Anthony Vipin Das’s FITTLE – the puzzle toy that teaches children Braille using shapes – has been nominated as a finalist at the prestigious IXDA Awards 2014 in Amsterdam, and public voting has begun! If you’d like to help support Anthony and his team, please click this link and hit Like Facebook button on the left.
Environmental engineer Francis de los Reyes works with cutting-edge microbiological techniques to create solutions in the fields of environmental biotechnology and engineering. But his big passion, both professionally and personally, is finding ways to improve the plight of the world’s 2.5 billion people living without adequate sanitation. In this conversation, he tells the TED Blog about his research, his on-the-ground work to improve living conditions in his native Philippines and beyond — and his ongoing fascination with toilets.
Because of who I am and where I grew up, in the Philippines, I’ve seen poverty and slums. My career has been about leading-edge environmental engineering — I’ve been trained to design treatment plants that will work for the industrialized world, and to make them cheaper, better, more efficient. But we can’t ignore the billions of people in the developing countries where that’s not going to work. That’s why we have this problem of lack of adequate sanitation. We’ve studied how to design modern wastewater treatment plants, and forgotten the 2.5 billion who don’t have access to clean toilets. We haven’t really properly considered those problems, and invested the required resources. Of course, it’s all related to poverty, but we haven’t really looked carefully enough at what’s happening. There are people who have been working in this area for a long, long time, and I’m just one of them. Slowly, over the years, it’s become a bigger and bigger part of my research. It was very hard to get funding in water and sanitation research for developing countries. Because it’s not sexy, you know? On the other hand, you can argue that research is not the bottleneck, but its implementation on the ground. Or culture, or social context. Well, I think there’s still a lot of room for research, and I think obviously we need to work on implementation and on the social side of things.
Can you describe the situation in the Philippines, and the scope of the problem?
Actually, the situation in the Philippines is not too bad. The United Nations has, as one of its Millennium Development Goals, to cut in half the proportion of people who don’t have access to adequate sanitation and to clean drinking water, by 2015. These goals were set up in 2000. Well, if you look at the numbers, to cut them in half means to change the percentage for drinking water from 35% to 70%, and for sanitation from 25% to 50%. But, even as improvements have been made — if you look at the raw numbers of people still in need, because of population growth — those 2.5 billion people have remained at 2.5 billion, maybe 2.3 billion. The world actually met the MDG for drinking water last year. But for sanitation, we’re not going to make it. So there will still be these billions of people that won’t have toilets. In the Philippines, they’ve actually met the MDGs. Some countries have met the MDGs for water, but not for sanitation, and in sub-Saharan Africa, and some places in Asia, they’re not going to meet either water or sanitation MDGs. Like in India and China, there’s a lot of open defecation — that’s just part of the culture. Lack of infrastructure is a problem too, of course.
So how are you applying your microbiology research to the situation?
We are coming up with alternative ways of thinking about sanitation problems. Right now, our current paradigm is that we collect waste from houses, and we convey them via miles and miles of sewer systems, using freshwater. We’re collecting all this waste, and then we’re treating them all at a centralized treatment plant, millions of gallons per day. That’s what happens in any major city. Some cities have more than one treatment plant — like New York City has 19 to 23 different plants. And then we treat the wastewater, and then we discharge the treated water to a river. The treatment is quite effective. The quality of the effluent that we discharge is actually, in many cases, cleaner and better than the river water.
So the wastewater treatment industry has done a really good job of cleaning our water, and protecting our health. But that’s not happening in developing countries, where the problems are more immediate, like diarrhea. You’ve got to first solve the important problems. Let’s get the pathogens out, let’s kill the stuff that will make children sick. I think we can use these molecular techniques to look at pathogen destruction in some of the technologies used in developing countries. We’ve focused the research on centralized solutions and centralized technologies, but we can also try to optimize decentralized and appropriate solutions.
Meet TED2014 Fellow Eman Mohammed who was born in Saudi Arabia and educated in Gaza City, Palestine, where she started her photojournalism career at the age of nineteen.
Her work focuses on documenting the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, including invocations and wars that frequently occur in the area, and the formation of armed militant groups in the strip.
She’ll be joining 21other outstanding innovators as part of the TED Fellows program at the TED2014 Conference. Explore the entire class of TED2014 Fellows, and learn more about Eman’s work, and see her striking images at www.emanmohammed.com.
As 2013 inexorably rolls into 2014, social justice comedian and filmmaker Negin Farsad has a few choice words for the outgoing 365 days…
You started 2013 thinking it was gonna be a real hoot. There was an inauguration for a president, a bunch of balls, Beyoncé sang, spirits were high!
2013 had its moments! You saw the royal baby, the Kimye baby, the brilliant death of Walter White. You got a colorful iPhone, you started Instagramming your favorite cappuccinos, you actually used all the Pilates classes you got in that one Groupon. You gave up snark for smarm, you tried kale for the first time, and you finally replaced your desk chair with an exercise ball! You were doing GOOD.
But things got murky with ol’ 2013. Take Miley Cyrus, she was suddenly full of haircuts, tongue gestures and twerking – or was it tweeking? Or was it butt-clapping? You resolved to keep better track of popular dance moves. But how could you? You hadn’t logged onto Twitter in like a week! You may as well be dead. So you start furiously tweeting pithy one-liners about Carlos Danger, about crack smoking mayors, about Paula Deen hating black people, about fictional fat Santa’s race.
You were super in love with Obama until his website didn’t work immediately and then you were super mad at Obama. Your 3D printer keeps jamming, which is probably Obama’s fault too. You ended up with health insurance but you were still inexplicably mad at the Prez.
You get excited because there might be a House vote on the immigration bill. No wait, there isn’t. No wait, there is. No wait… You look at your toilet, you realized that by carting off your family’s pooh throughout the year it has done more than all of Congress.
You try to figure out the rules on being gay – you can marry in some states (woo hoo!); not in others (boo!); you’re welcomed as Olympic athletes in some countries (woo hoo!); shunned in others (boo!); beloved by the pope (woo hoo!); scorned by people who sell duck calls (boo!). The rules are too complicated so you ditch that and play Minecraft.
And pow! There’s a government shutdown, bitches! You realize that little joke you made about Congress and your toilet is actually true! You also realize that apparently the US government ain’t no match for the minority wing of an already unpopular political party that’s obsessed with tea and three cornered hats. Hell no it isn’t!
You learn that all your carefully crafted text messages, voicemails and cell phone calls were being saved, archived, tapped, reread, reviewed, and re-enjoyed all by the country’s very own National Security Agency. You decide not to think about civil liberties or privacy or like “law” or whatever, and focus your attention on Edward Snowden, the dude with the laptops. Did you know he had a stripper girlfriend? Now there’s something to post on Facebook!
Oh yes, Facebook’s stock was down and then up again and… does it even matter? Because once you log on you’re reminded that all of your friends have BETTER LIVES THAN YOU. They’re au courant on Walking Dead episodes and have interesting thoughts on the morality of Snapchat. They post multitudinous photos of the kind of joy you couldn’t possibly ever achieve because you’re single with no kids or because you have too many children or because you hate your husband or because you’re divorced and plan on hating all future women… Aw man! 2013 has you feeling like garbage.
But forget 2013, it just soiled itself. Its like the last one left at the party, it won’t get the hint. The hosts are already clearing out the empty bottles. Its time for it to go! 2013 is goosed, it’s cooked, its burnt on one side, it will never taste good in these buns, gah!
But here comes 2014 and 2014 is the year you’re going to remember to vote, to jog, to care, to be fair. You’re gonna clean the gutters and stand on the side of justice and you’re not gonna let Ted Cruz or the NSA or duck hunters keep you down. You’re gonna get all inspire-y like Malala, you’re gonna get in the trenches like Madiba. This is your year to throw on your Google Glass, punch the boogeyman in the dick, and tell all them schmos to tread lightly ’cause 2014 is about to Turn. This. All. Around.
In a major setback last week for the LGBT community, an Indian Supreme Court ruling upheld Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code — a 153-year-old law criminalizing gay sex. This act overturned a 2009 Delhi High Court ruling that this should not apply to consensual acts and, essentially, recriminalized homosexuality. While the Indian government filed a petition to the Supreme Court asking it to review its decision just today, it felt like the perfect time to talk to entrepreneur Nitin Rao, a 2009 TED Fellow from India. While he now lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area, he tells the TED Blog about the general cultural attitudes about homosexuality in India, how this ruling affects him personally, and how people are responding to the move.
Tell us about your experience as a gay man growing up in India.
While I knew that I was attracted to other men from a young age, it took me a while to come across the vocabulary for it, even the word “gay.” During college, none of my classmates publicly identified as being LGBT. In fact, according to a CNN-IBN poll [from 2009], only 6 percent of Indians said that they have a friend who is homosexual.
In response to my sexual orientation, my father asked me,”Could you wait until we die? Think about us.” His deep fear was that I would publicly identify as an Indian man who is attracted to other men. For years since that conversation, and after coming out publicly, I’ve worked to explain to my family that being gay is not a medical problem, that I value my own life enough to make thoughtful choices, and that they could not ask me to put their pride above my individual right to love a person of my choice.
What is India’s cultural stance on relationships and sexuality?
Growing up in what would otherwise be considered a relatively progressive and well-read family, we never ever spoke about topics like dating or sex. In a country where 90 percent of marriages are arranged, romantic relations are seen as a decision made by families, rather than by individuals. In that context, the idea of finding a same-sex partner is still seen as somewhat shocking, though that is changing.
How was the 2009 ruling decriminalizing homosexuality received at the time?
And had the December 11, 2013, ruling on Section 377 been in the works for some time?
No, it was unexpected. At a time when countries like the US and UK have passed gay marriage laws, it’s unfortunate that India took a step backwards in overturning the 2009 ruling.
How is the law used in practice?
It encourages police harassment and rent-seeking – police accepting bribes to not enforce the law. As the law criminalizes all sexual acts apart from heterosexual vaginal intercourse, even straight people who don’t conform are at risk. More importantly, it’s an issue of legitimacy. Indian citizens should be able to exercise the right to life and liberty without fear.
What is the response of the LGBT activist movement in India?
Organizations like Naz Foundation and Humsafar Trust, and smaller local groups like Chennai’s Orinam and Bangalore’s Good as You, have done incredible work in providing support and resources to the LGBT community, and challenging Section 377. Events like the December 11 ruling bring these groups — as well as South Asian LGBT diaspora groups like Trikone – together.
There has been an outpouring of support for the Indian LGBT community via the I, Ally campaign. What is it, and how did it start?
As an initiative from the Equal India Alliance, Tushar Malik (now at the Human Rights Campaign), started the “I, Ally” campaign in 2013. Inspired by the support that straight friends showed Tushar as an “out” college student, he decided to go across India and find more such voices, recording video messages of support.
Why has this been important?
Not everyone can find support in their immediate surroundings, so for an LGBT or questioning young person in India, it is extremely important to see regular, day-to-day people who look like their friends, parents and grandparents — and who speak their language — to come out in support and tell them that they are not wrong, they are not different, and that they’ll always find a friend who loves them for who they are.
People in India and abroad can just upload their videos on YouTube and have “I, Ally campaign” in the tagline, and send a notification to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet the link to @iallycampaign, so that we can include it in the channel. If possible, they should draw the equality buddies on their fingers too!
How else can people help the cause?
Within India itself, the next time there is a survey, we should move closer to 30 percent of Indians saying that they know a friend or family member who is gay. For everyone around the world, have the conversations others may not, and speak to your friends across age groups about why the Section 377 ruling strips Indian citizens of basic rights, and why it’s a dangerous precedent for many others who don’t conform.
What happens next? How difficult will it be to reverse the reversal?
I frankly don’t know, but what’s encouraging is that some senior politicians, Indian brands and ordinary citizens, particularly youth, are taking a stand and being visible in their dissent.
How do you compare this to the Supreme Court decision of Bowers v. Hardwick, which upheld anti-sodomy laws in Georgia and therefore the US?
It’s scarily like Bowers v. Hardwick. The difference is that we simply cannot wait 17 years for justice. That wouldn’t be the India we deserve.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
After I published an article on Reason.com, “India Moves In the Wrong Direction on Gay Rights”, making the case that nobody should ever be asked a question like “Could you wait until we die,” many straight friends reached out to share they had very similar experiences and could relate. For one person, it was the shock from a father when she loved a Muslim man. For another person, it was identifying as an atheist. As my friend Ramki Kazhiyur-Mannar puts it, “I want to treat India as what it could be and it is a place where everybody can feel free, and I am going to do my best for that.”
Still hurting for gift ideas? Never fear. The inventive and iconoclastic TED Fellows are coming to the rescue with the recent fruit of their labors. These inspired and unusual items — from Chinese-inflected banjo music to a remote-controlled underwater vehicle — are sure to delight your loved ones. Just be gentle stuffing that all-terrain vehicle into the stocking, or Grandpa George into the mushroom burial suit.
The gift: The littleBits Synth Kit Perfect for: Aspiring musicians and actual musicians
The latest ingenious offering from Ayah Bdeir’s littleBits electronic building block company lets you snap together a modular synthesizer from 12 pieces. The product of a three-way partnership among littleBits, comedian-musician-anthropologist Reggie Watts (watch his TED Talk) and famed synth maker KORG, the littleBits SynthKit can be mixed and matched with any other littleBits kits to create all manner of musical artworks and toys with sound. Get it: Order it through the littleBits website ($159)
The gift: The Muslims Are Coming!
Perfect for: The social-justice-minded comedy fiend
Comedian and filmmaker Negin Farsad‘s hilarious documentary follows a group of Muslim-American comedians as they tour Middle America on a mission to combat Islamophobia and convert it to Muslim love. Featuring Farsad, and co-produced by TED Fellow Andrew Mendelson, TMAC also features public interventions like the “Ask a Muslim” booth and the game show “Name That Religion” — not to mention special appearances by comedy heavyweights Jon Stewart, David Cross, Janeane Garofalo and Rachel Maddow. Get it: Order theDVD ($15), or purchase it via iTunes or Amazon ($9.99)
The gift: OpenROV Kit Perfect for: Explorers, your resident Jacques Cousteau David Lang and his friend Eric Stackpole wanted to explore an underwater limestone cave in California, but they didn’t have the remote-controlled robot that would make it possible. So they decided to build one — opening up the process for instructions and advice from the public. In the process, they not only invented the OpenROV, the world’s first affordable, open-source, remote-controlled underwater robot, but formed a thriving global community of underwater explorers. Get it: Buy the latest iteration of OpenROV ($849)
The gift: City of Refuge Perfect for: Fans of pop, folk and bluegrass, and folks with eclectic ears
Singing, songwriting, Illinois-born, Nashville-based, Chinese-speaking clawhammer banjo player Abigail Washburn weaves together disparate musical traditions and genres from the past and present to create an exuberant and soulful sound. Features My Morning Jacket’s Carl Bromel, the Decemberists’ Chris Funk, Turtle Island String Quartet’s Jeremy Kittell, atmospheric jazz guitarist Bill Frisell and Mongolian string band Hanggai. Get it: Available via Amazon ($14)
Meet TED2014 Fellow David Sengeh, a doctoral student at the MIT Media Lab working to improve the comfort and affordability of prosthetic limbs. His research in the Biomechatronics Group at MIT focuses on the design of comfortable prosthetic sockets and wearable interfaces. David’s hope is that one day prosthetics, and other wearable interfaces, will integrate seamlessly with the body. He is also the President and co-founder of Global Minimum Inc. (GMin), an international NGO that has distributed over 15,000 mosquito nets in Sierra Leone.
Newly selected TEDFellow David Sengeh, a doctoral student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, invents next-generation, low-cost, wearable mechanical interfaces that improve prosthetic comfort for amputees in the developing world. His innovations feature magnetic resonance imaging, computer-aided design and 3D printing technologies. Sengeh is also president and co-founder of Global Minimum Inc. (GMin), an international NGO that develops platforms to foster innovation and learning through making – with a focus on high school students in Sierra Leone, Kenya and South Africa. GMin’s main project, Innovate Challenges, is a mentorship program and set of workshops where youth can get help in transforming their ideas into tangible solutions. In this piece, Sengeh discusses the importance of valuing making as a skill for both Africa’s youth and leaders.
Recently, a friend asked me, “How can Africa bring large numbers of its people out of poverty through innovation?” This is a difficult question to answer, especially because Africa is making great economic strides.
McKinsey reports that Africa’s growth is due to the end of armed conflict, improved macroeconomic conditions and microeconomic reforms, coupled with significant natural-resource export and commodities. However, widening economic inequality and an increase in unemployed youth who make up the continent’s billion inhabitants means that a shift to an innovation-driven economy for Africa must be at the forefront of every country’s agenda.
Many people have likened African countries’ economic growth to China’s, whose rise as an economic powerhouse in the last 25 years was largely fuelled by innovation. The majority of China’s exports are machinery, transportation and electrical products. These exports are linked to major economic powerhouses in the world (USA, Germany, UK) and the majority of African economies revolve around the export of natural resources – but “innovation” is merely a buzzword used by many of its leaders.
The contrast in professional training of African leaders compared to China’s is striking. In the past 25 years, all three presidents and nearly 12 vice presidents in China studied and practiced engineering and/or mathematics. In Africa, at least 17 current heads of state have a military background. Another 17 studied law, public policy or economics. Fewer than ten African countries have leaders who studied science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM).
For Africa to continue succeeding, its leaders must have some first-hand experience in science and innovation. They must be problem solvers and understand that a technical workforce is needed to compete in the global economy.
In the way that literacy and numeracy are competencies to be learned, so too is making. To think outside the box about a challenge, develop a plan and build a prototype – while learning throughout that entire process – is required for anyone who is solving the compounded challenges in our communities. Unless politicians have hands-on learning experience, it would be harder to appreciate the importance of technical training for their citizens.
China has supported quality technical training for not only its citizens but also for many students from Africa. The phrase “MIT of Africa” is not one used fairly to refer to any technical African institution. MIT itself continues to reinvent itself as an innovation leader. A survey of living MIT alumni found they have formed 25,800 companies that generate global revenues of $1.9 trillion a year.
To build an institution, there needs to be capable staff with the required technical training and leadership that understands that importance. The African Union and all benefactors of Africa will do the continent justice by creating state-of-the-art institutions to train the young.
Finally, young people must be given the creative freedom to think about the challenges in their communities and be provided with the resources (cash, mentorship, networks) needed to solve them. It is a myth for politicians to think that they can create jobs for young people, who account for about 60 per cent of Africa’s unemployed. Youth need to develop their creative confidence and in the process provide for themselves many more jobs for others.
Our organization, Global Minimum, Inc, facilitates innovation challenges for the youth in Sierra Leone, Kenya and South Africa by providing them with a comprehensive platform to learn through innovation while solving tangible problems in their community. Why not innovate Africa?
Innovation is a certain path towards sustained economic growth for Africa. We need leaders who have creativity, and are not afraid to get their hands dirty, as well as a generation of young people eager and ready to take the opportunities to create.
Social violence in Guatemala, Mexican and Central American migrant communities in the United States, the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, children with cerebral malaria in Uganda — for the past decade, photographer Jon Lowenstein has been documenting the often violent and traumatic daily lives of individuals and communities living at the edges of society, both around the world and on his own doorstep in the South Side of Chicago. At times raw and riveting, at others poignant and impressionistic, Lowenstein’s work captures human experience on an intimate level, no matter the circumstances. Most recently, he was in Chile in the run-up to the November 2013 presidential elections, working in partnership with his brother Jeff Kelly Lowenstein to document Chile’s people 40 years after the coup overthrowing President Salvador Allende by General Augusto Pinochet. Images were live-streamed on theNew Yorker’s Instagram feed, and the brothers posted a series of three articles, titled “Enduring Rifts,” in the New Yorker’s Photo Booth blog.
Here, Lowenstein talks to the TED Blog about how he carries out his work and how he connects with his subjects, and takes us deeper into the worlds behind his powerful images.
How long have you been documenting Chicago’s South Side?
I started on a photo project involving more than 200 photographers documenting the city of Chicago at the millennium, called Chicago in the Year 2000. From there, I was hired by the founder of Land’s End, Gary Comer, to teach at his former elementary school, in the South Side neighborhood where he grew up. This neighborhood had changed dramatically over 50 years from a mostly white, ethnic neighborhood to a black neighborhood in the mid-’60s. In the ’70s and ’80s, after most of the factories closed, crack came in in a pretty hardcore way, and like many post-industrial neighborhoods on the South Side, it hit much harder times. Gary had decided to help rebuild it, and I worked for several years teaching at the school, Paul Revere Elementary. This led me to do a project about the South Side, documenting the post-industrial community from where the meltdown happened to when Starbucks came in, which is where we’re at now. There’s a real pressure to redevelop and repackage these neighborhoods and sell them, essentially, to a more wealthy clientele.
I’ve chosen various ways of telling the story. At the school, I did a two-year project called “The Voices In the Hall” to challenge the stereotypes of the failing inner city school. This led to the South Side Project, which involved photographing the community with a Polaroid in a collaborative fashion. I’ve also started to do more experimental documentary filmmaking — featured in the New Yorker as “A Violent Thread.”
Most recently, I launched a space in my building called the Island. This experimental art space converts several vacant apartments in our cooperative into unique spaces to create conversations, art and ideas for social change.
What is your ultimate goal with your work in the South Side?
My long-term goal is to examine the impact of the post-industrial meltdown on Chicago’s most vulnerable communities and come up with new solutions, and to consider why the United States continues to ignore our most impoverished people. During the past decade, the city has lost in excess of 250,000 African-Americans. For a place that was one of the epicenters of African-American culture during the 20th century, this is a monumental change that’s getting little attention.
One example of this is the wholesale destruction and displacement of Chicago Housing Authority’s public housing projects — some of the largest in the United States — came down in the past decade. You see this kind of change going on all over the world.
Just minutes after a double shooting a man lies in an alley near the 7100 S. Rhodes block in the Grand Crossing neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. The shooting was in apparent retaliation to a shooting that had happened the previous day. In “Chi-Raq,” more young people have died in the past five years than in Afghanistan and Iraq combined. There still is not one trauma unit anywhere on the South Side, despite the fact that the city leads the country in the number of homicides, with the majority occurring south of the Loop. But to understand what’s at stake, we must look far deeper than the latest crime scene to see the immense waste of human potential that’s being lost with each violent act. The media’s never-ending focus on the violence obscures a larger and far more significant truth: that the wholesale neglect has led to the practical destruction of these communities.
A man poses wearing his mask from the Friday the 13th movies. He stand in front of Jimbo’s Bar, which was a local legendary establishment in the Bridgeport neighborhood. Bridgeport, home to Mayor Richard J. Daley, was known as one of the most brutally racist neighborhoods in the city and to this day has resisted integration by African-Americans, although many Asians and Latinos have moved into the neighborhood in the past few years.
Where do the people go?
All over. They came to places like my neighborhood, they go to other cities in the Midwest. Iowa City, Champaign, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Indiana, Gary, you name it…they go there, but mostly places which will accept Section 8 vouchers. About 100,000 of Chicago’s poorest people were displaced during the CHA’s Plan for Transformation. My issue is that the city is consistently privatizing public services. During the past decade, Chicago has destroyed the public housing system, privatized the parking meters, oversaw the largest single school closing in US history and leads the country in murders. We are not addressing the basic needs of the most vulnerable people and finding ways to include everyone.
The issues are difficult, but the plans need to include holistic approaches to community and to creating better, more viable options for our citizens. This includes affordable housing, high level schools that encourage independent and innovative thinking, safe neighborhoods where young people don’t have to worry about being shot, good jobs at all levels of society and a functioning and powerful healthcare system that serves all strata of the population. Right now, I see mass foreclosures, wholesale school closings, murdered kids, no trauma unit on the South Side, which consistently leads the country in homicide numbers.
How do you get access to places and people? Do you approach them directly?
It depends on the story. Sometimes I write official letters requesting access. I read the newspaper. Sometimes it is word of mouth, and on the South Side I live in the neighborhood, so I walk around, and go to the crime scenes. When I was covering violence a lot, I’d just go to the murder site and start talking to people, or do ride-alongs with the police. Sometimes the victims themselves reach out. There are lots of ways to find stories, but most important is to keep your eyes, ears and heart open.
I tell them I’m a documentary photographer, and I’m working on a book, or a film. People want to know why you’re there. They want to know, “What you care about?” I’m most often seen as an outsider so often my presence is questioned, but if you are honest and speak clearly from the heart, most people will accept you.
You make it sound so easy.
It’s definitely not easy. But it’s just what I do. I’ve been doing it for a long time and believe in it. I believe I should be there to witness what’s going on.
Meet TED 2014 Fellow Ziyah Gafic, an award-winning photojournalist from Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, whose work includes intimate portraits of people determined to carry on with their lives in the face of fraternal war.
Ziyah was born in Sarajevo, where he graduated in comparative literature. Since 1999 he has been traveling extensively and covering major events in more than forty countries. Today, you can follow him on the TED Fellows Instagram account, where he is sharing his travels through Mecca for GEO Magazine.
Here’s a selection of Ziyah images from Instagram:
Makkah,a view from above.
Cranes looming over Ka’aba.
In front of the Holy mosque in Makkah.
Royal Hotel Clock Tower. Third tallest building in the world.