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New TED Fellows Program


If you’re like me, you probably never even heard of the TED conference until TED Talks launched online (in April of 2007). TED stands for “Technology, Entertainment, Design” and their talks are given annually at the TED conference in Long Beach, CA. 50 speakers give “talks” or 18 minute speeches about a variety of issues, including “science, business, the arts and the global issues facing our world.” (Past speakers include Al Gore, our own Lawrence Lessig, and Jill Bolt Taylor—a brain researcher who describes the stroke she suffers in exhilarating fashion, to name a few.)

It used to be that only an exclusive few were granted the privilege both to speak and to view these talks, but ever since TED released videos of their talks online under a CC license (CC BY NC-ND), hits on TED’s site exploded (they reached their 50 millionth view in June of last year). “Indeed, the reaction was so enthusiastic that the entire TED website has been reengineered around TEDTalks, with the goal of giving everyone on-demand access to the world’s most inspiring voices.

Now, with the new TED fellows program, extraordinary people you may not have heard of yet (without the $6,000 to pay for standard admission to the conference) can give talks, too. For 2009, TED has chosen 40 fellows to talk at the conference, including:

“The creator of the first African online ad network and the African equivalent of The Huffington Post
A New Zealand physicist who discovered the hidden mathematical patterns of warfare
The founder of an international women’s inventor network
An Indian design researcher dedicated to improving the lives of children
A Korean-American actress whose one-woman show tells the story of a North Korean spy”

According to The Wired Campus, anyone between 21 and 40 years old with a “world-changing” idea can apply for fellowships. “The goal of the program, said Mr. Rielly, is to give exposure to the fellows’ research. So in addition to coming to TED events, the winners will be given training in public speaking and in getting support for their work. “We can help them dramatically amplify their message, whatever it is,” said Mr. Rielly.

18 minutes of exposure for your work—maybe something to keep in mind when filling out paperwork for 2010?

Posted 03 February 2009