For a further look into the spectacular event:
– watch the full talk program
– download the printed program
– relive the memories captured in photos
TEDxFulbright DC Dared Us to Think in Inspiring Ways
By Juleyka Lantigua-Williams
On April 5, a beautiful Spring morning, hundreds of enthusiastic participants filed into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hall of Flags for a day of inspiring and thoughtful conversations.
As they made their way to their seats, participants walked through the Projection Center, a visual playscape and art installation that took them to places foreign and familiar with engrossing and stunning photographs from around the world illuminated 360 degrees onto a balloon cloud fifteen feet in diameter.
Our host, German television journalist Ingo Zamperoni (@Ingo_Zamperoni), welcomed those gathered in Washington DC and thousands joining us via the livestream from 200 locations around the world. He then welcomed Harriett Fulbright, who ascended the stage to rousing applause from a grateful crowd honoring her role in maintaining her husband’s vision for a world connected by gifted individuals in pursuit of a common good.
The first session of the day, under the banner “Dare to Witness,” featured speakers whose work either chronicles or envisions what’s possible at the intersection of human ingenuity and technological knowhow.
To get us thinking globally, defense analyst Rush Doshi (@RushDoshi) showed us just how deeply location can impact history, commerce, and politics. His conclusion that, “Geography casts a long shadow, but geography can change…with inspired leadership” provoked many of us Fulbright alumni to consider just how much that may be true—individually and collectively.
A highlight of the second session, “Dare to Innovate,” was Romain Lacombe (@rlacombe), Head of Innovation of the French Prime Minister’s Open Data Taskforce, who reminded us that, “With so much data, we have created a new instrument to understand the world. We now have a way to see the invisible.” Lacombe used beautiful illustrations and simple definitions to make the compelling case for using data to redraw the boundaries of what’s knowable, and to harness the power of human relationships beyond mundane data gathering.
During breaks, participants visited idea incubators in the Experience Lab, located in another beautiful room in the Chamber of Commerce. Fulbrighters who are daring to think and translate ideas into action showcased what’s possible to solve lingering problems, alleviate unnecessary circumstances, and push us a bit closer to what we can accomplish when we dare to think.
The presidentially-appointed Fulbright Scholarship Board was represented by one of the most celebrated speakers of the day, President of Pitzer College, Laura Trombley. Engaging the audience with a humorous telling of her experience as a professor in Bavaria, Germany, she illustrated the values of a well-rounded and humble approach to leadership.
World-class music closed the session as cellist Danielle Cho, co-founder of Sound Impact and frequent National Philharmonic guest, regaled us with Fantasia and Intermezzo e Danza Finale by Gaspar Cassadó, a virtuosic piece filled with Spanish melodies and flamboyance.
A tangible way TEDxFulbright recognized and rewarded innovators who dared to think unthinkable thoughts was the first-ever Fulbright Association’s Social Innovation Challenge. Five finalists presented their ideas to a panel of judges and the attentive crowd, including the winner, who joined us via Skype from Pakistan. Adnan Khawaja, a Fulbright alumnus and Acumen fellow living in Lahore created Odd Jobber, a mobile tool to connect low-income workers to jobs in sectors such as transportation and domestic labor.
For lunch, we poured out of the building and into a gorgeous day to dine al fresco under the cherry blossoms in a park across from the White House.
The next session was “Dare to Produce.” First up was Massimiliano Versace (@MaxVersace), Director of Boston’s Neuromorphics Lab, who wants robots to learn like living things learn—intuitively. By studying, and one day replicating, the neural networks that make intelligent creatures respond and adapt, Versace wants to “change the way robots are designed.”
Lisa Dyson, an energy scientist and serial entrepreneur, seamlessly explained her laser-like focus on reducing CO2 emissions by taking a cue from nature: “In nature, there is no carbon waste. There’s only a carbon cycle.”
In one of the day’s most cathartic moments, documentary filmmaker and artist Jeremy Xido (@jewuxjeux) performed a monologue that traced the connections between his childhood friend and the brutal reality of many young people in parts of Africa.
“Dare to Empower,” our last session of the day, was a testament to the power of ideas being acted on, of knowledge being shared, and of minds and spirits being unfurled by understanding, cooperation, and learning. Rebecca Davis (@RDDanceCo), founder of Rebecca Davis Dance Company, uses dance—its discipline, beauty, and creativity—to educate and empower children in war-torn countries.
The day was capped off with a Champagne and Cookies Reception in the Projection Center, where speakers and participants continued their spirited exchange. Current grantees, 425 alumni, and friends from over 60 countries came together to hear from Fulbrighters who dared to witness, produce, innovate, and empower. By the end of the day, it was clear that at the heart of all audacious endeavors was the transformative power of an individual driven to think the unthinkable, as Senator Fulbright compels us to do.
Juleyka Lantigua-Williams, Fulbright to Spain in 1996, is a writer and editor. She was part of the TEDxFulbright Washington DC Organizing Team as Communications Director. For more, visit juleykalantigua.com or follow her @juleykalantigua
Join the program via live webcast!
Can’t be in DC? Join via live webcast!
For distant Fulbright and like-minded communities around the world, we are able to offer the opportunity to view and participate through a live webcast offered free to individuals and alumni chapters. We encourage you to organize a viewing party for members, area alumni, visiting Fulbright scholars and other interested parties. Download the Livestream Invitation and sign up as a viewer to be recognized on a world map at the event! Check back to THIS PAGE for the URL on the day of the event, April 5th 10:00 am – 6:00 pm EST.
Vote Now for the Finalists of the Fulbright Social Innovation Challenge!
The jury has narrowed the competition to eight semi-finalists, and it’s now up to you to help select the top four! Jump over to the Challenge Page to check out the most impressive programs for social change and cast your vote to determine who will present their pitch from the TEDxFulbright stage at the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC on April 5th.
March 14th, 2014
Presenting the TEDxFulbright Host: Ingo Zamperoni, favorite German TV Correspondent, Medium Magazine’s 2013 Journalist of the Year, and Save the Children Ambassador
From Germany, Mr. Zamperoni has joined the TEDxFulbright program, giving the stage a personality without comparison. Among the most popular TV Correspondents in Germany, he now serves as the German ARD Network’s Foreign Correspondent in Washington, DC, where he also spent his Fulbright year in 1998. (Photo by Sueddeutsche Zeitung Magazin)
February 28th, 2014
Meet the Speakers
We’re excited to announce an amazing lineup of Fulbright alumni and current scholars and students who will present at TEDxFulbright ’14 in Washington, DC! Our speakers are working on some amazing projects, from documenting the lives of people who still live near Chernobyl and Fukushima, to making documentary films about metal bands in Angola, to developing nutrition classes in rural China, and even creating dance and educational programs for street children and underserved youth in post-conflict and developing countries! Our speakers will cover issues including education in the Middle East, democracy in the Age of Data, empowering female agricultural entrepreneurs in Africa and Latin America, using drones to create positive social change, and more! Over the next days, two very special speakers will be announced to complete the program. Subscribe to the mailing list and keep tabs over social media to be kept up to date!
The TEDxFulbright ’14 Speakers, full profiles available on the Speakers page:
Romain Lacombe, Democracy in the Age of Data, Head of Innovation for Etalab, the French Prime Minister’s Open Data Taskforce
Laura Skandera Trombley, Board Member of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Program and President of Pitzer College
Massimiliano Versace, CEO, Neurala Inc., Boston, Director of Boston’s Neuromorphics Lab
Lisa Dyson, CEO of Kiverdi, alternative fuel technology, Turning CO2 into Oil
Michael Forster Rothbart, Boxing Outside the Think: creativity, photography, and seeing the world anew, Photojournalist
Paola Santana, Lawyer & Entrepreneur, An Internet of Things, Matternet
David Baker, New Minds, Gods, and Political Upheavals, Imagining a New World from the Education Revolution, Professor of Education and Sociology, Penn State University
Arlene Birt, Sustainability: Made Visual, Visual Storyteller
Marlene Stearns, The Rise of Women Entrepreneurial Leaders in Agriculture, Entrepreneur, 3Psourcing
Jeremy Xido, Music and a Nation’s Fight for Freedom, Documentary Filmmaker
Lennart Joos, Can Carbon Capture Curb Climate Change? Scientist, Ghent University, Belgium
Rebecca Davis, Discovering YOU Matter, Youth empowerment programs in post-conflict areas, Rebecca Davis Dance Company
Rush Doshi, Rediscovering Geography in a World of Technology, Defense Analyst, Long Term Strategy Group
Danielle Cho, Cellist, Co-Founder of Sound Impact
Santiago Garcia, Citizen, Government, and the Software In Between, yovoto.com.py
Jennifer Welch, The Limits of Knowledge in a World of Limitless Knowledge, Nutrition and Information, the Committee of 100
Vivienne Aerts, Jazz Singer and Songwriter, Global Jazz Institute
February 10th, 2014
Dare to engage: on Saturday, April 5th in Washington, DC, TEDxFulbright promises to deliver a program unlike any other with profoundly thoughtful leaders sharing from the stage and interactive elements incorporated throughout the day to spark curiosity and connection among all participants.
Tickets are $100 for general admission and include the full line-up of talk sessions, access to the Experience Lab, a catered lunch, break refreshments, and facilitated networking activities. Fulbrighters have already registered who plan to travel from all across the U.S. and even as far as South America and Europe to partake in the unique opportunity to connect with the most proactive and creative members and supporters of the global Fulbright community.
The Friend of TEDxFulbright personal sponsorship plan is an option for individuals wishing to support the program beyond event participation. Alongside special recognition in the printed program and website. In addition, they will receive a limited edition event T-shirt and a personal note of gratitude from the Organizing Team.
For those who are unable to attend the event, a live webcast will be available exclusively during the program, April 5 9:30:00-18:00 EST. Particularly for Fulbright communities near and far, we encourage you to contact us for support in coordinating a local event and connecting in real time with participants of the Washington, DC program! Please email 2014@TEDxFulbright.org to start the conversation.
February 3rd, 2014
TEDxFulbright in partnership with the Fulbright Association challenge the general public to submit bold, innovative ideas that will tackle the most difficult issues that face our society today. This year’s TEDxFulbright and Fulbright Social Innovation Challenge theme is inspired by Senator J. William Fulbright’s quote, “We must dare to think ‘unthinkable’ thoughts. We must learn to explore all the options and possibilities that confront us in a complex and rapidly changing world.” Judges for the competition will be evaluating proposals with this quote in mind. In the spirit of the Fulbright Program and its mission to foster mutual understanding through open dialogue and exchange, the Fulbright Social Innovation Challenge encourages applicants to submit ideas that will have a sustainable impact on communities locally and/or globally. Finalists will be invited to pitch their ideas at TEDxFulbright in Washington, DC on April 5, 2014. The winner and finalists will also receive various prizes and pro bono services offered by sponsoring institutions to help launch their idea after the TEDxFulbright event.
January 22nd, 2014
Thank you to all speaker applicants!
An overwhelming number of applications flowed from the first day the application was available. The TEDxFulbright Talent Committee is already busy assessing the diverse group of candidates and will be contacting semi-finalists starting mid-February to coordinate interviews. The speaker lineup will begin to take shape in late February- keep checking back for updates!
January 3rd, 2014
The most fundamental element of the program is the rich swathe of speakers that will engage the audience with stories of courage, inspiration, and endeavor. The Organizing Committee is currently accepting nominations for established and rising members of the global Fulbright alumni community who are not only leaders in their fields and distinguished representatives of the Fulbright vision but are also, importantly, exceptional communicators. Musicians and performance artists are also very welcome.
Questions may be directed by email to Nicholas Bashour, Talent Relationship Director, at Speak@TEDxFulbright.org
October 6th, 2013
Two TEDxFulbright Events, Two Continents, One Day
The organizers of TEDxFulbright in Washington, D.C. and TEDxFulbrightDublin have teamed up to bring a global TEDxFulbright experience on the same day, April 5th, 2014. Plans are underway to conduct video conferencing between the two conferences for an interactive experience between the two continents.
July 30th, 2013