Shameran Abed is senior director of BRAC's groundbreaking Ultra-poor Graduation program, which has helped more than two million households in Bangladesh “graduate” from the direst forms of poverty and social deprivation. The program's impact in Bangladesh has inspired BRAC's Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative (UPGI) to scale the Graduation approach through integration in existing government social protection programs in countries with the greatest potential for impact. By scaling Graduation through government integration, BRAC UPGI aims to help 21 million more people out of extreme poverty. In addition, Shameran leads BRAC's microfinance program, which serves more than seven million clients in seven countries in Asia and Africa and has total assets exceeding 2.5 billion dollars.
Abed also chairs the board of BRAC Bank's mobile financial services subsidiary, bKash, one of the world's largest mobile money providers, and serves on the boards of BRAC Bank and the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV). Additionally, he is the chairman of the Microfinance Network and is also a member of the Partnership for Responsible Financial Inclusion (PRFI) and the World Economic Forum Financial Inclusion Steering Committee. He is a lawyer by training, having been made a barrister by the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn in London, UK. He completed his undergraduate studies at Hamilton College in the United States, majoring in economics and minoring in political science.
Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.
In the lab, Christina Agapakis has worked on enzymes involved in the production of biofuels and mapped the evolution of microbial communities in the soil. As an artist, she's isolated halophilic bacteria from California's Salton Sea and made cheese from bacteria living on human skin.
As creative director of the biotech firm Ginkgo Bioworks, Agapakis works to establish more open, equitable and renewable technologies.
Trained as a physicist, Uri Alon is a pioneer in the field of systems biology. He combines experiment and theory to understand general principles in biology. His work defined the small set of recurring circuits in biological systems called network motifs. In his lab at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, students use tools from physics, neurobiology, computer science and concepts from improv theatre to study basic principles of interactions. They investigate the protein circuits within a cell and look for basic interaction patterns that recur throughout biological networks.
Alon has published over 120 highly cited papers, including the classic paper on lab behavior called "How to Choose a Good Scientiﬁc Problem," which takes a step back from the rush to get grants and publish papers to ask: How can a good lab foster growth and self-motivated research? He writes, advocates and even sings about the importance of human relationships in science.
Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, Alon earned his BSc degree in physics and mathematics, his MSc degree in physics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and his PhD in theoretical physics at the Weizmann Institute of Science. After conducting postdoctoral studies in the Departments of Physics and Molecular Biology at Princeton University for three years, he joined the Department of Molecular Cell Biology at the Weizmann Institute as a senior scientist in 1999. He was promoted to associate professor in 2004 and full professor in 2008. His prizes and honors include the Moore Fellowship, California Institute of Technology (2000), EMBO Young Investigator Award (2001), Minerva Junior Research Group on Biological Computation (2003), Morris L. Levinson Award in Biology, Weizmann Institute Scientific Council (2003), IBM Faculty Award (2003), Teva Founders Prize (2005), EMBO membership (2007), Michael Bruno Memorial Award (2009) and Radcliffe Fellowship (2009).
Istanbul native Refik Anadol is a media artist, director and pioneer in the aesthetics of machine intelligence. His body of work puts creativity at the intersection of humans and machines. Using data as his primary material, he creates site-specific sculptures, live audio/visual performances and immersive installations that encourage us to rethink our engagement with the physical world, its temporal and spatial dimensions and the creative potential of machines.
Chris Anderson is the Curator of TED, a nonprofit devoted to sharing valuable ideas, primarily through the medium of 'TED Talks' -- short talks that are offered free online to a global audience.
Chris was born in a remote village in Pakistan in 1957. He spent his early years in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where his parents worked as medical missionaries, and he attended an American school in the Himalayas for his early education. After boarding school in Bath, England, he went on to Oxford University, graduating in 1978 with a degree in philosophy, politics and economics.
Chris then trained as a journalist, working in newspapers and radio, including two years producing a world news service in the Seychelles Islands.
Back in the UK in 1984, Chris was captivated by the personal computer revolution and became an editor at one of the UK's early computer magazines. A year later he founded Future Publishing with a $25,000 bank loan. The new company initially focused on specialist computer publications but eventually expanded into other areas such as cycling, music, video games, technology and design, doubling in size every year for seven years. In 1994, Chris moved to the United States where he built Imagine Media, publisher of Business 2.0 magazine and creator of the popular video game users website IGN. Chris eventually merged Imagine and Future, taking the combined entity public in London in 1999, under the Future name. At its peak, it published 150 magazines and websites and employed 2,000 people.
This success allowed Chris to create a private nonprofit organization, the Sapling Foundation, with the hope of finding new ways to tackle tough global issues through media, technology, entrepreneurship and, most of all, ideas. In 2001, the foundation acquired the TED Conference, then an annual meeting of luminaries in the fields of Technology, Entertainment and Design held in Monterey, California, and Chris left Future to work full time on TED.
He expanded the conference's remit to cover all topics, including science, business and key global issues, while adding a Fellows program, which now has some 300 alumni, and the TED Prize, which grants its recipients "one wish to change the world." The TED stage has become a place for thinkers and doers from all fields to share their ideas and their work, capturing imaginations, sparking conversation and encouraging discovery along the way.
In 2006, TED experimented with posting some of its talks on the Internet. Their viral success encouraged Chris to begin positioning the organization as a global media initiative devoted to 'ideas worth spreading,' part of a new era of information dissemination using the power of online video. In June 2015, the organization posted its 2,000th talk online. The talks are free to view, and they have been translated into more than 100 languages with the help of volunteers from around the world. Viewership has grown to approximately one billion views per year.
Continuing a strategy of 'radical openness,' in 2009 Chris introduced the TEDx initiative, allowing free licenses to local organizers who wished to organize their own TED-like events. More than 8,000 such events have been held, generating an archive of 60,000 TEDx talks. And three years later, the TED-Ed program was launched, offering free educational videos and tools to students and teachers.
Growing up in a town stricken by both drought and floods, it didn't take Xiye Bastida long to understand the perils of climate change -- or to decide to do something about it.
Bastida was born and raised in San Pedro Tultepec, a small town southwest of Mexico City, and moved to the US after a three-year drought in her hometown was broken by devastating floods. She began her career as an environmentalist soon after. Now a climate justice activist based in New York City, she is one of the lead organizers of Fridays For Future, the youth climate strike movement founded by Greta Thunberg. She also sits on the administration committee of the People's Climate Movement, where she brings a voice to existing grassroots climate organizations.
Swizz Beatz is a Grammy-winning music producer, entrepreneur and visionary who has worked with some of the biggest musicians in the world, including Jay-Z, Beyoncé and Kanye West. A graduate of Harvard Business School's Owner/President Management program, he began collecting art in his 20s. In 2014, he launched The Dean Collection, which began as his personal art collection and has since grown into a global discovery zone for art enthusiasts. He later launched No Commission, a live art and music festival where artists retain 100 percent of their sales.
Georges C. Benjamin, MD, is a health policy leader, practitioner and administrator and serves as the executive director of the American Public Health Association (APHA), the nation's oldest and largest organization of public health professionals, since 2002. He is a former secretary of health for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, where he oversaw the expansion and improvement of the state's Medicaid program. In April 2016 President Obama appointed him to the National Infrastructure Advisory Council, a council that advises the President on how best to assure the security of the nation's critical infrastructure.
An established administrator, author and orator, Benjamin started his medical career in 1981 in Tacoma, Washington, where he managed a 72,000-patient visit ambulatory care service as chief of the Acute Illness Clinic at the Madigan Army Medical Center and was an attending physician within the Department of Emergency Medicine. He then served as chief of emergency medicine at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. After leaving the Army, he chaired the Department of Community Health and Ambulatory Care at the District of Columbia General Hospital. He was promoted to acting commissioner for public health for the District of Columbia and later directed one of the busiest ambulance services in the nation as interim director of the Emergency Ambulance Bureau of the District of Columbia Fire Department.
Benjamin is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He is board-certified in internal medicine, a master of the American College of Physicians, a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, a fellow emeritus of the American College of Emergency Physicians and a member of the National Academy of Medicine. He serves on several nonprofit boards such as Research!America, the Truth Foundation and the Reagan-Udall Foundation.
Aloe Blacc is a singer and songwriter who moves across genres, creating an effortless blend of folk and soul inspired by a tradition of hip-hop. With hits like "I Need a Dollar," "The Man" and "Wake Me Up," Blacc makes music with an optimistic message. He sang and cowrote the global chart-topping mega-hit "Wake Me Up" with Swedish DJ Avicii, proving his irresistible power to capture the complexities of human emotion. His third solo album Lift Your Spirit (XIX Recordings/Interscope Records) pushed further into a folk/soul/pop fusion that's as undeniably joyful as it is eye-opening. Adding an of-the-moment twist to the music of legends like Sly Stone and Stevie Wonder, Lift Your Spirit is built on songs that pair Blacc's poetic yet incisive lyrics with huge hooks and relentless feel-good grooves. Featuring the hit single "The Man," a song that topped the charts with sales of more than 3 million, the album received a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Album at the 57th Grammy Awards.
In 2019, Avicii's family honored their son's wish to have Blacc's vocals feature on the first track from Avicii's posthumous album, TIM. The song "SOS" was released in April to a welcome response from Avicii fans worldwide and topped the charts in several countries globally, hitting #1 on the US Dance Charts. Several other collaborations with hit producers followed including David Guetta, Lost Frequencies, Gryffin, Flight Facilities, Young Bombs, Mesto and Hellberg.
Blacc recently joined NBC Songland as a guest judge on the new reality TV show, where he collaborated with the episode's winning songwriter Kyle Williams on "Getting Started," which appeared on blockbuster movie Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw. He has also made guest appearances on the hit TV show Black-ish and the EPIX hit Godfather of Harlem and played the role of Nafloyd Scott on the James Brown biopic Get On Up.
On Valentine's Day 2020, Blacc releaseed his new single "I Do." The lead single off his forthcoming record, the song is a ballad inspired by his marriage to recording artist Maya Jupiter. For the first time, the songwriter openly discusses his personal life and relationships, which he sings about with a deep vulnerability. He is an active member of the nonprofit Malaria No More and a champion of songwriters' rights.
David Brenner directs the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City and has numerous distinctions within his field, such as the Oxford University Weldon Prize and the Radiation Research Society Failla Gold Medal Award. Founded by a student of Marie Curie more than a century ago, the Columbia Center for Radiological Research is committed to exploiting all forms of radiation to improve human health and medical care.
Over the past eight years, Brenner and his team have been developing the use of a unique type of ultraviolet light, called far-UVC light, designed to safely kill viruses such as the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, as well as drug-resistant bacteria. We have known for a long time that conventional germicidal UV light kills viruses and bacteria but the problem has always been that it can also potentially damage human skin and eyes. By contrast, far-UVC light has the potential to kill viruses safely, so that it can potentially be used to continuously kill viruses in occupied public places.
As we begin to look forward towards a post-COVID era, Brenner envisages the use of overhead far-UVC light in hospitals, nursing homes, buses, planes, trains, train stations, schools, restaurants, offices, theaters, gyms, food preparation areas -- anywhere where people move closer together.
The power of light, which Brenner sees as the power of physics, has the potential to be a genuinely new weapon in the fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus as well as next year's influenza virus and the next pandemic virus, as discussed in a recent paper he coauthored in Scientific Reports.
Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston, where she holds the Huffington Foundation – Brené Brown Endowed Chair at the Graduate College of Social Work. She is also a visiting professor in management at The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business.
Brown has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy. She's the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness and Dare to Lead, which is the culmination of a seven-year study on courage and leadership.
Brown hosts the Unlocking Us podcast, and her 2010 TED Talk, "The power of vulnerability," is one of the most viewed talks in the world. She is the first researcher to have a filmed lecture on Netflix; The Call to Courage special debuted on the streaming service in April 2019. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, Steve. They have two children, Ellen and Charlie.
Will Cathcart leads WhatsApp, the world's largest private messaging service. His team is at the center of the debate between technologists, governments and human rights activists on whether everyone, including you, will have the ability to communicate privately and securely online. He joined Facebook in 2010 and worked on a number of the company's product efforts. In 2018, he became the vice president of the Facebook App, where he oversaw development and strategy.
Before joining Facebook, Cathcart worked at Google and was responsible for product development of anti-spam technologies for Google's products, including Gmail. He graduated from Colgate University with a bachelor's degree in mathematical economics.
Vishaan Chakrabarti designs and advocates for a sustainable, attainable and equitable urban future centered around human connectedness. As founder and creative director of the global architecture studio Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU), he leads complex projects such as I.M. Pei's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Princeton's Hobson College, Brooklyn's Domino Sugar Refinery and Ford Motor Company's Michigan Central Station project in Detroit's Corktown. In his 2013 book, A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America, he illustrates through hard data and soft cartoons why Americans would be more prosperous, sustainable, joyful and socially mobile in a more urban nation. His forthcoming book, The Architecture of Urbanity: Designing Cities for Pluralism and Planet, will be published by Princeton University Press.
Chakrabarti served under Mayor Bloomberg as the director of planning for Manhattan in the aftermath of 9/11, collaborating on efforts to save the High Line and rebuild the World Trade Center. He has served as the William W. Wurster Dean of the College of Environmental Design at University of California, Berkeley, prior to which he was a professor at Columbia University for a decade. He lectures internationally, contributes articles and op-eds to the New York Times and has appeared on CBS, MSNBC and National Public Radio. Born in Calcutta, Chakrabarti holds degrees from Cornell, MIT and Berkeley.
William "Sandy" Darity's research focuses on inequality by race, class and ethnicity, stratification economics, schooling and the racial achievement gap, North-South theories of trade and development, skin shade and labor market outcomes, the economics of reparations, the Atlantic slave trade and the Industrial Revolution, the history of economics and the social psychological effects of exposure to unemployment.
Darity has served as chair of the Department of African and African American Studies and was the founding director of the Research Network on Racial and Ethnic Inequality at Duke. Previously he served as director of the Institute of African American Research, director of the Moore Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program, director of the Undergraduate Honors Program in economics and director of Graduate Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Darity was a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation (2015-2016), a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (2011-2012) at Stanford, a fellow at the National Humanities Center (1989-90) and a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors (1984). He received the Samuel Z. Westerfield Award in 2012 from the National Economic Association, the organization's highest honor, Politico 50 recognition in 2017 and an award from Global Policy Solutions in 2017. He is former president of the National Economic Association and the Southern Economic Association. He has taught at Grinnell College, the University of Maryland at College Park, the University of Texas at Austin, Simmons College and Claremont-McKenna College.
Darity has served as editor-in-chief of the latest edition of the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, (Macmillan Reference, 2008) and as an associate editor of the 2006 edition of the Encyclopedia of Race and Racism (2013). His most recent book, coauthored with A. Kirsten Mullen, is From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st Century (2020). Previous books include For-Profit Universities: The Shifting Landscape of Marketized Education, coedited with Tressie McMillan Cottom (2010), Economics, Economists, and Expectations: Microfoundations to Macroapplications coauthored with Warren Young and Robert Leeson (2004) and Boundaries of Clan and Color: Transnational Comparisons of Inter-Group Disparity coedited with Ashwini Deshpande (2003). He has published or edited 13 books and published more than 300 articles in professional outlets.
Dr. Karen DeSalvo is the Chief Health Officer of Google Health. She is a physician and health care leader working at the intersection of medicine, public health and information technology. At Google Health, DeSalvo leads a team of health professionals who provide clinical guidance for the development of Google's research, products and services. She served as National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and Assistant Secretary for Health (Acting) in the Obama Administration. DeSalvo was New Orleans Health Commissioner following Hurricane Katrina. Throughout her career, she has inspired new generations of medical and public health professionals to approach health by addressing the physical, emotional and social needs of patients and communities.
Abigail Disney has worked for 30 years with programs for low-income families, women's rights and global poverty. She is an Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker and cofounder of Fork Films, which produces the weekly podcast All Ears, where host Disney interviews bold, solutions-oriented thinkers from the front lines of America's urgent inequality and race crises.
Disney was born and raised in the shadow of the Walt Disney Studio. In 1984, she moved to New York and quickly became involved in work benefitting low-income families. During her journey as an activist, Disney encountered the story that would become her first film, Pray the Devil Back to Hell, which was short-listed for the 2008 Academy Awards. Since then, she's made many documentaries and cofounded Level Forward, a multimedia company dedicated to supporting new creative voices. Her directorial debut, The Armor of Light, won an Emmy in 2017.
Through interdisciplinary collaborations and a wide-ranging array of methods -- from laboratory studies to novel field experiments -- Jennifer L. Eberhardt has revealed the startling, and often dispiriting, extent to which racial imagery and judgments shape actions and outcomes both in our criminal justice system and our neighborhoods, schools and workplaces. Her work highlights the negative impact that racial bias can have on us in these settings and provides clear direction on what we can do about it. Amid unprecedented inequality and growing polarization around the world, she is enlisting science in the fight for equal justice.
After receiving her PhD from Harvard University, Eberhardt joined the faculty at Yale University in the psychology and African and African American departments. She joined the Stanford faculty in 1998, where she is currently a professor of psychology and public policy and a faculty director of Stanford SPARQ , a university initiative to use social psychological research to address pressing social problems. Eberhardt has been named a MacArthur Fellow and one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers. She has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. She is the author of Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice that Shapes What We, See, Think, Do.
Tracy Edwards MBE gained international fame in 1990 as the skipper of the first all-female crew to sail around the world. The team raced in the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race. Her 58-foot yacht Maiden won two legs and came second overall in her class, the best result for a British boat since 1977 and unbeaten to this day. Edwards was awarded an MBE and became the first woman in its 34 year history to be awarded the Yachtsman of the Year Trophy. She paved the way for other women to follow. She published the book Maiden in 1990, and it became number one on The Times bestseller list for 19 weeks.
Following her success with Maiden, Edwards entered the Jules Verne Trophy in 1998, again with an all-female crew. This yachting trophy is for the fastest circumnavigation around the world with no stopping and no outside assistance. While on course to smash the record for more than half of their route, her team was thwarted when the mast snapped in treacherous seas off coast of Chile. During their attempt, Edwards and her team broke seven world records.
In 2014 Maiden was found rotting in the Seychelles. Edwards began raising funds in order to bring the yacht back to the UK. Thanks to the generous support of HRH Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, Maiden has been restored to her former glory. Now this iconic piece of British maritime history has embarked on a three-year world tour to raise funds for The Maiden Factor Foundation, a funding project that empower girls through education.
A broad thinker, Juan Enriquez bridges disciplines to build a coherent look ahead. He is the managing director of Excel Venture Management, a life sciences VC firm. He cofounded the company that made the world's first synthetic life form and seed funded a company that may allow portable brain reading.
Enriquez's book, RIGHT/WRONG: How Technology Transforms Our Ethics, shows why we should be a little less harsh in judging our peers and ancestors and more careful in being dead certain that what we do today will be regarded as ethical tomorrow. In 2015, he published Evolving Ourselves: How Unnatural Selection and Nonrandom Mutation Are Shaping Life on Earth with Steve Gullans. The book describes a world where humans increasingly shape their environment, themselves and other species.
Cynthia Erivo is a Tony, Emmy and Grammy Award-winning actress as well as an Academy Award, Golden Globe and SAG nominee. Erivo burst onto West End and Broadway stages in The Color Purple and has since taken the big screen by storm. In 2018, she made her film debut in two major films from 20th Century Fox: Drew Goddard's Bad Times at the El Royale and Steve McQueen's Widows.
Erivo recently starred in Kasi Lemmons' Harriet where she brought the legacy of Harriet Tubman to the big screen. Her performance was met with critical acclaim, garnering two Academy Award nominations, Golden Globe, SAG and multiple NAACP Award nominations as well as AAFCA and Society of Composers and Lyricists Award wins.
Erivo currently stars on the HBO series The Outsider, a series is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. She can soon be seen as Aretha Franklin in National Geographic's Emmy-winning global anthology series "Genius: Aretha." This upcoming season will be the first-ever, definitive and only authorized scripted limited series on the life of the universally acclaimed Queen of Soul.
Additional upcoming projects include Doug Liman's sci-fi thriller Chaos Walking and John Ridley's Needle in a Timestack. Erivo is set to executive produce and star in Warner Brothers' musical take on the American folk tale "Rip Van Winkle," as well as produce and star in the film adaptation of the QCode scripted thriller podcast, Carrier. Erivo will add to her producing credits the title of executive producer of the upcoming Quibi docuseries, WHAT WE KEEP.
Continuing to push the boundaries of her versatile career, Erivo stars in John Cameron Mitchell's music-driven podcast anthology, Anthem: Homunculus. In addition to her illustrious stage career, she is an accomplished performer with symphonies and music spaces including the Kennedy Center Honors, the 2020 Academy Awards, the 2017 Governor's Ball and the 2017 Grammy Awards. A UK native, she graduated from the famed Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 2010.
Nir Eyal, DPhil is the inaugural Henry Rutgers Professor of Bioethics at the School of Public Health and the Department of Philosophy at Rutgers University. He directs Rutgers's Center for Population-Level Bioethics. Eyal's work engages many bioethics challenges, including health care rationing in resource-poor settings, critical health worker shortages, personal responsibility for health and "nudging" for health promotion, disaster response and ethics in HIV- and emerging infection trials. He is a coauthor of a WHO report and has coedited multiple volumes and journal symposia. He also coedits the Oxford University Press series Population Level Bioethics.
Eyal came to Rutgers from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. Previously, he worked at Harvard Medical School and, earlier, was the Harold T. Shapiro Postdoctoral Fellow in Bioethics at Princeton University and a Postdoctoral Fellow in bioethics at the NIH. He holds a DPhil in Politics and International Relations from Oxford University, an MA in Philosophy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel and a BA in Philosophy and History from Tel-Aviv University.
Adeola Fayehun is a Nigerian journalist and political satirist who focuses on geopolitical, social and economic issues affecting Africans. She hosts a satirical news show on YouTube called Keeping It Real with Adeola, produced and published on the "Adeola Fayehun" YouTube channel. Previously, she worked for SaharaTV.
Fayehun gained notoriety in 2015 for her controversial street interview with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, during which she asked him when he would step down from office. In 2013, she interviewed former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on the streets of New York City and pressed him about his response to the Boko Haram insurgency.
Antonio Muñoz Fernández is the grandson of guitarist Antonio Fernández and son of flamenco singer Encarnación Fernández. He rounded off his education with such teachers as Manuel Cano and, very soon, developed a personal style grounded on a polished technique and on an intense and lively creativity. This took him to win the "Bordón Minero" prize in 1989, the highest award at the Mines' Singing International Festival. He is currently the official guitarist at this festival, and he alternates his work as a teacher at the Mines' Singing Foundation Flamenco Art School with performances at concert halls, auditoria as well as national and international theatres, both playing musical accompaniment to singing spectacles and giving concerts as a soloist with his musical group.
Fernández has accompanied flamenco singers like Rancapino, Enrique Morente, Carmen Linares, Manuel Cuevas, marina Heredia, Terremoto hijo, Miguel de Tena, Juan Pinilla, Rocío Márquez, María Toledo and Macanita. He has worked for important flamenco dancers like Nadia Márquez's and Juan Ogalla’s dancing group. His musical accompaniment to singing can be found in different recordings published by the Mines' Singing Festival. In addition, he has engaged in many national and international projects like flamenco concert guitarist. His album Azafrán was released in 2014, and he is currently composing songs for his second solo album.
As director of partnerships and community at Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), Rebecca Firth is growing the HOT community to over one million mappers. Firth first joined HOT as a volunteer working in digital and innovation consulting and creating events to engage thousands of mappers at a time. She holds a BA and MA in geography from the University of Cambridge, with a focus on international development.
Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, the son of public servants and the grandson and great-grandson of immigrants from Mexico and Eastern Europe, Mayor Eric Garcetti's life has been shaped by a deep commitment to the core values of justice, dignity and equality for all people.
Garcetti's leadership is making an extraordinary impact on the national and international stages: he rallied more than 400 mayors in cities across America to adopt the Paris Climate agreement after the Trump Administration pulled out of the pact. He led the first National Day of Action on Immigration and has put unprecedented local resources toward providing Dreamers and others with legal aid to fight deportation. He signed America's strongest earthquake retrofit law to protect thousands of people's lives from natural disaster. He also successfully led the bid to bring the 2028 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games to the United States for the first time in more than 30 years.
Garcetti has lived and worked in Europe, Asia and Africa and appointed Los Angeles' first Deputy Mayor for International Affairs to expand L.A.'s global ties and bring more jobs, economic opportunity, culture, education and visitors to the city.
Bill Gates is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 1975, he founded Microsoft with Paul Allen. A geek icon, tech visionary and business trailblazer, Gates led the company to become the worldwide leader in business and personal software and services. His new book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need, lays out the investments and innovations needed to reduce dangerous carbon emissions and secure an inhabitable future.
In 2008, Gates transitioned from his day-to-day role with Microsoft to focus full-time on his foundation's work to expand opportunity to the world's most disadvantaged people. Holding that all lives have equal value no matter where they're being lived, the foundation has donated staggering sums to HIV/AIDS programs, libraries, agriculture research and disaster relief -- and offered vital guidance and critical funding to programs in global health and US education.
Together with Warren Buffett and Melinda French Gates, Gates founded the Giving Pledge in 2010, an effort to encourage the wealthiest families and individuals to publicly commit more than half their wealth to philanthropic causes and charitable organizations either during their lifetime or in their will. In 2015, Gates founded Breakthrough Energy, where he’s putting his experience as an innovator and problem-solver to work to address climate change by supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs, big thinkers and clean technologies to help drive the policy, market and technological changes required for a clean energy transition.
Kristalina Georgieva became the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in October 2019. Before joining the IMF, she was CEO of the World Bank from January 2017 to September 2019 and served as interim president of the World Bank Group for three months.
Georgieva served as the European Commission vice president for Budget and Human Resources, overseeing the European Union's €161 billion (US $175 billion) budget and 33,000 staff members and working to address the Euro area debt crisis and the 2015 refugee crisis. As commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, she managed one of the world's largest humanitarian aid budgets.
Prior to joining the European Commission, Georgieva worked for 17 years at the World Bank, where she began as an environmental economist in 1993. In 2008, she became its vice president and corporate secretary, serving as the interlocutor between the World Bank Group's senior management, its board of directors and its shareholder countries. While at the World Bank, she held a number of other senior positions, including director for Sustainable Development, director for the Russian Federation in Moscow, director for Environment, and director for Environment and Social Development for the East Asia and Pacific Region.
Georgieva serves as cochair of the Global Commission on Adaptation to climate change and cochair of the United Nations Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing. She has authored and coauthored more than 100 publications on environmental and economic policy topics, including textbooks on macro- and microeconomics.
Born in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1953, Georgieva holds a PhD in economic science and a MA in political economy and sociology from the University of National and World Economy, Sofia, where she was an associate professor from 1977 to 1993. During her academic career, she was a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2010, she was named "European of the Year" and "Commissioner of the Year" by European Voice for her leadership in the EU's humanitarian response to crises.
Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has devoted himself to rebuilding Afghanistan. He advised Interim President Karzai and served as the Finance Minister in the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan until December 2004.
During his tenure as Finance Minister, Ghani designed a package of reforms and initiated several public investment programs that led to significant improvements in the livelihoods of ordinary Afghans across the country. He declined to join the newly elected government in December 2004, instead becoming Chancellor of Kabul University and remained an influential voice in political circles both in Afghanistan and abroad, advising other post conflict governments including those of Kosovo, Nepal, South Sudan and Haiti.
Based on his experiences, Ghani wrote the book Fixing Failed States, published in 2009. In 2010, he served in Kabul as the chairman of the Transition Coordination Commission (TCC), which was responsible for transferring authority from foreign to national troops. He resigned from TCC to run for president in October 2013. He was inaugurated as President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on September 29, 2014 and sworn in for his second term in office on March 9, 2020.
As President, Ghani has initiated reforms at various sectors namely economic, trade, banking; establishment of land and air corridors; building railways to spur trade; and revival of Lapis Lazuli and Chabahar routes in order to create the grounds for economic development for all stakeholder countries and to help the Afghan government achieve self-reliance. He established fundamental reforms to ensure social justice and political participation, particularly meaningful participation of Afghan women and youth in politics, as well as reforms in legal and justice, procurement and security institutions.
Ghani grew up in Afghanistan before pursuing his education abroad. As with so many Afghans, foreign invasion and civil war led to the persecution of his family and forced him to remain in exile. While abroad, he became a leading scholar of political science and anthropology, taught at Johns Hopkins University from 1983 to 1992 and worked at the World Bank where he learned the tools of international development.
Following the withdrawal of American and allied forces from Afghanistan in 2021, Ghani’s government and the Afghan National Army were overrun by Taliban forces, which seized control of the country and seat of government on August 15. Ghani fled the country and found refuge in the United Arab Emirates.
A writer and commentator, Bruno Giussani is the global curator of TED and the coorganizer and lead curator of TED's climate initiative, Countdown. He joined TED in 2005, and produced the first TEDGlobal conference that year in Oxford. For 12 years, he was the organization's European director and member of its senior team, curating and cohosting a number of events, curating hundreds of talks (including, famously, two by His Holiness Pope Francis) and participating in the definition and implementation of TED's international strategy.
Giussani is also the chairman of the annual Geneva International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH), the world's leading event of its kind, and an advisor to Science Gallery Venice and to other idea-sharing initiatives.
Prior to joining TED, Giussani was head of online strategy at the World Economic Forum, a senior adviser to the Atlantic Council, a JS Knight Fellow at Stanford University, and the cofounder of three internet companies.
Giussani's writings have been published in print and online outlets in Switzerland (where he lives) and across the world, including the New York Times (for which he wrote the Eurobytes column from 1996 to 2000). He has also authored and coauthored several books. In January 2016 he received the "SwissAward/Person of the year" prize.
Self-proclaimed "justice nerd" Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff devotes himself to understanding how people think and talk about racism in order to prevent racist behavior -- particularly in policing. A professor, mediator and translator, he helps communities and law enforcement understand each other and address problems that have felt unsolvable for centuries. He identifies the need to shift how we define racism: not as a defect of character, but rather a pattern of behaviors that are measurable and changeable.
Goff quickly became a national leader in the science of racial bias by pioneering scientific experiments that exposed how our minds learn to associate Blackness and crime implicitly -- often with deadly consequences. His work exposed the disturbingly robust finding that people in the U.S. overestimate the age of Black children, a cognitive error that predicts higher levels of police force against those children.
Goff is the president and cofounder of the Center for Policing Equity (CPE), a university research center that diagnoses the roots of disparate policing in order to eliminate them. The center is the world's largest research and action think tank on race and policing. CPE also boasts the world's largest collection of police behavioral data in the National Science Foundation-funded National Justice Database, which they have turned into a tool to reduce burdensome and inequitable policing through scientific analyses.
Goff received his AB from Harvard and PhD in psychology from Stanford. He has won two American Psychological Association early career awards, the Association for Psychological Science Rising Star award and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executive's Lloyd G. Sealy Award, among many others. He regularly appears on MSNBC, provides congressional testimony and was a panelist for President Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
Jane Goodall hasn't exactly found the missing link, but she's come closer than just about anyone else on Earth. Her extensive research into the behavior of chimpanzees, which started in Africa in the 1960s and continues today, fundamentally altered scientific thinking about the relationship between humans and other mammals.
Goodall, who founded a research institute in her name in 1977, is an internationally recognized authority on the primate world. She's written books for adults and children, contributed to documentaries and serves as a National Geographic explorer-in-residence, a United Nations peace messenger and the president of Advocates for Animals. For her efforts to observe and preserve all species, Goodall has received honors and accolades from governments, nonprofits, universities and professional organizations, including a medal from UNESCO and the French Legion of Honor in 2006.
Former Vice President Al Gore is the cofounder and chairman of Generation Investment Management, and the founder and chairman of The Climate Reality Project, a nonprofit devoted to solving the climate crisis. He is also a senior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and a member of Apple Inc.'s board of directors.
Gore was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1976, 1978, 1980, and 1982 and to the US Senate in 1984 and 1990. He was inaugurated as the 45th vice president of the United States on January 20, 1993, and served eight years.
Gore is the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers An Inconvenient Truth and The Assault on Reason, and the bestsellers Earth in the Balance, Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change and, most recently, the New York Times bestseller An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. He is the subject of the documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which won two Oscars in 2006, and a second documentary in 2017, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.
In 2007, Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for "informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change."
At age 22, Amanda Gorman is heralded as "the next great figure in American poetry." Born and raised in Los Angeles, she is a graduate of Harvard University and was at the top of her class studying sociology. Since publishing a poetry collection at age 16, her writing won her invitations to the Obama White House and to perform for Lin-Manuel Miranda, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, Malala Yousafzai and others. In 2017, she was named the first ever National Youth Poet Laureate in the United States. She has performed 4th of July and Thanksgiving poems for CBS, and she has spoken at events and venues across the country, including the Library of Congress and Lincoln Center. She was chosen to read at the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, becoming the youngest inaugural poet in history.
Gorman has received a Genius Grant from OZY Media as well as recognition from Scholastic Inc., YoungArts, Glamour magazine College Women of the Year Awards and the Webby Awards. She currently writes for the New York Times newsletter The Edit and recently signed a two-book deal with Viking. She traveled to Slovenia with Prada as a reporter on the company's latest sustainability project and penned the manifesto for Nike's 2020 Black History Month campaign. She is the youngest board member of 826 National, the largest youth writing network in the United States.
Mary L. Gray is the coauthor of Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley from Building a New Global Underclass, a Financial Times critics' pick in 2019. She is senior principal researcher at Microsoft Research as well as a 2019-20 E.J. Safra Center for Ethics Fellow and Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society Faculty Affiliate at Harvard University. An anthropologist and media scholar by training, Gray focuses on how everyday uses of technologies transform people's lives. Her other books include In Your Face: Stories from the Lives of Queer Youth, Queering the Countryside: New Directions in Rural Queer Studies and Out in the Country: Youth, Media, and Queer Visibility in Rural America, which explore how young people in rural Appalachia use the internet to craft their identities and build connections to both local and distant queer communities.
Gray is chair of the Microsoft Research Ethics Review Program -- the only federally registered review board of its kind in the tech industry -- and is a leading expert in the emerging field of AI and ethics, particularly the intersections of computer and social sciences. She holds a faculty post in the School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering with affiliations in Anthropology and Gender Studies at Indiana University. She sits on the editorial boards of Cultural Anthropology, Television and New Media, the International Journal of Communication and Social Media + Society. Additionally, she currently sits on the California Governor's Council of Economic Advisors and serves on several boards, including Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R) and Stanford University's One-Hundred-Year Study on Artificial Intelligence (AI100) Standing Committee, commissioned to reflect on the future of AI and recommend directions for its policy implications.
Michelle Greene has spent her career working at the intersection of the corporate, social and government sectors to make capitalism more inclusive and stakeholder-focused. She is the president of the Long-Term Stock Exchange (LTSE), a new SEC-approved public market. Greene served at the US Department of the Treasury under two Administrations, including working on the government response to the 2008 financial crisis. More recently, as global head of corporate responsibility at the New York Stock Exchange, her work with dozens of leading corporations on their sustainability and ESG efforts convinced her that we need to change public markets in order to change capitalism.
Greene has identified time horizon and stakeholder alignment as keys to transforming the way that corporations show up in the world. LTSE is creating a new public market that puts long-term value creation, including stakeholder engagement, at its core. Greene is an adjunct professor at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and an A.B. from Dartmouth College.
Marine biologist, ocean explorer and professor David Gruber provides a wealth of new insights into a secret "language" of the shining colors and sounds that help many marine creatures communicate, interact and avoid enemies. His interdisciplinary research builds bridges between marine biology, biophysics, climate science and animal communication while his inventions deploy groundbreaking technology to help humans view the underwater world from the perspective of those who call it home.
Gruber recently assembled the scientific team for Project CETI, a nonprofit organization and 2020 Audacious Project that is applying advanced machine learning and non-invasive robotics to listen to and translate the communication of whales.
Corey Hajim has spent her career both working in and writing about business. As TED's business curator, Hajim seeks ideas from industry leaders, entrepreneurs, economists and teachers of the trade, ultimately helping speakers shape and share their ideas with the TED audience.
Prior to TED, Hajim spent a decade in finance, most recently as a portfolio manager and analyst at a hedge fund based in New York, focused on consumer, media and technology equities. Hajim also spent three years as a reporter at Fortune Magazine and her early career working in marketing and project management. She is a graduate of the University of Vermont and earned her MBA at Harvard Business School, where she co-authored case studies with two professors and ran the weekly newspaper, The Harbus.
Hajim lives in New York City with her husband, three sons, two cats and about a million Lego pieces. Her interests include eating hot food while sitting down, sleeping without interruption and reading books in a cozy chair. Also travel, dance and writing letters.
Curator Honor Harger, originally from New Zealand, serves as executive director for ArtScience Museum in Singapore. Since she joined, the museum has held large-scale exhibitions by some of the world's best known artists, including Leonardo da Vinci, Salvador Dalí and M.C. Escher, and presented significant exhibitions that explore aspects of science including big data, particle physics, natural history, marine biology, cosmology and space exploration.
Before joining ArtScience Museum, Harger was the director of Lighthouse, a digital arts venue in Brighton, UK. In 2010, she was guest curator of the transmediale festival in Berlin, and from 2004 to 2008, she was director of the AV Festival, then the UK's largest biennial of digital art, film and music. She was the first curator of webcasting for Tate, where she also curated events and concerts at Tate Modern. Harger is one of the cofounders of the sound art collective, r a d i o q u a l i a. One of their main projects was Radio Astronomy, a radio station broadcasting sound from space.
Ethan Hawke is a four-time Academy Award-nominated actor, writer and director whose career spans three decades. His prolific filmography includes Dead Poets Society; Reality Bites; Gattaca; Training Day (Academy Award and SAG nominations); Before the Devil Knows You're Dead; Boyhood (Academy Award, Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA nominations); Born to Be Blue; Maudie; Richard Linklater's trilogy Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight, for which he received two Academy Award nominations as coscreenwriter; and 2018's First Reformed, for which he won Best Actor prizes from the Independent Spirit Awards, the New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association and Gotham Awards.
In 2014, Hawke made his documentary filmmaking debut with Seymour: An Introduction, based on the legendary pianist and piano teacher Seymour Bernstein. He most recently directed, cowrote and produced the music biopic, Blaze, inspired by the life of Blaze Foley, released by IFC Films in 2018.
Hawke is also a Tony-nominated stage actor and appeared on Broadway five times, including the acclaimed revival of Sam Shepard's True West; Tom Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia; the title role in Macbeth; Henry IV; and The Seagull. He has appeared off-Broadway and regionally at BAM in The Cherry Orchard and The Winter's Tale and in Buried Child at Steppenwolf, among many others.
Hawke will make his television debut with the Showtime eight-part series The Good Lord Bird, based on the National Book Award-winning novel by James McBride, which he also cowrote and executive-produced. On screen, he will next be seen in Hirokazu Kore-eda's The Truth starring Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche, released by IFC.
In addition to his acting career, Hawke has published several novels, including Ash Wednesday, The Hottest State, a graphic novel entitled Indeh: A Story of the Apache Wars and a young adult novel Rules for a Knight, with more on the way.
Dr. Mandë Holford is an Associate Professor in Chemistry and Biochemistry at Hunter College and CUNY-Graduate Center, with scientific appointments at The American Museum of Natural History and Weill Cornell Medicine. Her interdisciplinary research, which ranges from mollusks to medicine, combine chemistry and biology to discover, characterize and deliver novel peptides from venomous marine snails for manipulating cellular physiology. Her laboratory investigates the power of venom to transform organisms and to transform lives when adapted to create new therapeutics for treating human diseases and disorders. Holford's research program is global, interdisciplinary and collaborative with impacts ranging from evolution and molecular systematics to nanotechnology, biomedicine and drug discovery.
Holford is actively involved in science education, advancing the public understanding of science and science diplomacy. She cofounded Killer Snails, LLC, an EdTech XR learning games company that inspires a love of science. The mission of Killer Snails is to bring science out of the lab and into the hands of learners globally. In the past three years, the company created award-winning games that include three tabletop games (Assassins of the Sea, Biome Builder and Funded), two digital games (Assassins of the Sea 2.0), one augmented reality experience (Killer Snails All Around), one virtual reality experience (Scuba Adventure: Philippines) and one hybrid digital/virtual reality experience (BioDive) with partners such as the American Museum of Natural History, the New York Hall of Science and Google. Holford has also developed several science education programs at informal science venues such as The American Museum of Natural History and the Utah Museum of Natural History.
Holford is also active in science and technology policy issues related to biodiversity, oceans and women. She codeveloped the first short course on Science Diplomacy offered at CUNY Graduate Center, The Rockefeller University and Hunter College. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a former World Economic Forum Global Council fellow, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) Global Science Diplomacy Roundtable and Planning Committee and an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow.
Holford has received several awards, including being named a New Champion Young Scientist and a 2020 Sustainability Pioneer by the World Economic Forum, the prestigious Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, an NSF CAREER Award, named a "Breakthrough Women in Science" by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and NPR's Science Friday, and she was recently named a Wings WorldQuest Women of Discovery Fellow and a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences. She received her PhD in Synthetic Protein Chemistry from The Rockefeller University.
Daniel Alexander Jones exemplifies the artist as energy worker. His body of original work includes plays, performance pieces, recorded music, concerts, music theatre events, essays and long-form improvisations. Energy is his medium. He creates multi-dimensional experiences where bodies, minds, emotions, voices and spirits conjoin, shimmer and heal.
Jones's numerous plays and performance pieces include Black Light (Public Theater, Greenwich House Theatre); Duat (Soho Rep); An Integrator's Manual (La MaMa, etc. and Fusebox Festival); and Radiate (Soho Rep and National Tour). He has recorded five albums of original songs as his alter ego, Jomama Jones. He is recognized as a key voice in the development of theatrical jazz and has made a significant contribution to Black experimental theatre and performance. He is currently developing Altar no. 5, a commission of the Public Theater developed in partnership with New York Live Arts.
Jones creates his own distinctive dramaturgy. His roots reach deep into Black American and queer performance traditions, and his work explores ideas of the Afromystical (awakening awareness of the numinous in the everyday through ritualized performance). Over more than two decades of professional practice, Jones has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to civic healing through vulnerable presence, truth telling and collective critical engagement.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason was greeted with universal acclaim in May 2018 after performing at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Winner of the 2016 BBC Young Musician competition, he performs in major orchestras and concert halls worldwide. He plays an Antonius and Hieronymus Amati cello (circa 1610) on loan from a private collection.
Kanneh-Mason is currently a full-time ABRSM Scholarship student at the Royal Academy of Music. He began learning the cello at the age of six and then studied at the Junior Department of the Royal Academy of Music, where he held the ABRSM Junior Scholarship. A keen chamber musician, he performs with his sister, Isata, and brother, Braimah, as a member of the Kanneh-Mason Trio. He was appointed a member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2020 New Year's Honors list.
From 2018 to 2019, Kanneh-Mason was a "young artist in residence" at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, taking part in the orchestra's education program and performing in Liverpool. He is passionate about making classical music accessible to all and is an ambassador for music education charities London Music Masters and Future Talent.
Isata Kanneh-Mason's debut album, Romance, drew popular and critical acclaim, entering the UK classical charts at #1 when it was released in July 2019. Gramophone magazine hailed the recording as "one of the most charming and engaging debuts," and Classic FM praised Kanneh-Mason as "a player of considerable talent." Kanneh-Mason recorded the album as an homage to composer and pianist Clara Schumann in the year of what would have been her 200th birthday, selecting works from across Schumann's compositional output, including solo piano pieces, a sonata, chamber music and a piano concerto.
While continuing her postgraduate studies as a Gwendolyn Reiche scholar at London's Royal Academy of Music, Kanneh-Mason has embarked on a successful concert career as a solo artist, with concerto appearances, solo recitals and chamber concerts throughout the UK and abroad, including a return to King's Place in solo recital and a debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall. She also performs with her siblings, including regular duo recitals with her brother, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason.
Kanneh-Mason reached her category final in the 2014 BBC Young Musician competition, winning the Walter Todds Bursary for the most promising musician. She completed her undergraduate degree at the Academy as an Elton John scholar and performed with Sir Elton in 2013 in Los Angeles.
Titus Kaphar is an artist whose paintings, sculptures and installations examine the history of representation by transforming styles and mediums with formal innovations to emphasize the physicality and dimensionality of the canvas and materials themselves. His practice seeks to dislodge history from its status as the "past" in order to unearth its contemporary relevance. Kaphar received an MFA from the Yale School of Art and is a distinguished recipient of numerous prizes and awards including a 2018 MacArthur Fellowship, a 2018 Art for Justice Fund grant, a 2016 Robert R. Rauschenberg Artist as Activist grant and a 2015 Creative Capital grant. Forthcoming exhibitions include: From a tropical space at Gagosian gallery, NY, Fall 2020 and Titus Kaphar: New works at an undisclosed location in Brussels, Belgium, October 2020.
Kaphar's commitment to social engagement has led him to move beyond traditional modes of artistic expression to establish NXTHVN, an arts incubator and residency program based in New Haven, Connecticut. Through intergenerational mentorship, professional development and cross-sector collaboration, NXTHVN connects early-career artists and creative professionals with the resources and networks vital to their success. NXTHVN provides an alternative model of professional development and mentorship in the arts and encourages artists, art professionals and local entrepreneurs to expand New Haven's growing creative community. For more information on how to support the next generation of Black and brown artists and curators, check out NXTHVN's website.
Ali Kashani is an engineer, tinkerer and entrepreneur. He explores the intersection of design and AI to create everyday solutions for everyday problems. He is the cofounder and chief executive of the Uber spin-off, Serve Robotics, where he ponders how to solve one of the biggest dilemmas in food delivery: Why move two-pound burritos with two-ton cars? The solution is Serve, an award-winning, polite and friendly robot that's designed to delight bystanders as it navigates urban obstacles to deliver food and supplies to customers.
Neal Katyal runs one of the largest Supreme Court practices in the world at Hogan Lovells, LLP, where he occupies the role formerly held by now-Chief Justice John Roberts. He has argued more than 40 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States and served as lead counsel in hundreds of cases. His first Supreme Court argument (at the age of 36) about Guantanamo Bay ended the military tribunals there and required the Geneva Conventions to apply to the War on Terror, ending waterboarding and ghost prisons around the globe. Most recently, he argued against the "Muslim ban" case on behalf of the State of Hawaii and will return to the Supreme Court lectern to argue the landmark LGBT rights case about foster parents, City of Philadelphia v. Fulton.
Katyal has argued more Supreme Court cases than any other minority attorney in US history. He serves as the Paul and Patricia Saunders Professor at Georgetown Law Center and, in past years, he was a visiting professor at Harvard and Yale Law Schools. He has published dozens of scholarly articles in law journals as well as op-ed articles in the New York Times and Washington Post. He has appeared on TV with Stephen Colbert and on Netflix's House of Cards, where he played himself.
Dr. Ibram X. Kendi is a New York Times bestselling author and director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. He is an ideas columnist at The Atlantic and a correspondent with CBS News. He is the author of four books including Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won National Book Award for nonfiction, and the New York Times bestsellers How to Be an Antiracist and STAMPED: Racism, Antiracism, and You, coauthored with Jason Reynolds. His most recent book, Antiracist Baby, is a children's book about building a more equitable world.
Kendi will join Boston University's faculty on July 1, 2020 and launch the BU Center for Antiracist Research.
Dr. Jerome Kim's depth and breadth of scientific experience spans basic research through advanced clinical development. Before becoming director general of the International Vaccine Institute, Kim was principal deputy and chief of Laboratory of Molecular Virology and Pathogenesis in the US Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) and also served as the project manager for the HIV Vaccines and Advanced Concepts Evaluation Project Management Offices, US Army Medical Materiel Development Activity, Fort Detrick, Maryland. He led the Army's Phase III HIV vaccine trial (RV144), which was the first demonstration that an HIV vaccine could protect against infection, as well as subsequent studies that identified laboratory correlates and HIV sequence changes associated with vaccination.
Kim's research interests include HIV molecular epidemiology, host genetics and HIV vaccine development. He has authored more than 250 publications and received the John Maher Award for Research Excellence from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in 2013. Kim is also an adjunct professor of medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the Infectious Diseases Society of America. He is a graduate of the University of Hawaii, with high honors in History and highest honors in Biology, and received his MD from Yale University School of Medicine.
Dr. Bernice Albertine King is the youngest daughter to the late civil rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King. She was five years old when her father was assassinated in 1968. King answered the call to ministry at the age of seventeen when she gave an address advocating against the South African apartheid to the United Nations General Assembly in New York. In 1985 and again in 1986, she was arrested with her siblings while protesting against apartheid. In 1988, she gave her trial sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church where both her father and grandfather served as pastors.
In 1990, King was ordained into the ministry, and she serves at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia. She has coordinates women and family conferences as well as nonviolent conflict resolution conferences for college and university students. She has also led a class on race relations at Mississippi College in Jackson, Mississippi and taught a leadership development class. She is cofounder of Active Ministers Engaged in Nurturing (AMEN) and the chair of the national advisory committee on National King Week College and University Student Conference on Kingian Nonviolence.
King served as a law clerk in the Fulton County Juvenile Court system under Judge Glenda Hatchett, Georgia's first African American chief presiding justice of a state court and department head of one of the largest juvenile court systems in the country. She also served as a rehabilitation-outreach coordinator and counseled teens through the juvenile court system. She became a member of the State Bar of Georgia in 1992.
King is the author of Hard Questions, Heart Answers: Sermons and Speeches. She holds a degree in psychology from Spelman College. In 1990, she was the first official graduate of a joint degree receiving her masters of Divinity and J.D. degrees from Emory Candler School of Theology and Emory University Law School. She has also received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity degree from Wesley College.
After more than 10 years as a professional musician, pop-soul singer Emily King left her native New York City and moved upstate, where she built a studio and recorded her 2019 album Scenery. She was nominated for a Grammy for her debut LP, self-released a follow-up album that included the smash hit "Distance" and has completed several world tours and TV appearances. She has also toured supporting artists such as the Alabama Shakes, Sara Bareilles, Maroon 5 and John Legend.
King grew up in a household dominated by music. The daughter of a singing jazz duo and sister to a multi-talented musician, she learned the trade at home, forgoing formal training, and often accompanied her parents on tour. She still holds onto her jazz and urban roots while challenging herself to tap into new reserves of self confidence, challenges and adventures.
Sally Kohn has a powerful vision for a more united United States. She's an activist, writer and author of The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide To Repairing Our Humanity. She is also on the USA Today Board of Contributors and has been a regular contributor on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.
A progressive lesbian, Kohn has sparred with some of the most conservative minds on television and sifted through tons of hate mail each day. But she deeply believes in finding our common humanity amidst our political and cultural differences -- the only way any of us can hope to learn, grow and change.
Abena Koomson-Davis originated the role of Fela's mother in the Off-Broadway musical FELA! and reprised her role in the Broadway production which earned three TONY awards. She has performed with Stevie Wonder, Carly Simon, Angelique Kidjo and many other luminaries. For over 15 years, she has been the lead vocalist of the funk rock band Van Davis. She is also the musical director for the Resistance Revival Chorus; her song "Joy in Resistance" is featured on their debut album, This Joy.
Koomson-Davis currently serves as Ethics Chair of the middle school division at Ethical Culture Fieldston School, where she teaches ethics and social justice to middle and upper school students. She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College where she earned a B.A. in Liberal Arts, and also of Teachers College, Columbia University where she earned a Masters in Education Leadership.
With a lifelong interest in the physical manifestations of intelligence, Michael Levin bridges two worlds: biology and computer science. Seeking to understand how cells build and repair complex bodies, he earned his PhD in genetics for illuminating the bioelectrical language that all cells -- not just neurons -- use to coordinate their activities.
In 2016, Levin focused on cracking the morphogenetic code: controlling biological shape by manipulating the bioelectrical software that runs on genome-specified cellular hardware. His group works to understand computation in cells and tissues. In 2021, Levin and his collaborators published "A cellular platform for the development of synthetic living machines," which details the generation of xenobots -- the first-ever biological robots -- and the various practical applications of writable molecular memory.
Martin and Facundo Lombard are world-renowned actors, dancers and directors born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They gained international recognition for playing the Santiago Twins in Step Up movie franchise. They started dancing at the age of seven, inspired by Michael Jackson. They made their debut at the age of 13 on Argentina's most popular TV show "Rhythm Of The Night." Their passions have led to dedicated time to study acting and filmmaking as well as classical music.
The Lombard Twins met James Brown during a concert and were called up to the stage to dance. In awe of their talent, Mr. Brown dubbed them "The Soul Boys." At the age of 21, they moved to New York City to pursue a career in theater and film. They have done several more performances with James Brown and Mambo King Tito Puente and participated in a music video with Whitney Houston and George Michael. Over the course of their career, they have been featured in Vogue magazine and in ad campaigns for Versus/Versace photographed by Steven Meisel. They have also appeared on the cover of several other dance magazines.
The Lombard Twins wrote, directed, produced and composed "Dreamers," their first full length show. Other productions include the dance concert "Lombard Plays Piazzolla" with its world premiere at New York City Center and on NBC's Rosie O'Donnell "Rosie Live" show. Several of the films they wrote, produced, directed and starred in including Infancia 34, Free Expression, Sublevados, Chant Et Fugue, Escualo and Persecuta have been screened in prestigious film festivals worldwide including Woodstock Film Festival, Dances With Films and LA Shorts Fest.
The Lombard Twins performed at Michael Jackson's induction into the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, New York. They also appeared in the films Los Marziano, To Redemption, the promotional trailer of Men In Black 3, alongside Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, and cowrote and starred in Enrique Bunbury's music video "Cuna de Cain." They also developed "Free Expression," a distinctive dance form that focuses on individual emotion and expression. It transcends traditions and attitudes of many established dance techniques of today. Martin and Facundo Lombard reside in Los Angeles, California.
Philip Lubin is a professor of physics at UC Santa Barbara and director of the UCSB Experimental Cosmology Laboratory. His research primarily focuses on the early universe, studying the millimeter wavelengths bands and applications of directed energy for planetary defense and relativistic propulsion. His group designed, developed and fielded more than two dozen ground-based and balloon-borne missions and helped develop two major cosmology satellites.
Lubin's group first detected the horizon scale fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background from both their South Pole and balloon-borne systems in 1991, and their latest results, along with an international teams of ESA and NASA researchers, are from the Planck cosmology mission, which mapped the structures of the early universe in detail. His group has worked on applications of directed energy systems for both small-scale single launcher solutions and large standoff systems for planetary defense and on applications to allow small interstellar probes.
Lubin is co-recipient of the 2006 Gruber Prize in Cosmology along with the COBE science team for their groundbreaking work in cosmology as well as the 2018 Gruber Prize in Cosmology along with the Planck science team for their determination of fundamental cosmological parameters. He has published more than 450 papers.
Every Lucius song is an act of enchantment, a spell cast by the indelibly harmonized voices of Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig. Onstage, the performance becomes an invitation to witness to their transformation; dance between two individuals becomes one voice, one vision, drenched in glitter and bound by psychic symmetry. While the effect of this spectacle is hypnotic and gloriously strange, the songwriting continues to be the hand that reaches out from behind the curtain to hold the audience.
Nudes, a collection of acoustically driven songs showcasing their otherworldly harmonies, is the latest output from a collaboration first formed when Wolfe and Laessig met at Boston's Berklee College of Music. After graduating, the duo moved to Brooklyn and made their home in a Victorian mansion found on Craigslist, rounding out the Lucius lineup with Molad and Lalish and making their debut with 2013's Wildewoman. Their sophomore album Good Grief arrived in 2016, encompassing everything from glitzy rhythmic pop to songs channeling the charm and crushed innocence of '60s girl groups. Landing on various best-of-the-year lists, Good Grief also attains a certain transcendent vulnerability. "Some songs really feel like an expulsion of emotions, beyond your control," notes Laessig. Adds Wolfe: "In a way we've exposed ourselves to reveal parts that are fragile, maybe even a little broken, but not destroyed. There's certainly a little bit of humor, and there's also a lot of truth and sadness."
Now residing in Los Angeles, the band has built an extraordinarily loyal following through the years, as proven by the Lucius doppelgängers who often populate the crowds at their shows. At the same time they've earned the feverish adoration of their fellow musicians, with Wolfe and Laessig lending their vocals to albums by artists as eclectic as Nathaniel Rateliff, Sheryl Crow, Harry Styles, John Legend and most recently, Ozzy Osborne.
Aaron Maniam is a curious generalist -- a civil servant by profession, a poet by calling, an educator and diversity facilitator by choice and all by passion. As the first head of the Centre for Strategic Futures (2010-2011), he and his team analysed long-term trends at multiple levels and their significance for Singapore. In his current role as deputy secretary at the Ministry of Communications and Information, he coordinates policy on various aspects of digitalisation, including digital transformation of the economy; regulation of telcos, data, AI and other digital infrastructure; digital inclusion and access in social policy; and digital diplomacy.
Maniam is completing a PhD comparing the digital transformation efforts by the governments of Estonia, New Zealand and Singapore. He is working on his third collection of poems. Amid the many challenges, he has been grateful for global safe distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, as a chance to write, exercise more and get reacquainted with meditation and yoga.
Shantell Martin's explorations of intersectionality, identity, connection and artistic accessibility break the barriers between artist and audience. During her two-year tenure as an MIT Media Lab Visiting Scholar, she created a large-scale wall installation to explore how visual and computerized storytelling might influence media and technology innovation.
Using drawing as a foundation, Martin creates sketches, large-scale murals, live drawings and collaborations with artists and institutions including Kendrick Lamar, the New York City Ballet and Puma. Her solo exhibition NEW/NOW opens at the New Britain Museum of Art in 2020.
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). She 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.
Mazzucato's 2013 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 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, is on The Bloomberg 50 list of "Ones to Watch" for 2019 and on the "Wired25" list.
Marcelo Mena is a scientist and professor turned activist and policymaker. He is the director of the Climate Action Center at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV) and the Chile Office of the Global Center on Adaptation. Previously he was the practice manager in climate research at the World Bank and the former vice minister and minister of the environment for Chile under President Bachelet from 2014 to 2018. He spearheaded multiple environmental initiatives such as taxes on new car sales and power generation based on local and global air pollution -- the first of their kinds globally. He helped craft a landmark agreement to phase out coal power generation, create 45 thousand square kilometers of national parks, protect 1.3 million square kilometers of ocean and institute the first national plastic bag ban in the Americas.
At the World Bank, Mena helped create the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action, which includes 53 ministers that manage 2.9 trillion dollars a year in national budgets, or 10 percent of global GDP, contributed to the Action Plan on Climate Change Adaption and Resilience and helped design of the new phase of NDC Support Facility.
Mena earned his PhD in environmental engineering, focusing his research on estimating the externalities of biofuels, power generation, transportation and residential heating. He used his research to advocate for renewable energy and push for more stringent regulations to stop dirty coal power generation in Chile. In his career, he has received awards from UNEP, National Geographic, Oceans Unite, NASA and EPA as well as fellowships from MIT and the Fulbright Commission.
Hiro Mizuno is a Japanese financial executive and former executive management director and CIO of Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) of Japan where he managed USD 1.5 trillion assets between Jan 2015 and March 2020. At GPIF, he promoted and developed environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment for long-term and sustainable capital markets by establishing ESG related indices and green bond partnership initiatives. He also worked to promote the task force for climate-related financial disclosures (TCFD) enhancement by Paris Agreement of UNFCCC as an integral part of ESG initiatives.
Prior to joining GPIF, Mizuno was a partner of Coller Capital, a London-based private equity firm. He previously worked at Sumitomo Trust and Banking Co., Ltd. in Japan, Silicon Valley and New York.
Mizuno promotes long term investment in the following capacities: he is a member of the board of Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Association; a World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Future Council member; special adviser of Milken Institute's; CFA Institute Future of Finance Advisory Council member; One Planet Lab TCFD Work Stream cochair; a leader of The B Team; member of Global Business Coalition for Education Advisory board; and Guardian of the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism at Vatican.
Mizuno advises Japanese governments in several capacities, including special advisor to Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI); Green Innovation and Finance Advisor; TCFD Summit Ambassador; executive adviser to Japanese Cabinet on Healthcare and Medical Growth Strategy; member of Japanese Government Strategic Funds Integrated Advisory Board; and member for Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology-Japan National Universities Evaluation Committee.
Mizuno's engagements in academics include: advisor of Office of the President of the University of Tokyo and a guest professor at Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine; guest professor of Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine; executive in residence and Global Leadership Council member of Said Business School, Oxford University; executive fellow of Harvard Business School; visiting fellow of Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge; senior fellow of Tel Aviv University Graduate School of Management; member of the International Executive Committee for the Einstein Legacy Project at Hebrew University.
Joia Mukherjee MD, MPH is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and chief medical officer of Partners In Health (PIH), an international medical charity that works to provide a preferential health care option for the poor. She is an internist, a pediatrician, an infectious disease doctor and public health specialist.
Mukherjee supports PIH's efforts to provide high-quality, comprehensive health care to the poor in partnership with local communities and health officials in Haiti, Rwanda, Lesotho, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Peru, Mexico, Russia, Kazakhstan and the Navajo Nation. Her clinical focus includes HIV, multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, mental health, ebola and human resources for health and health systems strengthening.
Mukherjee collaborates with Harvard's Global Health Delivery Project and teaches social medicine, infectious disease and human rights to medical students, residents and fellows at a wide variety of US and international institutions. She helped create a new residency and fellowship training program for Rwandan and Haitian physicians and global health residencies and fellowships for US trainees at Harvard and other American universities.
Jacqueline Novogratz writes: "I want to build a movement in which we define success based on the amount of human energy we release in the world.
"I started my career on Wall Street and soon discovered that markets are efficient, but by themselves they too often overlook or exploit the poor. So I moved to Rwanda in 1986 to help found the country's first micro-finance bank. There I saw the humanitarian ethos of philanthropy, and also how often top-down solutions too often create dependency, the opposite of dignity. Through 30 years of working on solutions to poverty, I have come to redefine it for myself, seeing it not as how much income a person earns, but how free they are to make their own choices and decisions, how much agency they have over their own lives.
"Acumen was founded to change the way the world tackles poverty in 2001. Our mission was simple -- to raise philanthropy and invest it as patient capital -- long-term investment in intrepid entrepreneurs willing to go where markets and government had failed the poor. We enable companies to experiment and fail, never wavering from a commitment to stand with the poor, yet understanding that profitability is necessary for sustainable solutions. We've invested more than $110M across South Asia, Africa, Latin America and the US, and have seen entire sectors disrupted and hundreds of millions served.
"The work also taught that it was critical to invest in talent. To date, we've supported nearly 400 Acumen Fellows across lines of race, class, ethnicity, religion and ideology. They are a beautiful group, full of vision and grit, and a determination to do what is right, not easy. The group itself enables individual leaders to endure the loneliness that is part of the work.
"And then we measure what matters rather than just what we can count. Take this all together and you see our mission to do what it takes to build a world in which all of us have the chance to dream and to flourish, not from a place of easy sentimentality but through a commitment to using the tools of capitalism and the attributes of moral leadership to focus on doing what it takes, and no less."
Kwame Owusu-Kesse is chief executive officer of Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ). He grew up against a backdrop of poverty, single parenthood and family struggles but was fortunate to have opportunities as a young boy to receive a high-quality education and reach his academic potential. He went on to get his bachelor's degree in Economics from Harvard University and then begin his career at Morgan Stanley as an analyst. During his third year with the bank, he was chosen for an externship at HCZ. After completing this externship, he returned to Harvard to receive a master's in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School and a master's in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.
As CEO of Harlem Children's Zone, Owusu-Kesse oversees HCZ's comprehensive programming, ranging from life-shaping early development and education programs to community health and wellness and outreach initiatives. He is also responsible for leading the implementation of a multifaceted five-year strategic plan that leverages HCZ's program data to refine its strategies; pursue innovative solutions to further improve participant outcomes; create efficiencies to reduce costs without reducing effectiveness; and improve operations and procedures in several key areas.
Since 2015, Anne Pasternak has served as the Shelby White and Leon Levy Director of the Brooklyn Museum, one of the oldest and largest fine arts institutions in the nation. As a staunch advocate for the civic and democratic roles our cultural and educational institutions can play, she is committed to projects that demonstrate the crucial links between art and social justice.
During her time at the Brooklyn Museum, Pasternak has focused on strengthening the museum as a center for the visual arts that is courageous, pioneering and global. Through her leadership, she has expanded exhibitions, educational and public programs, and fostered special exhibitions, including The Legacy of Lynching: Confronting Racial Terror in America; We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85; Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern; David Bowie is; Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power; and Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving. These initiatives build the foundations for the Brooklyn Museum's new strategic plan to further the museum's mission to create inspiring encounters with art and engage the audiences the issues of today.
Prior to joining the Brooklyn Museum, Pasternak served as the president and artistic director of Creative Time for two decades, where she initiated projects that gave artists opportunities to respond to political and environmental challenges, while also expanding their practice and work globally. She collaborated with hundreds of artists, including Nick Cave, Paul Chan, Jenny Holzer and Kara Walker, commissioning and presenting works that ranged from sculptural installations in Grand Central Station's Vanderbilt Hall to skywriting over Manhattan, as well as Tribute in Light, the twin beacons of light that illuminated the sky above the former World Trade Center site, and continue to be presented on the anniversaries of 9/11.
Journalist, conference creator and curator, Chee Pearlman has been a vital voice in the world of design. After a legendary stint as editor-in-chief of I.D. Magazine and then as director of Chee Company, a New York-based editorial and design consultancy, she is currently the design curator at TED. She was a 2011 Harvard Loeb Fellow and the curator of the acclaimed 2016 exhibition "Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History."
With David Rockwell, Pearlman was cocurator of the TED2012 session "The Design Studio."
Andrew Pelling is a lifelong scientist, full professor at the University of Ottawa and founder of multiple start-up companies. His highly experimental Pelling Lab for Augmented Biology has trailblazed by developing speculative living technologies of the future with the potential to redefine the limits of biology and medicine. The Lab is well known for its discovery that plants can be harnessed to create medical-grade biomaterials for engineering and regenerating human tissues. Pelling's work in this area gained considerable international recognition after delivering his first TED Talk on growing human ears out of apples. To date, the Pelling Lab has spun out four companies in the technology, biotechnology and medical fields, translating their discoveries into real-world products and solutions.
Pelling also serves as cofounder and chief scientific officer of Spiderwort, a company translating the fundamental discoveries from his Lab in the area of plant-based biomaterials. As CSO, he leads Spiderwort's research program, which addresses a variety of tissue engineering applications and unmet medical needs. He also plays a key role in guiding the translation of Spiderwort'a products through the clinical and regulatory landscapes.
As an award-winning scientist, Pelling has published his research in some of the world's most prestigious journals and has been well recognized by his peers. He is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, Member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada and a Canada Research Chair. He has delivered hundreds of keynotes and served in a variety of advisory roles for community, industry and government organizations.
Prior to joining TED as current affairs curator, Whitney Pennington Rodgers produced for NBC's primetime news magazine Dateline NBC. She earned a duPont-Columbia award and a News & Documentary Emmy or her contributions to the Dateline NBC hour "The Cosby Accusers Speak" -- an extensive group interview with 27 of the women who accused entertainer Bill Cosby of sexual misconduct.
Pennington Rodgers has worked at NBC's in-house production company Peacock Productions, The Today Show, Nightly News, Rock Center with Brian Williams and New Jersey-centric public affairs shows Caucus: New Jersey and One-on-One with Steve Adubato. Prior to beginning her career in media, she had a short stint as a fourth-grade teacher through the Teach for America program.
Pennington Rodgers received her Bachelor's in journalism and media studies from Rutgers University. She completed her Master's of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, where she produced a documentary about recruitment of nonblack students at historically black colleges and universities.
Rashad Robinson designs winning strategies to build power for Black communities. He has moved prosecutors to reduce mass incarceration and police violence. He has won net neutrality as a civil rights issue, helped change representations of race in Hollywood and moved Airbnb, Google and Facebook to implement anti-racist initiatives. He has forced over 100 corporations to abandon the ALEC, a right-wing policy shop, forced corporations to stop supporting white nationalists and injust Trump administration initiatives and forced Bill O'Reilly off the air. Robinson was among the first in a global cohort of Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity and writes a monthly column about race, politics and corporate accountability for The Guardian.
The ACLU is dedicated to defending liberty and individual freedom in the US -- which is an interesting mandate to have right now. Anthony D. Romero has headed the organization since 2001 and focuses on building capacity to defend the laws that protect Americans' freedoms.
Under Romero's watch, the ACLU launched its national "Keep America Safe and Free" campaign to protect basic freedoms during a time of crisis; launched its unique legal challenge to the patents held by a private company on the human genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer; launched litigation and lobbying efforts to win the freedom to marry for same-sex couples; and filed the first lawsuit against President Trump's Muslim Ban.
Simone Ross has been an active observer of the companies, individuals and ideas at the intersection of technology, the economy and society for over 20 years. She regularly advises companies on their content and conference strategy, specializing in designing programs and convening substantive conversations that connect the people and ideas at the intersection of tech and pretty much everything.
As the cofounder and chief program officer of Techonomy Media, Ross was responsible for all program content and served as executive producer for the Techonomy conferences (Techonomy Bio, Techonomy Detroit, Techonomy Health, Techonomy NYC, Techonomy Policy and the annual Techonomy flagship conference).
Prior to Techonomy, Ross was program director for Fortune's conference division and director of programs and operations at the Computerworld Smithsonian Information Technology Awards Program, a nonprofit endeavor that helped the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History chronicle the information age revolution.
Chrystina Russell is the executive director of Southern New Hampshire University's Global Education Movement. Previously, she was the chief academic officer of Kepler, a nonprofit university program based in Rwanda. In that role, she launched the organization's no-cost-to-students US-accredited degree program in two campuses -- one in Kigali and the other in Kiziba refugee camp. She was a founding principal of Global Tech Prep, a high-performing, innovative public school in Harlem, New York.
In 2017, Russell was selected as an MIT Solver, Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) marketplace for social impact innovation. She holds a bachelor's in social organization and minority communities from the University of Michigan, a master's in bilingual special education and a doctorate in urban education policy.
A singer and songwriter from Austin, Texas, Bob Schneider was the former front-man of The Ugly Americans and The Scabs. He is the most acclaimed musician of the Austin Music Awards with over 50 AMA's. His musical approach as a solo artist has proved to be as eclectic as the diverse musical styles of his former bands, combining the traditional singer/songwriter aesthetic with elements of funk, country, rock and folk. His music is redolent of '70s icons, from Neil Young to Paul Simon, with a slightly more modern sensibility reminiscent of Beck and edgy lyrics about alienation, drug addiction and lost romance.
In 2001, Schneider released Lonelyland, his major-label debut for Universal Records, and I'm Good Now in 2004. Leaving Universal later that year for Vanguard, he continued to release albums by various "side projects" via his own label, Shockorama Records. Most of those side projects were rereleased by Vanguard, including a solo album The Californian in 2006. Continuing to release material at a rapid rate, Schneider issued six albums in ten years between 2007 and 2017. He boasts a catalogue of over 1,000 songs and continues to release music.
With extensive corporate experience and a lifelong commitment to social justice, Dan Schulman believes the private sector has a responsibility to serve multiple stakeholders and to improve the state of the world.
Schulman has been recognized as one of Fortune's top 20 businesspeople of the year for three consecutive years and has received "Visionary Awards" from the Council for Economic Education in 2017 and the Financial Health Network in 2018 for his promotion of economic and financial literacy to create a better informed society. He is committed to building a world where everyone has access to economic opportunity, which he advances through his work as a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and co-chair of the World Economic Forum's Steering Committee to promote global financial inclusion.
In his 2004 book The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz tackles one of the great mysteries of modern life: Why is it that societies of great abundance -- where individuals are offered more freedom and choice (personal, professional, material) than ever before -- are now witnessing a near-epidemic of depression? Conventional wisdom tells us that greater choice is for the greater good, but Schwartz argues the opposite. He makes a compelling case that the abundance of choice in today's western world is actually making us miserable.
Schwartz believes that infinite choice is paralyzing and exhausting for the human psyche. It leads us to set unreasonably high expectations, question our choices before we even make them and blame our failures entirely on ourselves. His relatable examples, from consumer products (jeans, TVs, salad dressings) to lifestyle choices (where to live, what job to take, who and when to marry), underscore his central point that too much choice undermines happiness.
Schwartz's previous research has addressed morality, decision-making and the varied inter-relationships between science and society. Before Paradox he published The Costs of Living, which traces the impact of free-market thinking on the explosion of consumerism -- and the effect of the new capitalism on social and cultural institutions that once operated above the market, such as medicine, sports and the law. And after Paradox, he argued for the importance of remoralizing our lives -- both public and private -- in the book Practical Wisdom, coauthored with Kenneth Sharpe. Both books level serious criticism against modern Western society, illuminating the under-reported psychological plagues of our time. But they also offer concrete ideas on addressing these problems, on a personal and societal level.
Schwartz is the author of the TED Book, Why We Work, and a professor of social theory at Swarthmore College.
Curator Cloe Shasha Brooks discovers speakers for TED's stage, video and podcast programs and oversees TED's pool of speaker nominations that come in from all over the world. She curates in a variety of fields, with an international focus on culture, social justice, literature and humor. As a queer Arab Jew, Shasha Brooks cares deeply about providing a platform for ideas from marginalized voices. She works with speakers to develop and write their talks, diving deep into their research to help them communicate their ideas with impact. She also hosts sessions and conducts interviews.
Shasha Brooks' background is in journalism and cognitive psychology. She has contributed articles to ABC News and Huff Post and wrote weekly news features for the Middlebury College newspaper for four years. Prior to joining TED in 2011, she graduated magna cum laude from Middlebury College, where she received her bachelor's degree in psychology and wrote a thesis on designing educational testing to strengthen long-term memory. She grew up in New York City and Paris and currently lives in Brooklyn with her partner and their many houseplants. She is passionate about writing, dance, music, the outdoors, family time and building queer community.
Achim Steiner has lived and worked in many countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas and champions economic development, sustainability and equity. He was elected by the United Nations General Assembly in 2017 to head the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which works with 170 countries to support poverty eradication and reduction of inequalities and exclusion. He has been a vocal advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals. Prior to UNDP, he was director of the Oxford Martin School and led the UN Environment Programme, where he evolved the concept of a green economy.
The son of German farmers, Steiner was born in Brazil. He graduated with an MA in philosophy, politics and economics from Worcester College, Oxford University and holds an MA from the University of London/School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
Audrey Tang is a software programmer known for revitalizing the computer languages Perl and Haskell and for building the online spreadsheet system EtherCalc in collaboration with Dan Bricklin. She served on Taiwan's National Development Council's Open Data committee and K-12 curriculum committee, and she led the country's first e-Rulemaking project. She has also worked as a consultant with Apple on computational linguistics, with Oxford University Press on crowd lexicography and with Socialtext on social interaction design. She actively contributes to g0v ("gov zero"), a vibrant community that focuses on creating tools for the civil society with the call to "fork the government."
Dallas Taylor is the host and creator of Twenty Thousand Hertz, a lovingly crafted podcast that reveals the stories behind the world's most interesting sounds and is a part of the TED family of podcasts. He is also the creative director of Defacto Sound, a sound design company where he has led thousands of high-profile projects ranging from blockbuster trailers and advertising campaigns to Sundance award-winning films and major television series. Taylor is a regular contributor to major publications and a respected thought leader on the narrative power of sound.
Nigel Topping strengthens collaboration and drives action from investors, businesses, organizations, cities and regions on climate change and coordinates this work with governments and parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). He works alongside the Chilean High-Level Climate Action Champion, Gonzalo Muñoz.
Topping was most recently CEO of We Mean Business, a coalition of businesses working to accelerate the transition to a zero carbon economy. Prior to that he was executive director of the Carbon Disclosure Project, following an 18-year career in the private sector where he worked across the world in emerging markets and manufacturing.
Elizabeth "Zibi" Turtle is a planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and the principal investigator of the Europa Imaging System on NASA's Europa Clipper mission. As the third female NASA planetary mission principal investigator in history, she leads Dragonfly, NASA's next New Frontiers mission -- and a bold, game-changing way to explore the solar system.
Dragonfly is an octocopter designed to explore the surface and atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan, where chemical processes akin to those that led to life on Earth may be occurring today. Scheduled for launch in 2026, Dragonfly will arrive at Titan in 2034, where its investigations will help answer key questions about the origins of life on Earth -- and possibly elsewhere, too.
After spending a year as a Bartley fellow at the Wall Street Journal, Chloé Valdary developed "The Theory of Enchantment," an innovative framework for social emotional learning (SEL), character development and interpersonal growth that uses pop culture as an educational tool in the classroom and beyond.
Valdary has trained around the world, including in South Africa, The Netherlands, Germany and Israel. Her clients have included high school and college students, government agencies, business teams and others. She has lectured in universities across America, including Harvard and Georgetown. Her work has been covered in Psychology Today Magazine and her writings have appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
A leading voice for the human rights of immigrants, Jose Antonio Vargas founded the nonprofit media and culture organization Define American, named one of the "World's Most Innovative Companies" by Fast Company. He published his best-selling memoir, Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen, in 2018.
Vargas recently coproduced Heidi Schreck's acclaimed Broadway play What the Constitution Means to Me, which was nominated for two 2019 Tony awards, including Best Play. In 2011, the New York Times Magazine published a groundbreaking essay he wrote in which he revealed and chronicled his life in America as an undocumented immigrant. A year later, he appeared on the cover of TIME magazine with fellow undocumented immigrants as part of a follow-up cover story he wrote. He then produced and directed Documented, an autobiographical documentary feature film that aired on CNN and received a 2015 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Documentary. Also in 2015, MTV aired White People, an Emmy-nominated television special he produced and directed on what it means to be young and white in a demographically-changing America.
Among many accolades, Vargas has received the Freedom to Write Award from PEN Center USA and honorary degrees from Emerson College, Colby College and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Passionate about the role of arts in society and promoting equity in education, he serves on the advisory board of TheDream.US, a scholarship fund for undocumented immigrant students. A product of the San Francisco Bay Area, he is a proud graduate of San Francisco State University ('04), where he was named Alumnus of the Year in 2012, and Mountain View High School ('00). An elementary school named after Vargas opened in his hometown of Mountain View, California in August 2019.
New York-born, Montreal-raised singer songwriter Rufus Wainwright has released seven studio albums with three DVDs and three live albums, including the Grammy nominated Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall. He has collaborated with artists including Elton John, Burt Bacharach, Robert Wilson, David Byrne, Boy George, Joni Mitchell, Pet Shop Boys, Heart, Robbie Williams, Jessye Norman, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Sting and producer Mark Ronson.
Making a name for himself in the classical music world, Wainwright's acclaimed first opera, titled Prima Donna, premiered at the Manchester International Festival in July 2009 and was performed in London, New York, Paris, Buenos Aires and Hong Kong. His second opera, based on the story of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and Antinous, premiered in October 2018 at the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto and won a Dora Award for Outstanding New Opera.
Wainwright has distinguished himself by playing original orchestrated pop songs, orchestral settings of 9 Shakespeare Sonnets and pieces from an extensive classical repertoire with orchestras around the world such as the Chicago Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Residentie Orchestra, Orchestre National de Ille de France and the orchestra of the Teatro Real. He has appeared at many of the world's greatest concert halls and festivals, including Royal Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera, Teatro Colon, Hollywood Bowl, the Elbphilharmonie, the Olympia, Glastonbury, Roskilde and the Kennedy Honors.
Wainwright has written and recorded songs for a wide variety of movies and TV shows, including Brokeback Mountain, Shrek, Judy, Meet the Robinsons, The Aviator, Moulin Rouge and "Boardwalk Empire." He and his sister, Martha Wainwright, continue the legacy of their mother, Canadian folk icon Kate McGarrigle, and raise funds for the Kate McGarrigle Fund for sarcoma research and a music therapy program. He has completed a new studio pop album, Unfollow the Rules; the album's songs and production harken back to his explosive debut album that celebrates the sound and musical heritage of Los Angeles. He is working on a number of film, podcast and musical projects. He lives in Los Angeles with husband Jörn Weisbrodt and shares custody of his daughter with her mother.
Ariel Waldman is the chair of the council for NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts program, dedicated to developing long-term aerospace travel concepts. She's the principal investigator of a five-week expedition to Antarctica to film microscopic life beneath the ice and the host and producer of Offworld, a show on Adam Savage's Tested.
Waldman is the global director of Science Hack Day, a grassroots endeavor to prototype science projects based in 30 countries. In 2013, she received an honor from the Obama White House for being a Champion of Change in citizen science.
Darren Walker is president of the Ford Foundation, a 13-billion-dollar international social justice philanthropy. He is a member of Governor Cuomo's Reimagining New York Commission and cochair of NYC Census 2020. He chaired the philanthropy committee that brought a resolution to the city of Detroit's historic bankruptcy. Under his leadership, the Ford Foundation became the first nonprofit in US history to issue a one-billion-dollar designated social bond in US capital markets for proceeds to strengthen and stabilize nonprofit organizations in the wake of COVID-19.
Before joining Ford, Walker was vice president at Rockefeller Foundation, overseeing global and domestic programs. In the 1990s, he was COO of the Abyssinian Development Corporation, Harlem's largest community development organization.
Walker cochairs New York City's Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers and has served on the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform and the UN International Labour Organization Global Commission on the Future of Work. He cofounded both the US Impact Investing Alliance and the Presidents' Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy. He serves on many boards, including Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the National Gallery of Art, Carnegie Hall, the High Line, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture. In the summer of 2020, he was appointed to the boards of Square and Ralph Lauren. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is the recipient of 16 honorary degrees and university awards, including Harvard University's W.E.B. Du Bois Medal.
Educated exclusively in public schools, Walker was a member of the first Head Start class in 1965 and received BA, BS and JD degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. He has been included on numerous leadership lists: Time's annual 100 Most Influential People, Rolling Stone's 25 People Shaping the Future, Fast Company's Most Creative People in Business, Ebony's Power 100 and Out magazine's Power 50.
Helen Walters first attended TED in Monterey in 2008. Back then, she came as a journalist, reporting on the ideas and speakers as the editor of innovation and design at BusinessWeek. Later, she helped to write and produce TED's own coverage of the conference. Later still, in 2013, she went all in and joined the organization full-time, first as the ideas editor, launching and running TED's ideas blog, then as editorial director, working to help translate stage talks into wildly successful online videos, and now helping speakers at all major TED events. She also serves as a member of TED's leadership team.
In her previous life as a writer and editor, she wrote about everything from high technology to low culture, including writing one book on experimental animation and three books (yes, really) on T-shirt graphics. She still likes nothing more than talking to interesting people about the ideas and passions that fuel them, and that's why she argues that hers is essentially the best job in the world.
Architect, design activist and academic Julia Watson is a leading expert on Indigenous technologies and author of Lo-TEK, Design by Radical Indigenism. She teaches urban design at Harvard and Columbia while leading her eponymous experiential, landscape and urban design studio.
Watson approaches design as rewilding, by bringing the language of botany and biodiversity back to our cities. Inspired by Indigenous knowledge and plants, her portfolio of projects includes the Rockefeller Center Summer Gardens, Bali’s first UNESCO World Heritage site, the Gateway to the City of El Segundo at LAX and private estates for the owners of PACE Galleries and the artist Rashid Johnson.
Eric Whitacre began his music career singing in his college choir; by 21, he had written his first concert work, Go, Lovely Rose, and advanced to Juilliard, where he studied under John Corigliano. Today, he has published more than four dozen choral works, conducted in some of the most esteemed halls in the world, and featured on dozens of recordings. His album Cloudburst and Other Choral Works earned him a Grammy nomination in 2007, as did his Decca debut Light & Gold, while his new album, Water Night, debuted at #1 in US iTunes classical charts.
You may know him, too, as the creator and conductor of the virtual choir, a network of YouTube-connected singers whose voices blend together online to become true magic. And he's now touring with the Eric Whitacre Signers, a 28-voice choir (yes, they're all in the same room).
Ten thousand people die every month in the United States, because they don't take medication they need. Kiah Williams cofounded SIRUM to address this problem. SIRUM takes unused, surplus drugs and delivers them to families who need them most, turning discarded medications into a lifeline. For her work at SIRUM, Williams has been recognized as a Fortune "40 Under 40," Forbes "30-Under-30 Social Entrepreneur" and one of America's 50 Most Influential Women by Marie Claire. Previously, she worked for the Alliance Healthcare Initiative at the Clinton Foundation. She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from Stanford University and proudly hails from West Philadelphia.
Drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in 2012, Russell Wilson has led the team to more wins than any other quarterback in team history, including a victory in Super Bowl XLVIII (2013). In 2014, he led Seattle to a second straight Super Bowl berth as a two-time NFC Champion (2013, 2014). He holds the NFL record for most regular season wins by a quarterback in his first eight seasons and the record for the most passing touchdowns in a season by a rookie. He also holds the second-highest passer rating in NFL history, behind Aaron Rodgers. He played collegiate football at North Carolina State and the University of Wisconsin, where he set numerous records and garnered national acclaim.
As an extension of his work on the field, Russell partnered with famed mental conditioning coach Trevor Moawad to found Limitless Minds, a business coaching consultancy dedicated to optimizing performance and enriching culture within some of the world's top organizations. In 2014, he founded the Why Not You Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to creating real and lasting change in the world by motivating and empowering youth. In 2019, Russell and his wife, singer Ciara, founded Why Not You Productions, a production company focused on scripted and unscripted film, television and digital content projects with inspiring and aspiring narratives and human interest stories. Russell also heads Seattle-based West2East, a brand management, creative content and production company.
Russell established the Russell Wilson Quarterback Academy to develop quarterback prospects using a unique and cutting-edge curriculum based on his own experiences and knowledge. The quarterback school exists as an extension of the Russell Wilson Passing Academy (RWPA), a summer football camp for children of all ages. Since its inception in 2012, the RWPA has held camps in nine cities and worked with more than 9,000 children.
Andrew Youn has lived in rural East Africa for more than 12 years, learning from the world's largest group of people living in poverty: smallholder farmers. In 2006, he was inspired after meeting two farmers in Kenya working similar plots of land. One family was going hungry and one was thriving, harvesting four times as much food. He began asking questions.
Today, the organization Youn cofounded, One Acre Fund, directly serves more than 1.3 million farm families in sub-Saharan Africa, providing them with the quality farm products and training they need to harvest more food and grow their way out of poverty.
Youn is also the cofounder of D-Prize, an organization that funds early-stage startups that are innovating better ways to distribute proven life-enhancing technologies. He received his BA from Yale and MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Malala Yousafzai is the cofounder of Malala Fund. She began her campaign for education at age 11 when she anonymously blogged for the BBC about life under the Taliban in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Inspired by her father's activism, she soon began advocating publicly for girls' education, attracting international media attention and awards.
At age 15, Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban for speaking out. She recovered in the United Kingdom and continued her fight for girls. In 2013, she founded Malala Fund. A year later, she received the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her advocacy for 12 years of free, safe, quality education for every child.
Yousafzai recently completed a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University.
Eric S. Yuan founded Zoom in 2011 with the goal of bringing teams together. Prior to starting Zoom, he was corporate vice president of engineering at Cisco, where he was responsible for Cisco's collaboration software development. As one of the founding engineers and vice president of engineering at WebEx, he was the heart and soul of the WebEx product from 1997 to 2011. He proudly grew the WebEx team from 10 engineers to more than 800 worldwide and contributed to revenue growth from zero dollars to more than 800 million dollars.
Yuan is a named inventor on 11 issued and 20 pending patents. In 2017, he was added to the Business Insider list of the 52 Most Powerful People in Enterprise Tech. He is a graduate of the Stanford University Executive Program and holds a bachelor of science in applied mathematics from Shandong University of Science and Technology, China.