Marwa Al-Sabouni was born in Homs, Syria, a city in the central-western part of the war-torn country. Despite the destruction of large parts of the city, she has remained in Homs with her husband and two children throughout the Syrian civil war.
Al-Sabouni has a PhD in Islamic architecture, and is the author of The Battle for Home, a book that explores the role architecture and the built environment play in whether a community crumbles or comes together, offering insights on how her country might be rebuilt. The Battle for Home was chosen by the Guardian as one of the five best architectural books of 2016.
Poet Ali is a compelling performer and identifiable speaker who inspires people to approach and understand their problems from unique perspectives. His performances, presentations and writing focuses on the human spirit. He pulls relatable moments from a reservoir of life experience and anecdotal story-telling. Ali's "soulosophy" is heavily based on using our gifts as catalysts for self-discovery and the facilitation of human well-being. The subjects tackled in his presentations vary, but they always relate to matters of human connectivity and the human spirit.
Ali has been invited to share his talents on multiple national and international stages and conferencees. His 2014 TEDx Talk, "The most important language you will ever learn," has been viewed more than a million times. His client list includes names lik: Chlorox, Kind Bars, Hewlett Packard and Rachel’s Challenge. Ali is actively engaged in social justice and youth intervention through performing and speaking on school tours. Outside of his corporate workshops and seminars, he runs a creative design firm called The Poet Society. He believes part of his responsibility as a creative is to serve impact-driven brands, specializing in producing branded entertainment content for social good.
Blitz Bazawule is a filmmaker and musician born in Ghana and based in New York. His film Native Sun premiered at New Voices in Black Cinema in 2012 and, in 2016, his film Diasporadical Trilogìa premiered at the Blackstar Film Festival. He is the founder of Africa Film Society, an organization focused on the preservation of classic African cinema.
As a composer and musician, Bazawule has released four studio albums: Stereotype (2009), Native Sun (2011), Afropolitan Dreams (2014) and Diasporadical (2016). His feature directorial debut, The Burial of Kojo, opened at Urbanworld Film Festival, where it won Best Narrative Feature (World Cinema). It was hailed as "a spellbinding experience" by The Los Angeles Times and "a striking feature filmmaking debut" by Hollywood Reporter.
Fay Bound Alberti researches how culture and medicine interact with each other. Her writing focuses on specific landmarks of the medical landscape -- the heart, plastic surgery, our conception of the body -- and explores how the modern world is transforming our ideas about them. Her forthcoming book, A Biography of Loneliness: The History of an Emotion, relates the history of loneliness, and why it's become a modern epidemic.
In 2019 Alberti won a UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowship for her work on the emotional history and ethics of face transplants. Her books include Matters of the Heart: History, Medicine and Emotion (2010) and This Mortal Coil: The Human Body in History and Culture (2016). She is currently a Reader in History at the University of York.
Dr. Laura Boykin is a TED Senior Fellow, Gifted Citizen and computational biologist who uses genomics and supercomputing to help smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa control whiteflies and viruses, which cause devastation to the local cassava crops. Cassava is a staple food that feeds more than 800 million people globally.
Boykin also works in partnership with African scientists to train local communities in genomics and high-performance computing skills, with the aim of tackling future insect and viral outbreaks. Recently, she founded The Cassava Virus Action Project along with collaborators in east Africa to roll out portable DNA sequencing and analyses to farmers in the region. Their mission is to increase cassava yields for 500 million farmers.
Carole Cadwalladr is a journalist for the Guardian and Observer in the United Kingdom. She worked for a year with whistleblower Christopher Wylie to publish her investigation into Cambridge Analytica, which she shared with the New York Times. The investigation resulted in Mark Zuckerberg being called before Congress and Facebook losing more than $100 billion from its share price. She has also uncovered multiple crimes committed during the European referendum and evidence of Russian interference in Brexit.
Cadwalladr's work has won a Polk Award and the Orwell Prize for political journalism, and she was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist for National Reporting in 2019. Of her award-winning work, judge Sir David Bell wrote: She "deserves high praise for the quality of her research and for her determination to shed fierce light on a story which seems by no means over yet. Orwell would have loved it."
Susan Cain is the "Chief Revolutionary" of the Quiet Revolution -- a growing movement championing introversion, spurred on by her viral 2012 TED Talk, "The power of introverts." Her talk has been viewed more than 25 million times, making it one of the most popular of all time.
Cain is the author of the bestsellers Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverted Kids, and Quiet: The Power of Introverts in A World That Can't Stop Talking, which is in its seventh year on the New York Times bestseller list, and was named the best book of 2012 by Fast Company. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal and many other publications.
Whether it's on a stage or in a recording studio, there are few artists like Yilian Cañizares. She was born in Havana, where she studied violin, and settled in Switzerland to complete her studies. While there, she began to sing after she discovered jazz, which she melded with her classical training and the Cuban music of her youth.
In 2013 and 2015, Cañizares released two albums -- Ochumare and its follow-up, Invocación -- which strengthened her reputation as an innovative artist who transcends musical boundaries. Her latest release, Aguas, produced in collaboration with Cuban legend Omar Sosa, has garnered worldwide acclaim. For TED, Cañizares will premiere her upcoming album Erzulie, named after the Haitian goddess of love and freedom.
Born in Pakistan to a Lebanese mother and a Swiss father and raised in Singapore, Patrick Chappatte has lived in New York, Los Angeles and Geneva, Switzerland -- a cosmopolitan life that explains his way of looking at world events.
Chappatte is an editorial cartoonist for Der Spiegel in Germany, Le Canard Enchaîné in France and Swiss newspapers LeTemps and NZZ am Sonntag. He was formerly with the New York Times. Chappatte is also a pioneer of comics reportage, whose stories include the war in Gaza, the slums of Nairobi, gang violence in Central America and the dark side of Silicon Valley. In 2016, with the help of journalist Anne-Frédérique Widmann, he created "Inside Death Row," a five-part series for the New York Times -- its first foray into graphic journalism.
As a law professor, Danielle Citron puts her commitment to civil rights into practice. She is vice president of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, a nonprofit combatting privacy-invading online abuse that undermines civil rights and civil liberties.
When Citron began addressing cyber harassment ten years ago, it was commonly believed that it was "no big deal," and that any legal response would "break the internet." Those attitudes -- and the heartbreaking stories of victims who were terrorized, silenced and economically damaged -- drove Citron to write her 2014 book, Hate Crimes in Cyberspace. Ever since, she has been working with lawmakers, law enforcers, and tech companies to make online spaces and tools available to all on equal terms. Her latest book project focuses on the importance of sexual privacy and how we should protect it.
People who have participated in the tours Mackenzie Dalrymple leads up and down Scotland and have heard the tales describe him this way: "To imagine Dalrymple is to picture all of Scotland in one man. Dark-blue tartan kilt, woollen knee breeches bound with twine, silver blade tucked into the top of his hose and leather sporran lashed around his hips. He is blond and goateed, with a lilting Fife accent peppered with 'ayes.'" Driver, lecturer, raconteur and guide to all things Scottish, Dalrymple has an uncommon capacity to translate history, folklore and local color to his listeners in a manner that makes obvious his love for his country.
Stand-up comedian Omar Djalili has been performing since 1995, with his most recent tour, "Schmuck For A Night," racking up 250 dates worldwide. The Guardian calls him "a great stoker of fun ... lacking in pretension or self-consciousness." From staging the first 9/11-themed comedy in 2002 to producing We Are Many -- a 2015 documentary profiling the global anti-war demonstrations on February 15, 2003 -- Djalili has never been afraid of training his lens on politics.
As an actor, Djalili has starred in many theater productions and films, including the hit Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again and the Oscar-winning Gladiator. Djalili is featured in His Dark Materials, a BBC/HBO series now in its second season, and the Netflix Global drama Letter for the King.
Sara-Jane Dunn started her career as a mathematician, finding a niche in "mathematical biology" -- a field where mathematical models and simulations provide insights into the behavior and development of living systems. For Dunn, this research opened up new ways to explore old problems, from understanding how diseases spread to how cancer evolves. To this end, she created computational models of the gut that could be used to test hypotheses about the earliest stages of colorectal cancer.
At Microsoft Research, Dunn collaborates with experimenters in embryonic stem cell biology and seeks to uncover the biological program that governs how these unique cells are able to generate all of the different cell types of your adult body. This work could, in time, "unlock" biology and make cells programmable, which could fundamentally transform medicine, agriculture and even how we power the planet.
Alicia Eggert's work gives material form to language and time, the powerful but invisible forces that shape our realities. Her sculptures often co-opt the form and structure of commercial signs, drawing inspiration from physics and philosophy to communicate messages that spark reflection and wonder.
Eggert creates flashing neon signs that both illuminate the way light travels across space and time and reveal the relationship between reality and possibility. They have been installed on building rooftops in Philadelphia, bridges in Amsterdam and uninhabited islands in Maine. Like navigational signs, Eggert's artwork asks us to recognize where we are now as individuals and as a society, to identify where we want to be in the future -- and to imagine the routes we can take to get there.
A noted explorer who has published more than 140 peer-reviewed papers and named 25 living and 50 fossil mammal species, Tim Flannery has conducted research for more than 20 years in New Guinea and surrounding countries. He has served on the board of WWF International, the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, and as an advisor to the National Geographic Society. His books include The Future Eaters: An Ecological History of the Australasian Lands and People (which has been made into a three-part documentary series) and The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth, which has been translated into more than 20 languages.
Flannery is the cofounder of the Australian Climate Council, which provides authoritative information, advice and solutions about climate change for ordinary citizens, and chair of the Ocean Forests Foundation. In 2007 he established and chaired the Copenhagen Climate Council, and in 2011 he was appointed Australia's first Climate Commissioner.
Gillian Frame is a fiddler, singer and educator from the Isle of Arran in Scotland. She has worked with many bands in the studio and on tour as a session musician, and she is now based in Glasgow. Her 2016 album, Pendulum, is a collection of her favorite fiddle tunes and folk songs and her first album since 2001. She was a founding member of Scottish folk band Back of the Moon, with whom she toured for seven years.
Frame performs often with other musicians, including her husband Findlay Napier. Along with him and Mike Vass, Frame cocreated The Ledger, an album based around Napier's grandfather's collection of folk songs that he clipped from a newspaper column in The Scotsman.
Nick Hanauer has founded, cofounded or funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries. Among his many successes is aQuantive, which sold to Microsoft for $6.4 billion. He was the first non-family investor in Amazon.
At the same time, Hanauer -- a self-described "proud and unapologetic capitalist" -- has become a leading critic of modern economic policy. He warns plutocrats that "the pitchforks are coming," unless we do something about the growing gap between the rich and poor.
Hanauer has been featured in a variety of publications and is a frequent commentator on politics and economics in the media and on his podcast Pitchfork Economics. His opinion pieces have been featured in the New York Times, Bloomberg Business Week, The Atlantic and Democracy Journal, among others.
Johann Hari's first book, Lost Connections: Why You're Depressed and How to Find Hope, is being translated into 27 languages and has been praised by a broad range of people -- from Elton John (who said it "will change your life") to the British Journal of General Practice, who called it "one of the most important texts in recent years." His second book, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, has been translated into 15 languages and is currently being adapted into a major Hollywood film by Oscar-winning director Lee Daniels, and into a non-fiction documentary series.
Hari graduated from Cambridge University with the highest degree grade, a Double First, in social and political sciences. He grew up in London, with a Swiss father who was a bus driver and a Scottish mother who worked in a shelter for victims of domestic violence. Today, he lives half the year in London, and he spends the other half of the year traveling to research his books.
Hari has written over the past eight years for some of the world's leading newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, the Spectator, Le Monde Diplomatique, the Melbourne Age and Politico. He has also appeared on leading TV shows, including HBO's Realtime With Bill Maher. He was twice named "National Newspaper Journalist of the Year" by Amnesty International. He has also been named "Cultural Commentator of the Year" and "Environmental Commentator of the Year" at the Comment Awards, and "Gay Journalist of the Year" at the Stonewall Awards. Read about what Johann is working on now.
Margaret Heffernan was born in Texas, grew up in the Netherlands and was educated at Cambridge University. She produced drama and documentary programs for the BBC for 13 years, then moved back to the US where she became a serial entrepreneur and CEO in the early days of the internet.
All of Heffernan's work challenges accepted wisdom about good lives and good work. Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril, named one of the most important business books of the decade by the Financial Times, looked at how our most cherished beliefs, behaviors and rules blind us to what matters most. In 2015, she was awarded the Transmission Prize for A Bigger Prize: How We Can Do Better than the Competition, a book that upended the idea that competition forces the best to the top, arguing that it mostly proves wasteful and destructive where collaboration is more sustainable and creative. In 2015, TED published Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes which argued that organizational change can, and should, happen at all levels. Her forthcoming book, Uncharted: How to Map the Future will be published in February 2020 in the UK and May 2020 in the US. It addresses the fundamental unpredictability of life, challenges technological determinism and asks how we can find in ourselves the freedom and imagination to create the futures we want. An early reader called it "Karl Popper for the 21st century."
As lead faculty for the Forward Institute's Responsible Leadership Programme, Heffernan mentors CEOs and senior executives of major global organizations.
Carl Honoré's life is shaped by his curiosity, his love of language, and his desire to make the world better. After graduating university, he worked with children living on the street in Brazil, and then spent a decade as a journalist covering South America and Europe before switching to writing books. His first three (In Praise of Slowness, Under Pressure and The Slow Fix) took on our modern cult of speed. His newest, Bolder, takes on the cult of youth.
Along the way, Honoré has given hundreds of talks, made radio and TV shows and become the voice of the "Slow Movement," which has inspired readers around the world to downshift into a more relaxed, contemplative and richly savored lifestyle. His books have been translated into over 35 languages.
Pico Iyer's books have been translated into more than 20 languages. Both his 2008 meditation on the XIVth Dalai Lama, The Open Road, and his TED Book, The Art of Stillness, were best sellers across the US. Outside magazine called him "arguably the greatest living travel-writer," and the New Yorker said, "As a guide to far-flung places, he can hardly be surpassed." Between 2012 and 2016, Iyer delivered three talks for TED, and they have received more than eight million views so far.
Since 2013, Iyer has delivered four talks for TED, including the closing talk for the first-ever TEDSummit, in 2016, and the opening talk for the second TEDSummit, in 2019.
An essayist for TIME since 1986, Iyer is a constant contributor the New York Times, The New York Review of Books, Harper's, Granta and more than 200 other newspapers and magazines worldwide, and he has published introductions to 70 other works.
In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Sandeep Jauhar writes about medicine and its impacts on culture for a wide-ranging audience. He is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and has written three best-selling books.
His most recent book, Heart: A History (a finalist for the 2019 Wellcome Book prize), tells the little-known story of the doctors who risked their careers -- and the patients who risked their lives -- to understand our most vital organ. Weaving his own experiences with the defining discoveries of the past, Jauhar braids tales of breakthrough, hubris and sorrow to create a lucid chronicle of our life's most intimate chamber. The book also confronts the limits of medical technology, arguing that future progress will be determined more by how we choose to live rather than by any device we invent. Indeed, as the book explains, our emotional lives are absolutely key to our heart health. Jauhar is the Director of the Heart Failure Program at Northwell Health's Long Island Jewish Medical Center.
Nicola Jones was pursuing a chemistry and oceanography degree at the University of British Columbia when she discovered that she found it far more rewarding to write about science than to engage in research. After completing a master's degree in journalism, she made her way to the science journal Nature in London, where she honed her skills reporting, writing and editing science news, features and commentary.
Jones now lives in British Columbia, where she edits essays for SAPIENS, writes about climate change and the environment for Yale Environment 360, covers Canadian science policy and global discoveries for Nature and writes and edits marine stories for Hakai Magazine -- and attempts to raise two children with a sense of wonder, compassion and hope for the future.
As an advisor to government officials, business leaders, philanthropists and activists, Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld helps repair democracies confronting big changes. As a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, she focuses on countries facing violence, corruption and other problems of poor governance.
In 2010, TIME magazine named Kleinfeld one of the top 40 political leaders under 40 for her decade of work as the founding CEO of the Truman National Security Project, which recruits and trains leaders to advance policies that enhanced global security, democracy and human dignity. In 2011, Hillary Clinton appointed Kleinfeld to the State Department's Foreign Affairs Policy Board, which advised the Secretary of State quarterly. Kleinfeld is the author of several books, including A Savage Order: How the World's Deadliest Countries Can Forge a Path to Security.
At age seven, violinist Min Kym was given a full scholarship at the Purcell School of Music in the UK, becoming the school's youngest-ever pupil. By age 11, she had won first prize at the Premier Mozart International Competition. And by 13, she was playing with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. At the age of 16, she became the youngest student ever to receive a Foundation Scholarship at the Royal College of Music. Many awards followed.
In 2010, tragedy struck -- her violin, a 1696 Stradivarius, was stolen. Traumatized and unable to play, her career fell apart. In 2013, the violin was recovered, but the story was far from over. Kym's book Gone and her album of the same name tell the story of the intense bond an artist forms with their one "true" instrument.
As VP of sustainability at McDonald's, Bob Langert shaped the restaurant chain's commitment to the environment, supply chain sustainability and balanced menu choices. After retiring from McDonald's in 2015, Langert joined the GreenBiz Group, writing a regular column ("The Inside View"). He has advised several organizations on sustainability strategies, including the National Pork Council, Big Dutchman, Cadbury, Shell and Corteva. He is a popular speaker who has addressed audiences that include the Sustainable Agricultural Alliance, the United Egg Producers and the American Feed Industry Association.
In January 2019, Langert published The Battle to Do Good; Inside McDonald's Sustainability Journey. Based on his 25 years leading McDonald's sustainability and corporate responsibility efforts, Langert shares how he helped address some of the most significant societal issues of our times -- obesity, waste and packaging, deforestation in the Amazon, animal well-being and much more. The Economist wrote: "The Battle to Do Good: Inside McDonald's Sustainability Journey is a must-read even for those who are cynical about the business of corporate social responsibility."
From the late 80s, McDonald's landed smack in the middle of one contentious issue after another, often locking horns with powerful NGOs such as Greenpeace, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and Corporate Accountability. This sudden shift from being the beloved Golden Arches since opening its doors in 1955, to the demon of many societal ills, caught McDonald's off guard. Langert chronicles the highs and lows that McDonald's experienced in turbulent times and how its sustainability journey evolved from playing defense to strategically solving issues with unlikely partners, including a whirling dervish, autistic animal scientist and avid environmentalists from the World Wildlife Fund and Conservation International.
Suzanne Lee is the founder and CEO of Biofabricate, a platform nurturing collaboration for design and biology to grow the future of sustainable materials for consumer products. Biofabrication is highly disruptive new technologies enabling design to intersect with the building blocks of life itself. For the last five years, Lee has been the chief creative officer of Modern Meadow, a New York-based biotech startup growing collagen to manufacture animal-free bioleather materials.
Lee's groundbreaking book Fashioning the Future: Tomorrow's Wardrobe, was the first to articulate the future of fashion through science and technology. It remains a key text for designers, scientists and engineers wanting to glimpse the future of wearable technology.
Eric Lewis -- who reinvented himself as ELEW a decade into his career -- began his musical journey as a jazz pianist, winning the Thelonious Monk competition and performing alongside Wynton Marsalis and Elvin Jones, and as a member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
Inspired by rock, ELEW began melding his classically trained piano skills with modern rhythms, creating a genre of music he calls "Rockjazz." Known for eschewing a piano bench and plucking strings inside his piano, his intense playing style has mesmerized fans in venues around the world -- including the White House, where he played for Barack and Michelle Obama in the East Room. In 2016, he received The Novus Award at the UN for his contributions to global art and music.
Mariana Lin is a writer and creative director who believes in the power of language. Best known for her work building Siri's personality in its various manifestations, she seeks to integrate creativity, the absurdity of life and artful dialogue into AI conversations.
Lin consults as lead character designer for Sophia, a humanoid-robot-citizen built by Hanson Robotics, and on other artistic AI endeavors. She writes on creativity and AI for The Paris Review in her column "Artificial Intelligentsia," speaks regularly at Stanford MediaX Institute on writing for AI and coauthored a Stanford research study on AI and authenticity. She has spoken at the United Nations in Geneva on diversity in storytelling AI at the AI For Good Global Summit. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The Huffington Post, New York magazine, The Mississippi Review and GQ.
Ever since the early days of the video recorder and home computer, Sonia Livingstone has been researching how children and families use the latest digital technology. Using a mix of survey research and in-depth interviews with people at home and at school, Livingstone determines just how much technology is changing our daily lives -- for better or for worse.
In addition to her own studies, Livingstone works with networks of researchers in different countries, comparing how digital landscapes vary around the world. In recent years, she's been studying children's rights in the digital environment, taking her research to policymakers and practitioners who have the power to make improvements -- and who don't often hear the voices and experiences of ordinary families.
Jon Lowenstein specializes in long-term, in-depth documentary explorations that confront power, poverty and violence. Through the combination of photography, moving images, experiential writing and personal testimonials, he reveals with unsparing clarity the subjects of history denied a voice.
For the past two decades, Lowenstein has captured the experiences of undocumented Latin Americans living in the United States. "Shadow Lives USA" follows the migrant trail from Central America through Mexico and the United States in an effort to show the real stories of the men and women who make up the largest transnational migration in world history.
Sonaar Luthra is the founder and CEO of Water Canary, a company building a weather service for water to help governments, businesses and communities manage 21st-century water risk. He believes that transforming the world's water data collection infrastructure is the most urgent and least understood challenge facing humanity.
Mariana Mazzucato, PhD, is a professor in the economics of innovation and public value at University College London, where she is founding director of the UCL Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose (IIPP).
Mazzucato is the winner of the 2018 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought and the 2019 All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values. She was named as one of the "3 most important thinkers about innovation" by The New Republic, on The Bloomberg 50 list of "Ones to Watch" for 2019, and on the "Wired25" list.
Mazzucato's 2011 book, The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths, investigates the role of public organizations in playing the "investor of first resort" role in the history of technological change. Her 2018 book, The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy, brings value theory back to the center of economics in order to reward value creation over value extraction. It was a 2018 Strategy & Business "Best Book of the Year" and was shortlisted for the 2018 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year prize.
Mazzucato advises policymakers around the world on innovation-led inclusive and sustainable growth. Through her role as special advisor for the EC Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, she authored the high-impact report on Mission-Oriented Research & Innovation in the European Union, turning "missions" into a crucial new instrument in the European Commission's Horizon innovation programme.
Best known as a bass guitarist, Marcus Miller has played alongside a constellation of greats including Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis. In the '90s, he began to win acclaim for his own groups, including the band Legends with Eric Clapton, David Sanborn, Joe Sample and Steve Gadd. He is a winner of multiple Grammys, including an award for "Best Contemporary Jazz Album" for M² in 2001.
Miller has performed at the Obama White House, Madison Square Garden, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (alongside Jon Batiste)and Carnegie Hall, and he has recorded with Benny Blanco and Ryan Tedder. He regularly performs with Grammy-nominated vocalist Jazzmeia Horn. In 2012, Miller was named a UNESCO Artist of Peace to promote their Slave Route Project.
As a young man, George Monbiot spent six years working as an investigative journalist in West Papua, Brazil and East Africa, during which time he was shot at, shipwrecked, beaten up, stung into a poisoned coma by hornets, became lost for days in a rainforest (where he ate rats and insects to avert starvation) and (incorrectly) pronounced clinically dead in a hospital in northern Kenya. Today, he leads a less adventurous life as an author, columnist for the Guardian and environmental campaigner.
Among his books and projects are Feral: Rewilding the Land, Sea and Human Life; The Age of Consent; and Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning. His latest book is Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for an Age of Crisis. He has made a number of viral videos. One of them, "How Wolves Change Rivers," based on an extract from his last TED Talk, has been watched 40 million times on YouTube.
As a student in Nairobi, Kenya, Rose M. Mutiso dreamed of following her curiosity. Drawn to materials science and engineering -- which underpins ubiquitous features of modern life like plastics and electronics -- she received a PhD in the field, pursuing nanotechnology, polymer physics and creating materials for energy and electronic applications. As a postdoctoral fellow in the US Senate, Mutiso coauthored legislation signed into law by President Barack Obama.
Grateful for an education supported by financial aid and taxpayer-funded research, Mutiso resolved to help inspire Africa's next generation of female scholars. She cofounded the Mawazo ("Ideas") Institute, a nonprofit research institute based in Nairobi. She is also research director of the Energy for Growth Hub, working with global experts to find solutions for energy deficits in developing countries. Her dream is to see more African women shaping decision-making and public discourse on critical issues such as energy poverty.
Findlay Napier is a singer-songwriter based in Glasgow, Scotland. His album VIP: Very Interesting Persons is a collection of songs sharing a wide variety of stories of real people, from Hedy Lamarr to Mickey Mantle. His album Glasgow is a love letter to the city he's called home for over 20 years.
Napier and fiddler Gillian Frame met while studying traditional music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and formed the band Back of the Moon. Inspired by a scrapbook of classic Scottish folk songs kept by Napier's grandfather, he and Frame (with help from producer and composer Mike Vass) bring to life The Ledger, a song odyssey and time capsule of the fledgling Scottish and UK folk scenes.
Stand-up comic Carl Joshua Ncube uses humor to approach culturally taboo topics from his home country of Zimbabwe, across the African continent, and beyond. "Comedy can make a country like Zimbabwe feel good," he says.
Besides being a regular presence on South Africa's most prominent comedy stages, Ncube has performed in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, USA, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, Botswana, Namibia and Côte d’Ivoire. According to Comedy Central Africa, "Carl Joshua Ncube has to be the funniest comedian Zimbabwe’s ever produced," while CNN's African Voices calls him the new face of Zimbabwean comedy.
As Director of the Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health at the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. María Neira works to raise awareness of the health challenges posed by climate change and air pollution. Prior to her appointment as director, she was Vice-Minister of Health and President of the Spanish Food Safety Agency, and she had previously held several senior positions in the WHO.
Neira began her career as a medical coordinator with Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) in El Salvador and Honduras, working with refugees during the region's conflicts. In 2019, policy platform Apolitical named her one of the world's 100 most influential people in climate policy.
Uniting synthesisers and electronic instruments, the Radio Science Orchestra (RSO) combines live music, archival footage and narration to illuminate striking connections between the sounds and technologies of today and yesteryear. In the company of the RSO, expect a performance of glamourous space-age exotica, revealing astonishing connections between the exploration of space and the dawn of electronic music.
At TEDSummit, the RSO will present the musical odyssey "Prelude, Landing, Legacy," celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first manned lunar landing, and the centenary of the invention of the theremin -- the world's first successful electronic musical instrument. The performance takes inspiration from the cassette of music for theremin and orchestra beamed from translunar space by Neil Armstrong in 1969.
Soon after September 11, 2001, Eli Pariser built a website calling for a multilateral approach to fighting terrorism. As a 20-year-old, he quickly found himself in contact with more than 500,000 people from around the world. He joined with MoveOn.org to spearhead its campaign against the war in Iraq and in 2004 he became MoveOn's executive director.
In 2011, suspecting that the internet might harbor hidden threats to democracy, Pariser wrote The Filter Bubble and introduced the term to the lexicon, exposing how algorithms amplify select ideas while making others invisible. In 2012, he cofounded Upworthy as a platform to direct millions of users to storytelling about issues that matter.
Now he is the codirector of the Civic Signals project at the National Conference on Citizenship, where he is working to create democracy-friendly spaces in the digital landscape.
As an ambassador for e-Estonia -- Estonia's virtual initiative to simplify citizen interactions with the state -- Anna Piperal seeks to share the benefits of technology and facilitate good governance and public well-being around the world.
Piperal seeks to convince world government leaders to implement technology wisely in order to create of transparency and efficiency, save costs and gradually increase citizens' trust. She has spoken to thousands of decision-makers -- including presidents, ministers and kings -- at the e-Estonia Showroom and international conventions. She explores new ideas that could reboot the world as a better, bureaucracy-free space. Piperal led the branding of e-Estonia, supported the introduction of Estonian blockchain in the EU and led the project building VR-Estonia, a virtual reality platform allowing anyone to dive into Estonian digital reality.
Developing the next generation of experiences for interactive and immersive media, Diego Prilusky founded Intel Studios, a production powerhouse in the Los Angeles area, to drive innovation and adoption of volumetric video and establish new technologies and methodologies for filmmaking.
Prilusky has an extensive background in technology, storytelling and design. The media entrepreneur has been recognized with two Emmy awards for innovation of large-scale volumetric video capture in live sports and has held creative leadership roles at several visual effects (VFX) studios, creating visual effects and animation for award-winning feature films.
Dr. Raghuram Rajan is the former governor of the Reserve Bank of India and former vice-chairman of the board of the Bank for International Settlements. In 2005, while serving as chief economist and director of research at the International Monetary Fund, Rajan warned of impending risks in the global financial system -- a warning that many regarded as prescient after the crisis of 2008.
Rajan's studies include banking and the role finance plays in economic development. His 2019 book, The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind, analyzes the role of community in building healthy economies. In 2016, TIME chose Rajan as one of the world's 100 most influential people.
Paul Rucker is a visual artist, composer and musician who combines live performance, sound, original compositions and visual arts. The product of a rich interactive process, his work investigates community impacts, human rights issues, historical research and basic human emotions of a particular subject matter. Much of his work focuses on the prison-industrial complex and the many issues accompanying incarceration in its relationship to slavery. He has presented performances and visual art exhibitions across the country, including in schools, active prisons and inactive prisons like Alcatraz.
Rucker's installation REWIND garnered much praise and acclaim, including "Best Artist 2015" from Baltimore Magazine, "Best Solo Show 2015" and "#1 Art Show of 2015" from Baltimore City Paper, reviews by the Huffington Post, Artnet News, Washington Post, The Root and The Real News Network. He has received numerous grants, awards and residencies for visual art and music. He is a 2012 Creative Capital Grantee in visual art as well as a 2014, 2018, 2019 MAP (Multi-Arts Production) Fund Grantee for performance. In 2015, he received a prestigious Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant as well as the Mary Sawyer Baker Award. In 2016, he received the Rauschenberg Artist as Activist fellowship and the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, for which he is the first artist in residence at the new National Museum of African American Culture.
Rucker's residencies include MacDowell Colony, Blue Mountain Center, Ucross Foundation, Art OMI, Banff Centre, Pilchuck Glass School, Rauschenberg Residency, Joan Mitchell Residency, Loghave, Montalvo, Hermitage, Hemera Artist Retreat, Air Serembe, Creative Alliance and the Rockefeller Foundation Study Center in Bellagio, Italy. In 2013-2015, he was the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Artist in Residence and Research Fellow at the Maryland Institute College of Art. He was also awarded a 2017 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a 2018 TED Fellowship and the 2018 Arts Innovator Award from the Dale and Leslie Chihuly Foundation and Artist Trust.
Rucker is an iCubed Research Fellow embedded at the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.
Lauren Sallan uses the vast fossil record of fishes as a deep time database, mining to find out why some species persist and diversify while others die off. She has used these methods to discover the lost, largest, "sixth" mass extinction of vertebrates, the end-Devonian Hangenberg event (359 million years ago), reveal how fish heads changed first during their rise to dominance, test why some species thrive after global disruptions while others flounder and show how invasions by new predators can shift prey diversity at global scales.
Sallan is the Martin Meyerson assistant professor in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, became a TED Fellow in 2017 and a TED Senior Fellow in 2019. Her research has been published in high-profile venues such as Science, Nature, PNAS and Current Biology. It has also been featured by the New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, BBC, Forbes, New Scientist, Discovery Channel and the recent popular science book The Ends of the World by Peter Brannen (Harper Collins, 2017).
When Hajer Sharief was young, she had no risk assessment skills. If she felt like jumping from a cliff, she did so without thinking of the consequences. As an older and wiser activist, she tends to balance risks -- but she still actively keeps an element of risk-free thinking when it comes to doing the right thing.
As cofounder of the Together We Build It Foundation, an intergenerational organization working to builds peace in Libya, Sharief promotes human rights, gender equality and political participation. Doing the right thing regardless of risk remains her life principle, and activism remains her lifestyle -- one that helps individuals become aware of their responsibility towards humanity and the environment.
In November 2014, Nicola Sturgeon was elected as the first female leader of the Scottish National Party. Days later, she was sworn in as the country's first woman First Minister. Soon after her election, she appointed a cabinet boasting a 50/50 gender balance.
As head of the Scottish government, Sturgeon is responsible for her administration's policies and for promoting and representing Scotland both at home and overseas.
Sturgeon entered the Scottish Parliament as a regional MSP for Glasgow in 1999. She is currently MSP for Glasgow Southside. Sturgeon served as Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing between 2007 and 2012, and then Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities until November 2014. Throughout this period she also served as Deputy First Minister of Scotland.
Howard Taylor is executive director of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, an innovative public-private partnership launched by the United Nations Secretary-General. He has lived and worked in Africa, Asia, Europe and the US, where he has led a global corporate foundation, established a creative social enterprise and built government teams – all to measurably improve the lives of millions of people.
As vice president and managing director of the Nike Foundation, Taylor was the driving force behind the successful spin-out of Girl Effect as an independent, creative social enterprise that uses branded mass and social media, technology and data to tackle negative social norms and change behaviours. Prior to Nike, he held senior roles across the UK Government, working on international development and foreign policy.
Marco Tempest began his performing career as a stage magician and manipulator, winning awards and establishing an international reputation as a master illusionist. His interest in computer-generated imagery led him to incorporate video and digital technology in his work -- and eventually to develop a new form of contemporary illusion.
Tempest is the executive director of the NYC Magic Lab, a science consortium exploring illusion and digital technology. He is deeply embedded in the tech industry and has regular interactions with product teams in an advisory capacity and as a consultant or developer for prototype consumer technologies. He is a Director's Fellow at the MIT Media Lab and a creative consultant at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Tshering Tobgay served as the leader of the opposition party in the National Assembly of Bhutan from 2008 to 2013 and as prime minister from 2013 to 2018.
Tobgay was a civil servant before he joined active politics. He was the first official to resign from his work to take part in his country's transition to a parliamentary democracy. He was responsible for establishing the People's Democratic Party as the first registered political party in Bhutan, and he continues to serve as its president.
As an advocate of Gross National Happiness, Tobgay has spoken about conservation, climate change, poverty, democracy and happiness in various international conferences.
Tobgay has an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and a master's in public administration from Harvard University. He is married to Tashi Doma and has two children. He enjoys volunteering, reading, trekking, bicycling, jogging, archery, yoga, music and drama.
Drawing on her own joys and tragedies, Scottish musician KT Tunstall has created a rich and personal body of music. Her debut album, Eye to the Telescope, featured the runaway hit "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree," which was featured on the soundtracks to Ugly Betty and The Devil Wears Prada. Since then, she's released five more albums, including the critically acclaimed Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon, which was inspired in part by the death of her father in 2012.
Tunstall's latest album WAX is the second of a trilogy (begun with 2016's KIN) that explores the themes of soul, body and mind. She regularly tours the world playing her music, firmly cementing a reputation as both a recording talent and a mesmerizing live artist.
Anthony Veneziale cofounded Speechless with Sammy Wegent and Scott Lifton, using improv thinking to help people be themselves and be heard. He has used improv techniques for endeavors with Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton, In The Heights, The Electric Company), Daveed Diggs (The Freeze) and on numerous networks like HBO, TBS, MTV, Nickelodeon and PBS. Veneziale co-founded "Freestyle Love Supreme," an improvised, hip hop, live musical performance with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Thomas Kail, which will appear on Broadway in the fall of 2019.
Kelly Wanser is founder and executive director of SilverLining, a nonprofit organization driving policy and innovation to ensure a safe climate within a decade. SilverLining focuses on near-term climate risk and advancing our understanding of fast-acting climate interventions (sometimes called "geoengineering") that might alleviate the most severe impacts.
Wanser is cofounder and advisor to the University of Washington Marine Cloud Brightening Project, an effort to understand one possible form of climate intervention: the cooling effects of particles on clouds. Wanser also serves on the board of BioCarbon Engineering -- a company using data and automation (including drone technology) to restore native ecosystems -- and on the President's Circle of the US National Academy of Sciences.
Jochen Wegner never thought he could make a living out of writing, yet ultimately he found himself editing Zeit Online, one of Germany's major media websites. With a team of 150, Zeit Online delivers around-the-clock information about breaking and developing stories, distinguished by deep reporting and data visualizations. Zeit also hosts a number of Germany's most popular podcasts.
By taking journalism beyond reporting and into the realm of real-time discussion, Wegner is creating tools that could change the political climate by encouraging wide varieties of people to engage in public discourse. His "My Country Talks" platform organizes personal, one-on-one conversations between people from all over the ideological map, inviting them to find common ground between viewpoints that are at first seemingly irreconcilable.
In 2004, architect Ma Yansong founded MAD Architects, a global architecture firm committed to developing organic and futuristic environments embodying the natural world. MAD has created a series of imaginative works across the globe that demonstrate how they envision the future city, including the Absolute Towers, Harbin Opera House and Hutong Bubble 32.
In 2014, MAD was selected as the principal designer for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, making Yansong the first Chinese architect to design an overseas cultural landmark. In April 2019, the Centre Pompidou opened MAD X, a major exhibition of MAD's works that exemplifies their architectural vision and expresses the firm's core vision of a futuristic architecture, akin to dream-like earthscapes, that creates a conversation between nature, earth and sky.