Since the turn of the millennium, the story of humanity has been one of collaboration and connection, driven by a global economy and the infusion of technology into our daily lives. Disparate disciplines have intersected, forging unexpected innovation, and bringing newfound prosperity.
At the same time, we find ourselves at a crossroads on critical issues. Broken drug policy, mass incarceration, social security, a changing climate, ballooning education costs, and disenfranchised inner cities whose frustration and hopelessness has boiled over onto the streets.
TEDxMidAtlantic 2015 will both celebrate the intersections that are building a world of abundance while challenging us to pick a direction that will shape our nation — and our world — for the rest of the century.
Watch Larry Lessig’s talk »
Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, former director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and founder of Rootstrikers, a network of activists leading the fight against government corruption. He has authored numerous books, including Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Our Congress—and a Plan to Stop It, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, Free Culture, and Remix.
Lessig serves on the Boards of Creative Commons, AXA Research Fund and iCommons.org, and on the Advisory Boards of the Sunlight Foundation, the Better Future Project, and Democracy Café. He is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Association, and has received numerous awards, including the Free Software Foundation’s Freedom Award, Fastcase 50 Award and being named one of Scientific American’s Top 50 Visionaries.
Lessig holds a BA in economics and a BS in management from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in philosophy from Cambridge, and a JD from Yale. As Professor at Stanford Law School, Lessig founded the school’s Center for Internet and Society. He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court.
Watch Wendell Pierce’s talk »
Actor & Author
Wendell Pierce is recognized by film audiences for his extensive work for directors including Woody Allen, Spike Lee, Brian De Palma, Barry Levinson, Sidney Lumet and Paul Schrader. Hailed for his portrayal of Det. Bunk Moreland on five critically acclaimed seasons of ‘The Wire,’ and for his work on ‘Treme’, Wendell is a native of New Orleans, and has worked to rebuild the neighborhood in which he was raised.
He formed Ponchartrain Park Neighborhood Association, a non-profit corporation, to rebuild 350 affordable and environmentally friendly homes which will preserve the community character and help longtime residents come back to their neighborhood.
Wendell starred in ‘Life Support’ for HBO (opposite Queen Latifah), which garnered him a NAACP Image Award. He appeared as himself in Spike Lee’s documentary ‘When The Levees Broke,’ telling his family’s story of loss after Katrina. He starred in ‘Stay Alive’ for Disney, the award winning ‘Ray’ (based on the life of Ray Charles) for director Taylor Hackford, Wim Wenders’ ‘Angst & Alienation in America,’ and ‘Hole in One.’ Pierce’s large body of work includes ‘The Fighting Temptations,’ ’24 Hour Woman,’ ‘Brown Sugar,’ ‘Volcano,’ ‘Abilene,’ ‘Bullworth,’ and Spike Lee’s ‘Get on the Bus.’ His filmography also includes ‘Sleepers,’ ‘Waiting to Exhale,’ ‘Hackers,’ ‘Bye Bye Love,’ ‘It Could Happen To You,’ ‘Manhattan Murder Mystery,’ ‘Malcolm X,’ ‘Husbands and Wives,’ ‘A Rage in Harlem,’ ‘Bonfire of the Vanities,’ ‘Casualties of War,’ ‘Family Business,’ ‘Ishtar,’ ‘Patty Hearst’ and ‘The Money Pit.’ Upcoming 2010 releases include the indie film ‘Bolden’ and Taylor Hackford’s ‘Love Ranch,’ starring Helen Mirren.
In addition to ‘The Wire,’ Pierce has had regular roles on ‘The Weber Show’ for NBC, CBS’s ‘Gregory Hines Show,’ ‘Maloney,’ and ‘The Brian Benben Show,’ and has had recurring roles on shows including ‘Numb3rs,’ ‘Law & Order,’ ‘Third Watch,’ ‘New York Undercover’ and ‘I’ll Fly Away.’ Pierce’s credits also include the ABC miniseries ‘Advocate’s Devil,’ the CBS telefilm ‘Never Give Up: The Jimmy V Story,’ the HBO projects ‘Strapped’ and ‘Vietnam War Story: The Pass,’ and the BBC miniseries ‘With Two Lumps Of Ice.’
Heralded for his work in the world premiere of ‘Queenie Pie’ at the Kennedy Center, Pierce includes among his Broadway stage credits roles in ‘The Piano Lesson,’ ‘Serious Money’ and ‘The Boys of Winter.’ He received rave reviews for ‘The Cherry Orchard’ at the Classical Theatre of Harlem (nominated for a VIV award in the lead actor category). He followed up with ‘Waiting For Godot’ (set on a rooftop surrounded by water in a post Hurricane Katrina New Orleans). Next up, Pierce will reprise his role in ‘Broke-ology,’ which debuted at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and will be staged at Lincoln Center in NYC in the fall of 2009.
Pierce is a three-time NAACP Image Award Nominee for Best Actor in a television drama for his work on ‘The Wire,’ and won the 2008 Image Award for best actor in a television movie for HBO’s ‘Life Support’ as well as the Women’s Image Network “WIN” Award.
Watch Cynthia’s talk »
Foreign Policy Expert
Cynthia P. Schneider, Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at Georgetown University, teaches, publishes, and organizes initiatives in the field of cultural diplomacy, with a focus on relations with the Muslim world. Additionally, she co-directs the Timbuktu Renaissance, an innovative strategy and platform for countering extremism and promoting peace and development, which grew out of her work leading the Arts and Culture Dialogue Initiative within Brookings’ Center for Middle East Policy.
Ambassador Schneider co-directs the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown, as well as the Los Angeles-based MOST Resource (Muslims on Screen and Television).
Professor Schneider teaches courses in Diplomacy and Culture in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where, from 1984-2005, she was a member of the art history faculty, and published on Rembrandt and seventeenth century Dutch art. She also organized exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Dr. Schneider publishes and speaks frequently on topic related to arts, culture, and media and international affairs, particularly the Muslim world. Her writings range from blogs for the Huffington Post, CNN.com, and Foreign Policy to policy papers for Brookings.
From 1998-2001 she served as U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands, during which time she led initiatives in cultural diplomacy, biotechnology, cyber security, and education.
Dr. Schneider has a PhD and BA from Harvard University and she serves on multiple Boards of Directors and Advisory Boards.
Watch Sen. Warner’s talk »
Senator Mark Warner
United States Senator
Senator Mark Warner of Virginia was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2008 and reelected to a second term last November. During his time in the Senate, Senator Warner has established himself as a bipartisan leader who has worked across the aisle to find commonsense solutions to jumpstart the economic recovery, cut red tape, increase government transparency, and promote private sector innovation and jobs.
Senator Warner has been recognized as a national leader in working to find bipartisan, balanced solutions that will begin to address our country’s debt and deficits.
From 2002 to 2006, he served as Governor of Virginia, and he worked with a majority Republican legislature to balance Virginia’s budget while making record investments in public schools and the protection of Virginia’s natural resources. When Governor Warner left office in 2006, Virginia was ranked as the nation’s best state for business, its best managed state, and the best state for a lifetime of educational opportunity.
The first in his family to graduate from college, Mark Warner spent 20 years as a successful technology and business leader in Virginia before entering public service. An early investor in the cellular telephone business, he co-founded the company that became Nextel, and later invested in hundreds of start-up technology companies that created tens of thousands of jobs.
For the past year, Senator Warner has focused on the intersection of technology and the 21st Century economy, with an eye towards making the on-demand, app-driven economy work better for more people.
Spanish Culinary Master
Named “Outstanding Chef” by the James Beard Foundation and recognized by Time magazine on the “Time 100” list of most influential people in the world, José Andrés is an internationally-recognized culinary innovator. Andrés teaches at Harvard and The George Washington University. He is also the founder of World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit which aims to feed and empower vulnerable people in humanitarian crises around the world.
He and his team are responsible for renowned dining concepts in Washington, DC, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami and Puerto Rico. These include minibar by José Andrés, Zaytinya, Oyamel, Jaleo and China Poblano at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, The Bazaar by José Andrés at the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills and South Beach, and Mi Casa at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Puerto Rico. ThinkFoodGroup also supports his media, creative and education projects as well as philanthropic and social efforts. Often recognized for creating the “Spanish food boom” in America, Andrés is Dean of the Spanish Studies program at the International Culinary Center, the first and only professional program of its kind in the United States. Andrés is host and executive producer of Made in Spain on PBS. His cookbooks include Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America and he has introduced a line of culinary products from Spain with Jose Andres Foods.
Andrés teaches at Harvard and The George Washington University. He is also the founder of World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit which aims to feed and empower vulnerable people in humanitarian crises around the world.
Watch Alex Winter’s talk »
Actor & Director
Alex Winter entered show business as a child actor on Broadway and came to prominence in the wildly popular BILL AND TED franchise. Winter’s latest, award-winning documentary DEEP WEB, recently had a critically acclaimed world premiere at SXSW and a broadcast premiere in the U.S. on the Epix network, to be followed by a worldwide release on all platforms in September 2015.
Winter has directed two narrative features: cult classic FREAKED for 20th Century Fox and FEVER, for Lionsgate, which screened at Cannes. His TV credits range from MTV’s THE IDIOT BOX to Emmy-nominated work for Cartoon Network, as well as numerous commercials and music videos. Winter’s VH1 Rock Doc DOWNLOADED has earned nationwide critical acclaim at theatrical and festival screenings.
Watch Leana Wen’s talk »
Dr. Leana Wen
Dr. Leana Wen is the Baltimore City Health Commissioner. An emergency physician and patient and community advocate, she leads the oldest health department in the United States, formed in 1793, with an annual budget of $130 million and over 1,000 employees. Dr. Wen has been a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, a Clinical Fellow at Harvard, and a consultant with the World Health Organization and the Brookings Institution.
Since her appointment in January 2015, Dr. Wen has declared heroin overdose a public health emergency, starting interventions such “hotspotting” and street outreach teams to target individuals most at risk, training family/friends on using the life-saving antidote naloxone, and launching a new public education campaign (www.dontdie.org
). In the wake of the civil unrest following Freddie Gray’s death in April 2015, she directed the city’s public health recovery efforts, including ensuring prescription medication access to seniors after the closure of over a dozen pharmacies and developing the Mental Health/Trauma Recovery Plan, with 24/7 crisis counseling and healing circles in schools, community groups, and churches.
Dr. Wen has been a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, a Clinical Fellow at Harvard, and a consultant with the World Health Organization and the Brookings Institution. She has been published dozens of articles including in The Lancet, The Journal of the American Medical Association, Health Affairs, and British Medical Journal. Most recently, she was an attending physician, Director of Patient-Centered Care, and professor of emergency medicine and public health at George Washington University. The author of the critically-acclaimed book When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests, Dr. Wen has given four popular TEDx an TEDMED talks, one of which has been viewed on TED.com over 1.3 million times.
Watch Kathy Crosby’s talk »
FDA Champion for Tobacco-Free Lives
Kathleen Crosby is currently Director of the Office of Health Communication and Education at the Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Office of Health Communication and Education at CTP is responsible for public education, stakeholder education, and information programs to assure success in all aspects of FDA’s implementation of the Tobacco Control Act.
Ms. Crosby’s career spans 20 years of senior-level marketing and advertising experience working with one of the nation’s leading ad agencies on large-scale multimedia campaigns and education programs for major national brands in both the private sector and the non-profit arenas. Her expertise includes traditional advertising from television, radio, print, out-of-home, direct marketing, and experiential marketing to the full range of digital and new media platforms.
Before beginning at CTP, Ms. Crosby was Senior Vice President, Group Campaign Director of the Washington office of the Ad Council, where she successfully managed day-to-day operations. In her nine years at the Ad Council, she created integrated communication programs that have proven to inspire attitudinal and behavioral change on America’s most pressing social issues for non-profit and government clients. One of Ms. Crosby’s leadership roles at the Ad Council was as Campaign Director for seventeen U.S. government agencies’ public education campaigns. She has worked with both program and senior leadership of many U.S. government Cabinet agencies, including the Departments of Health and Human Services, Transportation, Homeland Security, Energy, Defense, Agriculture, and Justice. Previously, while serving as Vice President of Strategic Planning at Arnold Worldwide, Ms. Crosby oversaw strategic development on many high profile and successful public education campaigns including the cutting-edge, multi-million dollar, anti-tobacco “Truth” campaign for the Legacy Foundation. The “Truth” campaign is widely regarded as the most potent and successful anti-tobacco public education campaign ever conducted in the United States.
Watch Katie Bechtold’s talk »
Flight Controller, Pluto Mission
Katie Bechtold is a real-time spacecraft flight controller at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory. Katie was part of NASA’s New Horizons mission and helped oversee the spacecraft’s 3 billion mile journey to Pluto, which recently captured the world’s attention. New Horizons will help us better understand Pluto’s composition, geology, atmosphere, and surface temperature. The probe will also check out Pluto’s largest moon, Charon.
Watch Avi Rubin’s talk »
Computer Security Expert
Dr. Aviel (Avi) D. Rubin is Professor of Computer Science and Technical Director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University. He is also the Director of the JHU Health and Medical Security Lab. Prior to joining Hopkins, Rubin was a research scientist at AT&T Labs. He testified about information security before the U.S. House and Senate on multiple occasions, and he is the author of several books about computer security.
Rubin is a frequent keynote speaker at industry and academic conferences, and he delivered a widely viewed TED talk in 2011. He also testified in federal court as an expert witness on numerous occasions in matters relating to high tech litigation.
Rubin served as Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security, Associate Editor of Communications of the ACM (CACM), and an Advisory Board member of Springer’s Information Security and Cryptography Book Series. On his last Sabbatical, Rubin was a Fulbright Scholar at Tel Aviv University. In January, 2004 Baltimore Magazine named Rubin a Baltimorean of the Year for his work in safeguarding the integrity of our election process, and he is also the recipient of the 2004 Electronic Frontiers Foundation Pioneer Award. Rubin has a B.S, (’89), M.S.E (’91), and Ph.D. (’94) from the University of Michigan.
Watch Shirley Malcom’s talk »
Science Education Advocate
Shirley Malcom is head of Education and Human Resources Programs at AAAS. She works to improve the quality and increase access to education and careers in STEM fields as well as to enhance public science literacy. Dr. Malcom is a trustee of Caltech and a regent of Morgan State University, and a member of the SUNY Research Council. She is a leader in efforts to improve access of girls and women to education and careers in science and engineering.
She is a former member of the National Science Board, the policymaking body of the National Science Foundation, and served on President Clinton’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology.
Malcom, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, received her PhD in ecology from The Pennsylvania State University, masters in zoology from UCLA and bachelor’s with distinction in zoology from the University of Washington. She holds 16 honorary degrees.
Malcom serves on the boards of the Heinz Endowments, Public Agenda, the National Math-Science Initiative and Digital Promise. Internationally, she is a leader in efforts to improve access of girls and women to education and careers in science and engineering and to increase use of S&T to empower women and address problems they face in their daily lives, serving as co-chair of the Gender Advisory Board of the UN Commission on S&T for Development and Gender InSITE, a global campaign to deploy S&T to help improve the lives and status of girls and women. In 2003, Dr. Malcom received the Public Welfare Medal of the National Academy of Sciences, the highest award given by the Academy.
Watch Carla Dirlikov’s talk »
Opera Singer & Educator
Versatile mezzo-soprano Carla Dirlikov has been acclaimed by Opera Magazine for possessing a voice that “grabs the heartstrings with its dramatic force and musicality.” Ms. Dirlikov is a passionate humanitarian who for the past 10 years has served as a U.S. Department of State Cultural Arts Envoy promoting American culture overseas, giving master classes and teaching music to orphans and poverty-stricken youth.
Ms. Dirlikov is the first singer ever to win the prestigious Sphinx Medal of Excellence, an honor bestowed upon her in 2014 by Justice Sotomayor in a ceremony and concert at the Supreme Court of the United States.
A frequent interpreter of Carmen, Ms Dirlikov has sung the title role over eighty times in twelve countries in the US, Asia, Latin America and Europe over the last four years. She reprised the role in China last December with the Qingdao Symphony, in Bulgaria at the National Center for Performing Arts, and again with Opera Naples in the spring.
Ms. Dirlikov serves as an Artists Committee Member and speaker for Americans for the Arts. In June 2015, Ms. Dirlikov was the first opera singer to be appointed as a Turnaround Artist as part of The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities’ Turnaround Arts Initiative. Ms. Dirlikov has also been actively involved with cultural exchange efforts with the United Nations and the Aspen Institute, and she is a board member of the Artful Learning model, established by Leonard Bernstein. In summer 2014 she was a featured artist at the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanics’ Policy Forum for Music and the Arts.
Ms. Dirlikov is also the founder of the El Camino Project (ECP), an international cultural initiative that will deliver a unique repertoire of Latin American music and cultural experiences to audiences by researching, performing and recording Latin American music of the Colonial era and beyond. In partnership with Harvard University, ECP will curate culturally and socially relevant music and education-based immersive experiences that are accessible, inclusive, interactive and vibrant.
Watch Aaron Silverman’s talk »
Chef and Owner, Roses Luxury
Aaron Silverman is a chef and founder of Washington, DC restaurant Rose’s Luxury, which was recently named as ‘the best new restaurant in America’ by Bon Appétit Magazine. His resume includes working for chefs David Chang, Sean Brock, Marco Canora, and George Mendes but now Silverman is shaking up and redefining the restaurant scene in the nation’s capital.
Watch Theo Kano’s talk »
Thea Kano + Gay Men’s Chorus of DC
Led by Artistic Director Thea Kano, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC is now entering its 35th season with a mission that is dynamic and socially-relevant: The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington delights audiences and champions gay equality with robust artistry, fun and surprise. GMCW has more than 250 singing members, two select vocal ensembles and an annual audience of more than 10,000 people.
The Chorus and its select vocal ensembles have kept a very busy schedule in recent years, with more than 70 outreach performances throughout the region during the 2014-2015 Season. Recent outreach performances have included Whitman Walker Health, DC Flag Football, Washington National Cathedral and the White House holiday tour. In July 2015, members of GMCW embarked on an historic first-ever tour by a gay chorus to Cuba. In June of 2012 GMCW ensemble Potomac Fever had the distinct honor of performing at a reception honoring rising LGBT leaders hosted by President Obama at The White House.
GMCW has performed for President and First Lady Obama, six consecutive years at Vice President and Dr. Biden’s residence, at the historic Carnegie Library in honor of longtime gay rights activist Dr. Frank Kameny, at the first LGBT Pride Month at the White House and as part of the concert We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial, for the 56th Presidential Inaugural. In 1997, GMCW performed for President Bill Clinton’s second inauguration. During its 20th anniversary season, GMCW performed at Symphony Hall in Boston and Carnegie Hall in New York City. In December 2002, GMCW was honored to perform as part of the 25th annual Kennedy Center Honors in tribute to Elizabeth Taylor. GMCW returned to the Kennedy Center Honors in December 2010 to honor Jerry Herman alongside Carol Channing, Angela Lansbury and Chita Rivera, among other Broadway luminaries.
GMCW’s 30th Anniversary Commission, Alexander’s House, was honored by winning the 2012 Washington Area Music Award (WAMMIE) for Best Classical Recording. Our Potomac Fever/Rock Creek Singers recording Together Again won the 2014 WAMMIE for Best Choral Recording. The Chorus also took home a WAMMIE in 2010 for Best Choral Group. GMCW presents an annual season of five subscription concerts in Washington, DC, a fall cabaret fundraiser, a monthly piano bar open mic night at Cobalt and maintains a busy calendar of community outreach concerts for public and private events throughout the District and surrounding region, including programs for PFLAG, Whitman-Walker Health and Food & Friends. GMCW sponsors two select outreach vocal ensembles: Potomac Fever, a 14-voice close harmony group, and Rock Creek Singers, a 35-voice chamber ensemble.
Watch James Siegal’s talk »
James Siegal is President of KaBOOM!, the national non-profit that seeks to give children the childhood they deserve filled with play. Prior to KaBOOM!, James served as Chief of Staff for the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that supports citizen engagement to address community challenges through AmeriCorps, the Social Innovation Fund and other programs.
James has broad experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors, including serving as Vice President of Nonprofit Programs and Practice at the leading non-profit coalition, Independent Sector. He also served as Registration Section Chief and Assistant Attorney General at the New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau and associate at the global law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. He is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School. James and his wife enjoy spending time on the playground with their three girls.
Video Coming Soon
City of the Sun
City of the Sun is John Pita, Avi Snow and Zach Para. With two guitars, a box, and bells, they create a sound that is far greater than the sum of those parts. Their music has been called “a re-invention of acoustic music.” It’s instrumental, it’s worldly; sweeping from wide-screen post-rock dynamics to gypsy jazz syncopations, “they define experiential music.”
Formed in NYC in the early 2010s, the trio has blazed a trail through the city playing everywhere from street corners to venues, selling out hotspots like Rockwood Music Hall, Mercury Lounge, and The Bowery Electric. They’ve shared stages with a diverse array of artists including Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Marky Ramone, Matisyahu, and Greensky Bluegrass. City of the Sun has also traveled abroad to perform for exclusive TEDx showcases and TED Talks.
Watch Jim Knight’s talk »
Former UK Education Minister
Jim Knight is the Chief Education Adviser at TES Global Ltd, a member of the House of Lords and a visiting Professor at the London Knowledge Lab of the Institute of Education. He was a Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom from 2001-2010 and served as Education Minister and Employment Minister. He’s now focused on the future of education and what the next-generation classroom will look like.
Jim’s main policy interests are education, employment, skills and digital technology. He was the longest serving Schools minister in the UK government led by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown; he also served as Rural Affairs minister and Employment minister. He attended weekly Cabinet in the year running up to the 2010 General Election, and joined the Lords after that election.
Having co-ordinated Ed Balls Leadership Campaign, he served as shadow DWP minister and shadow DEFRA minister in the House of Lords. As a consultant he worked with TES, Apple, Smart Technologies, EC Harris LLP, and Alderwood Recruitment.
He is a co-owner of XRapid, diagnosing malaria with iPhones. He is chair of the Tinder Foundation and a trustee of the Jim Cronin Memorial Fund.
Watch Vivian Graubard’s talk »
United States Digital Service
Vivian Graubard is a founding member of U.S. Digital Service at the White House, where she focuses on immigration (DHS) and criminal justice (DOJ). She previously served as an Advisor to the United States Chief Technology Officer, Todd Park, within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). She led OSTP’s Tech Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking, which focuses on leveraging technological innovation to help combat human trafficking and enable victims to connect to help and support.
In 2013, Vivian was named one of Time Magazine’s 30 people under 30 who are Changing the World, and in 2014, she was included on Business Insiders list of the 30 Most Influential Women in the World. From Forbes: “Graduating Without A Plan? That’s How This Millennial Ended Up At The White House.”
She was also a leader within OSTP on initiatives to increase diversity within the tech community and to support greater inclusion of girls and women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), as well as leveraging technology and data to combat gender-based violence and prevent sexual assault on college campuses.
Vivian worked closely with CTO Park to launch the Presidential Innovation Fellows program—a new initiative that brings leading tech innovators into government for focused “tours of duty” to work on game-changing projects that help make government smarter, more effective, and more efficient.
Prior to joining the White House, Vivian was a technology and communications fellow at Polaris Project, a leading organization in the global fight against human trafficking. She also worked with The Emancipation Network in Kolkata, India, helping young girls who had been placed in orphanages after being rescued from sex trafficking enterprises.
Vivian serves on the advisory board for DC Central Kitchen and serves as the Tech Designee for the White House Council on Women and Girls. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from American University, where she pursued a dual concentration in Information Systems and Technology and International Business.
Watch Blair Glencorse’s talk »
Blair Glencorse founded and runs the Accountability Lab, an organization that is redefining how we ensure the accountability of decision-makers around the world. After spending years working with international organizations and civil society groups- and talking to everyone from Pakistani tribal elders to Zimbabwean students- Blair founded the Lab to catalyze a new generation of change-makers that can push for integrity.
The Lab’s work has proven critical to building relationships of trust and transparency in some of the world’s most difficult contexts during critical times- such as the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the earthquakes in Nepal.
Blair is also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Anti-Corruption and Transparency and a Social Impact Fellow at the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania. Previously, Blair was an advisor to the now President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, and worked for the World Bank on issues of governance and development In 2014 he was selected as an Echoing Green Fellow, chosen a Stanford Business School Social Entrepreneurship Scholar, and was a winner of the World Technology Award and BMW Responsible Leaders Awards. Blair has written widely on issues of governance, anti-corruption and leadership in a variety of publications including the New York Times, the Guardian, Forbes, Foreign Policy and the Independent.
Watch Behnaz’s talk »
Artist & Designer
Behnaz Babazadeh is Afghan-American artist and designer whose work spanning photography, sculpture and film, challenges the western preconceptions of women in burqas with a series of works made from materials found in the candy aisle. With her background in branding, interaction and user experience design, Behnaz creates experiential exhibits that evoke new ways of looking at a traditional garment.
Behnaz received her Master’s degree in Fine Arts from Parsons: The New School for Design in 2013. Currently she is the Creative Director at AddThis, a marketing technology company in the Washington, D.C. area.
Watch Katie Meyler’s talk »
TIME Person of the Year
Katie Meyler is the founder and CEO of More Than Me, an organization that started by working to get vulnerable girls off the streets and into school in Monrovia, Liberia and is now working to improve education across the country. Named a 2015 TIME Person of the Year for her fight on the front lines of the Ebola outbreak, Katie refuses to settle for the status quo. After Ebola, Katie realized young girls in Liberia will never have the security and opportunity they need and deserve until widespread, systematic change occurs across Liberia’s education system.
No challenge is too big for Katie, and she is now leading her team to partner with the Liberian Ministry of Education in tackling this necessary systematic change head-on. Bono called her the most passionate person he’d ever met, Warren Buffet was so moved by the power of her public speech that he proposed to marry her after her talk, and the President of Liberia, nobel laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said that the number one way someone can support Liberia is to support Katie and her mission to educate young girls.
She’s full of grit, full of love, and nothing will stop her from making sure young girls have real opportunity and pathways towards brighter futures. She’s bold. She’s a change-maker, and she’s just getting started.
Katie’s roots are in New Jersey, but her heart is in Liberia. These days, she splits her time between New York City and Monrovia.
Watch Shawn’s talk »
NASA astrobiologist and space scientist Shawn Domagal-Goldman is part of a team looking for life beyond Earth. NASA is flying missions to search for habitable environments beyond Earth and is planning missions to look for life in any habitable places it finds. Shawn also works on the Curiosity mission, which is a rover driving around Mars looking for past habitable environments.
Shawn is currently involved with the Advanced Technology Large Aperture Space Telescope, which is a concept mission he hopes will be selected to become one of the big, flagship missions for the next decade. His team’s goal is to find planets around other stars—called exoplanets—that could be inhabited in a global sense, meaning that life could be thriving at the surface.
Watch Lisa Fitzpatrick’s talk »
Dr. Lisa Fitzpatrick
Public Health Activist
Dr. Lisa Fitzpatrick, MD, MPH, MPA is a CDC-trained medical epidemiologist and board-certified infectious diseases physician with both domestic and global experience in public health. Although her career has traversed clinical medicine, prevention research and program implementation in tuberculosis, HIV and STDs, she is most passionate about improving the nation’s health literacy and demystifying health information.
Dr. Fitzpatrick is a professorial lecturer for the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Pubic Health and received her Master in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Her goal is to inspire disease prevention and health promotion action in communities by making practical and useable health information more accessible to ordinary citizens. As researcher, clinician, infectious disease expert, and patient advocate, Dr. Fitzpatrick believes the key to reducing chronic and infectious diseases morbidity is largely dependent upon improving community health literacy and motivating people to adopt healthier behaviors.
Watch Adarsh Desai’s talk »
World Bank Innovations Labs
Adarsh is passionate about leveraging technology, data, and innovations for accelerating development impact. Adarsh currently leads the World Bank Innovation Labs, overseeing a variety of programs ranging from Big data Analytics, Social Enterprise Innovations for service delivery to poor, Open Aid Partnership, Open Innovation, and Human-centered Design.
In his prior work at the World Bank, Adarsh has managed programs on ICT-enabled citizen engagement, Geospatial data, E-learning, and other technology enabled platforms, having a global reach and impact. Adarsh also worked on other innovative programs including Global Development Learning Network (GDLN) and ICT for Education (World Links program) in Africa.
Adarsh has a Masters Degree in Software Engineering and Information Systems Management from the George Washington University and a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering from M.S. University of Baroda, India.
Watch Adriana Beltrán’s talk »
Human Rights Advocate
For fifteen years, Adriana Beltrán has championed a comprehensive approach to tackling insecurity, violence and the growing influence of organized crime in Central America. As head of the Citizen Security Program for the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a U.S.-based advocacy and research organization, she promotes policies that identify and address the root causes of violence and improve the effectiveness and accountability of police and judicial systems.
She is the co-author of the ground-breaking study Hidden Powers, which documents the rise and impact of clandestine criminal organizations in Guatemala following the 1996 Peace Accords.
Ms. Beltrán was a long-time advocate for the establishment of aUN-sponsored commission to investigate and prosecute organized criminal networks — an effort that culminated in the creation of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) in 2007. She continues to be actively engaged in ensuring local and international support for the CICIG’s fight against organized crime and institutional corruption.
Adriana has written and co-authored various reports and articles on police reform, organized crime, and violence in Latin America.
Watch James Bernstein’s talk »
Dr. James Bernstein
Dr. Bernstein is the co-founder and CEO of Eniware, LLC, an innovative, for-profit healthcare company committed to reducing the global incidence of surgical and healthcare-associated infection by increasing the prevalence of medical instrument sterilization, particularly in resource-challenged healthcare settings. He will demonstrate a new portable, power-independent sterlizer designed for use in the field.
Driven by a vision and passion for innovation, Dr. Bernstein has an extensive resume as a health sector entrepreneur with more than 35 years of experience leading ground-breaking enterprises in the U.S. and abroad. Dr. Bernstein began his entrepreneurial activities launching General Health, Inc., a preventive medicine, health promotion company, which pioneered the field of health risk estimation and computer based, data driven individualized report generation using the original PC. He then launched bioinformatics start-up Informax in 1992, which he took public in 2000, raising $80 million. Prior to starting Eniware, LLC, Dr. Bernstein founded and served as CEO and Chair of the Board for Noxilizer, Inc., the company pioneering and commercializing nitrogen dioxide gas-based sterilization for medical manufacturing and tertiary care hospitals in the European Union, Japan, and North America.
Early in his career, Dr. Bernstein was a senior researcher in the laboratory of Jonas Salk, developer of the first polio vaccine, and served as Assistant to the President of the Salk Institute. He then served as Chief of Staff of the Chairman of the Board of San Diego County, where he was responsible for the introduction of gasoline vapor recovery regulation, now standard throughout the US and EU. He also served as Deputy Director of Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute, headed up efforts at the National Institutes of Health to ensure ongoing physician competency and chaired President Jimmy Carter’s health policy advisory group during Carter’s first presidential campaign.
Dr. Bernstein has lectured on entrepreneurship at Tuck, University of Maryland, Georgetown, and Johns Hopkins Medical School, serves as a Fast-Trac advisor for the Kaufman Foundation, is a frequent panelist at global business forums speaking on entrepreneurship and advises start-up and early stage businesses. A noted advocate for increased access to safe essential surgery around the world, Dr. Bernstein is also a frequent speaker at international conferences devoted to global surgery; recent talks include presentations at the University of Utah’s Extreme Affordability Conference at the Center for Global Surgery and the World Congress of Surgery, Obstetrics, Trauma and Anesthesia. Dr. Bernstein is a graduate of Harvard College and Cornell University Medical School, and trained in internal medicine and general and transplantation surgery. During his free time, he is an accomplished cellist and avid gardener.
Watch Kavita Shukla’s talk »
Kavita is the Founder & CEO of Fenugreen, a social enterprise taking on the massive global challenge of food waste with a simple innovation, FreshPaper. Her incredible story of simple beginnings, belief, and empowerment has inspired millions worldwide. Kavita was also recently featured as one of the “7 Entrepreneurs Changing the World” by Fast Company and on the Forbes “30 under 30” list.
Kavita holds four patents, and has received several international honors as an inventor, designer, and entrepreneur, including the INDEX: Design to Improve Life Award – the world’s largest prize for design. Her work has been featured by CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, Oprah Magazine, Glamour, and The Today Show.
Watch Bill LeoGrande’s talk »
Latin America Expert
William M. LeoGrande is a professor of Government and former Dean of the American University School of Public Affairs. He is an expert on Latin America. Most recently, he is coauthor of Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana. Previously, he served on the staffs of the Democratic Policy Committee of the United States Senate.
Professor LeoGrande has been a frequent adviser to government and private sector agencies. He has written five books, including Our Own Backyard: The United States in Central America, 1977 – 1992. Most recently, he is coauthor of Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana. Previously, he served on the staffs of the Democratic Policy Committee of the United States Senate, and the Democratic Caucus Task Force on Central America of the United States House of Representatives. Professor LeoGrande has been a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow, and a Pew Faculty Fellow in International Affairs. His articles have appeared in various international and national journals, magazines and newspapers.
Watch Sheldon Scott’s talk »
Artist & Storyteller
Sheldon Scott, a native of Pawley’s Island, SC, began his career in Social Work as a Unit Director for the Boys & Girls Club of Horry County, SC. Upon moving to the Washington DC area, he joined a private practice, specializing in Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Sex-Offender treatment at Northern Virginia Counseling Group. After years as a practicing Psychotherapist, he began a creative life as a Storyteller in 2005.
He has since performed four sold-out solo storytelling shows in the Capital Fringe Theatre Festival and various venues including Busboys & Poets, and the Hirshhorn Museum. Scott’s creative focus has now become his Fine Art practice. He has exhibited his works at (e)merge art fair, WPA Select Auction, Arlington Arts Center, Delaware State University and Art Miami. He has also been invited to participate in the Smithsonian Institution National Portrait Gallery’s new series, IDENTIFY: Performance Art as Portraiture, his first museum show, in the Fall of 2016. He is represented by ConnerSmith Contemporary Gallery. His upcoming book project, a memoir, “Shrimp & Griots”, is based on his storytelling narratives of the same name. Howard Yoon of Ross & Yoon Literary Agency represents Scott’s written works.
As an extension of his social practice work, Sheldon currently serves at Director of Programs for the Radius Project, an app to bring about more meaningful, face-to-face conversations about race. He also served as the District of Columbia’s Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner of Single-Member District 1A03 (2010-2012) in Columbia Heights, and sits on the boards of the Youth Pride Alliance, Teaching For Change and StepAfrika.
Watch Jay’s talk »
Journalist & Author
Jay Newton-Small is Washington correspondent for TIME. She writes about everything from Washington politics to foreign policy and national trends. She has covered stories on five continents for TIME from conflicts in the Middle East to the earthquake in Haiti to the Scottish independence movement and the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris. She has written half a dozen TIME cover stories and contributed to dozens of others.
She has interviewed numerous heads of state, including Presidents Obama and George W. Bush, as well as senators, governors and foreign dignitaries.
Before TIME, Newton-Small was a reporter for Bloomberg News, where she covered the White House, Congress and the 2004 presidential campaign.
Newton-Small received an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University and a double B.S. in International Relations and Art History from Tufts University. She was a 2015 Harvard Institute of Politics fellow and is a 2016 New America Foundation fellow. The daughter of two United Nations diplomats, she grew up abroad, living in such places as Asia, Africa and Europe. She is fluent in French.
She is currently writing a book, “Broad Influence, How Women Are Changing the Way America Works,” due out Jan. 5.
Watch ElsaMarie’s talk »
Women’s Rights Advocate
ElsaMarie D’Silva is the cofounder and Managing Director of Red Dot Foundation (Safecity) which is a platform that documents sexual harassment and abuse in public spaces. She aims to make public spaces safer and equally accessible to all especially women and children. She is a fellow at Aspen New Voices and Vital Voices.
Prior to Safecity, she was in the aviation industry for 20 years where she worked with Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines. Her last portfolio was Vice President Network Planning & Charters where she oversaw the planning and implementation of 500 daily flights.
Watch Palak Shah’s talk »
Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance
Palak Shah is the social innovations director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Palak leads NDWA’s experimental and market-based approaches to improve working conditions, services and employment opportunities for domestic workers. Palak was previously a member of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s Administration, serving as a member of the governor’s budget team and then as the Commonwealth’s Deputy Director of Performance Management.
Most recently, Palak served as a leader at Wellmont Health System, an 8 hospital health system in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Palak developed the health care system’s strategic responses to the Affordable Care Act and the rapidly changing healthcare environment. Palak previously worked in the private sector as a management consultant at Accenture’s strategy practice.
Palak is a graduate of the well-known training academy at the Bus Riders Union in Los Angeles. She has worked at Political Research Associates, Oakland Rising, and Generation Five. In 1996, Palak co-founded VISIONS Worldwide, an internationally-recognized NGO focused on the HIV/AIDS crisis in India.
Palak received a dual degree in Political Science and Broadcast Journalism from Northwestern University. She received a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, where she was awarded the prestigious Public Service Fellowship and Presidential Scholarship.
Watch Elise Roy’s talk »
Disability Rights Advocate
Elise Roy is a lawyer, artist, artisan, and human rights advocate who works in the vanguard of the social design movement, which holds that designers have the capacity and responsibility to address and resolve human problems on micro and macro scales and thereby contribute to social well-being. Deaf from the age of ten, Elise has been a design thinker from early on, constantly adapting her environment and its tools to serve her extraordinary abilities.
Everything in the world is subject to design – international development programs, tools, products, cities, social relationships and interaction – and everyone in the world can be a designer to one degree or another. Given the agency and awareness, all people can repurpose and transform their social and physical environments to better suit their own and others’ needs and aspirations.
A Division I athlete in both soccer and lacrosse, Elise participated in the Olympic Development Program for soccer. In the classroom, she learned how to teach herself from books. At Brown University, Elise was recognized as one of the nation’s elite soccer goalkeepers. She also began to see herself as an advocate for people with non-normative abilities. Upon graduation from Brown, Elise declined an invitation to play professional soccer and entered law school at Northeastern University, where she became involved in gay and lesbian rights, acting as a fellow for the human rights campaign in Washington D.C. Upon completion, and with numerous prestigious awards to her name, Elise practiced as a gender and disability rights litigator, leading numerous hospital access cases. During this time she also began working on an International Disability Rights Treaty at the United Nations. The treaty, the first human rights treaty at the United Nations to be passed in the 21st century, was ratified in 2007. Over 155 countries have become signatories.
Elise’s deafness has always given her a heightened awareness of how profoundly design shapes the social, emotional and physical environment and this led her to study human-centered design in Maryland Institute College of Art’s (MICA) Social Design program. Premised on the foundational notion that complex social problems require creative problem solving through design, she completed a master’s degree with a thesis that investigated the barriers that exist for individuals with hearing loss in the fabrication technology and design realm. She researched various tools to identify possible adaptations for the deaf user based on the auditory information emitted.
Elise promotes design thinking as fundamental to progressive social change, and is a passionate proponent of applying social impact and human-centered design research to international aid and development work.
Watch Chris Mondini’s talk »
Vice President, ICANN
Chris Mondini is a Vice President of Business Engagement for ICANN, where he works to build relationships with companies beyond the domain name sector, by educating global businesses on the role of ICANN as well as increasing cross-cultural dialogue about topics of internet governance. Mondini is a former management consultant, United States diplomat, and corporate investigator.
Watch Lemond Brown’s talk »
Lemond ‘Imag’ Brown
Musician & Educator
Lemond IMAG Brown continues to make Authentic Hip Hop Soul music that the whole family can enjoy. Born in Washington, D.C., IMAG is eclectic by nature, mainly the reason he is an Educator, producer, songwriter, and Engineer. Engaging in music has been a passion of IMAG for over 15 years, and has been a gift he has shared with people in many different places from South Africa to Australia. In 2012 he founded the Swaliga Foundation that continues to use creative outlets to steer at-risk youth toward future success.
Combining both his passion for music with his advanced STEM background, Lemond has become a pioneer in the field of STEAM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Arts & Math) education. Lemond aka IMAG, along with a diverse tribe of teaching artists continue to spread this message of positivity around the world.
Watch Mónica Palacio’s talk »
DC Office of Human Rights
Mónica Palacio has served as the Director of the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR), the District’s civil rights enforcement agency, since March 2014. Mónica brings twenty years of experience in civil rights, strengthening communities in crisis and capacity building for social justice organizations. She brings extensive experience advocating in partnership with under-represented and disenfranchised communities through issue-based coalitions, government and community partnerships, and social justice organizations at the local and national level.
Prior to her appointment, Mónica served as a senior consultant at the Management Assistance Group, Director of Training and Technical Assistance for the National Crime Prevention Council, and Associate Director of Latino Leadership Programs with the National Coalition Building Institute.
Mónica holds a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. from Fordham University. Since 1993, she has worked with and helped launch dozens of based community based organizations in the District such as Public Allies-DC, YouthBuild, Mary’s Center, Asian American Lead, the Family Place, Tenants and Workers United, and Ayuda. She was born in Bogota, Colombia and has lived in the District for over 25 years. She currently resides in the Petworth neighborhood of Ward 4 with her son Joaquin.
Watch Makayla’s talk »
Makayla Gilliam-Price is a 17 year old Baltimore activist. She founded the youth justice organization City Bloc. She also organizes with Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, a Baltimore-based non-profit. She is the 2015 recipient of the Princeton Prize in Race Relations Certificate of Accomplishments and the Wired Up Community Hero Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in Youth Leadership. Makayla is a senior at Baltimore City College High School in Baltimore, Maryland.
Watch Nina Martin’s talk »
Public Health Educator
Nina Martin is founder of Public Health United, an organization dedicated to improving science & public health communication to the public via podcasts, articles and outreach. Through her podcast, she has discussed the difficulties of translating complex science into accessible concepts for the public with leaders in science and public health research.
Guests have included Dr. Ralph Cicerone (President of the National Academy of Sciences), Dr. Diane Griffin (Advisor & VP of the National Academy of Sciences), Dr. Paul Offit (vaccinologist), Dr. Arturo Casadevall (“Putting the P back in the PhD”), Dr. Ron Fouchier (flu researcher), & Dr. Al Sommer (leader in public health research). Nina is a PhD Candidate in Immunology (how the body fights off disease) Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. At the School, Nina serves as Vice President of Community Affairs & Public Health Promotion and as American Public Health Association Campus Liaison.
Watch Daniella Carter’s talk »
Daniella Carter is an advocate for LGBT youth who motivates youth to achieve their goals and develop tools to overcome their adversities. Miss Carter was recognized on the 2015 Trans 100 list. Daniella recently initiated a project to bring visibility to trans youth issues and has collaborated with Miss Universe and others to share their experiences in overcoming homelessness. She has worked with her mentor Laverne cox and was featured in the Emmy award winning MTV & Logo TV documentary “Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word”.
In addition, Carter has worked with various celebrities to raise awareness of LGBTQIA youth homelessness. Daniella’s message transcends boundaries of race, class and gender, focusing on the intersection of identities. She recently shared her experience at the Humans Rights Campaign “Time to Thrive Conference” for LGBTQIA youth . Daniella attended the White House annual emerging leaders day, highlighting 100 black leaders. Daniella recently became a Human Rights foundation Youth Ambassador . Daniella recently started working at Equality New Mexico as there policy and program coordinator .
Watch Jonas Singer’s talk »
Jonas Singer is a native of Chevy Chase, MD who is committed to advancing culture and economic opportunities throughout the Washington, D.C. region. As a Founder of Union Kitchen, Jonas works to build a food system that is profitable, just, and sustainable. Since Jonas and co-founder Cullen Gilchrist launched Union Kitchen in 2012, the business has worked with more than 150+ businesses.
Union Kitchen Members have supported the creation of more than 400 jobs, and generated $35 million in annual revenue across all Member businesses. Union Kitchen has proven itself well-qualified to take thriving and launching business and create more efficient, creative, and successful operations, enabling local companies to compete on a national and international scale.
In May 2015, the team opened a corner store, Union Kitchen Grocery, which puts local products on local shelves. A second kitchen location, Union Kitchen:Ivy City, opened in September 2015 and enables the continued growth of jobs, business, and culture.
Watch Barbara Amaya’s talk »
Barbara is an anti-trafficking advocate, speaker, trainer, author and survivor leader in the movement to end modern-day slavery and human trafficking. She is Senior Technical Adviser, Policy, Programs and After Care Services at SeraphimGlobal, and has been actively raising awareness of the sexual exploitation of children and domestic sex trafficking since 2012.
Her first published book is an educational graphic novel, The Destiny of Zoe Carpenter, which includes a curriculum aimed at educating middle school students and her expert testimony of escaping ‘the life’ after growing up from the age of 12 in the streets of New York City while a victim of sex trafficking, can be read in her second book, Nobody’s Girl: A Memoir of Lost Innocence, Modern Day Slavery and Transformation.
Barbara shares her compelling story of overcoming trauma and horrific abuse as a source of inspiration and motivation in her presentations and trainings across the United States. Barbara is a training consultant with the Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center and has facilitated human trafficking survivor mental health restoration groups with Polaris and other leading non profits. She is a member of the NSN (National Survivor Network) and a member of both the State Department Human Trafficking Task Force and the Virginia Task Force. In 2014 Barbara received the sought after James B. Hunter Human Rights Advocacy Award for her work in promoting human rights.
Watch Dr. SAS’s talk »
Dr. Samuel A Sheku Kargbo
Dr. Samuel Kargbo is the director of Health Systems, Policy, Planning and Information in the in Ministry of Health & Sanitation of Sierra Leone. His present responsibility is to oversee the planning and monitoring the implementation of the post Ebola recovery strategy and building of a resilient health system. Dr. Kargbo has championed free health care in Sierra Leone, introduced policies and strategies to improve maternal and child health services and by extension, the citizenry of the country.
Prior to that, he oversaw the establishment of the Reproductive & Child Health Directorate in 2008, and since, has actively planned the inception and implementation of free health care for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under five.
He has also championed the introduction of the Basic Package of Essential Health Services a document that provides the operational dimensions of the Reproductive Newborn and Child Health strategy. His work continues to contribute significantly to processes for maternal, newborn and child health services in Sierra Leone. Dr. Kargbo feels he owes his country a lot for receiving government scholarships to complete his education right from high school and through to medical school. He is what he is today because of what his country has given him.
Watch Jessica Ladd’s talk »
Sexual Health Innovator
Jess Ladd is the Founder and CEO of Sexual Health Innovations (SHI), a non-profit dedicated to creating technology that advances sexual health and wellbeing in the United States. At SHI, she spearheaded the creation of the STD partner notification website So They Can Know, the STD test result delivery system Private Results, and the college sexual assault reporting system Callisto.
Before founding Sexual Health Innovations, Jess worked in the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, as a Public Policy Associate at The AIDS Institute, and as a sexual health educator and researcher for a variety of organizations. She also co-founded The Social Innovation Lab in Baltimore. Jess received her Masters in Public Health at Johns Hopkins and her BA in Public Policy/Human Sexuality at Pomona College. She left a PhD program in infectious disease epidemiology at Johns Hopkins in order to pursue work at Sexual Health Innovations full-time. Jess has been honored as a Fearless Changemaker by the Case Foundation, an Emerging Innovator by Ashoka and American Express, and as the Civic Hacker of the Year by Baltimore Innovation Week.
Watch Mina Patel’s talk »
Mina is the founder and Executive Director of Video Conferencing for Global Learning (VCfGL). Mina jointly chairs the UK VC Partnerships Group, where she has worked alongside national advisers from across the UK, to put together broadband guidelines for the Department for Education to support VC technology in schools. Mina works as a consultant for the schools in the London Borough of Redbridge and Havering.
She has recently completed her Master’s degree in Technology Enhanced Learning. Her dissertation was written on the implementation of VC in the classroom.
As a consultant Mina has worked for JISC (UK) in 2013 and wrote a report highlighting national recommendations for VC in education.
Her company, VCfGL ltd, was founded in June 2014 and aims to deliver thousands of English lessons via video conference to children all over the world directly from London. Currently, VCfGL is working in partnership with Plan Ceibal and the British Council in Uruguay.
Mina writes a blog, Video conferencing for Learning, www.vcfl.net, which showcases teaching and learning opportunities that the schools in Redbridge have developed through using VC technology. Her blog highlights the importance of the use of secure and interoperable, high end, video conferencing technology in education for all subject areas.
Actor & Activist
Sonja Sohn is an actress, community activist and writer. She starred as Kima Greggs on the HBO drama The Wire, and as Samantha Baker on the ABC series Body of Proof. Sonja recently appeared on the acclaimed CW show The Originals. After the conclusion of The Wire, Sonja Sohn founded her non-profit, ReWired for Change, which empowers at risk youth, families and communities living in under-served areas through media and social advocacy and the facilitation of community building resources.
Watch Carl Safina’s talk »
Wildlife & Oceans Advocate
Born in Brooklyn, Carl Safina’s grew up in an apartment filled with singing canaries—his father’s hobby. Frequent trips to New York’s zoos, aquarium, American Museum of Natural History, and on his uncles’ boat sparked an early passion for animals that might have seemed unusual for a city kid. He earned a PhD studying seabirds and spent close to a decade helping overhaul fishing policies to restore ocean wildlife.
Carl Safina’s work has been recognized with MacArthur, Pew, and Guggenheim Fellowships, and his writing has won the Lannan Literary Award and the John Burroughs, James Beard, and George Rabb medals. He has a PhD in ecology from Rutgers University. Safina is the inaugural endowed professor for nature and humanity at Stony Brook University, where he co-chairs the steering committee of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science and is founding president of the not-for-profit Safina Center. He hosted the 10-part PBS series Saving the Ocean with Carl Safina. His writing appears in The New York Times, National Geographic, Audubon and other periodicals, and on the Web at National Geographic News and Views, Huffington Post, and CNN.com. Carl Safina’s writing shows how humanity is changing the natural world and what those changes mean for wildlife and for people. Beyond Words is Carl’s seventh book.
Watch Kristjan Kuurme’s talk »
Kristjan Kuurme is a career diplomat currently serving as the consul and political affairs diplomat at the Embassy of Estonia in Washington, DC. In addition to representing the country dubbed “e-Estonia” for its digital prowess in all matters e-residency, he is responsible for relations with the US Congress and covering various US domestic and foreign policy matters.
Kristjan holds a BA in International Relations and is currently pursuing a MA in Political Science. In 2014 he received a scholarship from the Estonian American Fund as the outstanding young diplomat in the Estonian foreign service.
Ulrika’s gifted voice and songwriting blurs the lines between pop, indie, and electro. Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden, Ulrika crafted her powerful voice throughout many years of choir school and classical training. With a unique and spirited personality, her global appeal and sound has been compared to artists such as Sia, Ellie Goulding, and Gwen Stefani.
Aside from lending her eyes to CoverGirl and her voice to an international campaign for Gillette, Ulrika has been featured in H&M’s summer magazine. She has reached notable success on YouTube with millions of views and thousands of followers, which has led to sponsorships with TC-Helicon and Tannoy Speakers. Ulrika’s debut single “Animal” was well received by bloggers around the world and has been referred to as “epic pop”. She will be releasing her full EP Fall 2015.
Ulrika keeps genuine lyrics at the core of her epic, fun, and colorful productions. One of the truly great experiences about hearing and watching Ulrika perform is her ability to make you feel every lyric and note she sings while having a blast.
Watch Melvin Russell’s talk »
Lt. Colonel Melvin Russell
Lt. Colonel Melvin T. Russell is Chief of the Community Partnership Division, Baltimore Police Department. Russell graduated from the BPD academy in 1981 as the first and only African American class valedictorian. Russell worked both as a uniform patrol and then an undercover officer for 20 years before re-emerging as an Eastern District Lieutenant in 2007. In this position, Russell turned the worst-performing midnight patrol shift in the city into the best-performing in 3 months and was promoted to Major of the Eastern District 11 months later.
It was during this time as Major that Russell created the non-profit “Transformation Team” (TTT), a grassroots organization of community shareholders that are committed to working together to make a better Baltimore.
Watch Dayvon Love’s talk »
Dayvon Love is Director of Research and Public Policy for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, a Baltimore- based non-profit. Dayvon is a resident of Northwest Baltimore City and graduate of Towson University majoring in African and African American Studies. Dayvon has deep experience with grassroots activism in the Baltimore community. He has given numerous speeches and led workshops around Baltimore to give insight into the plight of the
masses of Baltimore citizens.