News TED Conferences

Have a TED Talk in you? Many applied to speak at TED@NYC, and the speakers are…

Posted by:
CDZA takes the audience on a time machine trip through musical history at TED@NYC in 2013. Photo: Ryan Lash

CDZA takes the audience on a time machine through musical history at TED@NYC in 2013. Photo: Ryan Lash

For the past four years, TED has held an annual evening salon in New York City to find talents, voices and ideas that the world needs to hear. At TED@NYC, an energetic audience gathers over dinner and drinks and watches a passionate lineup of speakers deliver short, rapid-fire talks and performances. The twist? For this event, we put out an open call and invite anyone in the New York area (or willing to travel) to submit an idea for a talk, along with a one-minute video that shows why they’re the best person to deliver it. For TED@NYC, we’re interested in a wide range of voices, including scientists, artists, storytellers, inventors, performers, makers, technologists, youth, teachers, problem-solvers and everything in between.

TED@NYC is taking place on Tuesday, July 8, 2014. Below, check out the speakers discovered through this open call, in no particular order:

Artist Molmol Kuo uses technology — new media, moving images, robotics, kinetics and interactive sculptures — to gather in the stories around her … and then share them out.

Structural engineers, copy editors, bass players — who are the unsung heroes of our self-promotional culture? David Zweig’s new book, Invisibles, celebrates people who work without expecting glory.

Joy Sun runs a different kind of charity. She is COO at GiveDirectly, which lets donors transfer money directly into the hands of impoverished people empowering them to set their own goals and priorities.

How do ethics and big business fit together? Christine Bader, who was a “corporate idealist” at BP and is a visiting lecturer at Columbia University, works to advocate for the unity of business and human rights.

Once a strategic planner for U.S. Cyber Command, and now a consultant at Deloitte, Dave Weinstein thinks through problems of cyber security.

Luigi Sorbara thinks about the mathematics of basketball. He builds apps that capture and analyze stats for the Boston Celtics, giving the team a competitive edge— and a new understanding of the game.

On her blog, Jordan Gaines Lewis writes about quirky neuroscience, from the psychosocial state of Harry Potter to the science of binge watching television shows.

“As soon as you solve one tough problem, it’s on to the next tough problem,” says Daniel Gareau, a biomedical laser engineer and instructor at Rockefeller University. His latest tough problem: using biophotonics to answer big questions in medicine.

As a high school senior, Sara Sakowitz won the 2014 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for her work on genetic links to cancer progression.

Madison Maxey makes textiles and technology work together. She is a Thiel Fellow and founder of CRATED, a company that integrates technology and fashion.

Tavares Strachan is a conceptual artist whose multimedia installations explore the human body’s ability to acclimate to radical environments.

Dustin Yellin makes sculptures that freeze found objects into dystopian forms bound in glass and acrylic. The founder of Pioneer Works, an innovation space that brings together scientists and artists, Yellin makes art a part of the conversation around social change.

Once the liberal voice of Fox News, Sally Kohn (a returning TED@NYC speaker) spots the common ground between political adversaries. A CNN contributor and columnist for The Daily Beast, she contributes to MSNBC, The Washington Post, and many other media organizations.

Dan Barasch is building the world’s first underground park. Called the Lowline, this unique public space will make its home in a historic trolley terminal on underneath the Lower East Side of New York City.

Perry Barber is not just one of baseball’s only female umpires—she’s also a Jeopardy! champion and a singer/songwriter who opened for Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel.

Ty Tashiro is a scientific romantic. As the relationship expert for the Discovery Network’s Fit and Health Channel, he writes about what science can teach us when it comes to love and relationships.

As an actor and writer, Brian Luna works to show the true diversity of Latino culture. His first play, 7th and Eleventh Dimensions, premiered last year to acclaim.

After nearly a decade as the Executive Director of GLAAD, Joan Garry works with the heads of nonprofits, helping them to lead and inspire.

Jarrett Krosoczka is the man behind the Lunch Lady series. A children’s book author and illustrator, he’s created 20 books and graphic novels—two of which are being adapted into movies.

Matthew O’Reilly has worked as an EMT for more than 7 years … and has learned a lot from being in the back of an ambulance.

After accepting a dare to perform a solo funk dance routine for a professional circus show, Ben Weston now teaches men how to feel more confident on the dance floor.

Jill Shargaa founded Evening of Estrogen, an all-female comedy revue. She’s also a graphic designer who’s worked for clients like Universal Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering.

A high school English teacher, Clint Smith brings his passion for language into the classroom. A poet and activist, he’s also been a finalist at the Individual World Poetry Slam.

Trained as a classical violinist, Emily Wells makes music that fuses classic with the modern.

Taylor Mac uses wild costumes, performance art and cabaret theater to remind an audience of the range and depth of the human experience.

Baratunde Thurston uses comedy to comment on social issues. Once a director of digital for The Onion, he is the author of How to Be Black and the CEO and hashtagger-in-chief of Cultivated Wit.

Many TED@NYC speakers have been featured on In 2013, the fantastic lineup included science educator and hip-hop advocate Christopher Emdin (watch his talk, “Teach teachers how to create magic“) and progressive pundit Sally Kohn, who worked at Fox News at the time (watch her talk, “Let’s try emotional correctness“). Other TED@NYC speakers have gone on to give longer talks on the TED main stage — like teenage innovator Jack Andraka (watch his TED2013 talk, “A promising test for pancreatic cancer“) and Zak Ebrahim (read about his talk at TED2014), who shared his powerful story of growing up with a convicted terrorist as a father. (Other favorites from past events: Reggie Watts! Tania Luna! Cesar Kuriyama!)

If you have questions about this event, please write to

Christopher Emdin shares what teachers can learn from hip hop artists at TED@NYC in 2013. Photo: Ryan Lash

Christopher Emdin explains what teachers can learn from hip-hop artists at TED@NYC in 2013. Photo: Ryan Lash

Fereshteh Forough shares her experience of returning to her family’s country, Afghanistan, in 2001. Photo: Ryan Lash

Fereshteh Forough shares her experience of returning to her family’s country, Afghanistan, in 2001. Photo: Ryan Lash


TED Senior Fellow Colleen Flanagan, left, and TEDActive co-host Rives, at right. discuss a talk they just saw at TED@NYC 2013. Photo: Ryan Lash