Playlist TED Prize

A look at 10 TED Prize wishes past, to help inspire new ones

Posted by: Kate Torgovnick May

TED-Prize-main-imageA TED Prize wish must be ambitious and bold, with the ability to impact lives all across the globe. And yet, a TED Prize wish must also be practical — an actionable plan that can flourish with $1 million in seeding and access to leverage the power of the TED community. With nominations open for the 2014 TED Prize — you can nominate a visionary leader (be it yourself, a mentor, a co-worker, or someone whose work you admire from afar) from now through June 16 via the TED Prize website — we wanted to get your mental gears turning on what kind of wishes can be made with this annual award.

TED wishes have ranged from a global art project that lets anyone paste up meaningful portraits to a network of math and science schools in Africa looking to inspire and find the next Einstein. Below, a list of past TED Prize winners who offered great wishes to inspire the world.

Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the CloudSugata Mitra: Build a School in the CloudSugata Mitra’s TED Prize wish: Build a School in the Cloud
Education as we know it was developed under the British Empire, to instill a sense of order. But kids can learn in other ways, too! In this fiery talk from TED2013, Sugata Mitra shares the results of his “Hole in the Wall” experiments, where he placed computers in remote parts of India and watched as kids taught themselves to use them. He calls for a new model — self-organized learning — where kids ask big questions, investigate on their own and teach each other. His wish: the School in the Cloud, a learning lab in India, where children take control of their own learning.
JR: My wish: Use art to turn the world inside outJR: My wish: Use art to turn the world inside outJR’s TED Prize wish: Use art to turn the world inside out
Artist JR makes human faces part of urban landscapes, pasting oversized posters in visually arresting ways. His projects always have a social purpose — to introduce posh neighborhoods to those living in nearby slums, to underline the similarities between Israelis and Palestinians, and to bring attention the quiet power of the world’s women. In this talk from TED2011, JR kicks off Inside Out, a worldwide participatory art project which, to date, has shipped 130,000 posters for pasting across the globe. The project is the subject of a documentary which just aired on HBO.
Jamie Oliver: Teach every child about foodJamie Oliver: Teach every child about foodJamie Oliver’s TED Prize wish: Teach every child about food
Chef Jamie Oliver explains how he can improve the health of young people and extend their lifespans — not with medicine, but with information. In this talk from TED2010, Oliver assaults our ignorance about food and calls for a revolution. His wish: to teach every child about nutrition and the joy of food in school, and to generally inspire people everywhere to cook again.
Sylvia Earle: My wish: Protect our oceansSylvia Earle: My wish: Protect our oceansSylvia Earle’s TED prize wish: To protect our oceans
Sylvia Earle has spent her life exploring the deep seas. And she’s scared by the depletion she’s seen to them over the span of just a few decades – 90 percent of the fish in the ocean have been eaten and Arctic ice has eroded unspeakably. In this moving talk from TED2009, Earle asks us to turn our attention to the “blue heart” of the planet and use all the resources at our disposal to support a global network of protected marine areas.
Jill Tarter: Join the SETI searchJill Tarter: Join the SETI searchJill Tarter’s TED Prize wish: Join the SETI search
The director of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Jill Tarter poses a classic question: are we alone in the universe? In this talk from TED2009, she explains why she sees Earth as a “fragile island of life, in a universe of possibility,” and shares the growing array of tools that she and her team are using to search for signs of intelligence elsewhere in the universe. In this talk, she asks everyday Earthlings to join the search, by building a system through which data could be stored, accessed and analyzed in new ways.
Jose Antonio Abreu: The El Sistema music revolutionJose Antonio Abreu: The El Sistema music revolutionJose Antonio Abreu’s TED Prize wish: The El Sistema music revolution
Jose Antonio Abreu is still amazed that his family and community supported his dream to be a musician. And so he created El Sistema, a national network of youth orchestras and choirs in Venezuela. El Sistema has changed the course of thousands of young lives. And at TED2009, he shared his TED prize wish: to bring El Sistema to other regions, including low-income areas of the United States, by training 50 young musicians. Read about the ripple effect this wish has had so far.
Karen Armstrong: Let's revive the Golden RuleKaren Armstrong: Let's revive the Golden RuleKaren Armstrong’s TED Prize wish: Let’s revive the Golden Rule
There is one thing that underlies all major world faiths: compassion. And thus, religious historian Karen Armstrong came up with the idea for the Charter for Compassion — a pledge to unite those of different faiths, rather than divide them, in the pursuit of the common good. In this talk from TEDGlobal 2009, she shares her wish: to draft the charter and spread it widely — online and in physical form — to showcase in both religious and secular spaces around the world.
Neil Turok: My wish: Find the next Einstein in AfricaNeil Turok: My wish: Find the next Einstein in AfricaNeil Turok’s TED Prize wish: Unlock Africa’s creative potential
Neil Turok was raised in villages in Kenya and Tanzania. Later, as a theoretical physicist, he wondered what became of the brilliant students he learned alongside as a kid. So he had an idea to set up an African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, bringing students across the continent to receive training in these fields. At TED2008, he shares his wish: to create out 15 more AIMS centers in hope that the next Einstein be African.
Jehane Noujaim: My wish: A global day of filmJehane Noujaim: My wish: A global day of filmJehane Noujaim’s TED Prize wish: A global day of film
Jehane Noujaim, who made the documentary Control Room and more recently The Square, has always been amazed by the power of film to bring people together. And so at TED2006, she offered a simple TED Prize wish: to create a day for people in towns, villages and cities around the world to have a shared cinema experience. Pangea Cinema Day was held on May 10 of the same year, with millions gathering around screens to partake in a 4-hour program of films.
Cameron Sinclair: My wish: A call for open-source architectureCameron Sinclair: My wish: A call for open-source architectureCameron Sinclair’s TED Prize wish: A call for open-source architecture
Architects have the potential to influence change on some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this talk from TED2006, Cameron Sinclair shares his work helping refugees returning to Kosovo to find shelter, creating mobile health clinics in sub-Saharan Africa and helping with housing solutions in disaster-hit areas of the United States. His wish: to create an open-source network to be a conduit between architects and the humanitarian world, and allow for the sharing of design solutions.