Category Archives: TED

UK’s Rory Stewart: Time to end the war in Afghanistan

British MP Rory Stewart walked across Afghanistan after 9/11, talking with citizens and warlords alike. Now, a decade later, he asks: Why are Western and coalition forces still fighting there?

Via TED:

Now the member of British Parliament for Penrith and the Border, in rural northwest England, Rory Stewart has led a fascinatingly broad life of public service. He joined the Foreign Office after school, then left to begin a years-long series of walks across the Muslim world. In 2002, his extraordinary walk across post-9/11 Afghanistan resulted in his first book, The Places in Between. After the invasion of Iraq in 2003, he served as a Deputy Governorate Co-Ordinator in Southern Iraq for the coalition forces, and later founded a charity in Kabul.

To secure his Conservative seat in Parliament, he went on a walking tour of Penrith, covering the entire county as he talked to voters. In 2008, Esquire called him one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century.

He says: “The world isn’t one way or another. Things can be changed very, very rapidly by someone with sufficient confidence, sufficient knowledge and sufficient authority.”

“Stewart has long known that diplomacy of the deed is the only kind that matters.” – Parag Khana

Rory Stewart was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Malaysia. He served briefly as an officer in the British Army (the Black Watch), studied history and philosophy at Balliol College, Oxford and then joined the British Diplomatic Service. He worked in the British Embassy in Indonesia and then, in the wake of the Kosovo campaign, as the British Representative in Montenegro. In 2000 he took two years off and began walking from Turkey to Bangladesh. He covered 6000 miles on foot alone across Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal — a journey described in The Places in Between.

In 2003, he became the coalition Deputy Governor of Maysan and Dhi Qar — two provinces in the Marsh Arab region of Southern Iraq. He has written for a range of publications including the New York Times Magazine, the London Review of Books, the Sunday Times, the Guardian, the Financial Times and Granta. In 2004, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire and became a Fellow of the Carr Centre at Harvard University.

He is also the author of The Prince of the Marshes And Other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq.

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Filed under Afghanistan, FCO, Foreign Policy, TED

Video of the Week: Inside the Egyptian revolution with Wael Ghonim

Via TED:

Wael Ghonim is the Google executive who helped jumpstart Egypt’s democratic revolution … with a Facebook page memorializing a victim of the regime’s violence. Speaking at TEDxCairo, he tells the inside story of the past two months, when everyday Egyptians showed that “the power of the people is stronger than the people in power.”


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Filed under Countries 'n Regions, Protests, TED, Video of the Week

Video of the Week: Jamie Oliver’ on teaching every child about food

Sharing powerful stories from his anti-obesity project in Huntington, W. Va., TED Prize winner Jamie Oliver makes the case for an all-out assault on our ignorance of food.

from ted.com

Jamie Oliver has been drawn to the kitchen since he was a child working in his father’s pub-restaurant. He showed not only a precocious culinary talent but also a passion for creating (and talking about) fresh, honest, delicious food. In the past decade, the shaggy-haired “Naked Chef” of late-’90s BBC2 has built a worldwide media conglomerate of TV shows, books, cookware and magazines, all based on a formula of simple, unpretentious food that invites everyone to get busy in the kitchen. And as much as his cooking is generous, so is his business model — his Fifteen Foundation, for instance, trains young chefs from challenged backgrounds to run four of his restaurants.

Now, Oliver is using his fame and charm to bring attention to the changes that Brits and Americans need to make in their lifestyles and diet. Campaigns such as Jamie’s School Dinner, Ministry of Food and Food Revolution USA combine Oliver’s culinary tools, cookbooks and television, with serious activism and community organizing — to create change on both the individual and governmental level.


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Video of the Week: Nick Veasey on exposing the invisible

Nick Veasey shows outsized X-ray images that reveal the otherworldly inner workings of familiar objects — from the geometry of a wildflower to the anatomy of a Boeing 747. Producing these photos is dangerous and painstaking, but the reward is a superpower: looking at what the human eye can’t see.

from ted.com

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Video of the Week: Stuart Brown says play is more than fun

A pioneer in research on play, Dr. Stuart Brown says humor, games, roughhousing, flirtation and fantasy are more than just fun. Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults — and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age.

from ted.com

Dr. Stuart Brown came to research play through research on murderers — unlikely as that seems — after he found a stunning common thread in killers’ stories: lack of play in childhood. Since then, he’s interviewed thousands of people to catalog their relationships with play, noting a strong correlation between success and playful activity.

With the support of the National Geographic Society and Jane Goodall, he has observed animal play in the wild, where he first concieved of play as an evolved behavior important for the well being — and survival — of animals, especially those of higher intelligence. Now, through his organization, the National Institute for Play, he hopes to expand the study of human play into a vital science — and help people everywhere enjoy and participate in play throughout life.


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Video of the Week: Jonathan Zittrain on the Web as random acts of kindness

Feeling like the world is becoming less friendly? Social theorist Jonathan Zittrain begs to difffer. The Internet, he suggests, is made up of millions of disinterested acts of kindness, curiosity and trust.

from ted.com  

Feeling like the world is becoming less friendly? Social theorist
Jonathan Zittrain begs to difffer. The Internet, he suggests, is made
up of millions of disinterested acts of kindness, curiosity and trust.

The increasing proliferation of “tethered” devices, from iPhones to Xboxes, is only one of countless threats to the freewheeling Internet as we know it. There’s also spam, malware, misguided legislation and a drift away from what Internet law expert Jonathan Zittrain calls “generativity” — a system’s receptivity to unanticipated (and innovative) change instigated by myriad users.

Harvard law professor Zittrain, as an investigator for the OpenNet initiative and co-founder of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, has long studied the legal, technological and world-shaking aspects of quickly morphing virtual terrains. He performed the first large-scale tests of Internet filtering in China and Saudi Arabia in 2002. His initiatives include projects to fight malware (StopBadware) and ChillingEffects, a site designed to support open content by tracking legal threats to individual users.

“Zittrain’s book, The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It, sounds … a klaxon calling to arms everyone who believes that platforms open to user innovation should rule the world, not tethered, sterile appliances that are controlled only by their designers.” – ArsTechnica



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Video of the Week: Tim Ferriss – smash fear, learn anything

From the EG conference: Productivity guru Tim Ferriss’ fun, encouraging anecdotes show how one simple question — “What’s the worst that could happen?” — is all you need to learn to do anything.

from ted.com

From the EG conference: Productivity guru Tim Ferriss’ fun, encouraging
anecdotes show how one simple question — “What’s the worst that could
happen?” — is all you need to learn to do anything.
From the EG conference: Productivity guru Tim Ferriss’ fun, encouraging
anecdotes show how one simple question — “What’s the worst that could
happen?” — is all you need to learn to do anything.From the EG conference: Productivity guru Tim Ferriss’ fun, encouraging
anecdotes show how one simple question — “What’s the worst that could
happen?” — is all you need to learn to do anything.

Tim Ferris brings an analytical, yet accessible, approach to the challenges of self-improvement and career advancement through what he calls “lifestyle design.” His 2007 book, The 4-Hour Workweek, and his lectures on productivity are stuffed with moving, encouraging anecdotes — often from his own life — that show how simple decisions, made despite fears or hesitation, can make for a drastically more meaningful day-to-day experience at work, or in life.

Word-of-blog chatter in Silicon Valley may have propelled his book to bestselling success, but Ferriss himself takes a fervid stance against the distractions of technologies like email and PDAs, which promote unnecessary multitasking.

Following the success of his book, Ferriss has become a full-time angel investor.

“[Ferriss] has become a pet guru of Silicon Valley, precisely by preaching apostasy in the land of shiny gadgets: just pull the plug. Crawl out from beneath the reams of data. Stand firm against the torrent of information.” – The New York Times


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Video of the Week: Itay Talgam on leading like great conductors

An orchestra conductor faces the ultimate leadership challenge: creating perfect harmony without saying a word. In this charming talk, Itay Talgam demonstrates the unique styles of six great 20th-century conductors, illustrating crucial lessons for all leaders.
from ted.com

Itay Talgam finds metaphors for organizational behavior  — and models for inspired leadership — within the workings of the symphony orchestra. Imagining music as a model for all spheres of human creativity, from the classroom to the boardroom, Talgam created the Maestro Program of seminars and workshops.

Talgam’s workshops aim to help everyday people develop a musician’s sense of collaboration, and a conductor’s sense of leadership: that inner sense of being intuitively, even subconsciously connected to your fellow players, giving what they need and getting what you need. It’s this art of listening and reacting in the moment that makes for a swinging jazz combo, a sublime string quartet, a brilliant orchestra — and great teams at work.

“An orchestra … gives the conductor an opportunity to create an organized sound with one gesture. Everything is about nuance, and Talgam showed what nuance can do.”
Daniel Von Gool, argn.com

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Video of the Week: Hans Rosling on Asia’s rise — how and when

Hans Rosling was a young guest student in India when he first realized that Asia had all the capacities to reclaim its place as the world’s dominant economic force. At TEDIndia, he graphs global economic growth since 1858 and predicts the exact date that India and China will outstrip the US.

from ted.com

2014?  2048?

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Video of the Week: Shaffi Mather on a new way to fight corruption

Shaffi Mather explains why he left his first career to become a social entrepreneur, providing life-saving transportation with his company 1298 for Ambulance. Now, he has a new idea and plans to begin a company to fight the booming business of corruption in public service, eliminating it one bribe at a time.
Shaffi Mather was a successful young entrepreneur, who brought a family-run real estate business to the forefront of the local market before moving on to take major positions at two of India’s largest communication corporations — Essel Group and Reliance Industries. However, after a perilous ride to the hospital with his mother he was forced to confront India’s need for a dependable ambulance service. He left his career at Reliance and founded 1298 for Ambulance, a for-profit service with a sliding scale payment system that has revolutionized medical transport in Mumbai and Kerala.

Today, Mather is also a co-founder of Moksha-Yug Access, a microfinance institution that operates in rural India, and The Education Initiative, which is involved in e-learning and in creating schools across India. In addition, Mather is a lawyer focusing on litigation in public interest — battling for transparency in governance and use of public funds, human rights, civil rights and primacy of constitution. He is a TEDIndia Fellow.

from TED.com

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Filed under Corruption, TED, Video of the Week