5 ways to live (and thrive) while social distancing

The novel coronavirus has dramatically changed how we spend time and share physical and virtual space with each other. On Friday, March 27, conflict mediator and author Priya Parker joined head of TED Chris Anderson and current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers on TED Connects to discuss what we all can do to stay connected and sustain relationships while apart during the pandemic. Here’s some advice to help you get through this uncertain time:

Bring intention to planning a virtual gathering

As platforms like Zoom, Slack and email become more integrated into our lives, it’s clear that technology will play an important tool in helping us keep in touch. Whether you’re organizing a Zoom dinner party or Facetiming a friend, Parker invites us to consider how we can elevate the conversation beyond just check-ins. In planning a virtual gathering, ask:

  • Who’s joining and why?
  • What are your community’s needs?
  • What’s the reason you’re coming together?

As the pandemic evolves, these needs will likely shift. Stay attuned to the kinds of connections your communities are seeking.

Include fun themes to elevate your digital get-togethers

Parker suggests centering your gatherings around themes or activities to encourage more meaningful and purposeful conversations. Incorporate elements of the physical world to create a shared experience, like asking everyone to wear a funny costume or making the same recipe together. Though screens don’t quite replace the energy of in-person gatherings, we can still strengthen community bonds by reminding ourselves that there are real people on the other end of our devices.

Set healthy boundaries to maintain wellbeing

As we’re figuring out the best way to exist in the digital world, it’s also crucial we put in the effort to meaningfully connect with those we’re quarantining with. The distinctions between time to work, socialize and rest can grow blurrier by the day, so be sure to set boundaries and ground rules with those you live with. In having this conversation with your roommates, family or partner, reflect on these prompts:

  • How do you want to distinguish time spent together versus apart?
  • How do you want to share time together?
  • Since we look at screens most of the day, could it be helpful to set no-screen times or brainstorm new, non-digital ways to hang out?

Allow yourself to reflect on the unknown

It’s important to acknowledge that this is not a normal time, Parker says. The coronavirus pandemic has transformed the world, and as a global society we’ll experience the reverberations of this period as they ripple across every sector of human life. Make sure to create space for those conversations, too.

Take time to wander through the unknown, to talk about how we are being changed — individually and collectively — by this shared experience. It’s perfectly normal to feel worried, vulnerable, even existential, and this may be a great time to lean into those feelings and think about what really matters to you.

Recognize the power and feeling community brings — no matter the size

While the coronavirus pandemic has physically isolated many of us from each other, our ingenuity and resilience ensures that we can still build and forge community together. Across the world, people are gathering in new and amazing ways to set up “care-mongering” support groups, sing with their neighbors, take ceramics classes, knit together and break bread.

Now is the time to discover (or rediscover) the value and power of community. We are all members of many different communities: our neighborhoods, families, countries, faith circles and so on. Though we’re living in unprecedented times of social isolation, we can forge stronger bonds by gathering in ways that reflect our best values and principles. In the United Kingdom, a recent campaign asked people across the country to go outside at a synchronized time and collectively applaud health workers on the frontlines of the crisis; a similar effort was made across India to ring bells in honor of the ill and those caring for them. During this crisis and beyond, we can use thoughtful ritual-making to transform our unease and isolation into community bonding.

“Gathering is contagious,” Parker says. “These small, simple ideas allow people to feel like we can shape some amount — even a small amount — of our collective reality together.”

Looking for more tips, advice and wisdom? Watch the full conversation with Priya below (and join us for TED Connects, weekdays at 12pm ET):

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How TED-Ed is helping families, students and teachers navigate the COVID-19 pandemic

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s unprecedented impact on education systems worldwide, TED’s award-winning youth and education initiative TED-Ed is focused on providing free, high-quality educational resources to millions of families around the globe. TED-Ed’s existing library of free, video-based lessons has been built by a network of 500,000 educators, spans all ages and subjects and features interactive lesson plans that complement thousands of TED-Ed Animations, TED Talks and other carefully curated educational videos.

By providing a variety of educational resources and engaging learning experiences, our hope is to help students, teachers and families replace feelings of anxiety, isolation, chaos and exhaustion with healthier and more sustainable feelings like curiosity, connectivity, predictability and rejuvenation. Here’s how you can follow along:

Announcing TED-Ed@Home

Launched last week, TED-Ed@Home is a daily newsletter that’s leveraging the collective expertise of thousands of TED speakers, TED-Ed educators and animators, and TED Translators to provide high-quality, online learning experiences for students, teachers and families everywhere — for free.

To get free daily lesson plans delivered to your inbox — organized by age group and spanning all subjects — sign up for the TED-Ed@Home newsletter. The newsletter features interactive, curiosity-invoking, video-based lessons around subjects commonly taught in school. The lessons are tagged to the appropriate grade levels, and subjects cover the arts, literature, language, math, science, technology and more. Most featured videos will offer translated subtitles in dozens of languages, and each lesson will include interactive questions, discussion prompts and materials to dig deeper. Teachers and parents can use the lessons as-is or easily customize them to meet their learners’ needs.

… and the TED-Ed Daily Challenge!

School closings don’t just keep students away from the classroom; they also keep students away from each other. While it’s critical that young people stay at home right now, it’s equally vital for students to see and hear from other young people — and for them to experience play in safe and meaningful ways.

On Instagram, we’re creating a fun way for students and their families to use their brains and common household items to creatively respond to educational challenges issued by TED speakers throughout the world. Each weekday at 2pm, head over to @tededucation for a brief educational talk and challenge from a new TED speaker. We’ll be handing over our account to TED speakers of all ages, who will use Instagram Stories and Instagram Live to deliver brief educational talks and issue creative, interactive, family-oriented challenges to Instagram users around the world. Viewers can respond using their own Instagram accounts, and TED-Ed will feature the most creative responses on our channel.

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New initiatives from TED to share ideas, build community and stay hopeful

(Photo: Ryan Lash / TED)

Now more than ever is the time for community. The extended team at TED is working hard to keep you connected, deliver thoughtful news and insights from world leaders, and offer opportunities to volunteer from the safety of your homes. Here’s a recap of the various resources we’re making immediately accessible while many of us are staying home to help support medical systems. 

Join us for TED Connects: Community and Hope

TED is committed to being a reliable source of information with regularly updated talks, interviews and TED-Ed lessons related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The talks are vetted by TED’s curators — experienced journalists from fields including science, business, media and current affairs. 

We’re also announcing TED Connects: Community and Hopea live, daily conversation series with global leaders and experts, hosted by head of TED Chris Anderson and current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers. TED Connects kicks off Monday, March 23 and is free and open to anyone. To participate, bookmark this page and join us daily at 12pm ET and subscribe for reminders.

This week, we’re featuring experts whose ideas can help us reflect and work through this uncertain time with a sense of responsibility, compassion and wisdom. Here’s the lineup:

  • Monday, March 23, 12pm ET: How to be your best self in a time of crisisSusan David, Harvard Medical School psychologist studying emotional agility 
  • Tuesday, March 24, 12pm ET: The healthcare systems we must urgently fix Bill Gates, business leader and philanthropist 
  • Wednesday, March 25, 12pm ET: What we can learn from China’s response to the coronavirus Gary Liu, CEO of the South China Morning Post
  • Thursday, March 26, 12pm ET: The quest for the coronavirus vaccineSeth Berkley, epidemiologist and head of GAVI, the vaccine alliance
  • Friday, March 27, 12pm ET: How to create meaningful connection while apartPriya Parker, author, The Art of Gathering

New from TED-Ed: TED-Ed@Home

We know people are at home with a variety of needs, including homeschooling kids of all ages and grade levels, which is why TED-Ed is ramping up its nearly decade-long education initiative. TED-Ed’s library of interactive lessons has been built by a network of 250,000 educators and features remarkable TED-Ed Animations as well as other educational videos.

TED-Ed@Home is a new, free, daily online learning experience for students, teachers and parents. TED-Ed is working with expert educators and TED speakers around the world to create and share free high-quality, interactive, video-based lessons made available via TED-Ed@Home. To get daily lesson plans delivered to your inbox — organized by age group and spanning all subjects — sign up for the TED-Ed@Home newsletter.

And another fun thing: feed your curiosity and stay engaged with the TED-Ed Daily Challenge. Join @tededucation on Instagram Live each weekday at 2pm ET, when TED speakers, educators and experts from around the world will share creative, interactive, family-oriented lessons and challenges you can do together at home.

TED Circles: A resource for community and connection

Meaningful conversations create personal connections that collectively strengthen communities. In September 2019, TED launched TED Circles: an open platform of small, volunteer-led groups that engage in conversations about ideas. In light of the physical limitations many communities currently face, TED Circles is a powerful way to continue connecting and engaging (virtually) face-to-face on a variety of topics. With TED Circles, hosts pick a TED Talk, invite people to join and facilitate a constructive conversation. Circles then share their takeaways online so that the group can gain one another’s perspectives and create global connections.

Learn more about joining a virtual Circle and join us for April’s program, which will launch on March 28. It’s themed “A changing world” and focuses on understanding pandemics and immediate actions we can take. 

Circles can be hosted by individuals, schools/universities, organizations/businesses, TEDx organizers and TED-Ed clubs. Sign up to become a host.

Virtual volunteerism: Become a TED Translator

Speak another — or many — languages? The TED Translators program is a global volunteer network that subtitles TED Talks and allows ideas to cross languages and borders. For those who are multilingual, being a TED Translator is a unique opportunity to have impact from the safety of your living room — while connecting and collaborating with a global community. Learn more about how to become a TED Translator. 

Gratitude

In this challenging moment, our global community inspires all of us at TED. We want to be here for you and hope these platforms offer connection, information and even inspiration as we work through this time. We must lean on one another for collective insights, learnings, kindness and compassion — as well as our physical health. We are eager to see you soon, and in the interim we hope these opportunities to connect offer meaningful moments of engagement.

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Announcing TED Connects: live, daily conversations from TED

On Monday, March 23, TED kicks off a free, live and daily conversation series, TED Connects: Community and Hope. As COVID-19 continues to sweep the globe, it’s hard to know where to turn or what to think. Hosted by head of TED Chris Anderson and current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers, this new program will feature experts whose ideas can help us reflect and work through this time with a sense of responsibility, compassion and wisdom. Watch our first livestream here on Monday at 12pm ET.

This week, we’ll be joined in conversation with a wide-ranging group of TED speakers. Here’s the lineup:


Monday, March 23, 12pm ET


Susan David
Psychologist studying emotional agility
How to be your best self in a time of crisis


Tuesday, March 24, 12pm ET


Bill Gates
Business leader and philanthropist
The healthcare systems we must urgently fix


Wednesday, March 25, 12pm ET


Gary Liu
CEO of the South China Morning Post
What we can learn from China’s response to the coronavirus


Thursday, March 26, 12pm ET


Seth Berkley
Epidemiologist and head of GAVI, the vaccine alliance
The quest for the coronavirus vaccine


Friday, March 27, 12pm ET


Priya Parker
Author, The Art of Gathering
How to create meaningful connections while apart

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What to watch from TED while you’re home during the coronavirus outbreak

(Photo: Ryan Lash / TED)

As people across the world face the novel coronavirus outbreak, TED is committed to being a resource for information, inspiration and hope. We’ve curated talks, interviews, TED-Ed lessons and more to help provide some perspective during the pandemic. Here’s where to start:

  • TED Fellow Alanna Shaikh shares why COVID-19 is hitting us now — and what we’ll learn from it.
  • TED-Ed’s round-up of animations to help you understand the outbreak of a virus.
  • Infectious disease expert Adam Kucharski discusses how we can control the pandemic. (Listen to his full episode on The TED Interview.)
  • Public health expert David Heymann answers 11 questions about the novel coronavirus.
  • This playlist draws from our archive of talks on infectious diseases, vaccines and pandemics.
  • Kids at home? Keep busy with hundreds of free animated lessons from TED-Ed (which you can filter by education level). If you’re an educator, learn more about how to create your own TED-Ed lessons.
  • Watch Bill Gates (kind of) predict this whole thing at TED2015.
  • Finally, these talks on self-care offer simple ways to stay healthy, both physically and emotionally.

And keep your eye on the homepage — we’ll continue to share new TED Talks every weekday on TED.com.

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TED2020 postponed to July 26-30

Based on a community-wide decision, TED2020 will move from April 20-24 to July 26-30 — and will still be held in Vancouver, BC.

With the COVID-19 virus spreading across the planet, we’re facing many challenges and uncertainties, which is why we feel passionately that TED2020 matters more than ever. Knowing our original April dates would no longer work, we sought counsel and guidance from our vast community. Amidst our network of artists, entrepreneurs, innovators, creators, scientists and more, we also count experts in health and medicine among our ranks. After vetting all of the options, we offered registered attendees the choice to either postpone the event or hold a virtual version. The majority expressed a preference for a summer TED, so that’s the official plan.

We’ve spent the past year putting together a spectacular program designed to chart the future. Our speakers are extraordinary. You, our beloved community, are also incredible. Somehow, despite the global health crisis, we will use this moment to share insights, spark action and host meaningful discussions of the ideas that matter most in the world.

While we’re excited about July, we were also inspired by many of the surprising and delightful ideas for how to create a compelling and engaging digital event. With that, we’ve decided to hold a special virtual session of TED on Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22.

As the world becomes more global, we think the opportunity to create this version of TED will prove invaluable. Additionally — and we hope this isn’t the case — if we’re entering a period of widespread isolation, we hope to offer a meaningful counter experience on a topic of universal import.

As head of TED Chris Anderson noted in his letter to attendees: “Health and safety have been paramount to all of our decision-making, but I believe this is a moment when community matters like never before. Which is why I’m so grateful to have the understanding and support TED community as we ideated around how to continue to spark meaningful idea-sharing in spite of increasing isolation. It’s times such as these that I lean into the power, wisdom and collective spirit of this community.”

Learn more about TED2020: Uncharted

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Ignite: The talks of TED@WellsFargo

TED curator Cyndi Stivers opens TED@WellsFargo at the Knight Theater on February 5, 2020, in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo: Ryan Lash / TED)

World-changing ideas that unearth solutions and ignite progress can come from anywhere. With that spirit in mind at TED@WellsFargo, thirteen speakers showcased how human empathy and problem-solving can combine with technology to transform lives (and banking) for the better.

The event: TED@WellsFargo, a day of thought-provoking talks on topics including how to handle challenging situations at work, the value of giving back and why differences can be strengths. It’s the first time TED and Wells Fargo have partnered to create inspiring talks from Wells Fargo Team Members.

When and where: Wednesday, February 5, 2020, at the Knight Theater in Charlotte, North Carolina

Opening and closing remarks: David Galloreese, Wells Fargo Head of Human Resources, and Jamie Moldafsky, Wells Fargo Chief Marketing Officer

Performances by: Dancer Simone Cooper and singer/songwriter Jason Jet and his band

The talks in brief:

“What airlines don’t tell you is that putting your oxygen mask on first, while seeing those around you struggle, it takes a lot of courage. But being able to have that self-control is sometimes the only way that we are able to help those around us,” says sales and trading analyst Elizabeth Camarillo Gutierrez. She speaks at TED@WellsFargo at the Knight Theater on February 5, 2020, in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo: Ryan Lash / TED)

Elizabeth Camarillo Gutierrez, sales and trading analyst

Big idea: As an immigrant, learning to thrive in America while watching other immigrants struggle oddly echoes what flight attendants instruct us to do when the oxygen masks drop in an emergency landing: if you want to help others put on their masks, you must put on your own mask first.

How? At age 15, Elizabeth Camarillo Gutierrez found herself alone in the US when her parents were forced to return to Mexico, taking her eight-year-old brother with them. For eight years, she diligently completed her education — and grappled with guilt, believing she wasn’t doing enough to aid fellow immigrants. Now a rookie trader guiding her brother through school in New York, she’s learned a valuable truth: in an emergency, you can’t save others until you save yourself.

Quote of the talk: “Immigrants [can’t] and will never be able to fit into any one narrative, because most of us are actually just traveling along a spectrum, trying to survive.”


Matt Trombley, customer remediation supervisor

Big idea: Agonism — “taking a warlike stance in contexts that are not literally war” — plagues many aspects of modern-day life, from the way we look at our neighbors to the way we talk about politics. Can we work our way out of this divisive mindset?

How: Often we think that those we disagree with are our enemies, or that we must approve of everything our loved ones say or believe. Not surprisingly, this is disastrous for relationships. Matt Trombley shows us how to fight agonism by cultivating common ground (working to find just a single shared thread with someone) and by forgiving others for the slights that we believe their values cause us. If we do this, our relationships will truly come to life.

Quote of the talk: “When you can find even the smallest bit of common ground with somebody, it allows you to understand just the beautiful wonder and complexity and majesty of the other person.”


Dorothy Walker, project manager

Big idea: Anybody can help resolve a conflict — between friends, coworkers, strangers, your children — with three simple steps.

How? Step one: prepare. Whenever possible, set a future date and time to work through a conflict, when emotions aren’t running as high. Step two: defuse and move forward. When you do begin mediating the conflict, start off by observing, listening and asking neutral questions; this will cause both parties to stop and think, and give you a chance to shift positive energy into the conversation. Finally, step three: make an agreement. Once the energy of the conflict has settled, it’s time to get an agreement (either written or verbal) so everybody can walk away with a peaceful resolution.

Quote of the talk: “There is a resolution to all conflicts. It just takes your willingness to try.”


Charles Smith, branch manager

Big idea: The high rate of veteran suicide is intolerable — and potentially avoidable. By prioritizing the mental health of military service members both during and after active duty, we can save lives.

How? There are actionable solutions to end the devastating epidemic of military suicide, says Charles Smith. First, by implementing a standard mental health evaluation to military applicants, we can better gauge the preliminary markers of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression. Data is a vital part of the solution: if we keep better track of mental health data on service members, we can also predict where support is most needed and create those structures proactively. By identifying those with a higher risk early on in their military careers, we can ensure they have appropriate care during their service and connect them to the resources they need once they are discharged, enabling veterans to securely and safely rejoin civilian life.

Quote of the talk: “If we put our minds and resources together, and we openly talk and try to find solutions for this epidemic, hopefully, we can save a life.”

“We all know retirement is all about saving more now, for later. What if we treated our mental health and overall well-being in the same capacity? Develop and save more of you now, for later in life,” says premier banker Rob Cooke. He speaks at TED@WellsFargo at the Knight Theater on February 5, 2020, in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo: Ryan Lash / TED)

Rob Cooke, premier banker

Big idea: Work-related stress costs us a lot, in our lives and the economy. We need to reframe the way we manage stress — both in our workplaces and in our minds.

How? “We tend to think of [stress] as a consequence, but I see it as a culture,” says Rob Cooke. Despite massive global investments in the wellness industry, we are still losing trillions of dollars due to a stress-related decrease in employee productivity and illness. Cooke shares a multifaceted approach to shifting the way stress is managed, internally and culturally. It starts with corporations prioritizing the well-being of employees, governments incentivizing high standards for workplace wellness and individually nurturing our relationship with our own mental health.

Quote of the talk: “We all know retirement is all about saving more now, for later. What if we treated our mental health and overall well-being in the same capacity? Develop and save more of you now, for later in life.”


Aeris Nguyen, learning and development facilitator

Big idea: What would our world be like if we could use DNA to verify our identity?

Why? Every year, millions of people have their identities stolen or misused. After her own identity was stolen by her brother, Aeris Nguyen began thinking about how to safeguard it for good. She shares an ambitious thought experiment, asking: Can we use our own bodies to verify our selves? While biometric data such as facial or palm print recognition have their own pitfalls (they can be easily fooled by, say, wearing a specially lighted hat or using a wax hand), what if we could use our DNA — our blood, hair or earwax? Nguyen acknowledges the ethical dilemmas and logistical nightmares that would come with collecting and storing more than seven billion files of DNA, but she can’t help but wonder if someday, in the far future, this will become the norm.

Quote of the talk: “In my case, it wasn’t some hacker sitting in front of a computer in some far, far away land who stole my identity. It was my own flesh and blood, which actually got me thinking about, well, my own flesh and blood.”

“To anyone reeling from forces trying to knock you down and cram you into these neat little boxes people have decided for you — don’t break. I see you. My ancestors see you. Their blood runs through me as they run through so many of us. You are valid. And you deserve rights and recognition. Just like everyone else,” says France Villarta. He speaks at TED@WellsFargo at the Knight Theater on February 5, 2020, in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo: Ryan Lash / TED)

France Villarta, communications consultant

Big idea: Modern ideas of gender are much older than we may think.

How? In many cultures around the world, the social construct of gender is binary — man or woman, assigned certain characteristics and traits, all designated by biological sex. But that’s not the case for every culture. France Villarta details the gender-fluid history of his native Philippines and how the influence of colonial rule forced narrow-minded beliefs onto its people. In a talk that’s part cultural love letter, part history lesson, Villarta emphasizes the beauty and need in reclaiming gender identities. “Oftentimes, we think of something as strange only because we’re not familiar with it or haven’t taken enough time to try and understand,” he says. “The good thing about social constructs is that they can be reconstructed — to fit a time and age.”

Quote of the talk: “To anyone reeling from forces trying to knock you down and cram you into these neat little boxes people have decided for you — don’t break. I see you. My ancestors see you. Their blood runs through me as they run through so many of us. You are valid. And you deserve rights and recognition. Just like everyone else.”

Dancer Simone Cooper performs a self-choreographed dance onstage at TED@WellsFargo at the Knight Theater on February 5, 2020, in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo: Ryan Lash / TED)

Dean Furness, analytic consultant

Big idea: You can overcome personal challenges by focusing on yourself, instead of making comparisons to others.

How? After a farming accident paralyzed Dean Furness below the waist, he began the process of adjusting to life in a wheelchair. He realized he’d have to nurture and focus on this new version of himself, rather than fixate on his former height, strength and mobility. With several years of rehabilitation and encouragement from his physical therapist, Furness began competing in the Chicago and Boston marathons as a wheelchair athlete. By learning how to own each day, he says, we can all work to get better, little by little.

Quote of the talk: “Take some time and focus on you, instead of others. I bet you can win those challenges and really start accomplishing great things.”


John Puthenveetil, financial advisor

Big idea: Because of the uncertain world we live in, many seek solace from “certainty merchants” — like physicians, priests and financial advisors. Given the complex, chaotic mechanisms of our economy, we’re better off discarding “certainty” for better planning.

How? We must embrace adaptable plans that address all probable contingencies, not just the most obvious ones. This is a crucial component of “scenario-based planning,” says John Puthenveetil. We should always aim for being approximately right rather than precisely wrong. But this only works if we pay attention, heed portents of possible change and act decisively — even when that’s uncomfortable.

Quote of the talk: “It is up to us to use [scenario-based planning] wisely: Not out of a sense of weakness or fear, but out of the strength and conviction that comes from knowing that we are prepared to play the hand that is dealt.”


Johanna Figueira, digital marketing consultant

Big idea: The world is more connected than ever, but some communities are still being cut off from vital resources. The solution? Digitally matching professional expertise with locals who know what their communities really need.

How? Johanna Figueira is one of millions who’s left Venezuela due to economic crisis, crumbling infrastructure and decline in healthcare — but she hasn’t left these issues behind. With the help of those still living in the country, Figueira helped organize Code for Venezuela — a platform that matches experts with communities in need to create simple, effective tools to improve quality of life. She shares two of their most successful projects: Meditweet, an intelligent Twitter bot that helps Venezuelans find medicinal supplies and Blackout tracker, a tool that helps pinpoint power cuts in Venezuela that the government won’t report. Her organization shows the massive difference made when locals participate in their own solutions.

Quote of the talk: “Some people in Silicon Valley may look at these projects and say that they’re not major technological innovations. But that’s the point. These projects are not insanely advanced — but it’s what the people of Venezuela need, and they can have a tremendous impact.”


Jeanne Goldie, branch sales manager

Big idea: We’re looking for dynamic hotbeds of innovation in all the wrong places.

How? Often, society looks to the young for the next big thing, leaving older generations to languish in their shadow until being shuffled out altogether, taking their brain power and productivity with them. Instead of discarding today’s senior workforce, Jeanne Goldie suggests we tap into their years of experience and retrain them, just as space flight has moved from the disposable rockets of NASA’s moon launches to today’s reusable Space X models.

Quote of the talk: “If we look at data and technology as the tools they are … but not as the answer, we can come up with better solutions to our most challenging problems.”


Rebecca Knill, business systems consultant

Big idea: By shifting our cultural understanding of disability and using technology to connect, we can build a more inclusive and human world.

How? The medical advances of modern technology have improved accessibility for disabled communities. Rebecca Knill, a self-described cyborg who has a cochlear implant, believes the next step to a more connected world is changing our perspectives. For example, being deaf isn’t shameful or pitiful, says Knill — it’s just a different way of navigating the world. To take full advantage of the fantastic opportunities new technology offers us, we must drop our assumptions and meet differences with empathy.

Quote of the talk: “Technology has come so far. Our mindset just needs to catch up.”

“We have to learn to accept where people are and adjust ourselves to handle those situations … to recognize when it is time to professionally walk away from someone,” says business consultant Anastasia Penright. She speaks at TED@WellsFargo at the Knight Theater on February 5, 2020, in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo: Ryan Lash / TED)

Anastasia Penright, business consultant

Big idea: No workplace is immune to drama, but there are steps we can follow to remove ourselves from the chatter and focus on what’s really important.

How? No matter your industry, chances are you’ve experienced workplace drama. In a funny and relatable talk, Anastasia Penright shares a better way to coexist with our coworkers using five simple steps she’s taken to leave drama behind and excel in her career. First, we must honestly evaluate our own role in creating and perpetuating conflicts; then evaluate our thoughts and stop thinking about every possible scenario. Next, it’s important to release our negative energy to a trusted confidant while trying to understand and accept the unique communication styles and work languages of our colleagues. Finally, she says, we need to recognize when we’re about to step into drama and protect our energy by simply walking away.

Quote of the talk: “We have to learn to accept where people are and adjust ourselves to handle those situations … to recognize when it is time to professionally walk away from someone.”

Jason Jet performs the toe-tapping, electro-soul song “Time Machine” at TED@WellsFargo at the Knight Theater on February 5, 2020, in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo: Ryan Lash / TED)

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Meet the 2020 class of TED Fellows and Senior Fellows

The TED Fellows program is excited to announce the new group of TED2020 Fellows and Senior Fellows! This year’s class represents 13 countries across four continents, and they’re making strides in an impressive range of fields — from astrobiology and ethnomusicology to maternal healthcare and beyond. This group is taking a hard look at the world’s most pressing issues and offering bold, fresh ideas to create meaningful impact.

The TED Fellows program supports extraordinary, iconoclastic individuals at work on world-changing projects, providing them with access to the global TED platform and community, as well as new tools and resources to amplify their remarkable vision. The TED Fellows program now includes 492 Fellows who work across 99 countries, forming a powerful, far-reaching network of artists, scientists, activists, architects, entrepreneurs, journalists and more, each dedicated to making our world better and more equitable.

Below, meet the group of Fellows and Senior Fellows who will join us at TED2020, April 20-24, in Vancouver, BC, Canada.


Zahra Al-Mahdi

Multimedia artist (Kuwait)
Artist using satire, dark humor and tactile collage techniques to reveal the unintended impacts humans have on their societies and ecosystems.



Feras Fayyad
Documentary filmmaker (Syria | Germany | Denmark)
Filmmaker documenting the lives of his fellow Syrian citizens as they struggle to survive and save their neighbors.



Kiran Gandhi
Activist (US)
Electronic musician and gender-rights advocate blurring the boundaries between art, performance and activism.



Kathy Hannun
Geothermal entrepreneur (US)
Cofounder of Dandelion, a green energy startup pioneering novel drilling techniques to make geothermal installations less expensive and intrusive.

Just ten feet below the frost line, the ground is a constant 55 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. Dandelion Energy, founded by Kathleen Hannun, harnesses this reservoir of renewable energy to heat and cool homes.


Aparna Hegde
Maternal health innovator (India)
Urogynecologist and founder of ARMMAN, an organization leveraging mobile technology to empower, inform and serve the more than 14 million Indian women and children plagued by gaps in healthcare infrastructure.



Daniel Alexander Jones

Theater artist (US)
Performance artist creating unique and ritualistic dramatic experiences through music, monologue and improvisation by channeling Jomama Jones, a mystical alter ego.



Katie Mack
Cosmologist (US)
Theoretical cosmologist and scientific storyteller unraveling connections between the smallest particles, largest interstellar objects and various ways the universe might end.



Itamar Mann
Human rights lawyer (Israel)
Author and litigator defending the rights of refugees who flee their countries and cross violent borders.



Barbara Maseda
Data transparency advocate (Cuba)
Data journalist exploring and creating ways to collect and share data in places where information is often manipulated and restricted, especially in Cuba.

An artificial cloud hanging over this pavilion rains whenever someone sits inside. Cloud House, an installation by Matthew Mazzotta, provides an experience that replicates the sensory and ecological effects of rainfall. (Photo: Tim Hawley)


Matthew Mazzotta
Artist + activist (US | Canada)
Artist and activist creating unexpected built environments in order to engage communities in public dialogue.



Aaron Morris
Immunoengineer (US)
Scientist developing implantable technology to create an early-warning system for autoimmune disorders, organ transplant rejection and cancer.



Naomi Mwaura
Transportation activist (Kenya)
Transport entrepreneur working to end sexual harassment on Kenyan public transit by advocating for a gender-balanced workforce and training transit workers.



Rohan Pavuluri
Legal aid entrepreneur (US)
Founder of Upsolve, an organization helping low-income Americans file bankruptcy for free and navigate an increasingly complex and expensive legal system.

“I am fascinated by the way a king cobra locks eyes with me,” says Gowri Shankar, coming face to face with a king cobra. Concerned by the encroachment of human dwellings deeper into forests that serve as the king cobra’s natural habitat, his mission is to conserve and rescue while educating people about the highly venomous and deadly snakes. (Photo: Sujan Bernard)


Gowri Shankar
King cobra conservationist (India)
Ecologist studying the king cobra and educating the people of India on the importance of this feared, maligned and now threatened reptile species.



Khalil Ramadi
Medical hacker (US)
Biomedical researcher developing hair-thin brain probes, ingestible medical devices and other innovative technologies to help us better understand how the gut and brain are interconnected.



Sarah Rugheimer

Astrophysicist (UK | US)
Astrophysicist studying the telltale chemical signatures on distant planets that could someday reveal the presence of extraterrestrial life.



Peter Schwartzstein

Climate journalist (UK | US | Greece)
Journalist reporting on the immediate, present-day violence and disruption caused by climate-related environmental change.

In the besieged town of Ghouta, Syria, doctors have built a subterranean hospital known as the Cave, protected from the dangers of the ongoing conflict above. Ferras Fayyad’s Oscar-nominated documentary “The Cave” follows the courageous work of the hospital’s doctors as they contend with daily bombardments, chronic supply shortages and the ever-present threat of chemical attacks.


Almudena Toral
Visual journalist (US | Spain)
Journalist reporting stories about migration, violence and trauma through documentary films. Currently tracking the difficulties and exploitation faced by immigrants and asylum seekers in the US and Latin America.


Bianca Tylek
Criminal justice advocate (US)
Criminal justice advocate and founder of Worth Rises, a national nonprofit working to dismantle the prison industry through policy advocacy, corporate activism and community organizing.



Brittany Young
STEM educator (US)
Engineer-turned-teacher creating pathways for young people to careers in science, technology, engineering and extreme sports — all around a shared passion for dirt bikes.


 

TED2020 Senior Fellows

Senior Fellows embody the spirit of the TED Fellows program. They attend four additional TED events, mentor new Fellows and continue to share their remarkable work with the TED community.


Kyra Gaunt
Ethnomusicologist (US)
Digital ethnomusicologist illuminating the prevalence of gender-based exploitation and violence against marginalized girls in digital spaces.



Alison Killing

Architect + technologist (UK | Netherlands)
Architect and open source investigator using journalism and mapping tools to help people better understand the impacts of surveillance and the built environment on human rights.



Adam Kucharski
Epidemiologist (UK)
Infectious disease scientist creating new mathematical and computational models to understand how epidemics like Zika and Ebola spread — and how they can be controlled.

When Burçin Mutlu-Pakdil detected the galaxy LEDA 1000714, she produced the first-ever observation and description of a double-ringed elliptical galaxy. The galaxy, illustrated above, is now known as “Burçin’s galaxy.”


Jae Rhim Lee
Designer + entrepreneur (US | South Korea)
Designer developing new rituals and objects around death to point us toward a more sustainable future, including a mushroom burial suit that converts our unused bodies efficiently into clean compost.



Sonaar Luthra
Water risk forcaster (US | India)
Environmentalist measuring climate-related water risk and implementing solutions for organizations and communities facing 21st-century water security challenges.



Majala Mlagui
Politician (Kenya)
Elected Deputy Governor of one of Kenya’s counties, championing the socioeconomic advancement of women, youth in government, ethical mineral value chains and environmental conservation.


Burçin Mutlu-Pakdil
Astrophysicist (Turkey | US)
Astrophysicist studying extreme objects — including a rare double-ringed elliptical galaxy she discovered — to help us understand how galaxies form and evolve.

Paul Rucker’s “Forever” imagines figures from the civil rights movement in the style of commemorative postage stamps, including these young victims of the 1963 Birmingham church bombing. As Rucker says: “‘Forever’ brings into question who makes the criteria, whether for being an official civil rights martyr, or chosen for a commemorative stamp — and what if our criteria had a different objective?”


Paul Rucker
Multidisciplinary artist (US)
Multidisciplinary artist exploring issues related to mass incarceration, racially motivated violence and the continued impact of policies that sustain inequity.



Edsel Salvana
Molecular biologist (Philippines)
Physician studying the genetics of HIV, developing an affordable test for HIV drug resistance and fighting the spread of misinformation around vaccines and immunization.



Kibwe Tavares
Filmmaker + architect (UK)
Filmmaker and cofounder of Factory Fifteen, a studio collective using dance and live performance to help understand design and our built environment.

from TED Blog https://ift.tt/2GiZEQI

A dangerous woman: Pat Mitchell speaks at TEDWomen 2019

Pat Mitchell speaks at TEDWomen 2019: Bold + Brilliant, December 4-6, 2019, Palm Springs, California. Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED

Pat Mitchell has nothing left to prove and much less to lose. Now more than ever, she cares less about what others say, speaks her mind freely — and she’s angry, too. She’s become a dangerous woman, through and through.

Not dangerous, as in feared, but fearless; a force to be reckoned with.

On the TEDWoman stage, she invites all women, men and allies to join her in embracing the risks necessary to create a world where safety, respect and truth burn brighter than the darkness of our current times.

“This is all possible because we’re ready for this. We’re better prepared than any generation ever before us,” she says. “Better resourced, better connected, and in many parts of the world we’re living longer than ever.”

On the cusp of 77 years old, Mitchell would know what it takes to make possibilities reality from her own career blazing an award-winning trail across media and television. She’s produced and hosted breakthrough television for women, and presided over CNN Productions, PBS and the Paley Center for Media, taking risks all along the way.

“I became a risk-taker early in my life’s journey. I had to, or have my life defined by the limitations for girls growing up in the rural South, especially … with no money, influence or connections,” she says. “But what wasn’t limited was my curiosity about the world beyond my small town.”

She acknowledges her trajectory was colored with gendered advice — become blonde (she did), drop your voice (she tried), lower your necklines (she didn’t) — that sometimes made it difficult to strike a balance between her leadership and womanhood. But now, declaring her pride as a woman leader, activist, advocate and feminist, she couldn’t care less what others say.

Even further, Mitchell doesn’t believe women are waiting to be empowered. She envisions a future where women wield the power they already hold. What’s needed are more opportunities to claim it, use it and share it; for those who’ve already made their paths to reach back and help change the nature of power by dismantling some of the barriers that remain for those who follow.

George Bernard Shaw, she shares, once wrote: “Life is not a brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

Pat Mitchell believes we’re more than equipped to move our communities forward, together. We have the funds, the technology and the media platforms to elevate each other’s stories and ideas for a better livelihood, a better planet.

And for Mitchell there’s no question that she walks in the same footsteps as Shaw’s, looking forward to a near future where we are willing to take more risks, to be more fearless, to speak up, speak out and show up for one another.

“At this point in my life’s journey, I am not passing my torch,” she says. “I am holding my splendid torch higher than ever, boldly and brilliantly — inviting you to join me in its dangerous light.”

Pat Mitchell speaks at TEDWomen 2019: Bold + Brilliant, December 4-6, 2019, Palm Springs, California. Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED

from TED Blog https://ift.tt/2s8uveL

Wayfinders: Notes from Session 6 of TEDWomen 2019

Singer, songwriter and beatboxer Butterscotch lights up the stage at TEDWomen 2019: Bold + Brilliant, on December 6, 2019, in Palm Springs, (California. Photo: Jasmina Tomic / TED)

The final session of TEDWomen 2019 is here! We can’t believe it; we won’t believe. But, if we must close out these three incredible days, it’s good we did it by hearing from a diverse range of “wayfinders” — incredible women who are using their wisdom and insight to light the way forward, tackle global problems and find the right balance of fear and courage to do so.

The event: TEDWomen 2019, Session 6: Wayfinders, hosted by Pat Mitchell, Helen Walters and Kelly Stoetzel

When and where: Friday, December 6, 2019, 9am PT, at La Quinta Resort & Club in La Quinta, California

Speakers: Valorie Kondos Field, Noeline Kirabo, Martha Minow, Agnes Binagwaho, Mary Ellen Hannibal, Jasmine Crowe, Cara E. Yar Khan, Pat Mitchell

Music: Singer-songwriter Butterscotch performs a virtuosic set, mixing beatboxing with her powerful voice to sing about love, life and everything in between.

The talks in brief:

Valorie Kondos Field, gymnastics coach

Big idea: Winning does not always equal success. Leaders need to consider the cost of winning to those under our care and redefine success in empathetic and positive terms.

How? Across the world, a pervasive “win at all costs” culture is creating emotional and physical crises. When Valorie Kondos Field first started working with the UCLA women’s gymnastics team, she mimicked other “winning” coaches by being relentless, unsympathetic and outright mean. One day, her team sat her down and made a firm case against her top-down, bullying approach. The years that followed — and her deeply personal, trust-based work with champion athletes like Katelyn Ohashi and Kyla Ross — were a lesson in the importance of an empathetic approach. True champions, she says, derive joy from their pursuits — win or lose.

Quote of the talk: “Instead of focusing maniacally on winning, we need to have the courage to develop champions through empathy, positivity, and accountability.”


How do you find your passion? Noeline Kirabo provides some answers at TEDWomen 2019: Bold + Brilliant, on December , 2019, in Palm Springs, California. (Photo: Jasmina Tomic / TED)

Noeline Kirabo,  social entrepreneur

Big idea: Almost everyone dreams of turning their passion into a successful career — but to do so, you must first identify what your passion is.

How? Passion isn’t only for the rich or the retired, says Noeline Kirabo. When she dropped out of school because she couldn’t afford the tuition, she didn’t settle for a job she didn’t love — instead, she decided to follow her passion. She founded Kyusa, a nonprofit dedicated to addressing youth unemployment in Uganda by helping young people turn their interests into careers and profitable businesses. Her organization provides the necessary support for them to build the future of their dreams, including soft skills and entrepreneurship training. But how do you find your passion? She poses two questions to help you find the answer: 1) If you had all the money and time in the world, what would you spend your time doing? And 2) What truly makes you happy or gives you a deep sense of fulfillment? In answering these questions, she says, we must look inward — not outward — for the answers. 

Quote of the talk: “We need to look inward to identify the things that give us a deep sense of fulfillment, the things that give us the deepest joy, and then weave them into the patterns of our daily routines. In so doing, we cease to work, and we start to live.”


Martha Minow, law professor

Big idea: Our laws and legal system are focused on punishment, but they should make more room for forgiveness.

Why?: In her 40 years of teaching law, Martha Minow has found that law students are not taught much about forgiveness. While the law itself does contain tools of forgiveness like pardons, commutations and bankruptcy for debt, they are not adequately used. Or, when they are used, they reinforce existing social inequities along the lines of race and class. Yet the benefits of forgiveness have been widely shown, not just for our own individual health, but also for the health of communities affected by criminal activity. Restorative justice, which emphasizes accountability and service rather than punishment, can disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline that has become a prominent issue in parts of the US, Minow says. Although placing more of an emphasis on forgiveness comes with the risk of bias, it also comes with the promise of creating a fairer future.

Quote of the talk: “To ask how law may forgive is not to deny the fact of wrongdoing. Rather, it’s to widen the lens to enable glimpses of the larger patterns.”


Agnes Binagwaho, pediatrician, former Minister of Health of Rwanda

Big idea: Educating women creates female leaders and establishes gender equity — which improves society in countless ways.

How? In 1994, Agnes Binagwaho returned to her home country of Rwanda to practice medicine in the aftermath of the country’s horrific genocide. The devastation was so pervasive she considered leaving, but resilient Rwandan women motivated her to stay and help rebuild. And she is glad she did. Today, Rwanda has the highest proportion of women in parliament — nearly 62 percent — and the most successful HPV vaccination campaign for children. Binagwaho has been key in opening the first medical school in Rwanda, University of Global Health Equity, which boasts gender parity and is free of charge, as long as students commit to working with vulnerable communities around the world.

Quote of the talk: “I have learned that if we focus on women’s education, we improve their lives positively, as well as the wellbeing of their community.”


Mary Ellen Hannibal, science writer

Big idea: Around the world, insect species (including the monarch butterfly) are dying at an alarming rate — and since all life on earth is connected, the looming demise of important pollinators (like bees and butterflies) will have dire consequences for human civilization. Mary Ellen Hannibal believes that citizen scientists could help save insects — and the planet.

How: Citizen scientists — people without PhDs who leverage technology to collect data and organize initiatives to protect the natural world — are a crucial force for understanding complex natural phenomena. The same citizen scientists who documented plummeting monarch butterfly populations now work to save them (and other endangered species) through food-source cultivation, habitat preservation and efforts like the City Nature Challenge — a scalable data-gathering initiative supporting threatened species that cohabit our cities.

Quote of the talk: “Insect life is at the very foundation of our life-support systems. We can’t lose these insects.”


Jasmine Crowe, social entrepreneur, hunger hero

Big idea: We’re doing hunger wrong in America. We can eliminate hunger, reduce food waste and give families their dignity back through innovative technology, instead of charity. 

How? Most of us have donated to food banks, perhaps reaching into the back of our pantries to find a stray can of corn to drop in a donation bin. Food banks are beloved community institutions, but they aren’t solving hunger, says Jasmine Crowe. They keep families dependent on their services and rarely offer a semblance of a meal. Crowe — who has spent her life giving back to the Atlanta community — is reengineering how cities handle hunger through Goodr, a tech-enabled sustainable food waste company. Their app gathers unused food from local businesses and distributes it to food deserts through nonprofits and popup grocery stores. Scarcity isn’t the problem, Crowe reminds us: globally, one in nice people go hungry each day, yet food waste has increased by 50 percent since the 1970s. Each of can join the movement to bring real food and dignity back to families by transcending food pantry solutions.

Quote of the talk: “We wanted to change the way we think and approached the hunger fight, get people to believe that we could solve hunger — not as a charity, not as a food bank, but as a social enterprise with a goal of ending hunger and food waste.”


Cara E. Yar Khan, humanitarian, disability activist

Big Idea: Courage is never instantaneous or easy. It’s a careful balance of bravery and fear. 

How? After being diagnosed with Hereditary Inclusion Body Myopathy, a genetic condition that deteriorates muscle, Cara E. Yar Khan heard again and again that she had to limit her career ambitions and quiet her dreams. Instead, she actively pursued and accomplished her goals, working as a humanitarian in Angola with the UN and as a disability advocate in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. Next up? She decided to descend to the base of the Grand Canyon, embarking on a harrowing 12-day trip: four days descending the canyon via horseback, and eight days of white water rafting through the Colorado River. Though the trip was terrifying, it showed her how powerful her courage could be, she says. Courage isn’t just a burst of bravery that appears right when we need it. Courage appears when we’re willing to take risks, acknowledge and prepare for our fears and become devoted to bringing our dreams to life. 

Quote of the talk: “Without fear, you’ll do foolish things. Without courage, you’ll never step into the unknown. The balance of the two is where the magic lies, and it’s a balance we all deal with everyday.”


Pat Mitchell, TEDWomen curator, self-proclaimed “dangerous woman”

Big idea: It’s time to embrace risk, speak out and live dangerously.

Why? We live in dangerous times, with nothing left to prove and much more to lose, says Pat Mitchell. The rise in sexism, racism and violence against women and girls, alongside the dire state of our planet, demands that we live dangerously. “I don’t mean being feared,” says Mitchell. “But I do mean being more fearless.” Mitchell knows this best from her own life blazing a path across media and television. On the TEDWomen stage, she shares how her own experiences informed her leadership decisions and vision of a future where women wield the power they already hold.

Quote of the talk: “At this point in my life’s journey, I am holding my splendid torch higher than ever, boldly and brilliantly — inviting you to join me in its dangerous light.”

from TED Blog https://ift.tt/2PeGteI