• social change

Social Change

These speakers seek to transform the world through empathy, activism, and the entrepreneurial spirit needed to push through truly revolutionary change. Some have already succeeded; others are in the midst of their life’s work.

 
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Social Change
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Yancey Strickler

Co-founder and CEO of Kickstarter

Yancey Strickler co-founded Kickstarter to help bring creative projects to life. In the process, he has started an important conversation about how companies can stick to their ideals, resist conformi...

Naomi Klein

Author of No Is Not Enough, This Changes Everything, The Shock Doctrine, & No Logo

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, columnist, and the #1 international bestselling author of seminal books The Shock Doctrine and No Logo. In her book This Changes Everything, and in powerful...

Reza Aslan

#1 New York Times Bestselling Author of Zealot, Host of CNN's Believer

Reza Aslan addresses topics of Islam, the Middle East, and Muslim Americans with authority, wit, and infectious optimism. He is the author of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth—a momentou...

Major MJ Hegar

Author of Shoot Like a Girl | Leadership Speaker | Foreign Policy 100 Leading Global Thinker

Major MJ Hegar is a hero twice over—a Purple Heart-decorated pilot, and the soldier who challenged a discriminatory military policy, winning women the right to serve on the front lines for the first t...

Bill Strickland

An Extraordinary Business and Community Leader

For thirty years, Bill Strickland has used his innovative arts and training centers to transform the lives of thousands of impoverished adults and teenagers. A commanding speaker, his resonant message...

Jessica Jackley

Co-Founder of Kiva, the microlending site, and Author of Clay Water Brick

The connection between two individuals is a powerful agent for social change. This idea animates the work of Jessica Jackley, who co-founded KIVA, the world’s most successful microlending site, and is...

Angie Thomas

Author of the Black Lives Matter-Inspired YA Novel The Hate U Give, an Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller

Angie Thomas is the author of the instant #1 New York Times bestseller The Hate U Give: widely known as the Black Lives Matter-inspired YA novel. Called “a stunning, brilliant, gut-wrenching novel tha...

Ashton Applewhite

Anti-Ageism Activist | Author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism

What if discrimination on the basis of age were as unacceptable as any other kind of prejudice? Ashton Applewhite is a leading voice in an emerging movement dedicated to dismantling ageism and making ...

Anastasia Lin

Human Rights Advocate, Award-winning Actress, Miss World Canada 2015 and 2016

Miss World Canada. Award-winning actor. Human rights advocate. Anastasia Lin shatters simplistic categories. With characteristic intelligence—and with rare bravery—she commands global attention for he...

Jeff Chang

Social Historian, Author of We Gon’ Be Alright and Can't Stop Won't Stop

“Culture moves before politics,” says Jeff Chang, who writes on art, multiculturalism, and racial progress in post-civil rights America with the sweeping authority of the best social historians. In hi...

Kal Penn

Actor and Former Associate Director at the White House Office of Public Engagement

Called “the world’s most famous Indian actor” by New York Magazine, Kal Penn is a rising Hollywood star. But what sets him apart is his off-screen eloquence, his passion for the intersection of pop cu...

Mohamed Fahmy

Award-Winning Journalist Imprisoned in Egypt for 438 Days

Mohamed Fahmy spent 438 days in an Egyptian prison—unjustly jailed for conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood, and for fabricating news for Al Jazeera during his tenure as bureau chief for the Qatari ...

Dr. Samantha Nutt

Humanitarian, Founder of War Child Canada and War Child USA, and Bestselling Author of Damned Nations

Dr. Samantha Nutt is an award-winning humanitarian, bestselling author and acclaimed public speaker. A medical doctor and a founder of the renowned international humanitarian organization War Child, D...

Dr. Richard Heinzl

Founder of Doctors Without Borders, Canada

Richard Heinzl is the founder of Doctors Without Borders Canada: the Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization that has inspired a movement among medical professionals to help the world’s most vulnerable...

Kimberley Motley

First Foreign Litigator in Afghanistan, 2014 TED Speaker

Kimberley Motley is the only foreign litigator working in Afghanistan. Armed with an unwavering determination and a passion for justice, she navigates the country’s punitive and capricious legal syste...

Michael Furdyk

Co-founder of TakingIT Global

Michael Furdyk is the Co-founder and Director of Technology for TakingITGlobal.org, a global online community engaging hundreds of thousands of youth in over 200 countries and territories. With the ab...

Megan Phelps-Roper

Former Member of the Westboro Baptist Church | Writer & Educator

Formally of the Westboro Baptist Church—a group infamous for its intolerance—Megan Phelps-Roper is a unique example of how empathy can overcome hate, and how tolerance can bridge ideology.

 
Wajahat Ali

Speaker on the Muslim-American Experience, New York Times Op-Ed Contributor

What does it feel like to be a Muslim today, in the era of Trump? How can we come together to overcome Islamophobia and harmful stereotypes? Wajahat Ali—who regularly appears on CNN to discuss politic...

Jennifer Corriero

Co-Founder of TakingIT Global & Expert on the Net Generation

Jennifer Corriero is the co-founder of TakingITGlobal—one of the world’s first social networks—which engages hundreds of thousands of youths around the world to make a difference in their communities....

Tonya Surman

Founding CEO of The Centre for Social Innovation

Tonya Surman is upending our notions of work, innovation, and community by shaping them into a new model of social entrepreneurism. Having worked with dozens of social start-ups, Surman speaks about t...

Shachi Kurl

Executive Director of the Angus Reid Institute

Where are we heading—culturally, politically, economically? As the Executive Director of the Angus Reid Institute, Shachi Kurl asks important questions and reveals what we really think about them. She...

Yascha Mounk

Speaker on the Decline of Democracy & Rise of Populism | Harvard Lecturer

Today, in countries around the world, support for democracy is waning. And Yascha Mounk provides startling explanations for why people (and especially young people) are losing faith in the liberal dem...

Jake Porway

Big Data Speaker, Founder of DataKind

Jake Porway uses big data to tackle big social problems. As the founder of DataKind, he connects—and acts as an accessible bridge between—data scientists and not-for-profit companies, which often don’...

Nadya Tolokonnikova

Human Rights Activist, Founding Member of Pussy Riot

As co-founder of Pussy Riot, Nadya Tolokonnikova spent two years in jail for performing an anti-Putin concert in a Moscow cathedral. Her imprisonment sparked global debate about freedom of expression ...

Marie Henein

One of Canada’s Most Distinguished Lawyers | Sr. Partner at Henein Hutchison LLP

Marie Henein is one of Canada’s most distinguished, smartest, and toughest defence lawyers; in fact, the National Post named her the “most high-profile criminal defence lawyer in the country.” She’s a...

Sarah Elton

Journalist and Author of Locavore and Consumed

Sarah Elton is the bestselling author of Consumed and Locavore. In her work as an author and journalist, she documents the innovative and inspiring new ways people around the world are producing food—...

Candy Chang

Urban Space Artist Behind the "Before I Die" Walls

World-renowned artist and urban designer Candy Chang engages communities to share everything from their greatest hopes to their deepest anxieties in public. The Atlantic calls her artwork Before I Die...

Molly Crabapple

Painter, Writer, and Author of Drawing Blood

Molly Crabapple is an artist and writer whose work has been described as “God’s own circus posters,” by Rolling Stone. Crabapple’s art engages injustice, subversiveness, and rebellion. The New York Ti...

Ari Wallach

Founder of Fast Company’s Futures with Ari Wallach; Futurist & Social Innovation Strategist

Futurist and innovation strategist Ari Wallach is Fast Company’s new expert on emergent trends in business and culture. Combining a grasp of new technology and products with a broader understanding of...

Kentaro Toyama

Professor, MIT Fellow, and Author of Geek Heresy

It’s a common enough refrain: technology will save the world. But can laptops and cellphones really enact social change? In his new book Geek Heresy, Kentaro Toyama debunks the claims of tech zealots ...

Margot Lee Shetterly

Author of Hidden Figures: the #1 New York Times bestseller, and inspiration for the #1 movie.

Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures—a #1 NYT bestseller and inspiration for the #1 movie in America—is the true story of the black women mathematicians at NASA who helped fuel some of America’s grea...

Bassam Tariq

TED Fellow and Director of These Birds Walk

Bassam Tariq is a TED Fellow and director of the acclaimed film These Birds Walk. Through his work—as a filmmaker, blogger, and halal butcher shop owner—he shares intimate stories of Muslims from arou...

Marcelo Suarez-Orozco

Worldwide Expert on Globalization, Immigration and Education

America has more immigrants than ever before, and debates over immigration are boiling over. Again. But how is this wave of immigrants vastly different from previous ones? Assured and reassuring, the ...

Parvez Sharma

Award-Winning Filmmaker and Bestselling Author of A Jihad for Love and A Sinner in Mecca

Parvez Sharma makes fearless award-winning films and authors bestselling books about faith, identity, social justice and the world’s unfortunate right-ward spiral. A Jihad for Love was the world’s fir...

Jason Roberts

Arts Activist and Co-Creator of the Better Block Project

Do you have a dream for your community? Maybe it’s bike lanes, or a better transit system, or more outdoor cafes. Arts activist Jason Roberts had a similar vision—and he took it upon himself to make i...

Ben Rattray

Founder and CEO of Change.org

Ben Rattray is the founder and CEO of Change.org, the world's fastest-growing website for social action—a place where ordinary folks can mobilize extraordinary support for their causes. “We have the p...

Srdja Popovic

Founder of Otpor! and CANVAS; author of Blueprint for Revolution

“People power and nonviolence are here to stay,” says Srdja Popovic. Named among Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers—and author of inspirational handbook Blueprint for Revolution—Popovic is a fou...

Naomi Natale

TED Senior Fellow and Artistic Director of The Art of Revolution

Artist and photographer Naomi Natale is the founding artist behind One Million Bones—a large-scale social arts practice that fuses education and hands-on artmaking to raise awareness of genocide—and t...

Jennifer Jacquet

Author of Is Shame Necessary? New Uses for an Old Tool

How can shame lead to social change? Jennifer Jacquet is the author of Is Shame Necessary? New Uses for an Old Tool, which explores the social nature of shame—how it can be used to promote large-scale...

Kelly J. Lendsay

President and CEO, Indigenous Works

Indigenous leader Kelly J. Lendsay talks about real social and economic inclusion for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities. By inspiring government, business, and Indigenous people to overcome ...

Reggie Love

President Barack Obama's Former Personal Aide, Author of Power Forward

Drawing from his coveted experience as President Obama’s personal aide (the subject of his book, Power Forward), Reggie Love shares timeless—yet timely—lessons on crisis management, collaboration and ...

Angela Davis

Legendary Human Rights Activist

Angela Davis is internationally known for her ongoing work to combat all forms of oppression in the U.S. and abroad. Her work as an educator—both at the university level and in the larger public spher...

Minnijean Brown-Trickey

Civil Rights Legend Who Helped Desegregate Public Schools

Sixty years ago, in 1957, Minnijean Brown-Trickey changed history by striding through the front doors of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. As a member of the Little Rock Nine, she helped d...

Miki Agrawal

One of INC's Most Impressive Women Entrepreneurs of 2016

Miki Agrawal is a true “force of nature.” She was dubbed a 2017 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, 2016’s Crain’s 40 Under 40 list, featured on the cover of Entrepreneur magazine, named ...