TEDx Talk

The Courage to Be Seen

Marike Groenewald

What does it take to see the world from a perspective different to the one we were taught? Growing up, we were told stories that often helped us to make sense of the world, forming nets of safety and predictability around us, but in turn sometimes keep us from being in tune with our own hopes and dreams, seeing and pursuing the unique invitations life extends to us. Is it possible that the biggest act of courage is not an externally-focused display of bravado, but that courage often is a private and inwardly-focused, but profoundly bold series of steps towards seeing and unseeing ourselves, others, and the world around us? And that the implication of a life lived with such vulnerable-making intention is to be seen by those around us. For who we really are.

Marike Groenewald is a facilitator, coach and the founder of Anew, a leadership development consultancy based in Cape Town, South Africa. Following the completion of her Master’s Degree in law at Stellenbosch University, she has pursued a career in leadership and organizational development for more than a decade. In 2015, Marike was selected as one of the Mail and Guardian’s 200 young South Africans.

TEDx Talk

The Importance of

Teaching Values

Cadgas Eren Yüksel

School is more than just Sine, Cosine, and Tangent – and so are we. Imagine what society would be like if teaching values was considered as important as teaching knowledge? Looking at the world-wide rise of extremism, intolerance, and violence, we understand a need to change our perspective on education. We want young people to grow up into an open-minded, diverse, and tolerant society. To achieve that, we might have to modify the ways in which those issues are addressed. What if the values which can prevent us from racism, sexism, and extremism, were taught at our schools - becoming part of our knowledge like grammar or math.


Right now, a lot of our energy goes into dealing with the instances of intolerance we perceive around us. Why not put the same energy also into thinking how to prevent intolerance from the beginning?


While some may think that changing the way our youth is educated requires a highly elaborate, expensive, revolutionary plan, our speaker Çağdaş Eren Yüksel is sure that the values we need are the very basics of humanity. They’re already inside us.

Çağdaş Eren Yüksel was a student of Social Sciences when he started working on his debut film ASYLAND. 10 months later, with a total crew of 18 film makers, the movie premiered all over Germany. Today, Yüksel is the founder of Teller ohne Rand e.V. and cocktailfilms GmbH. He organizes film screenings and workshops with youths in and around schools. Meanwhile, he continues to produce films himself for cinema and TV.

TEDx Talk

Why it is Better to Do something Small

Vera Günther

Working as a volunteer welcoming refugees at the beaches in Greece, Vera Günther’s life changed profoundly. Vera will take us on a journey that shows how personal experiences can enable us to gain new perspectives and explains what empowered her to act. It might have been the moment when she realized that the two 14-year-old boys, which she found shivering on the shore and which she changed into some dry and warm clothes, were actually the smugglers who had been steering the dinghy from Turkey to Greece. In this talk, we will learn about why it is better to do something small than to do nothing, how to find the battle you’re passionate to fight in and how a washing machine can have a huge impact.


Vera Günther has represented Germany in negotiating the Sustainable Development Goals and she has worked for UN Environment in countries all over the world to make sustainable resource management as popular as she thinks it should be. Last year, Vera decided to leave the policy arena to co-found the social enterprise mimycri, where refugees and locals work together: the international team is upcycling broken refugee rubber boats into high quality bags to create awareness for the refugee crisis.

TEDx Talk

Education, War and Peace

James Tooley

Most of us would say education is important. Here, as in every other country. But not for everyone a well-organized school system is as natural as to us. Yet, the accepted wisdom about education in war-torn countries also says that, as soon as possible, universal government education should be introduced. This includes a proper Ministry of Education, the same as in any other country. Wouldn’t our first instinct be to agree? What could be the alternative?


When we hear the term “private school”, it mostly sounds expensive and elitist to us. But for James Tooley, low-cost private schools are a key solution to the problem of providing education to the poor, especially in countries ravaged by war. Unfortunately this form of school, which is ubiquitous, clearly preferred by the poor, affordable to them and better value for money, is often seen only as a temporary expedient. Tooley is here to change our perspective on government and private education. Learn about the advantages of low-cost private schools and their power to change society in war-torn countries!


James Tooley is a prize-winning author, education professor and entrepreneur, working in low-cost private education globally. His book, The Beautiful Tree (Penguin), won the Sir Antony Fisher Memorial Prize, and his ground-breaking research on low-cost private education was awarded gold prize in the first IFC/FT Private Sector Development Competition. His work was featured in documentaries on American PBS television and the BBC.

TEDx Talk

Building New Industries

on Old Values

Burkhard Maaß

When people who aren’t from the region think of the Ruhrgebiet, they often imagine either a shabby industrial world full of chimneys and coal dust or a desolate, post-industrial wasteland with no real future. But while the first image is one from the past, the second has major blind spots. As Burkhard Maaß is going to tell us, the Ruhrgebiet is not only green and abundant in nature, but it is also rich in universities that provide world-class research. That research can lead to new kinds of technology and new economic opportunities.


And a very different kind of 21st century start-up: When you think of a start-up, you might think of hipsters sipping lattes in front of their MacBooks, working on the next big thing on the internet. The start-up Burkhard Maaß co-founded doesn’t quite fit that image: They work with heavy machinery. They melt. They cast. They forge. Exactly what people in the Ruhrgebiet have been doing for more than 150 years. Except that they produce some of the most advanced high-tech materials in the world – shape memory alloys. And they do so right here in Bochum, because here they have all they need – the scientists specializing in the field, a highly skilled local workforce, and a mentality that people have conserved from the old days: Be honest and work hard.


Dr.-Ing. Burkhard Maaß is Co-Founder and CEO of Ingpuls, the only German producer of shape memory alloys. He lectures shape memory technology at the Ruhr University, where he studied mechanical engineering, got his PhD in Materials Science and also, where he used to play as a kid. He’s been living in Bochum for most of his life – returning even after living in sunny Spain and tropical Venezuela.

TEDx Talk

Extreme Plasmas for

Extreme Materials

Achim von Keudel

When we are asked to name the different states of aggregation, most of us will remember their chemistry classes from school, where we learned that substances can be liquid, solid or gaseous. But there’s one state missing, called plasma (from the ancient greek word for “moldable substance”), describing an ionized gas that does not freely exist on our planet’s surface under normal conditions. This state appears typically at low pressures, e.g. in the upper atmosphere, or at very high temperatures, e.g. in stars and nuclear fusion reactors.


Plasmas can be used for the synthesis of new materials and play an important role in the production technology of the 21st century. In recent years, some of the most extreme technological plasmas have been designed to create even superior materials. For a brief moment, these extreme plasmas create conditions similar to the engine of an Ariane 5 rocket.


Achim von Keudell is a professor for experimental Physics and speaker of the SFB 1316 on “Transient atmospheric plasmas: from plasmas to liquids to solids” at the Ruhr-University in Bochum. Before ending up in the beautiful Ruhr area, he worked as a scientist for plasma physics at the Max Plank Institute for plasma physics and taught at the University of Illinois in the USA.

TEDx Talk

From Needing Help

to Helping Others

Umeswaran Arunagirinathan

What happens when a child is forced to change its perspective on life and beautiful memories turn into dramatic fear? Umeswaran tells us the story of a life between cultures that began when he escaped the civil war in Sri Lanka as a teenage boy by being smuggled to his uncle in Germany. His promise: to return as a doctor.


The looming fear of being deported at any time could not keep him from achieving his dreams. “Ignore the Naysayers and keep on fighting” is Umeswaran’s message to the whole of our society. He talks about what it is like to grow roots in two cultures and how having received so much help himself has made him acutely aware of the importance of asking for help and not being afraid to do so.

TEDx Talk

Creating a Chain of Low-cost

Private Schools in Rural India

Ekta Sodha

For most of us, the idea that education is a social good is something we hardly think about and much less doubt. Not so for Ekta Sodha. In her talk, she’ll try to convince us that, at least in rural India, market solutions yield better results than government education programmes. It is young, energetic entrepreneurs like her, she argues, who can transform the education system by competing against one another with their innovative business models and not only make education affordable to low-income families in fishing villages, rural communities and market towns, but also improve educational quality, while adding billions to the economy in the process.

Ekta Sodha has been associated with the field of low-cost private schools for many years. She is CEO of Cadmus Education, India and Sodha Schools, which is built on her family business of the last 30 years. Ekta completed her Master of Education in International Leadership and Management from Newcastle University, England. In 2012 Ekta was elected Vice President of the National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA), India, and re-elected again in 2015. NISA has more than 55,400 low-cost private schools.

TEDx Talk

No Regrets!

Chatbots will Guide you

Stefan Holtel

“The future is already here - it’s just not very evenly distributed” goes a quote from Science Fiction author William Gibson. So, can we tell something about the future of Alexa, Siri, or Cortana? Yes, most likely. Let’s change our perspective from today’s chatbots to those of tomorrow. They will not only answer to our mundane questions any more, but conduct smart, long-lasting conversations. Chatbots will support us on many more issues, such as: What should be my retirement plan, or should I agree to a risky surgery? To accomplish this goal, chatbots must dramatically improve their plausible prediction ability and serve as our trusted advisors. Approaches that might help us to implement these are Scenario Thinking and Shared-Decision Making.


Stefan Holtel is a distinguished knowledge worker, computer scientist, certified theater pedagogue, Yoga teacher, trainer for LEGO Serious Play©, and father of three. His aim is to nudge people towards breaking with conventional thinking patterns. Stefan has been working in the ITC industry for 30+ years. Since 2018, he is an appointed AI Explainer at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

TEDx Talk

Challenging the Western World-view

Johanna Havemann

We hear it from every corner: “The world cannot go on as it used to.” So, global threats and challenges which result from climate change and political crises call for a new global agenda to find solutions, right? But first of all, that sounds easier than it actually is, and second of all, sometimes these solutions just work for a few and not for everyone in our global community. In the past, global policy discussions have been dominated by western nations. And often their industrial interests were imposed onto other regions. One region that always seems to lose out is the Global South.


Today, Johanna Havemann introduces us to “new” approaches to more sustainable coexistence on our planet, inspired and rooted in the Global South. Havemann will explain how looking at the knowledge of indigenous peoples, as well as regional and local communities of the Global South, opens up new possible solutions for the challenges ahead of us. Their knowledge is based on empirical observations and interaction with the environment over centuries and therefore highly applicable to modern research.

Dr. Johanna Havemann is a trainer and consultant in Science Communication and Management as well as Developmental Cooperation. Her work experience covers NGOs, a science startup, and international institutions including the UN Environment Program. Since 2014, Havemann is offering courses and trainings in science communication, project management and career development with a focus on digital tools for science through her label Access 2 Perspectives, thereby also strengthening research on the African continent through Open Science.

TEDx Talk

Disrupt your Organization


Stefan Peukert

Disruption may sound like a bad thing, something to avoid, something maybe even to fear. But what if it is necessary to experience some degree of disruption in the short-term in order to survive and achieve success in the long-term? Stefan Peukert argues that, in the future, all companies will be digital companies and that if an organization isn’t prepared to ‘disrupt itself’ from within, it will be disrupted by others. To him, it is not a question of “if”, but “when”.

Kodak was once the world’s foremost photography company. Today, it’s a cautionary case study in how not to conduct your business. In his talk, Stefan Peukert challenges the typical paradigm of the successful company culture, gives counter examples and lays out the characteristics of a more flat but also more successful organization. One that is ready for the digital future.

Stefan Peukert is a serial tech entrepreneur and investor. In 2011, he founded Ausbildung.de, which disrupted the German apprenticeship market by making it very easy for users to find and apply for the right apprenticeship opportunity online. With his current venture Masterplan.com, Stefan and his team aim to help corporations and their employees obtain innovative skills and quickly adapt to a rapidly changing digital world.

TEDx Talk

Perspectives on Human Progress

Guillermina Sutter Schneider

Whenever we turn on the news, check-out the internet, or read a magazine, a particular thought seems inevitable: “It’s all getting worse!” No one wants to be pessimistic, but what else could we be in the face of the continuous onslaught of bad news?

Well, we could be realistic for a start. Because, as it turns out, there’s a wide gap between our perception of the state of the world and reality. Never before have levels of extreme poverty been as low as they currently are. Never before has there been less hunger in the world. Per capita income, average life expectancy, and literacy rates have never been higher. By almost any measure, the world is getting better, and this progress has been especially impressive in the developing world.

As Guillermina Sutter Schneider will tell us today, acknowledging the dramatic improvements the world has seen in human well-being is now more important than ever before - both for future progress and our freedom.

Guillermina Sutter Schneider is an Argentine economist working as a research assistant at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. She is a MS candidate in Data Science at Georgetown University. Guillermina has been featured several times in the Huffington Post and other outlets in Latin America and has given lectures throughout Latin America promoting the use of Bitcoin, Blockchain, and sound money. She is also a former member of Students for Liberty’s executive board.

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