The power of diversity within yourself | Rebeca Hwang

Rebeca Hwang has spent a lifetime juggling identities — Korean heritage, Argentinian upbringing, education in the United States — and for a long time she had difficulty finding a place in the world to call home. Yet along with these challenges came a pivotal realization: that a diverse background is a distinct advantage in today’s globalized world. In this personal talk, Hwang reveals the endless benefits of embracing our complex identities — and shares her hopes for creating a world where identities aren’t used to alienate but to bring people together instead.

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How to build synthetic DNA and send it across the internet | Dan Gibson

Biologist Dan Gibson edits and programs DNA, just like coders program a computer. But his “code” creates life, giving scientists the power to convert digital information into biological material like proteins and vaccines. Now he’s on to a new project: “biological transportation,” which holds the promise of beaming new medicines across the globe over the internet. Learn more about how this technology could change the way we respond to disease outbreaks and enable us to download personalized prescriptions in our homes.

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How farming could employ Africa’s young workforce — and help build peace | Kola Masha

Africa’s youth is coming of age rapidly, but job growth on the continent isn’t keeping up. The result: financial insecurity and, in some cases, a turn towards insurgent groups. In a passionate talk, agricultural entrepreneur Kola Masha details his plan to bring leadership and investment to small farmers in Africa — and employ a rising generation.

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How we’re saving one of Earth’s last wild places | Steve Boyes

Navigating territorial hippos and active minefields, TED Fellow Steve Boyes and a team of scientists have been traveling through the Okavango Delta, Africa’s largest remaining wetland wilderness, to explore and protect this near-pristine habitat against the rising threat of development. In this awe-inspiring talk packed with images, he shares his work doing detailed scientific surveys in the hopes of protecting this enormous, fragile wilderness.

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The symbols of systemic racism — and how to take away their power | Paul Rucker

Multidisciplinary artist and TED Fellow Paul Rucker is unstitching the legacy of systemic racism in the United States. A collector of artifacts connected to the history of slavery — from branding irons and shackles to postcards depicting lynchings — Rucker couldn’t find an undamaged Ku Klux Klan robe for his collection, so he began making his own. The result: striking garments in non-traditional fabrics like kente cloth, camouflage and silk that confront the normalization of systemic racism in the US. “If we as a people collectively look at these objects and realize that they are part of our history, we can find a way to where they have no more power over us,” Rucker says. (This talk contains graphic images.)

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What if we eliminated one of the world’s oldest diseases? | Caroline Harper

Thousands of years ago, ancient Nubians drew pictures on tomb walls of a terrible disease that turns the eyelids inside out and causes blindness. This disease, trachoma, is still a scourge in many parts of the world today — but it’s also completely preventable, says Caroline Harper. Armed with data from a global mapping project, Harper’s organization Sightsavers has a plan: to focus on countries where funding gaps stand in the way of eliminating the disease and ramp up efforts where the need is most severe. Learn more about their goal of consigning trachoma to the history books — and how you can help. (This ambitious plan is one of the first ideas of The Audacious Project, TED’s new initiative to inspire global change.)

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How we can design timeless cities for our collective future | Vishaan Chakrabarti

There’s a creeping sameness in many of our newest urban buildings and streetscapes, says architect Vishaan Chakrabarti. And this physical homogeneity — the result of regulations, mass production, safety issues and cost considerations, among other factors — has blanketed our planet in a social and psychological homogeneity, too. In this visionary talk, Chakrabarti calls for a return to designing magnetic, lyrical cities that embody their local cultures and adapt to the needs of our changing world and climate.

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The genius behind some of the world’s most famous buildings | Renzo Piano

Legendary architect Renzo Piano — the mind behind such indelible buildings as The Shard in London, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the new Whitney Museum of Art in New York City — takes us on a stunning tour through his life’s work. With the aid of gorgeous imagery, Piano makes an eloquent case for architecture as the answer to our dreams, aspirations and desire for beauty. “Universal beauty is one of the few things that can change the world,” he says. “This beauty will save the world. One person at a time, but it will do it.”

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The nightmare videos of childrens’ YouTube — and what’s wrong with the internet today | James Bridle

Writer and artist James Bridle uncovers a dark, strange corner of the internet, where unknown people or groups on YouTube hack the brains of young children in return for advertising revenue. From “surprise egg” reveals and the “Finger Family Song” to algorithmically created mashups of familiar cartoon characters in violent situations, these videos exploit and terrify young minds — and they tell us something about where our increasingly data-driven world is headed. “We need to stop thinking about technology as a solution to all of our problems, but think of it as a guide to what those problems actually are, so we can start thinking about them properly and start to address them,” Bridle says.

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How we can bring mental health support to refugees | Essam Daod

The global refugee crisis is a mental health catastrophe, leaving millions in need of psychological support to overcome the traumas of dislocation and conflict. To undo the damage, child psychiatrist and TED Fellow Essam Daod has been working in camps, rescue boats and the shorelines of Greece and the Mediterranean Sea to help refugees (a quarter of which are children) reframe their experiences through short, powerful psychological interventions. “We can all do something to prevent this mental health catastrophe,” Daod says. “We need to acknowledge that first aid is not just needed for the body, but it has also to include the mind, the soul.”

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The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more.

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