Tackling the MDGs: A playlist for TEDxChange

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This Monday, Sept. 20, TED and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation bring us TEDxChange: a chance to evaluate the UN Millennium Development Goals, the progress that has been made, and the long, yet optimistic road ahead.

The Millennium Development Goals include:

  1. Eradicating poverty and hunger
  2. Achieving universal primary education
  3. Promoting gender equality and empowering women
  4. Reducing child mortality
  5. Improving maternal health
  6. Combatting HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
  7. Ensuring environmental sustainability
  8. Developing a global partnership for development

TEDxChange happens Monday, September 20, at 11am EST / 8am PST. To find out more about the event and the live webcast, visit

Today’s playlist features speakers who have devoted their lives to solving one or many of these goals. Their stories show the importance of engaging the world as we change it — and understanding how to tackle the MDGs in a way that saves and improves the most lives.

Jacqueline Novogratz, founder of Acumen Fund, talks about “patient capital”: the idea of investing and working with those in need, to create active agents of change rather than passive recipients of charity.

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  • Economist Esther Duflo conducts cost-benefit analysis to remove the guesswork from social policy-making. She’s tackling a very important questions: How do we know if we are changing the world, and how can we do it better?

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  • Jamais Cascio demonstrates his optimism for the planet — its people and its environment — through the use of both technology and the power of human collaboration.

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  • Anil Gupta speaks on behalf of the grassroots innovators: those who have transformed poor and desperate situations using local tradition, entrepreneurial thinking and creativity.
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  • To learn more about the Millennium Development Goals, check out these other TEDTalks:

    Eradicating Poverty and Hunger

    Hans Rosling proves that the world is changing for the better with compelling statistics, a thrilling demonstration of his data — and even swords.

    William Kamkwamba uses his first-hand experience of barriers to success to design an extraordinary solution to a common problem in rural households.

    Universal Education

    Despite overwhelming statistics, Shukla Bose finds hope in a new strategy for providing quality education to the poor children.

    Nicholas Negroponte explains the strategy behind One Laptop Per Child and his revolutionary $100 computer.

    Gender Equality

    Sheryl WuDunn shares the tragic stories of too many women across the globe and passionately demands a movement of change.

    Kavita Ramdas challenges our assumptions of women — those who preserve and value tradition still have the capacity and the drive to instigate radical change.

    Child Health and Maternal Health

    Jane Chen demos a simple, low-cost, mobile incubator for premature babies — an innovation that has the potential to save millions of premature babies born in rural communities.

    Sendhil Mullainathan uses economics as a tool for solving social problems, in particular global health.

    Combat HIV/AIDS

    Public health nerd Elizabeth Pisani applies some realistic thinking about human behavior in her efforts to stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS.

    Emily Oster questions the traditional view on the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in developing countries.

    Environmental Sustainability

    John Francis walks for the environment and discovers along the way new levels of action.

    Willie Smits performs environmental magic in the rainforests of Borneo and finds a way to rediscover what was thought to be lost.

    Global Partnership

    Asher Hasan makes the case for peace and encourages us to explore the humanity we all share.

    Hector Ruiz shows how connecting the world through the Internet can bring us closer to solving the humanity’s most pressing issues.

    We’d love to hear more of your favorite TEDTalks about the Millennium Development Goals. Add your suggestions to the comments below, join the conversation on Facebook, or email with the subject PLAYLIST: MDGs. (Jog your memory with the TEDTalks spreadsheet.)

    Curator of this playlist: Rachel Tobias