TEDxChange 2013 Host: Melinda Gates

Melinda Gates is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Along with Bill Gates, she shapes and approves the foundation’s strategies, reviews results, and sets the overall direction of the organization. Together they meet with grantees and partners to further the foundation’s goal of improving equity in the United States and around the world. While involved in all of the organization’s endeavors, Gates believes that empowering women in developing countries to decide whether and when to have a child is a critical driver of her work at the foundation, since this decision can be the source of transformational improvements in the health and prosperity of whole societies. Gates received a master’s degree in business administration from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University in 1987. After joining Microsoft in 1987, she was appointed as Microsoft’s general manager of Information Products. In 1996, Gates left the organization, and since then has directed her energy toward the nonprofit world.

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TEDxSowetoChange will feature Bono’s TEDTalk: The good news on poverty (Yes there’s good news).

Bono, the lead singer of U2, uses his celebrity to fight for social justice worldwide: to end hunger, poverty and disease, especially in Africa. His nonprofit ONE raises awareness via media, policy and calls to action.

Irreverent, funny, iconoclastic and relentless, Bono has proven himself stunningly effective in encouraging and cajoling the world’s most powerful leaders to take seriously the challenge of disease and hunger and seize the historic opportunity we now have to beat extreme poverty, especially in Africa, through technological innovation, smart aid, transparency and investments which put citizens in charge.

As lead singer of U2, Bono performed at Live Aid in 1985, which inspired him to travel to Ethiopia with his wife, Ali. There they spent several weeks helping with a famine relief project. The experience shocked him and ignited a determination to work for change. In Bono’s own words, “What are the blind spots of our age? It might be something as simple as our deep-down refusal to believe that every human life has equal worth”. In 2005, the year of Make Poverty History, Bono became one of the inaugural winners of the TED Prize; he used his wish to raise awareness and inspire activism.

In 2002, he co-founded DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa), which later became the advocacy and campaign organization, ONE. Today ONE has more than 3 million members who pressure politicians around the world to improve policies to empower the poorest. Thanks to these efforts, along with those of partners and grassroots leaders in Africa, these policies have delivered results. For example, eight million people are now on life preserving antiretoviral medications, malarial death rates have been halved in eight target countries, 50 million more children are in school and 5.4 million lives have been saved through vaccines.

In 2006, Bono and Bobby Shriver launched (RED) to engage the private sector in the fight against AIDS in Africa. (RED) Partners direct a portion of their profits from (RED)-branded products, services and events directly to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. In just six years, (RED) has contributed more than $200 million - every penny of which goes directly to HIV/AIDS programs with the goal of eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV. To date, (RED) dollars have helped the lives of more than 14 million people in Africa through education, testing, counseling, and treatment programs.

Bono also co-founded EDUN with his wife Ali. EDUN is a global fashion brand which does business in an number of countries in Africa and beyond, sourcing materials and manufacturing clothing. In Uganda, EDUN is supporting over 8,000 farmers in their move from subsistence to sustainable business practices.

Granted knighthood in 2007 and dubbed a “Man of Peace” in 2008, Bono mobilized in 2010 following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, performing the song “Stranded” with bandmate The Edge – and Rihanna and Jay-z – during the for Hope for Haiti Now telethon. The event was watched by 83 million people in the United States alone and raised a reported $58 million for relief.

Bono’s journey in activism spans a generation and where he is coming from, and above all where he is going, is something we should all pay close attention to.

See Bono’s much discussed TED talk from last February’s Long Beach conference here:


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TEDxSowetoChange will feature Dan Pallotta’s TEDTalk: The way we think about charity is dead wrong.

Everything the donating public has been taught about giving is dysfunctional, says AIDS Ride founder Dan Pallotta. He aims to transform the way society thinks about charity and giving and change.

The nonprofit sector is critical to our dream of changing the world. Yet there is no greater injustice than the double standard that exists between the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. One gets to feast on marketing, risk-taking, capital and financial incentive, the other is sentenced to begging,” Dan Pallotta says in discussing his latest book, Charity Case. This economic starvation of our nonprofits is why he believes we are not moving the needle on great social problems. “My goal … is to fundamentally transform the way the public thinks about charity within 10 years.”

Pallotta is best known for creating the multi-day charitable event industry, and a new generation of citizen philanthropists with the AIDS Rides and Breast Cancer 3-Day events, which raised $582 million in nine years. He is president of Advertising for Humanity, which helps foundations and philanthropists transform the growth potential of their favorite grantees.

See Dan’s TED talk that created a stir at TED this past February here:


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TEDxChange 2013 Speaker: Roger Thurow, Shifts in Agriculture

Roger Thurow joined The Chicago Council on Global Affairs as senior fellow for global agriculture and food policy in January 2010 after three decades at The Wall Street Journal. In 2012, he also became a fellow for the ONE Campaign. For 20 years, he served as a Journal foreign correspondent, based in Europe and Africa. In 2003, he and Journal colleague Scott Kilman wrote a series of stories on famine in Africa that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting. Their reporting on humanitarian and development issues was also honored by the United Nations. Thurow and Kilman are authors of the book ENOUGH: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty. In 2009, they were awarded Action Against Hunger’s Humanitarian Award. They also received the 2009 Harry Chapin Why Hunger book award. In May 2012, Thurow published his second book, The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change.

Get a taste of his powerful story in this clip:

Here, Roger shares with two other speakers what “positive disruption” means to him.

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TEDxChange 2013 Speakers: Salim Shekh and Sikha Patra, Vaccine Advocates

Salim Shekh, a boy of 15 years, lives in a polluted slum in East Kolkata, India. Sikha Patra, a girl of 15 years, lives in an Indian slum called Neheru Colony. This dynamic duo has been engaged in eradicating polio from their community, developing a map which they plan to share online with the global audience to make their invisible community visible. Sikha and Salim are child advisors to Prayasam, an India-based NGO that has organized thousands of children in the slum areas to become peer leaders/educators, catalyzing lifestyle changes within their communities. Focusing primarily on preventive health, sanitation, and hygiene, these children are changing the physical and social environment within which they live. Currently they are negotiating with the local government to ward off diseases like dengue. Both Sikha and Salim were speakers at the Skoll World Forum held in Oxford in 2012. They spoke about the active role of the youth as the contributors as well as the change-makers of the society.

After showing a trailer from the feature film Revolutionary Optimists, about how children are saving lives in the slums of Calcutta, TEDxChange host Melinda Gates will then invite Salim and Sikha, who both feature prominently in the film, to join her onstage for Q&A.

Change has come. Be part of it. Request your complimentary ticket now.

TEDxChange 2013 Speaker: Cathleen Kaveny on Religion, Tradition, and Modernity

M. Cathleen Kaveny is the John P. Murphy Foundation Professor of Law and Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, and is currently a visiting professor at Princeton University. Dr. Kaveny focuses her academic work on the intersection of religion, law, and morality. She is the author of Law’s Virtues: Fostering Autonomy and Solidarity in American Society and the forthcoming Prophecy without Contempt: An Ethics of Religious Discourse in the Public Square. She has also authored more than a hundred articles and essays in both scholarly and popular journals. She is a regular columnist for Commonweal. Professor Kaveny is a member of numerous professional societies and has served on a number of editorial boards in both law and religion. In January 2013, she was elected to the vice-presidency of the Society of Christian Ethics. She earned both her J.D. and her Ph.D. from Yale University.

Here, Cathleen shares with two other speakers what “positive disruption” means to her.

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TEDxChange 2013 Speaker: Halimatou Hima, Investing in Girls

Halimatou Hima was born in Niger, where she served as the first president of the Youth Parliament at age fifteen. During her tenure, she engaged various stakeholders for national campaigns on girls’ education, especially in rural areas, among other initiatives. She earned a scholarship to the United World College and Wellesley College, where she joined a small group of students to build Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance. Upon her graduation in 2010, Halimatou worked extensively in rural Niger on child marriage, girls’ education, and youth participation with Unicef. She independently spearheaded microenterprise programs with women. Halimatou — selected in 2011 as one of “Africa’s 25 top emerging women leaders under 25 for their commitment to service” — is a candidate for a master’s degree in public policy (MPP) at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Change has come. Be part of it. Request your complimentary ticket now.

TEDxChange 2013 Speaker and Performer: David Fasanya, Youth Poet

David Fasanya is a Nigerian-born performance artist residing in Brooklyn, New York. As a poet he has been the Art Initiative Slam Champion, second-place winner at the Urban Word NYC Youth poet laureate slam, and member of the 2012 Urban Word NYC slam team that performed at the Brave New Voices International Teen Poetry Slam in California. His one-man show, “Wet”, debuted at New York Live Arts in December 2012, incorporating elements of dance and theater. He has also mentored at the Bellevue Hospital Care Center. David advocates transparency through his work, knowing that openness is the first step towards self-improvement.

See his thought-provoking and humorous TEDEducation video below, performed with Gabriel Barralaga at TEDYouth 2012.


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TEDxChange 2013 Speaker: Julie Dixon, Social Impact Communication

Julie Dixon investigates the changing ways we interact with and support the significant social issues facing the world today. As a researcher, adjunct professor, and director of Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication, she works with hundreds of organizations annually, equipping them to more effectively engage people in their work and to share the compelling stories of their impact. She focuses much of her energy on promoting the role of technology in building connections and advancing social solutions. Julie holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Rochester, and a master’s degree in public relations from Syracuse University.

Here, Julie shares with two other speakers what “positive disruption” means to her.

Change has come. Be part of it. Request your complimentary ticket now.

The courage to believe change is possible

Can a person change a world rife with problems — villages without basic healthcare, girls turned away from schools, hospitals unable to get life-saving vaccines to the people who need them? For three years, TEDxChange, a partnership between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the TEDx program, has said yes, by spotlighting people who are taking risks, thinking big and making change happen.

This year’s TEDxChange event takes place on 3 April 2013 in Seattle, USA. TEDxSoweto, along with over 200 other TEDx communities around the world, will stream this event live. Our programme will run from 16:30 to 19:30 at JoziHub, on 44 Stanley Avenue, in Milpark Johannesburg.

Here, TEDxChange host Melinda Gates chats with TED Curator (and former TEDxChange host) Chris Anderson about positive disruption.

Change has come. Be part of it. Request your complimentary ticket now.