“Change the world one eye at a time”: Audience responses to the TED2014 Fellows talks

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The 2014 Fellows and Senior Fellows talks hit the ball out of the stadium on Monday. During the breaks, we captured audience impressions of this year’s talks. Here’s what they had to say. (Visit the recaps of Session 1 and Session 2 on the TED Blog for a summary of the talks.)

I arrived from Australia yesterday, so I’m very jetlagged. And I found that each of the layers of the Fellows allowed me to wake up. I’m so tired, yet each talk in a different way is cutting through the fog in my head, and reminding me of why I’ve come. I find myself simultaneously overwhelmed by the breadth and range and complexity of what people are doing, but more than anything, I feel inspired – really moved by people who are working so hard to do so many great things. – Sonya Pemberton

Bora Yoon’s music was spectacular – very ethereal, very moving. I’ve never heard anything quite like it. I didn’t want to watch her on the screen; I wanted to watch her whole body move, because you could see the performance was as much about her in the space creating the music as anything. It was beautiful. – Richard Averitt

I always love these mornings with the Fellows. I was inspired by so many of them – by Aziz Abu Sarah’s tourism initiative, Shubhendu Sharma’s reforestation project, Janet Iwasa’s molecular animations. Each was so particular, important, and interesting. It’s nice to watch somebody’s discoveries unfold. – Jonathan Nadler

I found WIll Potter the most tactful in his call to action, and helping us understand the situation. He educated me on something I knew nothing about. I had never heard of ecoterrorism. Now I would like to know what I can do. – Lydia Varmazis

Sergei Lupashin’s Fotokite intrigues me.  As director of [the US Department of State's] Art in Embassies, I’m responsible for all of the art that our ambassadors have at post for their tenure, borrowed works from artists, collectors, galleries, and museums. It would be fantastic to get aerial views of large-scale installations, and to then get artists to talk about the process. I can get video, but I can’t ever get those perspectives. It would be a fabulous tool, used correctly. – Ellen Susman

Every piece of music was absolutely exceptional. – Debby Ruth

Andrew Bastawrous’s work in opthalmology in Africa was mind blowing. He brought something that was heretofore so complicated, and just made it possible. One man, one bike, one iPhone. How brilliant. We can all make that kind of a difference. Donate a little money, donate some time, change the world one eye at a time. – Cynthia Hardy

A line from Ziyah Gafic’s talk has stayed with me all day. He said that genocide is “denied identity.” In war, what’s really happening is that you strip people away from their identity, their sense of self. He just touched me with that. I thought it was an amazing way to put it.
– Shivani Siroya

The Fellows talks were absolutely phenomenal. Each speaker that came up to the stage just kept surprising me more and more. It’s hard to actually pinpoint one that I love the most, because I think each one brought something unique and special.  This was actually my first time at a Fellows session, and what I took from this is that I want to get involved, and find out more about the Fellows program. – Orly Wahba

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