Niti Bhan studies informal economies — the so[...]



One jump forward: Notes from Session 3 of TEDGlobal: Leapfrog

2017-08-29T14:34:40Z

There are two things Africa-rising apologists are quick to cite as examples of the continent’s ability to leapfrog past its challenges and end up with solutions that are far ahead of the rest of the world: mobile phones and mobile money. But the frequency with which these two are wielded have also rendered them well-worn. […]Chika Ezeanya-Esiobu collects ideas from Africa that outperform imported Western ones, such as an irrigation method developed in Niger that beats irrigation tech from the west. She asks: What have we yet to learn from Africa’s own knowledge systems? She speaks at TEDGlobal 2017 on Tuesday, August 29, 2017, in Arusha, Tanzania. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED There are two things Africa-rising apologists are quick to cite as examples of the continent’s ability to leapfrog past its challenges and end up with solutions that are far ahead of the rest of the world: mobile phones and mobile money. But the frequency with which these two are wielded have also rendered them well-worn. Is Africa’s ability to leapfrog entirely down to these tired tropes, or does the continent have more opportunities, ones we have yet to see, to skip over established methods and create an improved, secure future? The Leapfrog session of TEDGlobal 2017 features an exciting lineup of innovators we are counting on to give us hope. Chika Ezeanya-Esiobu believes that there are immense stores of African cultural, medical and scientific knowledge that are untapped, in danger of being forgotten if we let their custodians die without passing them to successive generations. This is happening because, at some point, Africa’s authentic knowledge pathways gave way to education that served the interests of colonial masters. “Our education in Africa does not foster a sense of curiosity about our own environment,” she says. “Our education prepares us to be recipients of pre-packaged knowledge, designed to address someone else’s challenges.” She cites research and anecdotes that bear her out, pointing to Niger’s Tassa, an indigenous irrigation practice that’s been shown to be far more effective than western irrigation methods. In Rwanda, it would have been impossible to try alleged genocide perpetrators in regular courts — there were over a hundred thousand accused. Gacaca, a traditional justice system, was adopted to try alleged genocide perpetrators, largely to the satisfaction of the accused and the victims, because of the Gacaca system’s focus on reconciliation, communal healing and rehabilitation. Today, Chika has committed to “exploring Africa’s own knowledge systems and finding ways to mainstream same in curriculum, research agenda and policy action across sectors.” It reminds one of a Yoruba saying about how what we went looking for in Sokoto (a state in Northern Nigeria, and more than 500 kilometres from the South West where the Yoruba tribe lives) can usually be found right inside our sokoto (the Yoruba word for pants). Amar Inamdar draws our attention to an ongoing energy revolution that is sweeping across East Africa, and the rest of the continent, in a pattern that looks a lot like how mobile telephony made landlines obsolete seemingly overnight. “Enough solar power falls on every rooftop in Africa to power all of the energy needs of its occupants, and more,” he says. “Just like cellphones before them, this technology is wireless and avoids all the expense and hassle of creating a massive grid.” It certainly helps that because of its location and climate, Africa benefits more from solar power than almost any other continent. Amar Inamdar loves solar power. As he says: “Off-grid energy has reached a point where it’s a viable al[...]



The complex challenges of life-work partnerships: News from TEDWomen speakers

2017-08-31T17:30:42Z

  When we started TEDWomen in 2010, we felt strongly that we wanted to include a talks that break the traditional TED Talk model and present pairs of speakers instead of solos. Our first “Duet” featured the married couple Beverly and Dereck Joubert. I wrote about them on this blog earlier this month. As National Geographic Explorers in […]Tiq Milan and Kim Katrin Milan spoke at TEDWomen 2016 — now they have exciting news: a keynote, a forthcoming book, and more! Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED   When we started TEDWomen in 2010, we felt strongly that we wanted to include a talks that break the traditional TED Talk model and present pairs of speakers instead of solos. Our first “Duet” featured the married couple Beverly and Dereck Joubert. I wrote about them on this blog earlier this month. As National Geographic Explorers in Residence, the couple makes films that greatly influence public policy and perceptions about wildlife in Africa. They are incredible filmmakers — their latest, Pride vs. Tribe, was just nominated for Best Conservation Film at the 2017 Jackson Hole Film Festival. Their current conservation project, Rhinos Without Borders, aims to translocate a total of 100 rhino and is another example of the bold, innovative steps that the Jouberts take to save Africa’s big animals — a conservation effort essential to sustaining the economic impact of the tourist industry. They are literally airlifting rhinos out of places where they are being killed for their horns as part of a global criminal poaching trade, into Botswana where they are safe from hunters and poachers. It’s a big-risk, big-expenses operation supported in part by conservation-minded individuals and travel companies, along with the Jouberts’ safari camp company, Great Plains Conservation. src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/beverly_dereck_joubert_life_lessons_from_big_cats" width="854px" height="480px" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen> Over the years, we’ve continued duet talks with other married couples and life/work partners in order to uncover new ideas about how two people can work out the sometimes complex challenges of working/living in a partnership. We have heard a Masai father talk about how he reconciled his own cultural traditions that called for female circumcision with the aspirations of a daughter who wanted an education rather than an early marriage, and we heard the daughter’s story of running away, pursuing her dream and returning to her village to partner with her father for the benefit of the family. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='586' height='360' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/86BinB9WH4U?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'> Another memorable duet at TEDWomen 2016 was Tiq Milan and Kim Katrin Milan. They talked about navigating stereotypes to present a new conception of gender and a broader definition of love. I recently emailed with Tiq and Kim, and I’m so thrilled to announce that they are expecting a baby in January! They’re also giving a keynote to the Human Rights Commission of Canada called “No Labels,” discussing intersectional approaches to human rights, expanding on some points in their TED Talk that really resonated with folks. It’s rumored that Prime Minister Trudeau will be in attendance. src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/lang/en/tiq_milan_and_kim_katrin_milan_a_queer_vision_of_love_and_marriage" width="854px" height="480px" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allow[...]



On a journey: The pathmakers of TEDGlobal Session 2

2017-08-28T21:14:18Z

If yesterday evening’s talks were about asking what Africa’s future could look like, today’s talks and discussions zoom in on people who have already set out on their own journeys. A president. A chef. A film curator. A businesswoman. A money man. A scientist. A bird lover. They could be the members of a ship’s […]Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, is interviewed by journalist Vimbayi Kajase via live video link. Her line of questioning started personal and trended toward the strategic. They spoke at TEDGlobal 2017 on Monday, August 28, 2017, in Arusha, Tanzania. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED If yesterday evening’s talks were about asking what Africa’s future could look like, today’s talks and discussions zoom in on people who have already set out on their own journeys. A president. A chef. A film curator. A businesswoman. A money man. A scientist. A bird lover. They could be the members of a ship’s crew, or a band, depending on what day of week it is. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the pathmakers. Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame calls in for a Q&A administered by journalist and media entrepreneur Vimbayi Kajase. Kagame, who recently won a seven-year third term as president, in a poll that was widely considered a formality, is a controversial figure whom watchers can’t quite decide whether to love or hate. Perhaps because it’s hard to place “visionary” and “autocrat” in the same sentence. However, the stories of economic growth, innovation in healthcare delivery, ease of doing business and innovation make his thinking about development on the African continent exceedingly relevant and germane. No one would pass up an opportunity to interview him. In a surprising twist (it’s possible that I am the only one who was surprised), Vimbayi’s line of questioning doesn’t quite start out where you would expect. Instead of going down the obvious roads of politics, economy and governance, Vimbayi begins with a quirky question that would actually not be out of place in a conversation between good old friends who ran into each other on the street: “How is the madam, and how are the kids?” That said, it’s not trivial that Vimbayi led off the interview with questions about work-life balance — it’s a question that women face all the time, so it was good to hear a man being asked to address this most important topic. It goes on like that for a while. We learn something of his hobbies and how he spends time with his family. We know that he values honesty in the people he works with. We also know that he’s tired of answering questions about his leadership style and autocracy; he’s been answering them since before he became president, apparently. He started tweeting before Donald Trump. He also had a tip for upcoming journalists: Report accurately and fairly. And he generally does not make campaign promises that he knows he cannot keep. (This statement popped up after Vimbayi asked him to share an example of an idea he’d had that didn’t quite work to plan. The videoconference connection went down for a sec at that point.)   The roundabout approach, from the harmless and personal, working her way down to the strategic and political, seemed strangely effective. Kind of like peeling an onion. Is it possible that we might have learned a lot more about how Kagame’s mind works if Vimbayi had had more time? At one point, she asks him: “What would you say you think with, your head or your heart?” To which he replies, “Both.” “You sound like a head thinker,” she later says. Vimbayi might not have asked the questions that we secretly hoped she would … but we [...]



To engage joyfully with the world: More bold ideas from the TED Fellows

2017-09-07T02:18:19Z

“The politics of joy” is a phrase that resonates through this session of TED Fellows talks. These talks, by and large, come from people who’ve taken a hard look at the world and its problems and decided to engage joyfully, with creativity, fresh insight and heart. From a soccer project that empowers young refugees, to […]Percussionist Kasiva Mutua performs to open the second set of TED Fellows talks at TEDGlobal 2017, on Monday, August 28, 2017. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED “The politics of joy” is a phrase that resonates through this session of TED Fellows talks. These talks, by and large, come from people who’ve taken a hard look at the world and its problems and decided to engage joyfully, with creativity, fresh insight and heart. From a soccer project that empowers young refugees, to an SMS service for cow farmers, it’s a collection of bold ideas that might make a difference. First, the music. We begin with a multi-crescendic rumble of drums and percussion from musician Kasiva Mutua (whom we’ll hear from again later). TED Senior Fellow Su Kahumbu loves cows and chickens and the people who raise them. “We really underestimate the importance of our farmers,” she says, pointing to their key role not only in our food supply but for our global health. She’s devoted herself to bringing small farmers the tools they need to keep learning and to make a decent living. Thus: iCow, an SMS service that shares best practices, reminders and useful data for livestock farmers, even over low-end feature phones. As she says, “Farmers who use the service begin to see improvements in yields, incomes, profits and animal health within only 3 months.” Marc Bamuthi Joseph is a theater artist who also deeply loves sports. In his latest piece, peh-LO-tah, he says, “I thought a lot about how soccer was a means for my own immigrant family to foster a sense of community and normality in the new context of the United States.” peh-LO-tah leverages sports and movement to help new young Americans find a place to call home — as well as a connection to the global community. Because, as he puts it: “Soccer is the only thing the entire planet can agree to do together. It’s the official sport of this spinning ball. I want to be able to connect the joy of the game to the ever moving footballer, to connect that moving footballer to immigrants who also moved in sight of a better position. Among these kids, I want to connect their families’ histories to the bliss of the goal scorer’s run.” Joseph’s talk was received with a standing ovation, and not a few shouts of “gooooaaal” from the back. Next, we watch a video made by TED Fellows and collaborators Ed Ou + Kitra Cahana, who are in the midst of an in-depth reporting project among the Nunavut Inuit people. Miho Janvier is a solar physicist — or, to make it sound even more awesome, you can call her a solar storm chaser. She studies the solar weather and how it can disrupt life here on Earth, as in March 1989, in the Canadian province of Quebec, when a large solar storm shut down the entire electric grid, disrupting life for thousands of people. How do you study the weather on the sun? Sending up a probe is a nonstarter (it would just fry, obviously) so her work involves a lot of computer modeling, using data from many different space missions to help assemble a clear picture of space weather. The goal: to protect both Earth and any spacecraft we may care to send out there. Miho Janvier studies the weather around the sun, and how it affects us here on Earth — disrupting phone calls, playing ha[...]



New visions for the world we know: Notes from an early morning of TED Fellows talks

2017-08-28T13:37:52Z

In this morning’s first session of short, sharp talks from the TED Fellows, an impressive lineup of world-changers share their ideas for seeing the world in new ways — like an AI that might help us see cancer symptoms, or a fresh view on how refugees really live, or a long-term study that’s detecting a […]TED Fellow Mennat El Ghalid fights diseases in plants that cost billions in losses per year and threaten the security of the world food supply. Can we learn how diseases and plants communicate — and disrupt it? She speaks in Session 1 of the TED Fellows talks at TEDGlobal 2017, on Monday, August 28, 2017, in Arusha, Tanzania. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED In this morning’s first session of short, sharp talks from the TED Fellows, an impressive lineup of world-changers share their ideas for seeing the world in new ways — like an AI that might help us see cancer symptoms, or a fresh view on how refugees really live, or a long-term study that’s detecting a social network for fish. The morning kicks off with an address from the esteemed Minister for Culture of Tanzania, the Hon. Dr. Augustine Philip Mahiga, who spoke rather eloquently about the Tanzanian government’s determination to fight corruption, which distorts the economy and denies ordinary people the opportunity to better their own lives. He calls on the international community to support committed and courageous leadership in Africa that will root corruption out. Among the root causes of corruption in Africa is the political and economic marginalization of sections of the population, suggests the Hon. Dr. Augustine Philip Mahiga, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tanzania. He asks for leaders across Africa, and the international community, to support efforts to fight it. Dr. Mahiga speaks at TEDGlobal 2017 on Monday, August 28, 2017, in Arusha, Tanzania. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED Next, we watch a video about TED Fellow Andrew Bastawrous’ work as an eye surgeon, taking eye care to remote parts of Kenya where people are least likely to get the care they need to treat preventable optical conditions. For the first musical performance of the conference, we’re treated to the voice of Meklit Hadero, singing to the beat of Kasiva Mutua’s drums and accompanied by Joshua Roman’s cello to produce a soothing, soulful sound that I would later learn is called Ethio Jazz, a genre created by Ethiopian maestro Mulatu Astatke. A perfect sound for 9am in the morning. Fun fact: Meklit met producer Dan Wilson at TED in 2013, and Wilson (who has worked with Adele, Nas, Pink and more) would eventually produce her new album, just dropped in June, called When the People Move, the Music Moves Too. TED Senior Fellow David Sengeh is known for his work creating prosthetics in Sierra Leone. But in this talk, he points to a more endemic problem: Africa’s lack of doctors for its populations. As he points out, “A majority of African countries still have fewer than 50 doctors for every hundred thousand citizens, and for a rapidly growing population, this is not just problematic, but catastrophic.” Worse still is the lack of specialists — doctors who focus on cancer, respiratory ailments and more. His team at IBM Research Africa are developing AI tools that can mine biological data to predict the onset of disease. AI software that has been trained with a database of cervix images, for instance, can detect if cancer exists from color changes far more consistently than trained health professionals. The objective, he takes care to say, is not to replace caregivers, but rather to augment their[...]



A new map: Deep history and the far future at TEDGlobal Session 1

2017-08-29T13:59:40Z

The stage is set. The lights are on. The audience of more than 600 people who have traveled from all over the world to be inspired is ready. And ready or not, the speakers are thrust onto the stage, one by one. This is the first session of TEDGlobal 2017, themed “a new map,” a […]Qudus and Dancers open the conference with a poetic, balletic, powerful performance. Welcome to TEDGlobal 2017, August 27, 2017, in Arusha, Tanzania. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED The stage is set. The lights are on. The audience of more than 600 people who have traveled from all over the world to be inspired is ready. And ready or not, the speakers are thrust onto the stage, one by one. This is the first session of TEDGlobal 2017, themed “a new map,” a phrase that suggests that in these first talks, we will catch a glimpse of what the future of Africa might look like. In the present, however, perhaps as some organizational double entendre, this first set of speakers will also set the tone for the rest of the conference. A lot is resting on them, and while I can’t relate to their anxiety, I can empathize. But I needn’t have worried — the opening was as rousing and as moving as any opening should be. Qudus Onikeku’s dance tribe opens the session with a brief but incredibly energetic production titled “Rainmaker,” a performance Qudus would later tell me is the shortest he and his team have ever enacted. It is just as well, because those four short minutes left the audience wanting more, and they’ll get it. Qudus will returning to the stage before the conference is out. Dr. Augustus Casely-Hayford debunks the nonsense notion that Africa has no history, with an African history lesson that dates back to before the 12th century. Back to Great Zimbabwe, an ancient city whose mysterious origins and extremely advanced architecture continue to confound archeologists. Back to when Mansa Musa, whose wealth was so great that his caravans stretched out as far as the eyes could see, ruled the Mali empire and constructed schools and libraries — most notably the libraries of Timbuktu that are still home to hundreds of thousands of medieval texts. Eighteen minutes is hardly enough time to capture the history of any culture, much less that of a continent with a story as deep as Africa’s. Much of what Dr. Gus speaks of isn’t taught in schools in the first place … but that is a conversation for another day. Zachariah Mampilly invites us to consider how African political activists, especially the younger generation, engage their governments through protests. Protest democracy, as he describes it, has taken place in waves through Africa’s history, and we are currently living through one that began in 2005. It’s toppled governments (for instance, in Tunisia and Egypt) and prevented presidents from claiming third terms in Senegal, Burkina Faso and Malawi. As a way to shape a people’s political future, protests can be messy, but they are more effective than most believe. George Steinmetz shows us breathtaking pictures of what Africa looks like from the air, an idea he got after he dropped out of Stanford to hitchhike across Africa in what he described as a graduate course in ecological ethnography. These are big words that mostly consisted of hitching free rides on top of trains because he couldn’t afford to ride inside them. But as he crossed the landscape, he wondered how cool it would be to take pictures of the rich landscape if he were flying through the air like a bird. Twenty years later, he convinced National Geographic to send him[...]



Language heroes: Meet the TED Translators we invited to TEDGlobal 2017

2017-08-27T14:33:25Z

At TED, speakers aren’t the only celebrities; some of the biggest heroes sit in the audience. Case in point: Our volunteer TED Translators, who donate their free time to translate TED Talks into their local languages, making the talks accessible to millions of people every day. Ahead of TEDGlobal 2017 in Tanzania, we invited these […] At TED, speakers aren’t the only celebrities; some of the biggest heroes sit in the audience. Case in point: Our volunteer TED Translators, who donate their free time to translate TED Talks into their local languages, making the talks accessible to millions of people every day. Ahead of TEDGlobal 2017 in Tanzania, we invited these translators from around Africa and the Middle East to attend the conference, which kicks off this evening.  Hussain Al-Abdali (Saudi Arabia) Teacher Hussain teaches English at Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education. A dreamer since his youth as a shepherd boy, Hussain is an avid believer in the words of Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”Music, poetry, philosophy and, of course, reading and writing are Hussain’s passions. Read more about Hussain and his home country in his own words. Riyad Almubarak (Sudan) Engineer + freelance translator Driven by his deep-seated passion for translation, Riyad has worked as a freelance translator since he graduated university with a degree in leather technology. He sees infinite potential in Sudanese youth to enhance their communities, themselves and even the world, and so he’s been an active participant in an array of youth initiatives in Sudan that aim to realize younger generations’ power to enact enlightened change. In addition, Riyad was an organizer and speaker at TEDxOmdurman, and he’s a cofounder of kushsudan.sd, a new organization whose goal is to increase and enrich positive Sudanese online content. Lalla Khadija (Morocco) Business developer + marketer A lifelong Moroccan, Lalla lives in Casablanca at present. She works in business development and marketing, and has been a prolific TED Translator for several years. Recently, she joined the TEDx organizers community as the licensee for TEDxCasablanca. Lalla is a frequent traveler, a voracious reader (in Arabic, English and French) and a new yoga convert. Ingrid Lezar (South Africa + Germany) Communications professional Ingrid is a longtime TED Translator and Language Coordinator whose professional work focuses primarily on effective writing and presenting, visual communication and multilingualism. In recent years, she’s added German-to-English translation to her CV. Ingrid hails from South Africa, but she’s lived in Japan and Estonia, and she currently resides in Berlin. Though a cosmopolitan, she keeps her native Afrikaans polished mainly through TED Talk translations. Joachim Mangilima (Tanzania) Data scientist + entrepreneur Since graduating from the University of Dar es Salaam with degrees in computer science and statistics, Joachim has channeled his expertise into using technology and its attendant data to address a range of common problems faced by underserved Tanzanian communities. Translating TED Talks into Swahili, Tanzania’s native language, is just one of many ways Joachim works to empower people in his home country. Nada Qanbar (Yemen + Qatar) Government translator Born and raised in Yemen, where she taught linguistics and phonetics at Taiz University for seven years, Nada holds several graduate and postgraduate degree[...]