With the deadline for the TEDGlobal 2014 Fellowship application quickly approaching (this Friday, April 25th), you might be wondering why you in particular should apply to be a Fellow. While we could give you a long written list of the amazing opportunities that TED Fellows have access to, we decided that dog GIFs would be the perfect way to articulate what we’re trying to convey.
See the top 10 benefits of the Fellowship program below:
Our SupporTED coaching program which offers professional coaching and mentoring services to TED Fellows, with ten sessions at no charge.
Access to a Public Relations expert to help you frame your story, launch a new event, product, or social media campaign, and get your name in print.
Potential to get a speaking agent and/or a book deal through members of our extended team.
A 24/7 online network of other Fellows around the world
Regional retreats organized by and for TED Fellows to build on the initial spark developed at the TED Conferences by enabling deeper connections in a more intimate setting
Collaborating with other Fellows
Giving a TED Talk
The Senior Fellowship opportunity: Every year, ten to twelve TED Fellows are selected by application to become Senior Fellows, a huge honor and opportunity that entitles you to an additional two years of TED Conferences.
Scientific research is generating far more data than the average researcher can get through. Meanwhile, modern computing has yet to catch up with the superior discernment of the human eye. The solution? Enlist the help of citizen scientists. British astronomer and web developer Robert Simpson is part of the online platform Zooniverse, which lets more than one million volunteers from around the world lend a hand to a variety of projects — everything from mapping the Milky Way to hunting for exoplanets to counting elephants to identifying cancer cells — accelerating important research and making their own incredible discoveries along the way.
At TED2014, Simpson took us through a few of Zooniverse’s 20-plus projects (with more on the way), some of which have led to startling discoveries — including a planet with four suns. Below, an edited transcript of our conversation.
Are you a scientist?
Well, I’m a distracted astronomer. Yes, I’m an astronomer at University of Oxford. But I’m there to create crowdsourcing projects where we put data — usually images, but sometimes videos or sound — online, and ask the public to do research tasks that we used to ask postgrads to do. This helps us go through lots and lots and lots of data very quickly — which means scientists are free to concentrate on the hard, analytical parts of the problem.
So you’re giving volunteers the grunt work, basically?
Yeah, but what’s weird is that people love it. And not only do they enjoy it, and engage with each other online, they make discoveries, too. That’s what’s so special about it. We don’t just get the scientists’ science done. We open up the possibility for everyone to start participating in creating their own science projects using data.
We have really sophisticated computers. What can the human eye detect that a machine can’t?
A lot. I mean, a lot. With Zooniverse’s original project, Galaxy Zoo – which asked volunteers to discern between spiral galaxies versus elliptical galaxies — that was something that computers really couldn’t do at the time. Actually, they still really can’t do it unless we use the human data that we’ve gathered to train them. The computer can get it right maybe 85 percent of the time. But the 15 percent where it fails are the most interesting objects. So the reason it fails is they’re weird, funny shapes or funny colors. There’s something about them that’s slightly abnormal. These are the objects people can identify that the computer can’t — and those are precisely the ones that are scientifically interesting. So by definition, the computer isn’t doing the bit we want it to do.
Examples of the different types of galaxies Zooniverse volunteers help categorize. Image: GalaxyZoo.org
Having said that, we’ve been able to train the computer to do a much better job based on the human answer, which is great news. But still, we want to ask for more — we want to cover weird, harder galaxies. So that project will just keep going, because people will always be looking at the harder set.
In another example, our project Planet Hunters has people looking through light curve data from stars, gathered using Kepler. So we stare at 150,000 stars, and watch the light from them. The whole point of doing this is to occasionally catch a planet passing in front of the star, and see a dip in light as it goes past. That dip can tell you how big the planet is, how often the planet’s going around the star, all sorts of stuff. You’ve just got to stare for long enough, and you’ve got to do it with a really, really, really good instrument.
Now, NASA and the Kepler team have used computer algorithms to look through this data for years, and they find lots of planets. But based on our experience with galaxies, we thought there must be stuff in this data that people will see that the computer can’t, because a computer is trained to look for certain things. It’s programmed by a person. Sure enough, we found planets that they didn’t find. And we found ones that are in weird, amazing configurations — some of which don’t make any physical sense — but they exist. For example, we found a planet in a seven-planet system around a sun-like star. That was an amazing discovery, because the more planets you have, the more crazy and chaotic all these dips get as they go back and forth.
TEDFellows Retreat 2013. August 17 – 21, 2013, Whistler, BC. Photo: Ryan Lash
Thinking about applying for the TED Fellowship? The clock is ticking down!
The TED Fellows program is a global network of 328 innovators from a spectrum of disciplines. Twice a year, we select 20 additional amazing change-makers to join the pack. Last year’s 2014 Fellowship class included an eye surgeon using low-cost mobile phone technology to make eye care more accessible across Kenya; photojournalists documenting conflicts in Palestine and Bosnia; a biological anthropologist researching cancer in ancient skeletal remains; a biomechatronics engineer innovating prosthetics; a journalist investigating the fragile post-9/11 civil liberties; an astrophysicist investigating the origins of our universe; a new media artist rethinking our right to our own DNA; a space archaeologist – and many more.
In this final 48-hour stretch before applications close for the TEDGlobal 2014 class of Fellows, we asked program director Tom Rielly: “What do you look for in a TED Fellow?” Here, he chats about the unique qualities that make TED Fellows stand out, his evolving vision for the Fellowship, and why YOU should apply immediately!
The TED Fellows come from a zillion different backgrounds and are experts in a vast diversity of fields. Yet they all seem to have a unique personality streak that lets them interact with incredibly kinetic energy, on an emotional as well as intellectual level. It’s hard to put into words, but how would you describe this quality?
I’ll take a stab: intellectual, energetic, social and emotional fluency. Pick at least two or three. Add a porous-membrane attitude to collaboration, genuine optimism – and a love for playing idea jazz alone and and in “bands.”
Twice a year, you’ve got to get through applications from what must be hundreds of extraordinary people. Give us the inside scoop: what are the initial factors that indicate someone will make it through the process, and what are some of the deciding factors as you home in on the final set?
Succinctly put, we’re looking for achievement + character – that is, amazing people who’ve made major breakthroughs or have achieved outstanding output. But that’s not enough. We’re looking for certain kinds of people with strong character. Kind, genuine, generous, plus a certain je ne sais quoi. (Quirky is just fine.) We’re interested in people in the first half of their careers, usually between the ages of 21 and 45.
Towards the end of the process, we are looking at curating a class of 20 Fellows: can we create a group that is geographically diverse, from diverse disciplines, with complementary personalities? Think of it as putting together a college class. You want athletes, actors, engineers, and so on. The mix is very important.
Has it become any easier to identify what kind of person you want as a Fellow over the last several years, 300+ Fellows later?
Without question, it’s easier. We’ve evaluated thousands of submissions, and by trial and error, we’ve learned what makes stellar Fellows and correlated these qualities to their applications. We look at every application submitted, but it’s nearly at the point to where I can glance at an application and know when I’m excited to read further.
How has your vision for the Fellowship changed from 2009 to now? What is your ambition for the Fellows?
When we started the program, our vision was to bring extraordinary young people to the TED community, people who would not otherwise be able to afford to participate.
Today, it’s clear that the program’s largest value is the other Fellows. So we now think about the Fellows as a powerful network, where each node can profoundly influence each other node, and the group as a whole functions kind of like a supercomputer. We haven’t lost our focus on the amazing individuality of each Fellow, but now we look at each person in the context of a robust group that collaborates, communicates and achieves things together across disciplines, in a way they never could have alone. Don’t worry, it’s not the Borg. It’s just that each individual in a strong community benefits from that community.
The good kind of ambition is about striving towards a difficult goal. Our goal is that each of our Fellows and the group can use the Fellows program as a platform to reach seemingly impossible goals. Our focus is on the Fellows and their growth, not on the program per se.
A lot of Fellows speak of having felt lonely and isolated in their work before joining the Felllowship. While passionate about what they do, they weren’t convinced that anyone out there cared. Given this handicap, many incredibly talented folks out there might be talking themselves out of applying for TED Fellows. What would you say to them?
To address the first part of your question, it’s true that many Fellows are such mavericks they have not yet been recognized by their peers or received any validation for their work. That is one of the most amazing things about the Fellows program: it’s an instant peer group of people who understand and value you, who understand what it’s like to be on the bleeding edge, who appreciate unusual things. The Fellowship experience is transformative for so many Fellows.
If I can convey only one message in this whole conversation it’s this: If in doubt about whether you should apply, apply and let us decide. We hear frequently of people who haven’t clicked on the link because they don’t think they’re good enough, strong enough, haven’t done enough. But some we’ve heard about and encouraged to apply have been accepted. If you’re not sure, apply anyway! Only good could come of it. This is not the time to let doubt, loneliness, self-esteem issues or anything else keep you from a great opportunity. Applying is free! As they would say in a late-night American infomercial: Don’t wait – act now!
Das TED-Fellows-Programm ist auf der Suche nach 20 Innovatoren verschiedener Fachgebiete aus der ganzen Welt, die sich uns bei der TEDGlobal-2014-Konferenz in Rio de Janeiro, Brasilien, vom 2.-11. Oktober 2014 anschließen.
Anders als die meisten führungsorientierten Programme konzentrieren wir unsere Suche weniger auf Geschäftsleute und Fachkräfte, Bürokraten und Regierungsbeamte. Für das TED-Fellows-Programm suchen wir Macher und Vordenker, Erfinder und Befürwörter, Fotografen und Filmemacher, Musiker und Künstler, Wissenschaftler, Unternehmer, Leiter von NGOs und Menschenrechtsaktivisten. Es werden Bewerber aus allen möglichen Fachgebieten für das TED-Fellowship-Programm berücksichtigt; Persönlichkeiten, die sich durch ungewöhnliche Leistungsbereitschaft und Charakterstärke auszeichnen und die das Potential haben, positive Veränderungen in ihrem jeweiligen Arbeitsgebiet bewirken zu können.
Alle Bewerber müssen über 18 Jahre alt sein und fließend Englisch sprechen. Das TED-Fellows-Programm ist international und wir ermutigen insbesondere Bewerber aus Lateinamerika, sich für TEDGlobal-2014-Fellowship-Programm zu bewerben.
Über TEDGlobal 2014
Als Teil des TEDGlobal-2014-Fellowship-Programms schließen sich die Fellows der TED Community in Rio de Janeiro, Brasilien, vom 6.-10. Oktober 2014 an. Dort werden sie als reguläre Teilnehmer der TEDGlobal-2014-Konferenz beiwohnen und im Anschluss an einer dreitägigen Fellows-Konferenz teilnehmen, die speziell darauf abzielt, sie zu inspirieren, zu stärken und ihre Arbeit zu unterstützen. Auf dieser Konferenz werden die Fellows in den Genuss von qualitativ hochwertigen Weiterbildungsworkshops kommen und einen kurzen Vortrag vor der TED-Community halten, der gefilmt und für die Veröffentlichung auf TED.com in Betracht gezogen wird. TED übernimmt die Kosten für den Eintritt zur Konferenz, Hin-und-Rückreise nach Rio de Janeiro, Brasilien, sowie die Unterkunft und Verpflegung während der TEDGlobal-2014-Konferenz vom 2.-11. Oktober 2014.
Das TED-Fellowship-Programm bringt junge Innovatoren aus der ganzen Welt zusammen, damit diese sich über ihre Arbeit austauschen sowie neue Fertigkeiten erwerben und sich in der TED-Community einbringen können. TED wählt jedes Jahr mit Hilfe eines umfangreichen Bewerbungsprozesses eine Gruppe von 40 herausragenden Persönlichkeiten aus der ganzen Welt aus und lädt sie zur TED- oder TEDGlobal-Konferenz ein. Während der TED-Konferenz nehmen die Fellows an einer nicht-öffentlichen Fellows-Konferenz teil, bei der sie die Möglichkeit haben, sich kennenzulernen, Ideen auszutauschen und an Weiterbildungsseminaren teilzunehmen. Sie werden auch auf ein paar Überraschungen treffen. Die TED-Fellows haben ebenfalls die einmalige Chance, ihre außergwöhnlichen Ideen in einem eigenen TED-Vortrag auf der Konferenz zu präsentieren.
Das TED-Fellows-Programm ist mit einem weltweiten Netzwerk von 328 Persönlichkeiten aus 83 verschieden Ländern ein Treffpunkt für fachübergreifende Zusammenarbeit und Innovation.
Vorteile des Programms
Im Laufe des TED-Fellowship-Porgramms haben die Stipendianten Zugriff auf alle laufenden Programme. Sie können am kostenlosen SupporTED-Programm teilnehmen, bei dem ihnen professionnelles Coaching und Mentoring angeboten wird. Sie können mit einem PR-Experten zusammenarbeiten, der sich der Veröffentlichung ihrer neuesten Erfolge widmet, und sie haben die Möglichkeit, einen Vertrag mit einem PR- oder Literaturagenten zu unterschreiben. TED-Fellows sind in einem privaten Online-Netzwerk sehr aktiv, welches ihnen eine fachübergreifende Zusammenarbeit ermöglicht. Sie organisieren regionale Treffen und Ausflüge. Sie bauen auf dem “Funken”, den sie bei der TED-Konferenz erstmalig erlebt haben, auf. Die TED-Fellows haben die Möglichkeit, sich für ein erweitertes zweijähriges Senior-Fellowship-Programm zu bewerben und sich noch mehr in der TED-Community zu engagieren.
Chương trình Hội viên TED (TED Fellows) đang tìm kiếm 20 nhà sáng tạo hoạt động trong nhiều lĩnh vực và tạo nên những thay đổi tích cực trên khắp thế giới, để cùng chúng tôi tham gia TEDGlobal 2014, 2-11/10/2014 tại Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Khác với phần nhiều chương trình dành cho các nhà lãnh đạo, chúng tôi tìm kiếm những đối tượng đặc biệt hơn để tham gia vào chương trình này. Chương trình Hội viên TED không hướng tới giới kinh doanh, các chuyên gia, nhà nghiên cứu chính sách hay cán bộ chính phủ, mà thay vào đó là những người ‘xắn tay áo và làm,’ những nhà sáng chế, luật sư, nhà làm phim và nhiếp ảnh gia, nghệ sĩ, nhà khoa học, các chủ doanh nghiệp, người điều hành các tổ chức phi chính phủ, và các nhà hoạt động nhân quyền. Chúng tôi tuyển chọn các cá nhân xuất sắc cho chương trình Hội viên TED trên khắp mọi lĩnh vực, dựa trên lịch sử thành tích, khả năng tạo ra ảnh hưởng tích cực, và dựa trên nhân cách của họ.
Đối tượng đăng kí tham gia phải trên 18 tuổi và phải thông thạo tiếng Anh. Chương trình Hội viên TED là một “gia đình” quốc tế, và chúng tôi đặc biệt khuyến khích các ứng viên Mỹ Latin tham gia vào chương trình Hội viên TEDGlobal 2014.
Về TEDGlobal 2014
Là một thành viên của chương trình Hội viên TEDGlobal 2014, các Hội viên sẽ tham gia hội thảo TEDGlobal 2014 cùng cộng đồng TED tại Rio de Janeiro, Brazil từ 6-10/10/2014. Trước đó, họ cũng sẽ tham gia vào chương trình tiền hội thảo, kéo dài ba ngày dành riêng cho Hội viên, được thiết kế đặc biệt để truyền cảm hứng và hỗ trợ các bạn. Tại hội thảo, các Hội viên sẽ được tham gia vào các khóa học kĩ năng ngắn và trình bày một bài nói chuyện TED Talk nhỏ cho cộng đồng TED. Bài nói này sẽ được ghi hình và cân nhắc lựa chọn đưa lên trang TED.com. Hội viên sẽ được nhận vé tham dự Hội thảo, vé khứ hồi đến Rio de Janeiro, Brazil và đài thọ mọi chi phí ăn ở trong suốt thời gian diễn ra TEDGlobal 2014 từ 2-11/10/2014.
Chương trình Hội viên TED
Chương trình Hội viên TED qui tụ những nhà sáng tạo trẻ đến từ khắp nơi trên thế giới, tạo điều kiện cho các bạn chia sẻ công việc của mình, tham gia vào cộng đồng TED và học hỏi kĩ năng mới. Mỗi năm, TED chọn ra 40 cá nhân xuất sắc từ khắp nơi trên thế giới, thông qua một quá trình tuyển chọn gắt gao, để tham gia vào hội thảo TED hoặc TEDGlobal. Tại Hội thảo, các cá nhân này sẽ tham gia vào các chương trình tiền hội thảo, được tổ chức dành riêng cho các Hội viên TED, nhằm tạo điều kiện cho các bạn gặp gỡ lẫn nhau, chia sẻ ý tưởng, tham gia các khóa học xây dựng kĩ năng ngắn, và đón nhận một vài bất ngờ thú vị. Hội viên TED sẽ trình bày bài nói chuyện TED Talk của chính mình tại hội thảo – một cơ hội rất đặc biệt để các bạn lan truyền những ý tưởng độc đáo của mình.
Với mạng lưới toàn cầu gồm 328 hội viên đến từ 83 quốc gia, chương trình Hội viên TED đóng vai trò là một trung tâm thúc đẩy sáng tạo và hợp tác liên ngành.
Lợi ích khi tham gia chương trình
Với tư cách là Hội viên TED, các bạn có thể tham gia vào bất kì chương trình hiện có nào của chúng tôi: Hội viên được tham gia miễn phí vào SupportTED (TED ‘hỗ trợ’), một chương trình huấn luyện và tư vấn chuyên nghiệp; làm việc với một chuyên gia PR chuyên nghiệp, giúp bạn chia sẻ những thành tích mới nhất, và có khả năng giúp bạn kí hợp đồng diễn thuyết hoặc xuất bản sách. Hội viên TED được tham gia vào một mạng lưới ảo riêng đặc biệt sôi nổi, tạo nhiều thuận lợi cho việc hợp tác đa ngành. Các Hội viên trong cùng khu vực địa lý sẽ tổ chức gặp gỡ offline và đi nghỉ cùng nhau, nhằm phát triển thêm dựa trên nền tảng mà Hội thảo TED khơi dậy. Hội viên TED cũng có cơ hội đăng kí tuyển chọn Hội viên Cao cấp, chương trình cho phép các bạn thêm hai năm để gắn bó chặt chẽ thêm với cộng đồng TED.
Sadness Never Loneliness: A self-portrait of the artist as a desperate bride, addressing the cultural expectation that every young woman desires marriage. Image: Uldus Bakhtiozina
A 12-year-old boy in a Stormtrooper helmet – and a tutu. A hulking man wearing a pre-Raphaelite collar of Barbie dolls. A bride standing wistfully in a garden, her face obscured by a wrestling mask. Russian photo-based artist Uldus Bakhtiozina’s whimsical and surreal images — which feature models as well as herself — raise an eyebrow at identity, gender and cultural stereotypes with humor and thoughtfulness. Exquisitely detailed and lit like classical paintings, her images reveal a vulnerability in her heavily costumed subjects, offering layers of meaning and emotion. At TED2014, we spoke to Uldus about her work and worldview. Below, an edited transcript of our conversation.
Tell us about yourself and how you got started.
I found my way to photography six years ago. At the time, I was doing my art degree in England. There I was, surrounded with so many stereotypes around my nationality, which made me smile and feel inspired at the same time. That’s why I started with self-portraits: I wanted to lay open those stereotypes and change people’s perceptions.
After I graduated from high school in Russia at 16, I studied politics, but I didn’t finish, because I realized that’s not the thing I want to do. So I moved to London for art school and studied at St Martin’s. My first degree was in graphic design. Afterwards, I did a degree in photography. I worked as a graphic designer, then as an art director, while in the process of evolving as a professional photographer. I tried different disciplines: porcelain sculpture, oil painting, illustrations, mixed media. My exploration of the arts helped me to realize that photography is the best tool to express my ideas. That’s what I do now, and what I want to do for the rest of my life.
How did you stumble on photography after trying other media? And why do you describe yourself as a photo-based artist rather than as a straight photographer?
I don’t think there is a straight photographer in the world. Photography is a tool for sending a message, not just for capturing a moment or for fashion. I describe my way of photography creation as hand-touched within the picture. I stitch costumes, glue backgrounds, draw and even cook sometimes to create the whole composition. I shoot on film, with a Pentax 67-II. This makes the process much longer than digital photography. There it is hand-touched again. I develop prints and scan them again, so the whole process of one image can take up to three months or longer.
Your portraits seem to bring out people’s internal conflicts, and put them out there for all to see. You must get to know people quite well before you take a picture.
Yes. Normally, I meet with my models a lot before I photograph them. We talk, we hang out. I want them to feel warm and relaxed, and to trust me. My last project involved mostly young men. In the Russian mentality, heterosexual guys don’t really like to pose. For them to dress up or be confronted with a camera, it’s kind of doing something girly. To convince them to be my models was an issue. Their occupations are many, but all of them came to my exhibition and brought their friends. I was happy about this, because I could integrate people who are typically so far away from each other’s subcultures — some of them far from the arts field. There were punks, architects, dancers, anarchists, illustrators, graphic designers, hairdressers, old-school skinheads, all mixed together. That was the most amazing thing. I feel that my art should give a smile and positive energy.
Why is that important to you?
We already have so much negativity around us, and I want to balance this. People sometimes create very negative tragedy art — about war, illness, revolution, politics. And while this can motivate people to move toward more positive things, generally, when you open up any social network or news blog, there is bad news, bad news, bad news. I believe in motivation by creating something positive. Negative and positive emotions should be balanced.
I want to give to my audience a little bit of fairytale. I consider my photography something that makes people happier. Like a meditation. I’m happy to hear people say that they can look at my photo work for hours and they feel healed.
אנחנו מחפשים מועמדים שונים מאשר תוכניות מוכוונות מנהיגות אחרות. במקום אנשי עסקים, אנשי מקצוע, קובעי מדיניות ופקידים ממשלתיים, תוכנית עמיתי TED מתמקדת באנשי מעשה, יוצרים, ממציאים, תומכים, יוצרי הסרטים וצלמים, מוזיקאים ואומנים, מדענים, יזמים, ראשי מלכ”רים, ופעילי זכויות אדם. אנחנו בוחרים אנשים לעמיתות TED ממגוון תחומים בהתבסס על הסטוריה השגים, על פוטנציאל העבודה שלהם ליצור השפעה חיובית ואופיים החזק.
מועמדים חייבים להיות בני לפחות 18 ולדבר אנגלית שוטפת. תוכנית עמיתי TED היא משפחה גלובלית ואנחנו בעיקר מעודדים מועמדים לטינו אמריקאים להגיש מועמדות לעמיתות TEDGlobal 2014.
על TEDGlobal 2014
כחלק מעמיתות TEDGlobal 2014 , עמיתים יצתרפו לקהילת TED בריו דה ג’נרו, ברזיל, ב 6-10 באוקטובר, 2014, שם הם ישתתפו ב TEDGlobal 2014 כמשתתפי כנס מלאים, שלפניהם שלושה ימים של כנס עמיתים שמתוכנן במיוחד לתת השראה, להעצים ולתמוך בעבודה שלהם. בכנס, עמיתים יהנו מסדנאות בונות כישורים ויעבירו הרצאה קצרה בפני קהילת TED, שמצולמת ותישקל לאתר TED.com. עמיתים מקבלים כרטיס כניסה לכנס, דמי נסיעה לריו דה ז’נרו, ברזיל ומגורים מלאים ל TEDGlobal 2014 מה 2 עד ה 11 באוקטובר, 2014.
תוכנית עמיתי TED
תוכנית עמיתי TED מחברת מחדשים צעירים מכל העולם כדי לחלוק את פועלם, כדי להשתתף בקהילת TED וללמוד כישורים חדשים. מידי שנה, TED בוחרים 40 אנשים יוצאי דופן מסביב לעולם דרך תהליך ההרשמה המורחב להשתתף בכנס TED או TEDGlobal. בכנס TED, עמיתים משתתפים בכנס מקדים אקסקלוסיבי שם הם נפגשים, חולקים רעיונות, משתתפים בסדנאות בונות כישורים ונתקלים בכמה הפתעות. עמיתי TED מציגים גם הרצאת TED משלהם בכנס – הזדמנות חסרת תקדים להפיץ אל הרעיונות יוצאי הדופן שלהם. עם רשת עולמית של 328 אנשים מ 83 מדינות, תוכנית עמיתי TED היא מוקד לשיתוף פעולה רב תחומי וחדשנות.
למשך חברותם בתוכנית העמיתים, עמיתים זכאים לגשת לכל התוכניות שלנו: העמיתים משתתפים ב SupporTED, תוכנית אימון והדרכה מקצועית ללא עלות. הם יוכלו לעבוד עם מומחה יחסי ציבור שמוקדש לעזור לחלוק את ההשגים האחרונים שלהם ויש להם את האפשרות לחתום עם סוכן הרצאות או סוכן ספרים. עמיתי TED הם מאוד אקטיביים ברשת מקוונת פרטית מיוחדת, שממנה יוצאים הרבה שיתופי פעולה חוצי תחומים. הם מארגנים פגישות וסדנאות אזוריות, בונים על הניצוץ הראשוני שהתפתח בכנס TED. לעמיתי TED יש הזדמנות להגיש מועמדות להרשם כעמיתים בכירים למעורבות נוספת של שנתיים בקהילת TED המורחבת.
For much of the past 20 years, architect and engineer Aziza Chaouni has been battling to restore the Fez River, which winds through the city’s medina – Fez’s historic medieval center and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Heavily contaminated and covered over with concrete to contain the smell, the Fez River had been all but forgotten in recent decades. Not anymore: Chaouni has succeeded in uncovering the river, by working with the city’s water department since 2007, and she is now restoring and reconnecting the riverbanks with the rest of the city, while creating open, green public spaces, allowing the medina to breathe again. At TED2014, we asked her to tell the story of this extraordinary task.
How did you begin the task of uncovering the Fez River?
The whole story actually started as my thesis at Harvard. My thesis advisor told me to do something “that you feel passionate about and that could make a difference.” For years, I’d seen the river in my hometown being desecrated, polluted and filled up with trash and rats. It had become an open sewer and a massive trash yard at the core of the city.
The Fez medina has about 250,000 inhabitants, and all their untreated sewage went straight into the narrow river that runs through it. The river was also heavily contaminated by nearby crafts workshops and tanneries — with chemicals such as chromium 3, which is lethal. People working in the tanneries were getting skin cancer, and some of them were dying. It was terrible. Obviously the river started to stink, so people started building walls to block the view. Then, because it became a health hazard, they covered it with concrete starting in 2002. And because it was covered, people began using that open space as trash yard.
Actually, the first covering began in 1952, when Morocco was still a French protectorate, but it was for political reasons — so that French colonial power could easily enter the medina and control the population. Then, as the population grew and Morocco became independent, covering happened because of the stench.
In your Fellows talk at TED2014, you showed how the water feeds into both public fountains and those in private courtyards. Do people actually use that water? Were they getting sick?
Of course they were, especially from the toxic chemicals dumped in the river by craftsmen. It became dangerous to drink from a running fountain. Besides, a series of droughts and excessive extraction from the water table left little water available for the medina water network. By the 1980s, most of the fountains had become defunct, yet they had been central to its urban fabric. Imagine if Rome had no more running fountains! Can you imagine La Seine or the Thames being suddenly covered? The Fez River is smaller in scale, but the effect is similar: a central part of the city was amputated. When I witnessed all this, I was in college at Columbia University in New York at the time. I would have been 19. I was outraged; I wrote an article in the newspaper and I received hate mail, because of course it made the city look bad. At the time, I was an aspiring engineer. But due to my age and lack of experience, I was not taken seriously.
Contaminated water will also have been entering your food supply, your groundwater. Of course! Yes! Yes and yes and repeatedly yes. It would pollute the water table, which feeds the most fertile agricultural basin of Morocco. But this didn’t upset anyone. Environmental protection is almost seen as a luxury in developing countries: economic development, health and education are understandably bigger priorities. It’s a different mentality in Morocco. I heard many times: “Look, we’re eating the food and we’re fine, hence nothing’s wrong!”
Many people are eating food exported from Morocco.
I know. And of course it’s not just Morocco — in so many emerging countries, you have high levels of environmental pollution, but you just don’t know about it as there is not much control or accountability. But the point is that if you uncover such a large-scale environmental hazard, even as an architect, you feel outraged and want to do something about it. So I decided, for my thesis, to propose re-envisioning the medina if the river were to be cleaned and uncovered.
My thesis took a slightly different approach to what I’m doing now. You see, the medina of Fez used to boast one of the oldest universities in North Africa, the Quarawiyine, but after Morocco’s independence in 1956, the government established an American style campus outside the city, which symbolized modernity. The university’s move caused the entire cultural life of the city to fade away. In my thesis, I proposed building a university in the medina, with the various departments to occupy the urban voids along the river. These voids had been created when the river was covered: houses were destroyed to make way for the heavy machinery required. My vision was that, once uncovered, the river would serve as a pleasant green feature, and its banks would be used as a circulation system linking the departments. Classrooms would be located in nearby abandoned buildings. The university model was unusual and innovative: it would be one of a heterogeneous network of buildings embedded within the medina’s urban fabric.
For me, bringing back the water and the university represented a double win. The university idea hasn’t happened yet, but working on this thesis allowed me to start thinking about the potential of the river for the city and its inhabitants. Many ideas I developed back then became a solid departure point for the actual project, which I started in 2007 in collaboration with my then-partner Takako Tajima.
Il programma TED Fellows sta cercando 20 innovatori multidisciplinari che vogliono cambiare il mondo da invitare a TEDGlobal 2014, che si terrà dal 2 all’11 Ottobre 2014, a Rio de Janeiro, in Brasile.
È possibile candidarsi fino al 18 aprile 2014. Presenta la tua candidatura oggi stesso! www.ted.com/fellows/apply
Chi può candidarsi?
Cerchiamo candidati diversi da quelli normalmente ricercati in altri programmi orientati alla leadership. Invece di imprenditori, professionisti, esperti di politica e ufficiali del governo, il programma TED Fellows si concentra su promotori, maker, inventori, artisti, registi e fotografi, musicisti e scienziati, imprenditori, responsabili di ONG e attivisti dei diritti umani. Cerchiamo fellow da tutte le discipline, basandoci sui risultati raggiunti in passato, sul potenziale impatto positivo del loro lavoro e sulla loro forza di carattere.
I candidati devono essere maggiorenni e padroneggiare l’inglese. I TED fellow sono una famiglia globale e rivolgiamo uno speciale invito ai candidati dell’America Latina a fare domanda per la fellowship di TEDGlobal 2014.
A proposito di TEDGlobal 2014
In quanto parte della fellowship di TEDGlobal 2014, i fellow si uniranno alla comunità TED a Rio de Janeiro, in Brasile, dal 6 al 10 ottobre 2014, dove assisteranno a TEDGlobal 2014 in qualità di partecipanti a tutti gli effetti. TEDGlobal sarà preceduto da una conferenza di tre giorni dedicata ai fellow, progettata appositamente per ispirare, responsabilizzare e sostenere il loro lavoro. Alla conferenza, i fellow usufruiranno di preziosi gruppi di lavoro per lo sviluppo delle proprie capacità e terranno un breve discorso alla comunità TED, che verrà filmato e preso in considerazione per TED.com. I fellow hanno diritto ad accedere alla conferenza, alle spese di viaggio di andata e ritorno per Rio de Janeiro, e all’alloggio per il periodo di TEDGlobal 2014, dal 2 all’11 ottobre 2014.
Il programma TED Fellowship
La Fellowship TED riunisce giovani innovatori di tutto il mondo perché condividano il loro lavoro, partecipino alla comunità TED e imparino nuove capacità. Ogni anno TED seleziona, attraverso un approfondito processo di candidature per la partecipazione alle conferenze TED o TEDGlobal, 40 individui di spicco provenienti da tutto il mondo. Alla conferenza TED i fellow partecipano ad un esclusivo incontro pre-conferenza in cui si incontrano, condividono idee, prendono parte a gruppi di lavoro e ricevono qualche piacevole sorpresa. Durante la conferenza, i TED fellow presentano anche un proprio intervento, un’opportunità senza eguali per diffondere le loro idee innovative.
Con una rete globale di 328 partecipanti, provenienti da 83 paesi, il programma di fellowship di TED è un vero e proprio centro nevralgico di innovazioni e collaborazioni interdisciplinari.
I benefit del programma di fellowship
Per la durata della loro fellowship, i fellow hanno pieno accesso agli eventi che organizziamo: partecipano inoltre a SupporTED, un programma professionale, gratuito, di coaching e mentoring. Possono inoltre collaborare con un esperto in pubbliche relazioni dedicato per condividere i loro risultati finali e hanno la possibilità di firmare un contratto con un editore o un organizzatore di conferenze. I TED fellow sono estremamente attivi in uno speciale network online privato che scaturisce in diverse collaborazioni interdisciplinari. Organizzano anche incontri regionali e convegni, così da lavorare sugli spunti nati durante la conferenza TED. I TED fellow hanno anche l’opportunità di candidarsi per una Senior Fellowship di due anni, a contatto con l’intera comunità TED.