Director and playwright Adong Judith creates provocative art that sparks dialogue on issues from LGBTQ rights to war crimes. In this quick but powerful talk, the TED Fellow details her work -- including the play "Silent Voices," which brought victims of the Northern Ugandan war against Joseph Kony's rebel group together with political, religious and cultural leaders for transformative talks. "Listening to one another will not magically solve all problems," Judith says. "But it will give a chance to create avenues to start to work together to solve many of humanity's problems."
A 24-hour helpline in the UK known as Samaritans helped Sophie Andrews become a survivor of abuse rather than a victim. Now she's paying the favor back as the founder of The Silver Line, a helpline that supports lonely and isolated older people. In a powerful, personal talk, she shares why the simple act of listening (instead of giving advice) is often the best way to help someone in need.
According to the US Department of Education, more than 85 percent of black fourth-grade boys aren't proficient in reading. What kind of reading experiences should we be creating to ensure that all children read well? In a talk that will make you rethink how we teach, educator and author Alvin Irby explains the reading challenges that many black children face -- and tells us what culturally competent educators do to help all children identify as readers.
"Soccer is the only thing on this planet that we can all agree to do together," says theater maker and TED Fellow Marc Bamuthi Joseph. Through his performances and an engagement initiative called "Moving and Passing," Joseph combines music, dance and soccer to reveal accessible, joyful connections between the arts and sports. Learn more about how he's using the beautiful game to foster community and highlight issues facing immigrants.
As CEO of the Global Fund for Women, Musimbi Kanyoro works to support women and their ideas so they can expand and grow. She introduces us to the Maragoli concept of "isirika" -- a pragmatic way of life that embraces the mutual responsibility to care for one another -- something she sees women practicing all over the world. And she calls for those who have more to give more to people working to improve their communities. "Imagine what it would look like if you embraced isirika and made it your default," Kanyoro says. "What could we achieve for each other? For humanity?" Let's find out -- together.
"Hold your breath," says inventor Tom Zimmerman. "This is the world without plankton." These tiny organisms produce two-thirds of our planet's oxygen -- without them, life as we know it wouldn't exist. In this talk and tech demo, Zimmerman and cell engineer Simone Bianco hook up a 3D microscope to a drop of water and take you scuba diving with plankton. Learn more about these mesmerizing creatures and get inspired to protect them against ongoing threats from climate change.
Deanna Van Buren designs restorative justice centers that, instead of taking the punitive approach used by a system focused on mass incarceration, treat crime as a breach of relationships and justice as a process where all stakeholders come together to repair that breach. With help and ideas from incarcerated men and women, Van Buren is creating dynamic spaces that provide safe venues for dialogue and reconciliation; employment and job training; and social services to help keep people from entering the justice system in the first place. "Imagine a world without prisons," Van Buren says. "And join me in creating all the things that we could build instead."
Liz Ogbu is an architect who works on spatial justice: the idea that justice has a geography and that the equitable distribution of resources and services is a human right. In San Francisco, she's questioning the all too familiar story of gentrification: that poor people will be pushed out by development and progress. "Why is it that we treat culture erasure and economic displacement as inevitable?" she asks, calling on developers, architects and policymakers to instead "make a commitment to build people's capacity to stay in their homes, to stay in their communities, to stay where they feel whole."
"Where do great ideas come from?" Starting with this question in mind, Vittorio Loreto takes us on a journey to explore a possible mathematical scheme that explains the birth of the new. Learn more about the "adjacent possible" -- the crossroads of what's actual and what's possible -- and how studying the math that drives it could explain how we create new ideas.
Antarctica is a vast and dynamic place, but radar technologies -- from World War II-era film to state-of-the-art miniaturized sensors -- are enabling scientists to observe and understand changes beneath the continent's ice in unprecedented detail. Join radio glaciologist Dustin Schroeder on a flight high above Antarctica and see how ice-penetrating radar is helping us learn about future sea level rise -- and what the melting ice will mean for us all.
Things are pretty shocking out there right now -- record-breaking storms, deadly terror attacks, thousands of migrants disappearing beneath the waves and openly supremacist movements rising. Are we responding with the urgency that these overlapping crises demand from us? Journalist and activist Naomi Klein studies how governments use large-scale shocks to push societies backward. She shares a few propositions from "The Leap" -- a manifesto she wrote alongside indigenous elders, climate change activists, union leaders and others from different backgrounds -- which envisions a world after we've already made the transition to a clean economy and a much fairer society. "The shocking events that fill us with dread today can transform us, and they can transform the world for the better," Klein says. "But first we need to picture the world that we're fighting for. And we have to dream it up together."
Throughout his colorful career and bodies of work, Iké Udé has found creative ways to reject the negative portrayal of Africans rampant in Western media. In this tour of his work, he shares evocative portraits that blend clothing, props and poses from many cultures at once into sharp takes on the varied, complex beauty of Africa.
A 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and then a full-length marathon on hot, dry ground -- with no breaks in between: the legendary Ironman triathlon in Kona, Hawaii, is a bucket list goal for champion athletes. But when Minda Dentler decided to take it on, she had bigger aspirations than just another medal around her neck. She tells the story of how she conquered this epic race, and what it inspired her to do next.
How do we find fulfillment in a world that's constantly changing? Raymond Tang struggled with this question until he came across the ancient Chinese philosophy of the Tao Te Ching. In it, he found a passage comparing goodness to water, an idea he's now applying to his everyday life. In this charming talk, he shares three lessons he's learned so far from the "philosophy of water." "What would water do?" Tang asks. "This simple and powerful question ... has changed my life for the better."
Driving in Johannesburg one day, Tapiwa Chiwewe noticed an enormous cloud of air pollution hanging over the city. He was curious and concerned but not an environmental expert -- so he did some research and discovered that nearly 14 percent of all deaths worldwide in 2012 were caused by household and ambient air pollution. With this knowledge and an urge to do something about it, Chiwewe and his colleagues developed a platform that uncovers trends in pollution and helps city planners make better decisions. "Sometimes just one fresh perspective, one new skill set, can make the conditions right for something remarkable to happen," Chiwewe says. "But you need to be bold enough to try."
Shameem Akhtar posed as a boy during her early childhood in Pakistan so she could enjoy the privileges Pakistani girls are rarely afforded: to play outside and attend school. In an eye-opening, personal talk, Akhtar recounts how the opportunity to get an education altered the course of her life -- and ultimately changed the culture of her village, where today every young girl goes to school.
Every three years, more than 30 million Hindu worshippers gather for the Kumbh Mela in India, the world's largest religious gathering, in order to wash away their sins. With massive crowds descending on small cities and towns, stampedes inevitably happen, and in 2003, 39 people were killed during the festival. In 2014, then 15-year-old Nilay Kulkarni decided to put his skills as a self-taught programmer to use by building a tech solution to help prevent stampedes. Learn more about his invention -- and how it helped the 2015 Nashik Kumbh Mela have zero stampedes and casualties.
No one thinks twice about a woman wearing blue jeans in New York City -- but when Nobel laureate Malala wears them, it's a political act. Around the globe, individuality can be a crime, and clothing can be a form of protest. In a talk about the power of what we wear, Kaustav Dey examines how fashion gives us a nonverbal language of dissent and encourages us to embrace our authentic selves.
Poets Felice Belle and Jennifer Murphy perform excerpts from their play "Other Women," which is created and directed by Monica L. Williams. In a captivating journey, they weave together stories full of laughter, loyalty, tragedy and heartbreak, recalling the moments that made them sisters.
From our fear of women's bodies to our sheepishness around the word "nipple," our ideas about sex need an upgrade, say sex educators (and hilarious women) Tiffany Kagure Mugo and Siphumeze Khundayi. For a radical new take on sex positivity, the duo take the TED stage to suggest we look to Africa for erotic wisdom both ancient and modern, showing us how we can shake off problematic ideas about sex we've internalized and re-define pleasure on our own terms. (This talk contains mature content.)
If we hope to heal the racial tensions that threaten to tear the fabric of society apart, we're going to need the skills to openly express ourselves in racially stressful situations. Through racial literacy -- the ability to read, recast and resolve these situations -- psychologist Howard C. Stevenson helps children and parents reduce and manage stress and trauma. In this inspiring, quietly awesome talk, learn more about how this approach to decoding racial threat can help youth build confidence and stand up for themselves in productive ways.
Very few of us hold jobs that line up directly with our past experiences or what we studied in college. Take TED Resident Jason Shen; he studied biology but later became a product manager at a tech company. In this quick, insightful talk about human potential, Shen shares some new thinking on how job seekers can make themselves more attractive -- and why employers should look for ability over credentials.
The prevailing image of where refugees live is of temporary camps in isolated areas -- but in reality, nearly 60 percent of them worldwide end up in urban areas. TED Fellow Robert Hakiza takes us inside the lives of urban refugees -- and shows us how organizations like the one that he started can provide them with the skills they need to ultimately become self-sufficient.
Dixon Chibanda is one of 12 psychiatrists in Zimbabwe -- for a population of more than 16 million. Realizing that his country would never be able to scale traditional methods of treating those with mental health issues, Chibanda helped to develop a beautiful solution powered by a limitless resource: grandmothers. In this extraordinary, inspirational talk, learn more about the friendship bench program, which trains grandmothers in evidence-based talk therapy and brings care, and hope, to those in need.
What's the most transformative thing that you can do for your brain today? Exercise! says neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki. Get inspired to go to the gym as Suzuki discusses the science of how working out boosts your mood and memory -- and protects your brain against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.
Experimental psychologist Petter Johansson researches choice blindness -- a phenomenon where we convince ourselves that we're getting what we want, even when we're not. In an eye-opening talk, he shares experiments (designed in collaboration with magicians!) that aim to answer the question: Why do we do what we do? The findings have big implications for the nature of self-knowledge and how we react in the face of manipulation. You may not know yourself as well as you think you do.
As a research scientist at Google, Margaret Mitchell helps develop computers that can communicate about what they see and understand. She tells a cautionary tale about the gaps, blind spots and biases we subconsciously encode into AI -- and asks us to consider what the technology we create today will mean for tomorrow. "All that we see now is a snapshot in the evolution of artificial intelligence," Mitchell says. "If we want AI to evolve in a way that helps humans, then we need to define the goals and strategies that enable that path now."
We often find ourselves stuck in narrow social circles with similar people. What habits confine us, and how can we break them? Organizational psychologist Tanya Menon considers how we can be more intentional about expanding our social universes -- and how it can lead to new ideas and opportunities.
Sometimes, a single decision can change the course of history. Join journalist and author Isabel Wilkerson as she tells the story of the Great Migration, the outpouring of six million African Americans from the Jim Crow South to cities in the North and West between World War I and the 1970s. This was the first time in American history that the lowest caste people signaled they had options and were willing to take them -- and the first time they had a chance to choose for themselves what they would do with their innate talents, Wilkerson explains. "These people, by their actions, were able to do what the powers that be, North and South, could not or would not do," she says. "They freed themselves."