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TED Speakers

 

Every year, David Lavin attends the TED conference, bearing witness to the latest ideas worth spreading. This is a selection of speakers, including two TED Prize winners, who have made a big impact on the TED stage.

 

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Karim Abouelnaga

Social Change Advocate | CEO of Practice Makes Perfect

There is an achievement gap within the education system, and entrepreneur Karim Abouelnaga is bridging it, one child at a time. Practice Makes Perfect—founded when he was 18—provides lower-income stud...

Martin Ford

Author of New York Times bestseller Rise of the Robots

We’ve known for a long time that robots have replaced a majority of manual labor jobs. But they are now taking over complex jobs we previously thought only humans could do. In Rise of the Robots, Mart...

Angela Duckworth

Author of Grit, the #1 New York Times Bestseller | Pioneering Researcher on Grit, Perseverance, and the Science of Success

In her landmark research, psychologist Angela Duckworth reveals the importance of character to success in life. Her pioneering work on grit and self-control—showcased in her instant New York Times bes...

Adam Alter

New York Times Bestselling Author of Drunk Tank Pink and Irresistible

Adam Alter is a bestselling author who studies how we think and decide—how consumers spend, doctors diagnose, judges punish, and investors invest. In his new book, Irresistible, he explores how tech c...

Neri Oxman

MIT Professor at the Crossroads of Art, Science, and Technology

Neri Oxman combines breakthroughs in materials science (such as 3D printing) with design principles found in nature. Imagine a skyscraper made with concrete that can breathe and grow and “think,” or a...

David Eagleman

One of the World’s Foremost Neuroscientists | Host of PBS’s The Brain | Scientific Advisor for HBO’s Westworld this is the science description this is the neuroscience description

How can we harness the brain for maximum creativity—at work, and school? In The Runaway Species, David Eagleman—“the hottest thing in neuroscience” (The Times)—reveals how any organization can adopt a...

Steven Pinker

Author of Enlightenment Now and The Better Angels of Our Nature

Steven Pinker asks the big questions about human progress—and sets out, in public, to answer them. In 2018’s Enlightenment Now, Pinker argues that, despite the headlines, the world is getting better, ...

Susan Pinker

Psychologist and Author of The Village Effect and The Sexual Paradox

Psychologist and award-winning author Susan Pinker is a seasoned observer of modern communication and social contact. Whether writing on gender differences, as in The Sexual Paradox, or on why face-to...

Sarah Lewis

Author of The Rise, Guest-Editor of Aperture’s “Vision & Justice” Issue

When we view race and justice through the lens of culture, we can enlarge our notion of citizenship, of who belongs and who counts. Sarah Lewis, an intellectual star and powerful speaker, has sparked ...

Edward O. Wilson

One of the World’s Most Distinguished Biologists

E.O. Wilson has made a tremendous contribution to our understanding of biodiversity, while his insights on social and group behavior have changed our perception of ourselves. The stirring keynotes fro...

Titus Kaphar

Award-Winning Painter and Sculptor

With more urgency than a headline, Titus Kaphar’s artworks capture the spirit of social justice and change in America today (exemplified in his TIME cover portrait of the Ferguson protests). Working f...

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...

Jessica Jackley

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

You can do good and do well at the same time. Just ask Jessica Jackley, founder of KIVA, the world’s most successful microlending site. Praised by the likes of Oprah and Bill Clinton, Jackley champion...

Tom Wujec

World Renowned Expert on Innovation | Chief Disruptor at Autodesk | Author of The Future of Making

New disruptive technologies are permanently changing the way we conceive, design, manufacture, and sell products. To veteran innovator Tom Wujec—Autodesk’s ‘Chief Disruptor—this revolution isn’t intim...

Casey Gerald

Former CEO of MBAs Across America | Closing Speaker at TED2016

As co-founder of MBAs Across America, Casey Gerald traveled the nation to discover how mission-driven entrepreneurs, far from Wall St. or Silicon Valley, were tackling the biggest challenges facing ou...

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 ...

Laura Galante

Leading Cybersecurity Analyst | Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council and Founder, Galante Strategies

Cyber spying. Russian hacking. DNC leaks, fake news, and manipulation. To Laura Galante, cybersecurity—and cyber literacy—are indispensible tools for any government or corporation. From The New York T...

Jennifer Brea

Director of the Documentary Unrest | Disability Rights Advocate

Five years ago, Jennifer Brea suddenly fell ill with a disease doctors couldn’t diagnose. Without treatment, she became bedridden—and unable to move. But that’s when she chose to fight back. By docume...

Emily Esfahani Smith

Author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters

Meaning, not happiness, is the key to a good life. That’s the vital message at the core of Emily Esfahani Smith’s book, The Power of Meaning, which outlines four pillars essential to living a life tha...

Megan Phelps-Roper

Former Member of the Westboro Baptist Church | Author of This Above All (Forthcoming)

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.

Janna Levin

Author of Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space

Janna Levin is changing the way we understand the cosmos. She brings originality, lucidity—and even poetry—to one of humanity’s oldest sciences. And in her new book Black Hole Blues and Other Songs fr...

John Maeda

Global Head, Computational Design and Inclusion at Automattic

John Maeda is a world-renowned artist, graphic designer, computer scientist, educator, and investor whose career reflects his philosophy of humanizing technology. For more than a decade, he has worked...

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...

John Underkoffler

Digital Interface Designer Who Worked on "Minority Report" and "Iron Man"

John Underkoffler is a designer whose present-day work is shaping the way our future will look. A digital interface expert whose inventions bridge the gap between Hollywood fantasy and real-world inno...

Jer Thorp

Data Artist | Innovator-in-Residence at the Library of Congress | Former NYT Data Artist in Residence

When Twitter, Microsoft, and Facebook need an expert to analyze their data, who do they turn to? The answer is Jer Thorp—the most respected Data Artist in America (what he does goes far beyond analysi...

Salman Khan

Founder & CEO of The Khan Academy | Author of The One World School House

Sal Khan is the founder of the Khan Academy, a nonprofit with the mission of providing free, world-class education to “anyone, anywhere.” Now, Khan Academy has over 52 million registered users across ...

Edward Burtynsky

World-Renowned Photographer, Winner of the TED Prize

World-renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky creates stunning photos—“reflecting pools of our time”—that explore large-scale social, political, and economic issues, including water, oil, and the uphea...

Laurie Garrett

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Speaker on Ebola, Zika, Global Health, and Prevention

Laurie Garrett is one of America’s most trusted speakers on global public health, infectious disease, and, recently, the Ebola crisis and the emerging Zika virus. The only person to win the three P’s ...

Johann Hari

Bestselling Author of Chasing the Scream and Lost Connections

“Almost everything we know about addiction is wrong,” says journalist Johann Hari. And in his New York Times bestseller Chasing the Scream and viral TED Talk, he offers surprising (and optimistic) way...

David Kwong

Illusionist, Puzzle Expert, and Author of Spellbound

David Kwong is no ordinary magician. He’s a New York Times puzzle builder, TED speaker, Harvard grad, consultant on blockbusters like The Imitation Game, and now a greenlit TV producer. And in his fun...

Jared Diamond

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author of Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse

Jared Diamond is a celebrated scientist, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and a dauntless explorer of the world. Likewise, his keynotes take audiences on a journey through some of the most profound ev...

Rev. Jeffrey Brown

Pastor and President of RECAP (Rebuilding Every Community Around Peace)

Rev. Jeffrey Brown was one of the key architects behind the “Boston Miracle,” which saw the violent crime rate among youth plummet by 79% over a decade. Today, he works with faith groups, cities, gove...

Drew Dudley

Founder of Day One Leadership

Drew Dudley believes we routinely ignore a huge percentage of the leadership that exists around us. He aims to remedy this by helping individuals and organizations create “cultures of everyday leaders...

Dr. Benedetta Berti

Expert on Modern Terrorism, Security, and Civil Wars

What do armed groups like ISIS and Hezbollah do “when they’re not shooting?” The answer to this question is the focus of Benedetta Berti’s work. A security expert who’s worked with organizations acros...

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

Nathan Wolfe

Expert on the spread of pandemics worldwide

The Indiana Jones of virus hunting, Nathan Wolfe travels the world to track, study, and eradicate the next pandemic before it strikes. One of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, this Vira...

Isabel Allende

Author of The House of the Spirits and In the Midst of Winter

A literary legend, a social activist, and a feminist icon, Isabel Allende—now in the fourth decade of a career like no other—has sold over 50 million books in over 30 languages. The massive audiences ...

Greg Gage

TED Speaker | Neuroscientist | Cofounder and CEO of Backyard Brains

Greg Gage is starting a neuro-revolution—or “neuroscience for the 99%.” That means affordable, DIY labs in classrooms around the world. From his live experiments on the TED stage (now with over 8 mill...

Eman Mohammed

TED Fellow and Photojournalist

What kind of courage does it take to become the only female photojournalist in the Gaza Strip? TED Fellow Eman Mohammed was only 19 when she began shooting photos for a local news agency—and then the ...

Suki Kim

New York Times bestselling author of Without You, There Is No Us, Expert on North Korea

Suki Kim is one of the only writers to ever go undercover in North Korea. An award-winning novelist, Kim’s obsession with the country led her to pursue journalistic assignments there beginning in 2002...

Karen Armstrong

Founder of The Charter for Compassion

Karen Armstrong is the most original and inclusive speaker on the role of religion in the modern world. Her bestselling books, including A History of God, and sought-after talks examine the difference...