2016-10-19T19:44:49ZNairobi, Kenya is one of the undisputed hubs of creativity on the African continent — and TED Fellows are at the center of the action. They’re building global technology companies like Ushahidi and BRCK, making genre-busting music that draws on wide-ranging cultural influences and working with marginalized communities in Kenya to make sure their voices are […](image)
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Nairobi, Kenya is one of the undisputed hubs of creativity on the African continent — and TED Fellows are at the center of the action. They’re building global technology companies like Ushahidi and BRCK, making genre-busting music that draws on wide-ranging cultural influences and working with marginalized communities in Kenya to make sure their voices are heard.
Meet Kenyan musician, DJ and TED Fellow “Blinky” Bill Sellanga in the latest installment of the Fellows in the Field video series. Explore Nairobi with Bill as he works on his new solo album in his studio, wanders the bustling streets in search of inspiration and DJs at The Alchemist, one of his favorite spots in the city.
“If you’re looking at Africa, you take a look at Nairobi,” Sellanga says. “We’re just discovering ourselves and figuring out how to express ourselves in a way that makes sense to us.”
Interested in becoming a TED Fellow yourself? The search is on for our next class. Learn more about becoming a TEDGlobal 2017 Fellow in Arusha, Tanzania. We encourage all talented innovators in their fields — science, art, technology, entrepreneurship, film and beyond — to apply to become a TED Fellow, especially those working across the African continent.
Apply now to become a TEDGlobal 2017 Fellow.
2016-10-18T18:57:10ZAt the age of 64, Diana Nyad became the first person to make the 110-mile swim from Havana to Key West without a shark cage. The swim took her 52 hours and 54 minutes to complete, a lifetime goal she had begun dreaming of in the late 1970s. She made her first attempt in 1978 at the age of 28. Then after […](image)
At the age of 64, Diana Nyad became the first person to make the 110-mile swim from Havana to Key West without a shark cage. The swim took her 52 hours and 54 minutes to complete, a lifetime goal she had begun dreaming of in the late 1970s. She made her first attempt in 1978 at the age of 28. Then after decades of not swimming, she decided to try again in her 60s. After three unsuccessful attempts, she made it in 2013.
She talked about her epic swim at TEDWomen 2013. So far, more than 3.3 million people have watched her talk, titled “Never, Ever Give Up.”
Now, Diana is working on a new goal. Along with her Cuba swim expedition leader, Bonnie Stoll, Diana has founded EverWalk Nation, a bold movement to get people to pledge to walk three times a week. Research shows that Westerners’ sedentary lifestyle can be as damaging to our health as smoking, so Diana and Bonnie want to get us moving!
“We intend to amass over the next calendar year a million people pledging to walk three times a week. We are going to spark a tsunami of walking in this country, turning America into a rabid nation of walkers,” she writes in a recent email.
And as you might expect from someone like Diana, the launch of the initiative is no small affair. This Sunday, on the third anniversary of Diana’s historic Cuba swim, she will lead a gang of walkers on a 145-mile walk down the California coast from Los Angeles to San Diego. EverWalk will sponsor more long walks around the country over the next several years, including from Boston to New York City and from Chicago to St. Louis. Participants can sign on for different distances depending on their abilities.
Registration is closed for this weekend’s walk, but if you’re in LA, cheer the group on at their kick-off event from 7 to 8:30 AM at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on Oct. 23.
Get Involved: To take the pledge, join the community and to find out about future walks, visit EverWalk.com and be a leader in the biggest walking initiative in American history.
We’ll be checking in on Diana and Bonnie’s progress with a live update from their LA-to–San Diego walk at this year’s TEDWomen, held next week, Oct. 26–28, in San Francisco.
2016-10-14T18:48:39ZThe TED community has been very busy over the past few weeks. Below, some newsy highlights. Wellesley has a new president. Dr. Paula Johnson, a longtime champion of women’s health and health policy, is Wellesley College’s 14th president. The celebrations surrounding her inauguration focused on the theme of Intersections; in her inauguration address, she reflected […] The TED community has been very busy over the past few weeks. Below, some newsy highlights. Wellesley has a new president. Dr. Paula Johnson, a longtime champion of women’s health and health policy, is Wellesley College’s 14th president. The celebrations surrounding her inauguration focused on the theme of Intersections; in her inauguration address, she reflected on how she will incorporate the theme into her administration. “How do we unleash the riches embedded in crucial intersections—among people, among ideas, across communities and cultures, through time and space?” she asked. (Watch Paula’s TED Talk) The fight for gender balance in tech. Melinda Gates has her eyes set on a pervasive problem in tech: the underrepresentation of women. Working outside the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for this particular initiative, Melinda is building up a personal office that will dedicate resources and attention to the issue. She’ll begin by going into learning mode, up to two years of “learning, collecting information, talking to lots of experts, and looking at what research is out there,” she told Backchannel. As part of the interview, readers were asked to comment in response to the question, “How should Gates spend her money and her time?” Their comments were then assembled into an open letter. (Watch Melinda’s TED Talk) How to separate fact from fiction. Our digital lives are a constant onslaught of information, but do you know how to distinguish between the reliable and the misleading? In A Field Guide to Lies, Daniel Levitin explains how faulty arguments and information permeate the sources that we rely on for information, everything from Wikipedia to news organizations to the government. The solution? Become more infoliterate, he says, and learn how to think more critically about the information that you receive rather than passively accepting it as true. (Watch Daniel’s TED Talk) America’s favorite poet returns. Two-time US poet laureate Billy Collins released his twelfth collection of poetry on October 4. With close to 50 new poems, The Rain in Portugal looks at everything from beauty and death, to cats and dogs, with the poet’s usual wit and accessibility. (Watch Billy’s TED Talk) A tribute to his roots. John Legend helped pay for the renovation of a historic high school theater in Springfield, Ohio, where he performed as a child. “I knew how important that was for me when I was in high school and middle school and throughout my time in Springfield, and how important the arts were and performance spaces were to me,” John told the Springfield News-Sun. He joined the city on October 9 for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of what is now called the John Legend Theater. (Watch John’s TED Talk) The intricate design of perfume bottles. While designer Thomas Heatherwick is known for large-scale projects like the UK pavilion at the Shanghai Expo in 2010 and the proposed Pier55 park in Manhattan, this time he’s dialed it down to the size of a perfume bottle. His intricate bottles, for French shoe designer Christian Louboutin, are beautiful pieces of twisted glass. The bottles were an expansion of Heatherwick’s interest in creating folded surfaces with different materials, seen in such work as Twisted Cabinet and Paternoster Vents, and they were excited to give it a try with twisted glass. (Watch Thomas’ TED Talk) The new how-to. Babble co-founder Alisa Volkman is launching a new company called Knowsy. The company makes short how-to videos on everything from Microsoft Word shortcuts to table setting. The videos are short, visually appealing, and free. Rather [...]
2016-10-11T16:40:35ZEpidemiologist Larry Brilliant remembers the day in 1974 when, while working for the United Nations in India, a mother handed him her young son, who had died only moments earlier from smallpox. Brilliant also remembers the day, about a year later, when he traveled by speedboat to an island in Bangladesh and met a 3-year-old […]In 1996, a potential pandemic could stay hidden for 167 days before being detected — but by 2009, that number was down to 23 days. Our pandemic detection technology has gotten much more sophisticated, as Larry Brilliant told us at TED2013, but there is still work to do. Photo: Ryan Lash/TED Epidemiologist Larry Brilliant remembers the day in 1974 when, while working for the United Nations in India, a mother handed him her young son, who had died only moments earlier from smallpox. Brilliant also remembers the day, about a year later, when he traveled by speedboat to an island in Bangladesh and met a 3-year-old girl who had survived the disease. Hers was the last case of killer smallpox in the world. These two memories bookend the new autobiography, Sometimes Brilliant. In the book, Brilliant tells the story of how killer smallpox — a 10,000-year-old disease that killed half a billion people in the 20th century alone — was eradicated, through tireless groundwork and an effort to understand the cultural dynamics that allowed the disease to spread. Brilliant’s work ending smallpox, and later polio, earned him the 2006 TED Prize. His wish at the time: to harness the power of technology and build a global detection system for pandemics. He hammered on the mantra, “Early detection, early response.” With the TED Prize, Brilliant launched InSTEDD, a worldwide surveillance system that monitors the web and social media for patterns that may signal a pandemic. While it’s not the topic of his book, InSTEDD has grown a lot in 10 years, and morphed from a single system to a web of approaches. InSTEDD now connects more than 100 digital disease-detection partners and provides tools that help the UN, WHO and CDC track potential pandemics. InSTEDD has also opened two iLabs in regions considered pandemic hotspots, one in Cambodia and the other in Argentina. “It’s the best of all possible worlds,” said Brilliant in a phone call last week. “Instead of one major top-down system, where my vision was flawed, we have this proliferation of hundreds of systems working on early detection. Some look at parking lots at ERs, and whether there’s more cars than expected for the season. Others hold hackathons to create epidemiological tools.” “A whole new science has emerged called ‘participatory surveillance,’” he continued. He applauded opt-in systems in Australia, Brazil, the US and many other countries, where — say, once a week — participants get a text message or email that asks them how they feel. “Not everyone responds, but enough do that you can make a map,” said Brilliant. “Those systems are faster at detecting pandemic potential than reports made by governments.” Still, we can do better, said Brilliant. In the case of Ebola, for example, it took months before the WHO declared an outbreak in West Africa — and the delay cost thousands of lives, he said. The movement of MERS further underscored the importance of early response. The disease originated in Saudi Arabia, and when a case exported to Korea in 2015, it led to 186 cases. When a case exported to Thailand months later, health officials dodged an outbreak. “Thailand has one of the world’s best detection systems,” said Brilliant, pointing to the participatory surveillance app DoctorMe. “They found that case of MERS immediately.” In the epilogue of Sometimes Brilliant, Brilliant calls winning the TED Prize “a turning point in my life.” It led to increased public attention on early pandemic detection, inspiring the 2011 film Contagion and energizing foundations to invest in pandemic control. It conn[...]
2016-10-10T22:58:40ZCongratulations to TEDWomen 2013 speaker Dr. Paula Johnson who, earlier this month, was sworn in as the 14th president of Wellesley College. She is the first African-American president of the institution. Dr. Johnson is a pioneer in looking at health from a woman’s perspective. Before taking the helm at Wellesley, she was the chief of […]Congratulations to TEDWomen 2013 speaker Dr. Paula Johnson who, earlier this month, was sworn in as the 14th president of Wellesley College. She is the first African-American president of the institution. President Paula Johnson received the charter, seal, and keys to the College. Photo: Richard Howard Dr. Johnson is a pioneer in looking at health from a woman’s perspective. Before taking the helm at Wellesley, she was the chief of the Division of Women’s Health at Harvard Medical School and Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she founded and was executive director of the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology. In her career, she has looked at how sex and gender impact health and health outcomes. Because of her work, we now know that every cell has a sex, and women and men are different down to the cellular level. In her TED Talk, she shared her research on the differences in the ways that men and women experience disease, and what that means in terms of clinical care and treatment. src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/paula_johnson_his_and_hers_healthcare" width="585" height="329" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen> Dr. Johnson’s inaugural ceremony featured a number of greeters who welcomed her to her new post, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust, Smith College President Kathleen McCartney and National Institutes of Health Senior Scientist Emerita Dr. Vivian Pinn. In her speech, Dr. Johnson talked about all the women before her who had carried her to this moment. I am here today because of a 30-year career in women’s health, and my deep commitment to women’s education. I stand before you on the shoulders and hard-won wisdom of so many women who laid the groundwork and pointed the way: my Brooklyn-born mother, Grayce Adina Johnson’s fierce belief in the power of education; my grandmother, Louise Young, who struggled with depression, which inspired me to enter medicine, with the ultimate mission of discovering how women’s and men’s biology differ in ways that go far beyond our reproductive functions. I stand on the shoulders of my most important mentors and role models: Ruth Hubbard, Harvard University’s first tenured woman biology professor—a scholar who broke with tradition to explore the deep connections between women’s biology and social inequities. Women such as Shirley Chisholm, my “unbought and unbossed” Brooklyn congresswoman who burst on the scene at the crossroads of the civil rights and women’s movements in the 1970s. In these women, I see the power of education to change women’s lives and create a better world. I see the power of shared experience, shared ideas, shared commitments, across time and space, across cultures and identities. I give gratitude to them and for them. I give gratitude to be here and now, looking at our future, together. Watch Dr. Johnson’s entire acceptance speech. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/MEQdbkLbcYE?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'> [...]
2016-10-06T23:06:31ZWe’re creatures of curiosity. Our impulse to explore and investigate has led us to incredible discoveries about the world around us and about ourselves. Despite our amazing advances, questions still abound: How might we change, mold or reshape our nature and behavior? What inspires us to take action? What shifts our motivations? How do we […]TED’s Science Curator David Biello hosts TEDNYC: What Drives Us, a night of talks in our New York City offices. (Photo: Ryan Lash / TED) We’re creatures of curiosity. Our impulse to explore and investigate has led us to incredible discoveries about the world around us and about ourselves. Despite our amazing advances, questions still abound: How might we change, mold or reshape our nature and behavior? What inspires us to take action? What shifts our motivations? How do we uncover the hidden drivers of behavior and use that insight to unlock our potential? On Wednesday night at TED HQ in New York City, during an evening of talks supported by Philips Sonicare and hosted by TED Science Curator David Biello, five speakers (and one wonderful performer) tackled these questions and another fundamental one: What drives us to explore, create and change the world? First up was the author of The Confidence Game, Maria Konnikova. The power of a well-told story. Good stories capture our attention, and the best ones engross us entirely. Con artists know this truth intuitively, says writer and deception expert Maria Konnikova, and it’s exactly how they deceive — they play to our emotions and exploit our tendency to get carried away by a compelling tale. Konnikova gives the example of Sammy Azzopardi, an Australian woman whose macabre knack for narrative allowed her to impersonate a cast of teenage victims of terrible sexual violence, duping the governments of both Ireland and Canada in the process. But grifters like Sammy aren’t the only ones spinning false narratives, warns Konnikova, which is why she believes that “the most powerful weapon in the world isn’t a gun — it’s a well-told story.” Beyond BMI. According to Olivia Affuso, an academic researcher who specializes in obesity reduction, the standard we use to measure excess body fat, known as the Body Mass Index, or BMI, too often incorrectly labels otherwise healthy patients as having an unhealthy weight, and vice versa — sometimes with serious consequences. Affuso and her team have developed an alternative to the BMI that pairs digital photographs, easily taken with a cheap camera or a cell phone, with computer analysis to provide every patient with an individual assessment of his or her body composition. The results are highly accurate and inexpensive to produce, which means better, more personalized healthcare for us all. Olivia Affuso discusses a cheap, easy and more accurate alternative to BMI, which could lead to better health outcomes for us all. “Let’s move beyond the BMI,” Affuso says, “so everyone can get the personalized healthcare they deserve.” (Photo: Ryan Lash / TED) The places we live aren’t inevitable. Infrastructure is the foundation for our economy, our social lives and our culture, and it matters to the way we live. In the twentieth century, as America expanded and the highways and automobiles of the sprawl changed the country’s landscape, the country’s cultural momentum changed with it, for good and for bad. But the effects of the sprawl were not inevitable, says urban planner, designer, and author Ryan Gravel, and we don’t have to be stuck in what he calls “the dystopian traffic hellscape” of modern cities. Gravel details how he and his team are working on a massive revitalization project of a 22-mile loop of rail corridors circling downtown Atlanta known as The BeltLine. What started as a grad school thesis and a dream has turned into [...]
2016-10-04T12:24:48ZAre you an inventor or filmmaker? A scientist or entrepreneur? Do you have a unique approach to your work that is worth sharing with the world? Could you benefit from the TED platform and the support of a dynamic global community of innovators? If yes, you should apply to be a TED Fellow. This year, […] Are you an inventor or filmmaker? A scientist or entrepreneur? Do you have a unique approach to your work that is worth sharing with the world? Could you benefit from the TED platform and the support of a dynamic global community of innovators? If yes, you should apply to be a TED Fellow. This year, TED is looking for new, extraordinary thinkers from around the world to join the Fellows program at the upcoming TEDGlobal 2017 conference in Arusha, Tanzania. TED Fellows are a multidisciplinary group of remarkable individuals who are chosen through an open but rigorous application process. Each TED conference, we select a class of twenty Fellows based on exceptional achievement, strength of character and innovative approaches to tackling the world’s toughest problems. Do you think you have what it takes? Apply by November 13 at go.ted.com/tedfellowsapply. The second major TED conference in Africa, TEDGlobal 2017 will focus on the challenges and opportunities facing the continent. We encourage all talented innovators in their fields – science, art, technology, entrepreneurship, film and beyond – to apply to become a TED Fellow, especially those working on the African continent. If selected, you will attend the TEDGlobal 2017 conference, and participate in a Fellows only pre-conference designed especially to inspire, empower and support your work. Fellows will also deliver a TED talk at the conference, to be filmed and considered for publication on TED.com. The TED Fellows program is designed to catapult your career through transformational support like coaching and mentorship, public relations advice for sharing your latest projects, hands on speaker training – and most importantly, access to the vibrant global network of the other 400 Fellows from 90 countries. We will select twenty TEDGlobal 2017 Fellows based not only on what applicants have accomplished so far, but also on their character and grit, their collaborative spirit, and their potential to break barriers as they build their careers. The online application includes answers to general questions, short essays and three references. Only those aged 18 and older should apply. If selected, Fellows must reserve August 21 – September 1, 2017 on their calendars for the TEDGlobal 2017 Conference in Arusha, Tanzania. Think this is right for you? Apply now. More information Questions?: ted.com/participate/ted-fellows-program Visit: ted.com/fellows Follow: @TEDFellow Like: facebook.com/TEDFellow Read: medium.com/ted-fellows [...]
2016-10-03T13:04:20ZTen years on, TEDGlobal returns to Africa, and applications are open now to attend. TEDGlobal 2017: Builders. Truth-tellers. Catalysts. happens August 27–30, 2017, in Arusha, Tanzania. Our conference in Arusha ten years ago felt like history in the making. The ideas and connections forged then have had untold impact. As curator Emeka Okafor says: “At the end of TEDGlobal 2007, we talked about […](image)
Ten years on, TEDGlobal returns to Africa, and applications are open now to attend. TEDGlobal 2017: Builders. Truth-tellers. Catalysts. happens August 27–30, 2017, in Arusha, Tanzania.
Our conference in Arusha ten years ago felt like history in the making. The ideas and connections forged then have had untold impact. As curator Emeka Okafor says: “At the end of TEDGlobal 2007, we talked about ‘Planting Seeds.’ Ten years later, we will be mapping and imagining new directions. TEDGlobal 2017 will showcase the brave and the bold, the makers and creators, pioneers and builders, the advocates and activists.”
We want to invite anyone passionate about the future of Africa, and the future of the world, to come and be part of something special.
“Our speakers will provoke and confound, illuminate and clarify,” Okafor promises. “Join us in examining this emerging tapestry of activity across Africa.”
TEDGlobal 2017 takes place August 27–30, 2017, at the Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge in Arusha, Tanzania. We’re planning pre- and post-conference events as well, including tours of local tech clusters and enterprises, as well as excursions in the legendary Northern Circuit, a collection of parks and lands that encircle Arusha. Learn more and apply to attend >>
PLUS: On Tuesday, Oct 4, we’ll open applications to become a TEDGlobal 2017 Fellow, to attend the conference and join a group of 400 emerging leaders in fields from art and science to business and social justice. Watch this blog for details on how to apply.
2016-10-01T01:15:03ZAs usual, the TED community has lots of news to share this week. Below, some highlights. Why there are still so few women at the top. Leanin.org, the organization created by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to help empower women, released its second annual Women in the Workplace report. The news is not good: Women have […] src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/sheryl_sandberg_why_we_have_too_few_women_leaders" width="586" height="330" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen> As usual, the TED community has lots of news to share this week. Below, some highlights. Why there are still so few women at the top. Leanin.org, the organization created by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to help empower women, released its second annual Women in the Workplace report. The news is not good: Women have less access to senior leadership (even though sponsorship by senior leaders is seen as critical to career advancement); women negotiate as often as men for a promotion or increased compensation but receive more pushback; and women are less likely than men to receive feedback when they ask for it. Conducted with the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, the report is based on pipeline data and a survey of HR practices from 132 companies, employing a combined total of 4.6 million Americans, as well as the responses of 34,000 employees to a survey on gender, job satisfaction, ambition and work-life issues. (Watch Sheryl’s TED Talk) How anonymous companies find loopholes in London’s alternative stock market. London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) is known for loose regulations and brokers with conflicts of interest — which means that suspicious companies sometimes slip by. On BBC Radio’s “File on 4,” small shareholders explained how they lost money on AIM after investing in foreign companies that then de-listed and disappeared. What’s worse is that many of these companies are closer to home than investors realize. One example: British cricketer Phil Edmonds’ company, Sable Mining. Global Witness, the watchdog organization started by TED Prize winner Charmian Gooch, investigated Sable Mining, and uncovered anonymous offshore accounts, bribes to Liberian officials and shady business practices. Global Witness warns that self-regulated markets like AIM allow companies like Sable Mining to hurt small shareholders and businesses. According to Global Witness, anonymous companies should raise flags for everyone, including AIM, and stricter regulations should be put in place to protect investments. (Watch Charmian’s TED Prize Talk) A new definition of ‘better off.’ “We live in tenuous times. In fact, for the first time in American history, the majority of parents do not think that their kids will be better off than they were. This is true of rich and poor, men and women,” says Courtney Martin in her talk at TED2016. But rather than a doomsday message, Martin’s is a call to reimagine. In her TED talk and her new book The New Better Off, released on September 13, Martin asks readers to redefine “better off” and imagine a new American Dream, one that reevaluates how we think we should live, work, celebrate, and mourn. (Watch Courtney’s TED Talk and read an excerpt from the book on our Ideas blog) New insight on CRISPR enzyme C2c2. Scientists have known about CRISPR enzyme C2c2 for a few months, but research published in Nature by Jennifer Doudna and colleagues has added a new layer to our understanding of the system, which targets RNA instead of DNA. While it was previously thought that C2c2 had only one RNA cleaving function, the researchers showed that it actually has two. One allows C2c2 to cut its RNA target and the other allows it to process its guiding CRISPR RNA. (Watch Jennifer’s TED Talk) The race to 2020. While Christiana Figueres i[...]
2016-09-22T16:00:08ZOver the years, we’ve had so many wonderful and moving talks at the TEDWomen conference, but perhaps one of the most striking was Malawi activist Memory Banda. The amazing 18-year-old presented at last year’s event – and inspired us all with her story. Memory began her talk by reciting a poem written by another young […]Over the years, we’ve had so many wonderful and moving talks at the TEDWomen conference, but perhaps one of the most striking was Malawi activist Memory Banda. The amazing 18-year-old presented at last year’s event – and inspired us all with her story. Memory began her talk by reciting a poem written by another young woman she knows, 13-year-old Eileen Piri, entitled “I’ll Marry When I Want.” Memory told the audience that the poem might seem odd written by a 13-year-old girl, but in her home country of Malawi, she called it “a warrior’s cry.” src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/memory_banda_a_warrior_s_cry_against_child_marriage" width="585" height="329" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen> She told the audience how there was a traditional rite of passage in her country in which young girls who have just reached puberty were sent to “initiation camps” to learn how to please men sexually. As part of their initiation, a man visits the camp and the young girls are forced to have sex with him. Many girls end up pregnant or with sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS. Memory chose a different path. She refused to go to the camp. She wanted to continue her education and had dreams of being a lawyer. She became an activist and, with the help of the Girls Empowerment Network (Genet), a group dedicated to ending the practice of forced child marriage in Malawi, she began talking to other young women about their experiences. At the time, Malawi had the highest rates of child marriage in the world. A 2014 Human Rights Watch report outlined the shocking statistics: one out of two girls in the country on average will be married by her 18th birthday. “In 2010, half of women aged 20 to 24 years were married or in unions before they were 18. Some are as young as 9 or 10 when they are married.” Memory continued with her own schooling and began teaching other young women how to read and write. With the support of Genet and Let Girls Lead, she worked on a storytelling project in which girls were encouraged to share their stories – the dreams they had for themselves, as well as the obstacles they faced – in art, poetry and storytelling. Memory says that participating in Genet’s River of Life project was transformational for her: “Until then, I always thought I was the only one who suffered. But sharing my story gave me strength to know that I wasn’t alone.” As she explained in her TED Talk, the girls published their stories and they became part of a campaign to outlaw child marriage in Malawi. A female chief from Memory’s community joined the fight, and the girls worked with her and other village chiefs to develop bylaws banning the initiation camps and child marriage. Eventually, their advocacy went all the way to President Mutharika, who agreed with the girls that the sanctioning of child marriage was a “national disgrace.” Last year, Malawi officially outlawed the marriage of girls younger than 18 years old. But, as Memory explained in her TED Talk, changing the law is one thing, enforcing it is quite another. Today, she continues to work on the issue, not only for young women in rural areas who might not be aware of the new protections that exist for them, but for young women in other countries where laws still need to be enacted. Since Memory appeared at TEDWomen in 2015, response to her TED Talk in Malawi and around the world has been phenomenal – it has bee[...]
2016-09-22T20:06:04ZOn September 12, TED welcomed its latest class of the TED Residency program, an in-house incubator for breakthrough ideas. Residents spend four months in the TED office with fellow brilliant minds who are creatively taking on projects that are making significant changes in their communities, across many different fields The new Residents include: A […]TED Residents Susan Bird, Torin Perez and Che Grayson from our first cohort of TED Residents. Photo: Dian Lofton/TED On September 12, TED welcomed its latest class of the TED Residency program, an in-house incubator for breakthrough ideas. Residents spend four months in the TED office with fellow brilliant minds who are creatively taking on projects that are making significant changes in their communities, across many different fields The new Residents include: A fashion designer who is calling out pollution in the garment industry A pair of musicians who are building an online resource to match artists with grants An entrepreneur who is using geolocation and mobile technology to tackle the massive global litter problem A teacher who is turning the children of an entire school district into citizen scientists providing research data on the Bronx River A financial tech veteran who is interested in making our smartphone the focus of conservation! At the end of their session, Residents have the opportunity to give a TED Talk about their ideas in the theater of TED HQ. Read more about each Resident below: Kevin F. Adler is the founder of Miracle Messages, a social venture that uses short videos, social media, and a global network of volunteers to reunite homeless people with their long-lost loved ones. His goal is to serve 1% of the world’s homeless population by 2021. Zubaida Bai cofounded AYZH (pronounced “eyes”) seven years ago to bring simplicity and dignity to women’s healthcare worldwide. Innovations such as her Clean Birth Kit in a Purse are saving and changing the lives of the world’s most vulnerable women and children. Formerly a career diplomat, Miriam Bekkouche‘s current work combines the latest in neuroscience and behavioral psychology with ancient traditional wisdom. She is the founder of Brain Spa, a coaching and consulting company that explores what mindfulness practice can bring to global problems. Jordan Brown is a digital health professional who is developing a platform to promote the use of virtual reality and immersive video games in healthcare. In 2014, he founded MedPilot, which tackles the challenges of rising consumer medical costs. Angel Chang is a womenswear designer working with traditional hand-woven textiles of ethnic minority tribes in rural China. She is taking what she’s learned about indigenous crafts and applying that knowledge to make the fashion industry more sustainable. TED Residents Jeff Kirschner and Kunal Sood at TED HQ, New York, New York. Photo: Dian Lofton/TED In his doctoral studies at Cornell University, Abram Coetsee studies the intersection of museums, new media and graffiti. Currently, he is curating a 3D digital reconstruction of 5Pointz, a New York City landmark until it was destroyed by real estate developers in 2014. Sharon De La Cruz is CEO and Creative Coder of the Digital Citizens Lab, a design collective with a focus on civic technology. Using play as a fundamental tool, Sharon and her team create resources for educators that can meet the needs of historically underserved children of color. Their primary product, “El Cuco,” is an interactive digital comic built to teach children code logic. As a oud player, Hadi Eldebek has toured with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. As a cultural entrepreneur based in New York City, he is collaborating with his brother, Mohamad Eldebek, on two pro[...]
2016-09-16T21:25:48ZAs usual, the TED community has lots of news to share this week. Below, some highlights. Man vs. machine? It took Danit Peleg just 100 hours to print the dress worn by fellow TEDster Amy Purdy in the opening ceremony of the Paralympics in Rio (if that sounds slow, consider that it took her 300 […] src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/danit_peleg_forget_shopping_soon_you_ll_download_your_new_clothes" width="586" height="330" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen> As usual, the TED community has lots of news to share this week. Below, some highlights. Man vs. machine? It took Danit Peleg just 100 hours to print the dress worn by fellow TEDster Amy Purdy in the opening ceremony of the Paralympics in Rio (if that sounds slow, consider that it took her 300 hours to print a dress a year ago). Peleg had never met Purdy before the first fitting, so she used Nettelo, an app that allows users to create a 3D scan of their body, to make sure the dress fit Purdy perfectly. Since Peleg used a soft material called Filaflex to print the dress, it moved beautifully as Purdy, a Paralympic medal-winner who lost both legs to bacterial meningitis at age 19, mesmerized audiences with a bionic samba routine. (Highlighting the fact that Purdy was also a finalist on Dancing With the Stars.) The dress was perfectly in line with Purdy’s dance, a reflection on the human relationship to technology and its ability to allow Paralympic athletes to reach their full potential — one point, Purdy even danced with a robotic arm. (Watch Danit’s TED Talk and Amy’s TED Talk) class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='586' height='360' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/xPcKOKpuBCM?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'> For the problems that affect us all, start small. Our national and international political institutions are hopelessly ill equipped to solve the complex, interdependent problems of the 21st century, says Benjamin Barber, but a solution is close at hand — cities, and the mayors who govern them. Barber has long dreamed of building on the urban networks that already exist in specific policy domains to form a global parliament of mayors, and with the inaugural convening of the Global Parliament of Mayors in The Hague, September 9-11, that dream is now a reality. More than 60 mayors agreed on The Hague Global Mayors Call to Action and discussed future governance of the GPM. They also discussed action-oriented plans for such issues as climate change, migration and refugees. (Watch Benjamin’s TED Talk) Taking the measure of fragile cities. Robert Muggah’s Igarapé Institute is behind a data visualization platform on fragile cities, which launched at Barber’s Global Parliament of Mayors and includes information on more than 2,100 cities with populations of 250,000 or greater. Developed along with United Nations University, World Economic Forum, and 100 Resilient Cities, the cities were graded on 11 variables, including city population growth, unemployment, inequality, pollution, climate risk, homicide, and exposure to terrorism. Surprisingly, the analysis revealed that fragility is more widely distributed than previously thought. (Watch Robert’s TED Talk and read this Ideas piece co-written by Barber and Muggah) Image permission granted by Robert Muggah. Biodiversity in The City of Lights. Shubhendu Sharma’s project to promote biodiversity in Paris has been selected as one of 37 projects to improve the city that will be put to a public vote. The vote is part of the city’s Participatory Budget Initiative where residents submit proposals on concr[...]
2016-09-19T20:59:10ZAt the foundation of every significant transformation is a question: “What if?” These two words unlock the imagination and invite us to explore possibilities. A sentiment of hope, of new ways of thinking, of dreaming and discovery, “What if?” unearths answers waiting to be found. At the second installment of TED@UPS — part of the […]What if traffic flowed through our streets as smoothly and powerfully as blood flowed through our veins? Wanis Kabbaj speaks at TED@UPS, September 15, 2016, in Atlanta. Photo: Jason Hales / TED At the foundation of every significant transformation is a question: “What if?” These two words unlock the imagination and invite us to explore possibilities. A sentiment of hope, of new ways of thinking, of dreaming and discovery, “What if?” unearths answers waiting to be found. At the second installment of TED@UPS — part of the TED Institute, held on September 15, 2016, at SCADShow in Atlanta, Georgia — 14 speakers and performers dared to ask: What if we used our collective talents, knowledge and insights to provide the spark to an idea or movement that could make a positive impact on the world? After opening remarks from Teresa Finley, UPS’s chief marketing and global business services officer, the talks in Session 1 … The blood in our veins, the cars on our streets. “Biology has all the attributes of a transportation genius,” says UPS’s director of global strategy in healthcare logistics (and transportation geek) Wanis Kabbaj. Take our cardiovascular system, for example, in which blood vessels flow from our heart to our outermost extremities using a transportation system that is three-dimensional, and effective. If you compare this to our highways and the stop-go-traffic during rush hour, Kabbaj says, you’ll see how much better biology is at moving things around. He asks us to consider how we might look within ourselves to design the transportation systems of the future, and he previews exciting concepts like suspended magnetic pods, modular buses and flying urban taxis that promise to change how we travel from one point to another. The most dangerous animal in the world. Each year, mosquitoes kill more than one million people by spreading diseases like malaria, dengue fever, West Nile and Zika. While vaccines are the best weapon against this epidemic, 50 percent of vaccines go to waste due to improper handling and challenging logistics. Logistician Katie Francfort came to the TED@UPS stage with an inventive idea to use the problem, to fight the problem. Why not use bioengineering to build mosquitos that carry life-saving vaccines? In defense of emojis. Marketing analyst and avid emoji-defender Jenna Schilstra knows firsthand how ambiguous digital communication can be, even with loved ones. A simple emoji can help clarify and amplify subtext so that we can better understand each other, but their benefits extend far beyond clarifying the dreaded “K.” She shows how emojis have been used in new ways, like helping abused children describe complex emotions to helpline service workers, or like making expression more accessible to people on the autism spectrum. Our attachment to emojis makes sense, says Schilstra, when you remember that they’re part of a long lineage of visual communication that began 40,000 years ago with the first cave art. However they continue to evolve, she’s confident that emojis “will not only provide the opportunity to leverage an age-old system of communication, but will profoundly deepen our emotional connections.” What if we recognized that the key to global communication is … emojis? Jenna Schilstra s[...]
2016-09-15T13:20:37ZMany people ask, “How are speakers selected for TEDWomen? The answer is that speakers, like ideas, come from many different sources. TED has an open recommendation process on TED.com, and we review those as well as suggestions that come in from everywhere. Sometimes people self nominate but mostly, fans of TEDTalks submit names of women […]Curator and host Pat Mitchell introduces a session of TEDWomen. This year’s speaker lineup features 40+ women and men from many fields, all speaking to the theme: It’s About Time. Photo: Marla Aufmuth/TED Many people ask, “How are speakers selected for TEDWomen? The answer is that speakers, like ideas, come from many different sources. TED has an open recommendation process on TED.com, and we review those as well as suggestions that come in from everywhere. Sometimes people self nominate but mostly, fans of TEDTalks submit names of women and men whose ideas, work and stories they have discovered and that they feel would make strong TEDTalks. This year our initial list was more than 150 names and each one a potential TEDTalk, making our final choices very challenging. In part, we review the speakers for the relevance of their ideas to the conference theme which this year is “It’s about time.” We also take into account the important fact that TEDWomen is a global conference with multiple TEDxWomen conferences convening simultaneously on every continent, taking a live stream of TEDWomen, so global perspective and a diversity of backgrounds are significant factors in our selections, too. As the editorial director and curator, I work with the amazing TED team of curators and my awesome colleague, Betsy Scolnik, to make selections of speakers, and we’re thrilled to present this year’s speaker program: 40* extraordinary speakers, women and men, in six sessions. Browse the entire 2016 lineup » I believe this year’s program further affirms that TEDWomen is not a conference about women so much as it is a conference where women and their ideas — on everything from race to nuclear weapons to philanthropy and time management — are the reason that nearly 1,000 women and men will gather in San Francisco in October. This is not a conference about well-known people, though you may recognize a few names and faces. It is a conference whose speakers are working hard to make the presentation of their stories and ideas memorable and important for you to hear. The TEDWomen team and I can’t wait to share them with you. Warm regards, Pat Mitchell, Betsy Scolnik and the TED Team *And we have a few surprises that we are not announcing today … so watch for other names to come! The theater is sold out, but we have decided to offer discounted registrations that include all conference activities except for guaranteed seats in the theater. These registrations provide comfortable viewing in our Simulcast Lounge, where everyone gathers during breaks between sessions. Find out more at the TEDWomen website. [...]
2016-09-26T04:52:15ZThe conversation around the upcoming US presidential election is full of frenzy, headache and noise. But elections are about more than divisiveness and disagreement — they’re civic events worthy of celebration, and, while it may seem unbelievable at the moment, they hold the promise of transforming governments for the better. At TEDNYC: The Election Edition, six speakers who think about […]TED curators Kelly Stoetzel and Helen Walters host the very first TEDNYC event in New York, NY, on September 7, 2016. (Photo: Ryan Lash / TED) The conversation around the upcoming US presidential election is full of frenzy, headache and noise. But elections are about more than divisiveness and disagreement — they’re civic events worthy of celebration, and, while it may seem unbelievable at the moment, they hold the promise of transforming governments for the better. At TEDNYC: The Election Edition, six speakers who think about elections differently — whether as a design challenge, a translation project or the stimulus for creative work — spoke about why the future of our shared political sphere may be brighter than it seems, and why it’s absolutely and completely necessary for Americans to vote in November. It was our very first salon in the new theater at TED HQ, a custom-made cavern of seats, screens, cameras and all of the technical wizardry necessary to film sessions of expertly curated, intellectually stimulating TED Talks. The theater has been the working focus of many talented and dedicated TED staffers for countless months, and tonight’s inaugural session was a landmark moment for the organization and the first step in a new adventure that we can’t wait to share with you. First up was the author of the best-selling memoir, Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance. America’s forgotten working class. J.D. Vance grew up in a small, poor, predominantly white town in the Rust Belt of southern Ohio, where he had a front-row seat to the social ills plaguing so many working-class towns like his: a heroin epidemic, families torn apart by divorce and sometimes violence. In these forgotten parts of America, structural barriers like a lack of jobs, failing schools and brain drain often prevent poor families from joining America’s fabled upward mobility. But, Vance noted, something much more difficult to quantify was infecting the minds of kids he grew up with — a sense of hopelessness and despair, a feeling that they’d never get ahead no matter how hard they worked. With the help of a perceptive grandmother who told him not to believe the deck was stacked against him, a four-year crash course in character-building in the form of the Marine Corps and a lot of luck, Vance closed the social-capital gap and went on to law school and a career in finance. But a lot of kids from his town won’t have that good luck, and that, he says, raises important questions that everyone from community leaders to policy makers needs to ask: How do we help more kids from towns like his? The author of Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance, spoke about growing up poor in southern Ohio, where his classmates shared “a sense of hopelessness that leads to conspiratorial places, the sense that ‘No matter how hard I work, they’re not going to let me in.'” He spoke at TEDNYC in New York, NY. (Photo: Ryan Lash / TED) “Historical eras do come and go.” Journalist Michael Tomasky gives a historical crash course on how American politics has turned into such a polarized battlefield — and shares three rays of hope for the future that may break through the current ideological maelstrom. (A few key chang[...]
2016-09-08T03:25:01ZThe United States has long been known for its national parks. But last month, Barack Obama created a single marine reserve that covers significantly more area than all of them, combined. On August 26, 2016, Obama expanded the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument to 582,578 square miles around the northwestern islands of Hawaii. The monument was […] class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='586' height='360' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/nSxl1blHa30?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'> The United States has long been known for its national parks. But last month, Barack Obama created a single marine reserve that covers significantly more area than all of them, combined. On August 26, 2016, Obama expanded the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument to 582,578 square miles around the northwestern islands of Hawaii. The monument was established in 2006 by George Bush, and Obama — who grew up in Hawaii — just quadrupled its size, making it the world’s largest marine protected area. After a trip to Honolulu to address the IUCN World Conservation Congress, Obama met legendary oceanographer Sylvia Earle on the beach of Midway Atoll last Thursday to admire a small section of the newly expanded reserve. With the 2009 TED Prize, Earle wished to ignite public support for marine protected areas, then less than 1% of the world’s oceans. Obama applauded her efforts so far. “I am in awe of anybody who has done so much for ocean conservation,” he said. “You’ve done amazing work.” Today, about 4% of the world’s oceans are protected. Earle hopes to increase that to 20% by 2020, because marine protected areas are key for improving resilience to climate change and ensuring biodiversity. Papahānaumokuākea, for example, is home to more than 7,000 species, including the endangered Hawaiian monk seal and black corals believed to be more than 4,000 years old. The reserve also contains a new species just discovered in June by ichthyologist Richard Pyle (watch his TED Talk: “A dive into the reef’s twilight zone”). A member of the genus Tosanoides, this red and yellow fish is the first member of its species found outside Japanese waters, and the males have an unusual red and blue mark on their dorsal fins. This species will be named for Obama, because he created the reserve — and because the mark is reminiscent of his campaign logo. The fish’s official name will be released in print this fall when Pyle and colleagues publish their research. But Obama, being the president, got a sneak peek. On the beach together, Earle showed the president an image of the newly discovered fish. Obama stumbled on the name, but said, “That’s a nice-looking fish.” Earle is at the IUCN World Conservation Congress this week, and the meeting of global leaders will continue through September 10. It began just after US National Park System celebrated its 100-year anniversary, and marine protection will stay a centerpiece of the conversation. “History will remember this anniversary and next century as the ‘blue centennial,’” Earle said. “The time when the national park idea was brought to the ocean.” [...]
2016-09-06T19:19:34ZAs usual, the TED community has lots of news to share this week. Below, some highlights. Flip the switch. Sangeeta Bhatia is the senior author on a paper that makes the genome editing power of CRISPR responsive to ultraviolet light. As detailed in academic journal Angewandte Chemie, the researchers developed a system where gene editing […] As usual, the TED community has lots of news to share this week. Below, some highlights. Flip the switch. Sangeeta Bhatia is the senior author on a paper that makes the genome editing power of CRISPR responsive to ultraviolet light. As detailed in academic journal Angewandte Chemie, the researchers developed a system where gene editing occurs only when UV light is shone on the target cells, allowing researchers greater control over when and where the editing occurs. The technique could help scientists study embryonic development and disease progression with more precision, and Bhatia’s lab is exploring possible medical applications as well. (Watch Sangeeta’s TED Talk) Mind the gap. In 2012, Anne-Marie Slaughter set the Internet on fire with her Atlantic article, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” but after the intense debate around the article died down, Slaughter continued to search for an understanding of what true gender equality means. The result is her book Unfinished Business, released on August 9. The book is not only a more nuanced look at the issues and questions that prompted the article, but also a significant evolution of the ideas she expressed four years ago. (Watch Anne-Marie’s TED Talk) The political needs of emerging technology. While it seems the stuff of science fiction, Anand Giridharadas tackles a possibility that may well be a monumental challenge in the near future: robots taking jobs. His op-ed in The New York Times centers on the place where the challenge is brewing, Silicon Valley, and explores the disrupting power of emerging technology through the eyes of local legend and venture capitalist Vinod Khosla. In the eyes of Khosla, the displacement caused by robots won’t just require simple adjustments, but a “massive economic redistribution via something like a guaranteed minimum income” and a reinvention of capitalism itself. (Watch Anand’s TED Talk) Education revolution in Brooklyn. Educator Nadia Lopez has worked tirelessly to right the wrongs of a failing education system and support her students who, as residents of deeply troubled communities in Brooklyn, are too frequently overlooked and left behind. Released on August 30, her book The Bridge to Brilliance chronicles the uphill battle it has taken to create, and run, her pioneering inner-city middle school, Mott Hall Bridges Academy. (Tune into PBS on September 13 to hear Nadia Lopez in TED Talks: Education Revolution.) A landmark for world peace. In The New York Times, psychologist Steven Pinker and Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos co-author an op-ed on the country’s recent peace treaty, announced August 25, between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. The peace agreement, the authors argue, marks not just a monumental step towards ending the decades long conflict that has plagued Colombia, but is a significant landmark for peace in the continent and around the world. “Because we have come this far, we know we can go further. Where wars have ended, other forms of bloodshed, such as gang violence, can also be reduced,” the authors write, “Since the Americas have succeeded in moving away from war, we know this could happen even in the world’s most stubbornly violent regions.” (Watch Steve[...]
2016-10-01T16:12:54ZToday marks the 45th anniversary of Women’s Equality Day, which was designated in 1971 to celebrate the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote in 1920. In commemoration of that milestone, and the miles we still have to go, here are five TEDTalks from past TEDWomen conferences about the state of […] Today marks the 45th anniversary of Women’s Equality Day, which was designated in 1971 to celebrate the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote in 1920. In commemoration of that milestone, and the miles we still have to go, here are five TEDTalks from past TEDWomen conferences about the state of women and equality in the United States today. Hillary Clinton on widening the circle of opportunity for women and girls class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='586' height='360' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/UbPtm1_2AnI?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'> US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a surprise appearance at the first TEDWomen Conference in 2010. “The United States,” she said, “has made empowering women and girls a cornerstone of our foreign policy.” In the 16-minute talk above, she details why it’s of vital international importance that every girl in the world get a chance to pursue her hopes and dreams. (Recorded at TEDWomen, December 2010 in Washington, DC. Duration: 16:17, TEDBlog) Madeleine Albright on being a woman and a diplomat src="https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/madeleine_albright_on_being_a_woman_and_a_diplomat.html" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright talks bluntly about politics and diplomacy, making the case that women’s issues deserve a place at the center of foreign policy. Far from being a “soft” issue, she says, women’s issues are often the very hardest ones, dealing directly with life and death. A frank and funny Q&A with Pat Mitchell from the Paley Center. (Recorded at TEDWomen, December 2010 in Washington, DC. Duration: 12:59, TED.com) President Jimmy Carter on why he believes the mistreatment of women is the number one human rights abuse in the world src="https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/jimmy_carter_why_i_believe_the_mistreatment_of_women_is_the_number_one_human_rights_abuse.html" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> With his signature resolve, former US President Jimmy Carter dives into three unexpected reasons why the mistreatment of women and girls continues in so many manifestations in so many parts of the world, both developed and developing. The final reason he gives? “In general, men don’t give a damn.” (Recorded at TEDWomen, May 2015 in San Francisco, CA. Duration: 16:36, TED.com) Sheryl Sandberg on why we have too few women leaders in business src="https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/sheryl_sandberg_why_we_have_too_few_women_leaders.html" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg looks at why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions — and offers 3 powerful pieces of advice to women aiming for the C-suite. (Recorded at TEDWomen, December 2010 in Washington, D.C. Duration: 14:58, TED.com) Billie Jean King on paving the way for women to get paid in sports [...]
2016-08-24T19:11:21ZDecember 5, 2013, was one of the most memorable days at TEDWomen — and everywhere else in the world, too. The world lost one of its great leaders, Nelson Mandela, and I will never forget the way we heard the news at the TEDWomen gathering in San Francisco. A young South African, Boyd Varty, was […]December 5, 2013, was one of the most memorable days at TEDWomen — and everywhere else in the world, too. The world lost one of its great leaders, Nelson Mandela, and I will never forget the way we heard the news at the TEDWomen gathering in San Francisco. A young South African, Boyd Varty, was scheduled to give his TED Talk that day, and as he came backstage to get miked, the news came through on our phones and computers: Mandela had died. I knew that Boyd and his family were close to him. Mandela had visited the Varty family’s game preserve, Londolozi, on one of his first retreats after being released from his long prison term. I saw the tears well up as Boyd absorbed the sad news. I suggested that we rearrange the schedule so he could take a break and deliver his TED Talk later in the day. But he assured me he was ready to go, and asked if he could mention the news to the audience. Of course, I said yes. Who better than someone who knew him personally to share this tragic news of the passing of the great South African leader admired by the world for leading his country from the violent policies of apartheid through truth and reconciliation trials to the vibrant country that it is today? Boyd stepped on stage into the red TED circle and, his voice shaking, told the audience the news. I was quite worried that he wouldn’t be able to deliver the TED Talk he had prepared to give, but he did brilliantly. In fact, his talk, which was posted immediately on TED.com, has been viewed more than 1.5 million times since. src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/boyd_varty_what_i_learned_from_nelson_mandela" width="585" height="329" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen> Boyd shared childhood memories of Mandela’s visits to Londolozi, connecting the values he observed in Mandela to the values that are the foundation of his own life’s work protecting the natural resources of his homeland. One of South Africa’s greatest resources is its natural environment and the big animals that are endangered by hunting and poaching. Boyd and his family are committed to preserving these great resources so that generations to come can visit Africa and witness the majesty of its animals in the wild. Boyd spoke about growing up in the Bush and the lessons he learned from tracking the animals there — lessons he recounts in his book, “Restoring Eden,” and lessons he is now applying to some exciting new work. We met recently for coffee at one of my favorite places in the world, Londolozi game preserve in the Sabi Sands — coincidentally on Mandela Day — to talk about the responses to his TEDTalk and to get an update on what’s he up to now. Boyd says he gets emails and comments every day about his TED Talk, and he noticed a theme emerging: an emotional connection people from all over the world were making with his stories about animals and tracking. So he decided to explore how his skills as a highly trained ranger and wildlife tracker might be applied to life tracking. In his new “Track Your Life” retreats, he guides small groups of men on a “shared endeavor in the wild” to teach them “the ancient and powerful art of animal tracking.” He’s already led a few of these workshops with men of al[...]
2016-08-24T13:23:21ZToday you may have heard that TED announced a rather unusual experiment with Audible. I’m pretty excited about what we’re doing here and want to share some thoughts on "Sincerely, X" Cross-posted from Chris Anderson on Medium Today you may have heard that TED announced a rather unusual experiment with Audible. I’m pretty excited about what we’re doing here and want to share some thoughts. Broadcast journalist Jad Abumrad once said that the most powerful thing about audio is what it lacks … that is: pictures. When a human voice describes something, the listener’s brain is wired to connect images and assign meaning to that voice. This is true for the many creative and expanding possibilities that digital audio now offers. This act of co-authorship — between the speaker and the listener — to fill the gap of “picturelessness” does something really interesting. It connects us, perhaps more intimately than any other medium. We’ve certainly learned how this rings true for audio content TED puts out to the world. And here’s something else audio can do that is quite special. A voice disconnected from visual identity provides anonymity to the speaker — while at the same time, letting their ideas reach millions of people. And so, through this partnership with Audible, we’re creating a platform for TED Talks to be given anonymously. Why is this important? We’ve made it our mission at TED to track down a special breed of under-celebrated hero: People who have knowledge that matters. We find them, and invite them to share their knowledge on a global platform that gets billions of views. But what if that exposure — the very spotlight that until now has defined the TED Talk experience was actually the reason some people chose not to submit their ideas? How many people have an important message but refrain from “going public” out of fear of losing their jobs or hurting loved ones? How many ideas worth spreading remain hidden because some speakers simply can’t publicly be associated with the very thing the world needs to hear? Our best guess? A lot. “Sincerely, X from TED and Audible” is an original audio series that will feature talks from speakers whose ideas need to be heard, but whose identities must remain hidden. Sincerely, X lets us share important ideas without sacrificing the privacy of the speakers or those close to them. In other words, this thrilling project opens up a category of talks that simply haven’t been possible previously. Imagine ghostwriters, witnesses, wise souls who’ve survived something profound. A public figure living with mental illness. Someone who secretly gave up a child for adoption. A teenager who fought back against bullying and won. A parent who found a way to balance the needs of an autistic child and a neurologically normal one. A doctor living with a life and death mistake. An illegal immigrant with ideas on how to change the system. A CEO who know exactly how and when companies go wrong. Someone living a double life. We’re curating talks from those who need to separate their professional ideas from their personal lives; people who want to share an idea, but fear it would hurt others in their family or company if they did so publicly; perhaps even those who are just scared to death of public speaking. There won’t be a stage, and there won’t be any standing ovations. But those aren’t the essence of TED Talks. What matters is only what can be shared: an idea that matters. And so I am asking you to help the world bring the[...]