When we stop worrying about what might go wrong, we discover what is truly possible. We celebrate the stories of the people who weren’t afraid to fail, who overcame the odds, and persisted when the outlook was bleak. Two full days, filled with stories, songs, and lessons learned — and the inspiration of those who have demonstrated what is possible when we set aside our fears, act boldly and urgently, and learn from our mistakes.

Watch Gen Powell’s talk here »

Colin Powell

Former US Secretary of State

Colin L. Powell was appointed Secretary of State by George W. Bush on January 20, 2001, after being unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He served for four years, leaving the position on January 26, 2005. He was the first African-American to serve as Secretary of State.

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Watch Jose’s talk here »

Jose Antonio Vargas


Jose Antonio Vargas, an award-winning multimedia storyteller, is the founder of Define American, a campaign that seeks to elevate the conversation around immigration. Born in the Philippines, Vargas immigrated to the United States at age 12. Stunning the media and political circles and attracting world-wide coverage, Vargas wrote the groundbreaking essay, “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant,” for the New York Times Magazine in the summer of 2011.

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Watch Chairty’s talk here »

Charity Tillemann-Dick

Soprano Singer

Charity Sunshine Tillemann Dick is an American-born soprano. She has performed in opera houses and concert halls across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Charity is also a survivor of a double lung transplant, which she received at the Cleveland Clinic in September 2009. She continues to sing professionally and also shares her remarkable story of triumph, determination, and love for music.

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Adrian Bejan

Professor, Duke University

Adrian Bejan is most recently the author of “Design in Nature: How the Constructal Law Governs Evolution in Biology, Physics, Technology, and Social Organization.” He is also a professor of engineering at Duke University. Bejan pioneered numerous original methods in science, including the constructal law of design and evolution in nature, entropy generation minimization, scale analysis of convection, heatlines and masslines, transition to turbulence, and designed porous media.

Watch Jack’s talk here »

Jack Andraka


Jack will be speaking at TED2013.
Jack Andraka is a fifteen year old freshman at North County High School and lives in Crownsville, Maryland. He recently developed a novel paper sensor that could detect pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancer in 5 minutes for as little as 3 cents. He conducted this research at Johns Hopkins University. He is also on the national junior wildwater kayaking team, has won awards at multiple national and international math competitions, and enjoys playing with his dog and folding origami.

Watch Theo’s talk here »

Theo Colborn

Endocrine Disruption

Theo Colborn is Founder and President of The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX), based in Paonia, Colorado, and Professor Emeritus of Zoology at the University of Florida, Gainesville. She is an environmental health analyst, and best known for her studies on the health effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals. Dr. Colborn’s work has prompted the enactment of new laws around the world and redirected the research of academicians, governments, and the private sector.

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Alec Ross


Alec Ross is Senior Advisor for Innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a role created for him that blends technology with diplomacy. As Secretary Clinton’s “tech guru,” Ross is leading the State Department’s efforts to find practical technology solutions for some of the globe’s most vexing problems on health care, poverty, human rights and ethnic conflicts. In 2010 Ross was named one of 40 leaders under 40 years old in International Development, and Huffington Post included him in their list of 2010 Game Changers as one of 10 “game changers” in politics.

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Antrim Caskey


Laura Antrim Caskey is an award-winning independent photojournalist based in Rock Creek, West Virginia. Caskey is known for her work Dragline, a self-published photojournalistic exposé, designed to educate and activate, on the human and environmental costs of mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia, to which she has dedicated years of work. Her photographs have been published in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Boston Globe, Smithsonian, Nature; featured in documentary films including The Last Mountain; and currently on exhibit in “One Earth,” at Fovea in Beacon, NY.

Watch Barbara’s talk here »

Barbara Van Dahlen


Barbara Van Dahlen, named to TIME magazine’s 2012 list of the 100 most influential people in the world, is the founder and president of Give an Hour. A licensed clinical psychologist who has been practicing in the Washington, D.C., area for 20 years, she received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Maryland in 1991. Concerned about the mental health implications of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Dr. Van Dahlen founded Give an Hour in 2005 to enlist mental health professionals to provide free services to U.S. troops, veterans, their loved ones, and their communities. Currently, the network has over 6,300 providers, who have collectively given nearly $5.7 million worth of services.

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Watch Erica’s talk here »

Erica Saben

Charm City Movement Arts

Erica began performing on professional stages at the age of 12. Her circus career began by accident when she was spotted on stage at the Academy of Music in 2007 by the Give and Take Jugglers. Erica still performs with the Give and Take from time to time as a wire walker, aerialist, obscure puppeteer, and juggler. She has been a tightwire instructor at the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts since its inception, and is the founder and director of Charm City Movement Arts in Baltimore. Erica graduated cum laude from SUNY Brockport with a BS in Dance and Political Science, and received the Political Science Outstanding Student Award as well as the All American Scholar Award.

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Watch LTG Hertling’s talk here »

LTG Mark Hertling

US Army

Lieutenant General Mark Phillip Hertling, is the Commanding General, US Army Europe and Seventh Army. In that role, he is the commander of the approximately 42,000 U.S. Army forces assigned to Europe, and he is the Army Component Commander of U.S. European Command. While Hertling’s primary role is training U.S. Army soldiers and units for Contingency and Full Spectrum Operations, he is also responsible for Theater Security Cooperation and Building Partner Capacity with the 51 allied nations that are part of the European area of operation.

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Amy Webb

Webbmedia Group

Amy Webb is the CEO of Webbmedia Group, which studies disruptive technologies and advises a worldwide client base of Fortune 100 and Global 1000 companies, government agencies, media organizations and foundations. She is a Research Affiliate at the MIT Media Lab, a Lecturer at Columbia University and serves as a Delegate on the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission. Amy judges many of the emerging tech awards and serves on a number of boards, including SXSW Accelerator and Online News Association. Her new book, “Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Online Dating to Meet My Mate” (published by Penguin) is available for preorder now and launches nationally in bookstores on January 31.

Watch Billy’s talk here »

Billy Shore

Share our Strength

Bill Shore is the founder and chief executive officer of Share Our Strength®, a national nonprofit that is working to end childhood hunger in America. Shore founded Share Our Strength in 1984 with his sister Debbie and a $2,000 cash advance on a credit card. Since then, Share Our Strength has raised and invested more than $315 million in the fight against hunger, and has won the support of national leaders in many fields ranging from governors, including Maryland’s Martin O’Malley, to Oscar winning actor Jeff Bridges.

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David Rubenstein

The Carlyle Group

David M. Rubenstein is a Co-Founder and Co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms. Mr. Rubenstein co-founded the firm in 1987. Since then, Carlyle has grown into a firm managing more than $156 billion from 32 offices around the world. Mr. Rubenstein, a native of Baltimore, is a 1970 magna cum laude graduate of Duke, where he was elected Phi Beta Kappa. Following Duke, Mr. Rubenstein graduated in 1973 from The University of Chicago Law School, where he was an editor of the Law Review.

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Watch Frances’ talk here »

Frances Hesselbein

Hesselbein Institute

One of the most highly respected experts in the field of contemporary leadership development, Frances Hesselbein is the President and CEO of The Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute, founded as The Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management and renamed in 2012 to honor Hesselbein’s legacy and ongoing contributions. Mrs. Hesselbein was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States of America’s highest civilian honor, in 1998 for her leadership as CEO of Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. from 1976–1990, as well as her service as “a pioneer for women, volunteerism, diversity and opportunity.” Her contributions were also recognized by the first President Bush, who appointed her to two Presidential Commissions on National and Community Service.

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Watch Gautam’s talk here »

Gautam Gulati

Physicians Interactive

Currently, Dr. Gulati is the Chief Medical Officer and Head of Product Innovation for Physicians Interactive Holdings, where he leads a world-class team to ideate, design, build, and deploy game-changing solutions for health professionals. In addition to his executive role, he serves as an Adjunct Professor of “Medical Innovation and Entrepreneurship” at Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School.

Dr. Gulati is a different kind of doctor. One that is not yet defined. Although trained to treat patients, he has been combining his diverse experiences, creative juices, and passionate voice to help take on a bigger challenge…to treat our troubled health system.

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Watch Jaison’s talk here »

Jaison Morgan

The Common Pool

Jaison Morgan is the Managing Principal of The Common Pool and Co-Founder of RAMPIT Software. He’s been recognized by the BBC as “the world’s expert” in designing incentives to drive innovative breakthroughs. He helped establish a lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study how targeted rewards can be used to induce new approaches to engineering challenges. He was the former head of prize development for the X PRIZE Foundation, where he led teams to deliver multiple cash bounties of $10 million or more for solutions to common causes. Mr. Morgan completed graduate studies at the University of Chicago and is a frequent lecturer on the subject of “Incentive Engineering.”

Watch Jason’s talk here »

Jason Seiken

PBS — @jseiken

Jason Seiken is Senior Vice President of PBS Interactive and oversees PBS’ award-winning new media services, including pbs.org, pbskids.org, pbskidsgo.org, and the PBS mobile products, such as PBS for the iPad. He is responsible for revenue from new media and from worldwide DVD distribution and download to own.

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Jordan Evans


Jordan Evans is the Engineering Development and Operations Manager for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) “Curiosity” rover project at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Since 2006, in both his current role and prior role as the Deputy Flight System Manager, Mr. Evans has led the MSL team through the challenges of Curiosity’s design, development, testing and operations on the surface of Mars. His past projects and experience encompass a wide array of aerospace topics including the B-2 Stealth Bomber, Hubble Space Telescope, and a space-based Gravitational Wave Detector. Publications from Mr. Evans include papers on bonded joints, compensation for “self-gravity,” systems engineering challenges, managing critical tests, and cleaning of instruments for detection of organics on Mars.

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Marci Harris


Marci Harris left a career on Capitol Hill in February 2010 to build POPVOX, a neutral, nonpartisan platform for civic engagement and legislative information. Launched in January 2011, POPVOX has delivered over 500,000 messages to Congress from users in every Congressional district. In 2011, POPVOX won the SxSW BizSpark Accelerator startup competition. Harris is a recipient of a 2012 Tribeca Film Festival Disruptive Innovation Award and was named #13 of the “Top 100 Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company magazine.

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Darell Hammond


Darell Hammond is the Founder and CEO of KaBOOM!, a not-for-profit based in Washington, DC dedicated to saving play by making sure there is a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. KaBOOM! works with communities and corporations to build playgrounds in North America where there are none. To help start the conversation and educate Americans about the importance of play in children’s lives, Hammond wrote KABOOM!: A Movement to Save Play. Founded out of Hammond’s apartment in 1996, KaBOOM! has raised $200 million, rallied a million volunteers, led the hands-on construction of 2,000 playgrounds, and inspired a movement for the child’s right to play. Hammond was the 2011 recipient of the Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award presented in Dalian, China and recently named to the Forbes Magazine list of the world’s Top 30 Social Entrepreneurs. Hammond lives in Washington, DC, with his wife Kate Becker.

Watch Jules’ talk here »

Jules Polonetsky

Future of Privacy Forum

Jules serves as Director and Co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that seeks to advance responsible data practices.
FPF’s current projects to advance transparency and control in a business-practical manner focus on online data use, smart grid, mobile data, apps and social media.
As AOL’s former Chief Privacy Officer and SVP for Consumer Advocacy, Jules was responsible for ensuring that AOL’s users could trust the company with their information and for educating employees about best practices for advertising, content, and product development.

Watch Mario’s talk here »

Mario Livio


Dr Mario Livio is an astrophysicist at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), the institute which conducts the scientific program of the Hubble Space Telescope. He has published more than 400 scientific papers and received numerous awards for research, for excellence in teaching, and for his books. His interests span a broad range of topics in astrophysics, from cosmology and black holes, to extrasolar planets and the emergence of intelligent life in the universe.He also writes a regular blog entitled “A Curious Mind.”

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Watch Sage’s talk here »

Sage Salvo

Words Liive

Sage Salvo (born Gilbert Newman Perkins) is the creator of Words Liive, an innovative literary arts program that aims to elevate the lyrical genius in hip-hop lyrics through a literary analysis which pairs historical poetry with the poetry of hip-hop by means of their respective use of literary devices. Sage is also the author of the forthcoming book, Words Liive: Hip-Hop as a Forty Year Neo-Romantic Literary Period. His Words Liive program has featured Grammy-nominated artists such as Maimouna Youssef and Carolyn Malachi. Commencing this year, Words Liive has also been adopted by a select number of Washington DC area high schools as an ancillary creative writing program.

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Watch Alessandro’s talk here »

Alessandro Acquisti

Privacy Economist

Alessandro Acquisti is an associate professor at the Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University, a soundtrack composer, and a former motorcycle racer. Alessandro’s research investigates the economics of privacy. His studies have spearheaded the application of behavioral economics to the analysis of privacy and information security decision making, and the analysis of privacy and disclosure behavior in online social networks. His studies have been published in journals across several disciplines and have been the recipients of the PET Award for Outstanding Research in Privacy Enhancing Technologies, the IBM Best Academic Privacy Faculty Award, and multiple Best Paper awards.

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Jonathan Haidt

Author, The Righteous Mind

Jonathan Haidt (pronounced “height”) is a social psychologist at the NYU-Stern School of Business. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992, and spent most of his career (1995-2011) at the University of Virginia. Haidt’s research examines the intuitive foundations of morality, and how morality varies across cultures. In recent years he has examined the moral cultures of liberals, conservatives, and libertarians. Haidt is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis, and of the The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion.

Watch Paula’s talk here »

Paula Kahumbu

Kenya Land Conservation Trust

Paula Kahumbu, executive director of the Kenya Land Conservation Trust and WildlifeDirect, and chairman of the Friends of Nairobi National Park, was coached and mentored by paleoanthropologist and conservationist Richard Leakey, who remains one of her closest allies and supporters. Born and raised in Nairobi, Kahumbu entered into conservation at the height of the elephant poaching in the late 1980s. Kahumbu is well known in Kenya for her infectious passion for conservation and animals. She believes in the development of Kenya, but not at the cost of the environment.

Watch Freeman’s talk here »

Freeman Hrabowski


Freeman will be speaking at TED2013.
Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, has served as President of UMBC (The University of Maryland, Baltimore County) since 1992. His research and publications focus on science and math education, with special emphasis on minority participation and performance. He was honored by Time in 2012 as one of the Top 100 most influential people in the world.

Watch Joseph’s talk here »

Joseph Kvedar

Healthcare Innovator

Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, is the Founder and Director of the Center for Connected Health, creating a new model of healthcare delivery, by developing innovative strategies to move care from the hospital or doctor’s office into the day-to-day lives of patients. Dr. Kvedar is creating innovative programs to leverage information technology – cell phones, computers, networked devices and simple remote health monitoring tools – to help providers and patients manage chronic conditions, maintain health and wellness and improve adherence, engagement and clinical outcomes. Based on the technology platform developed at the Center, Healthrageous, a personalized health technology company, was launched in 2010, offering a range of health and wellness self-management programs to their clients.

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Watch Maria’s talk here »

Maria Bello


Maria Bello is an internationally renowned actor and women’s rights activist and the co-founder of We Advance (www.weadvance.org). We Advance is a women’s movement and NGO based in Cite Soleil, Haiti. The organization advocates for women throughout the country to have full political, economic, and social participation. Having starred in over 30 movies (including “Coyote Ugly,” “A History of Violence,” and “The Cooler”), Bello has had several nominations and wins for her acting, including the Golden Globe Awards and the NY Film Critic’s Awards. She was most recently seen playing Det. Jane Timoney on the critically acclaimed NBC drama “Prime Suspect,”” as well as Adam Sandler’s “Grown Ups Two,” slated for a summer 2013 release.

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Brian Conley

Filmmaker and Activist

Brian Conley is director of Small World News and has been involved in media literacy and media democracy work for more than ten years and has trained journalists and citizen media makers in a dozen countries. Brian designed the program and training for IndiaUnheard a national “community news service” comprised of Indian community activists from all over the country, and he led Small World News’ work assisting Pajhwok Afghan News to develop a video service, which expanded the capacity of their provincial journalists to produce quality multimedia journalism. He has designed an array of projects leveraging emerging technologies to develop community media in conflict areas and repressive states.

Watch Silvia’s talk here »

Silvia Barcellos


Silvia Helena Barcellos is an Associate Economist at RAND Corporation, Santa Monica Office. Her research focuses on applied microeconomics topics in labor and development economics. Her labor economics research includes works on the economic causes and consequences of immigration to the United States and on the effects of taxation on location and organizational choices of firms and individuals. In research on development economics, Barcellos has investigated the existence of gender discrimination in parental time investments in India.

Watch Exoneree here »


Musicians & Activists

In 1981, William Dillon was convicted for a murder he did not commit. He spent 27 years in jail until DNA evidence positively identified the two guilty perpetrators. His story is not unique. Mr. Dillon performs in the band Exoneree which is made up of musicians who have been wrongly convicted and freed through the Innocence Project. Their story is a powerful reminder of the responsibility we face in administering justice in America. Exoneree brings together musicians from several states to tell their moving stories in song.

Watch Jim’s talk here »

Jim Shelton

US Dept of Education

We are at a critical time in American education and Jim Shelton is working on one of the key issues: innovation in education. Jim Shelton is the Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement at the US Department of Education. He manages a portfolio that includes most of the Department’s competitive teacher quality, school choice and learning technology programs, housed in the Office of Innovation and Improvement.

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Watch Loretta’s talk here »

Loretta Claiborne

Special Olympian & Advocate

Loretta Claiborne’s story is remarkable — from Special Olympian to inspiring speaker and advocate for others. Her work has ranged from supporting people with disabilities to working to help end bullying. In 2000, Walt Disney Productions created The Loretta Claiborne Story. “I figured if my story could change a person’s mind about another person, or especially a child’s mind about another child, then it was the right thing to do,” Claiborne says. Loretta is a world-class runner and gifted motivational speaker who happens to also be a Special Olympics Athlete and a person who has an intellectual disability.

Watch Cameron’s talk here »

Cameron Russell

Arts Advocate & Model

Cameron Russell has spent the last decade posing as a supermodel. Occasionally she writes about grassroots public art and political power, and experiments with making art for the internet and the street. She is the director of The Big Bad Lab which creates participatory art and media platforms dedicated to including people in radical demonstrations of positive social change.

Watch Geoff’s talk here »

Geoff Tracy

Chef Geoff

Geoff graduated from Georgetown University from 1995 with a degree in theology. He then went on to graduate first in his class at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Geoff opened his popular DC restaurant Chef Geoff’s in 2000, and Chef Geoff’s downtown in 2002, both before he had reached the age of 30. Geoff is also the co-author of the New York Times Best Seller Baby Love which helps parents create healthy, easy, and delicious meals for babies and toddlers. Geoff is also active in the DC community as an active participant in Little League and several other nonprofits.

Watch Jessica’s talk here »

Jessica Ladd

Healthcare Innovator

Jessica Ladd is the founder of Sexual Health Innovations, an organization that uses technology to improve sexual health. SHI builds and rigorously evaluates tools that help empower people to make the sexual health and wellbeing decisions that are right for them and their community. SHI helps the organizations that serve them do what they do faster, better, and cheaper. A recent SHI project is the site So They Can Know which allows people to anonymously inform their partners if they may be at risk of infection of a sexually transmitted disease. Jessica lives in Baltimore and also works with The Social Innovation Lab.

Watch Kakenya’s talk here »

Kakenya Ntaiya

National Geographic Explorer

Kakenya Ntaiya was set to follow the traditional path of all girls born in the small village of Enoosaen, Kenya. Engaged at the age of 5, she was to be circumcised by the time she became a teenager. But she had a different plan. First, she negotiated with her father: she would willingly agree to be circumcised only if he would allow her to finish high school. He agreed. Then she negotiated with the village elders to do what no girl had ever done before: leave her village to go to college in the United States. She received a scholarship to Randolph Macon college in Virginia and returned to Kenya to change her hometown forever.

Watch Anna’s Talk here »

Anna Lee

Montessori Educator

Anna Lee has been described as an “educator to the bone.” Lee is a first generation Korean-American from the DC region. She believes that the human potential begins within the hands of a child. In 2010, she was appointed the Director of Education at Meadows Montessori in Frederick. With thirteen years experience teaching Montessori, her dedication to early childhood education spans far beyond her years. She has also served as an Intensive Individual Support counselor for Autistic teens. An avid world traveler, she advocates and consults for Montessori programs for schools all over the world.

Watch Classical Revolution here »

Classical Revolution

Classical Music Advocates

Classical Revolution is built around the idea that performing live classical music can change communities. Founded in 2007 in San Francisco, the idea has spread all around the world. Rafaela Dreisin of the Baltimore chapter of Classical Revolution will lead a combined group of musicians from both DC and Baltimore in a regional collaboration crafted specifically for TEDxMidAtlantic 2012. Both groups perform regularly in and around Baltimore and Washington with performances ranging from impromptu public venues to regularly scheduled evening events.