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Jerusalem continues to make its mark in the global community - but this time no politics!

TEDxJerusalem, held in he auditorium of Jerusalem's historic YMCA

 On December 10, 2012, Jerusalem proper hosted its first TED event, TEDxJerusalem, and IsraCast was there to give you a first account. There have been other official and unofficial TED events held in Israel, however, TEDxJerusalem brought its own special angle to what TED in the Holy Land has to contribute.

The lectures were translated live to English, Hebrew, and Arabic

TED (an acronym which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a swiftly growing non-profit organization that has taken the internet by storm in the past years with its well-known TEDTalks that now flood the web with “Ideas Worth Spreading.” To date, over 3,000 TEDx events have been held and presented in more than 125 countries worldwide, with over 12,000 TEDxTalks recorded and counting.

 (Note: X=independently organized)


 TEDxJerusalem had big shoes to fill, and high expectations to meet. 

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat chatting with Forsan Hussein, Chief Executive Officer of Israel's YMCA's

 With the chosen theme being “PAST FORWARD”, the organizers sought to acknowledge Jerusalem’s rich and unique history while ultimately promoting a forward thinking perspective, focusing on the future of the city, the region, and the world. And of course, in true Jerusalem form, the TED Talks took place in English, Hebrew, and Arabic.

 The event was hosted in Jerusalem’s own historic YMCA (a true point of homage to Jerusalem’s cultural and architectural history), and space was limited to a selected (approximately) 500 guests consisting of executives, social entrepreneurs , activists, students, as well as recognized movers-and-shakers and influencers of tomorrow. However, the entire event (including the Talks and the artistic performances) were all broadcast live, and the Talks themselves now available online in their recorded form for public viewing here.

 Boasting a diverse group of speakers (mainly Arab and Jewish Israelis) ranging in age, language, and fields of occupation , TEDxJerusalem succeeded in giving voice and ear to the inspirational, the innovational, and the inventive, broaching topics ranging from marketing trends, to technology and medicine, to food and art.

 One of the things that make TED events so unique and beloved by its fans is its ability to bring our “silent leaders” out of the woodwork. It’s a chance to see the faces and hear the voices of the some of the most influential molders of the world we live in. It is a reminder of the ripple effect that just one pebble (person) has on the entire pond.

 Ideas Worth Spreading - At a glance:

 “The technology coming out of Israel simply incredible!”, said one of the TED guests at the event, and it truly is, as became more apparent as the event unfolded.

 TED Speaker Dr. Amir Amedi of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences (ELSC) and Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC) shared his ongoing research and progress in developing sensory substitution technology for the blind (there are 45 million blind people in the world and over 100 million with impaired vision function) that will teach them to “see with their ears”, allowing them to “see” their environment and function better in their daily lives.

 TED Speaker Dr. Amal Ayoub, founder of the Metallo-Therapy Company (thought to be the first Arab woman to head a startup in Israel), discussed her team’s ongoing work in the treatment of cancer. They have developed a way to focus radiation on tumor cells through the use of gold nanoparticles and other heavy metals in injections, producing secondary radiation. This helps in cancer treatment as well as imaging.

The audience was awed and instantly curious the moment a 17-year old walked on stage before and after his accomplished co-seakers. But this, of course, was no ordinary 17-year old. This was Or Sagy, a student of the Interdisciplinary Program for Outstanding Students and the Tel Aviv University, with experience at Harvard Medical School and the Weizmann Institute of Science already under his belt. Genius and Prodigy both seem appropriate terms. Or is currently a part of SpaceIL, a nonprofit working hard to make sure that the next flag on the moon is an Israeli one; so it come as no surprise that his topic as one of the TED Speakers was “Magnetic bacteria as agents for self-replicating data.” While research is still at an experimental stage, this may very well be the future of electronics as we know it in which proteins and chemicals would grow your computer components, essentially solving the problem of disk space in computers.

 Coming all the way from her work in India as founder of the 8-Day Academy, TED Speaker Masarat Daud shared her life’s work in bringing education and technology to hundreds of villagers in Rajasthan (Western India. Rajasthan has one of the highest female illiteracy and child marriage rates in India, and Daud is striving for empowerment through education. In her words, “Eight days of education makes 100% literacy a realistic dream.”


 The list of speakers at the event includes:

 Adital Ella is a designer and teacher incorporating indigenous knowledge into sustainable design. She explores ways in which sustainability designers can envision, illustrate and enable the realization of new and inviting life habits that can thoroughly reform the encounter between man, object and environment. Adital is CEO of S-SENSE-DESIGN, a sustainability design studio, promoting projects with companies, non-profit organizations and social groups. She is also a sustainability design lecturer at the social-environmental design study program at the Faculty of Design at HIT, Israel and a TEDfellow.

 Dr. Amal Ayoub gained her Post Doctorate, Ph.D and MSc. from the Department of Bio-Medical Engineering at the Ben-Gurion University. She researches the medical use of radiation and is developing methods to introduce heavy metals into cancer cells for several medical applications. 3 years ago, Dr. Ayoub established Metallo Therapy; a start-up company that develops methods to introduce gold nano particles and other heavy metals into cancer cells for several medical applications such as cancer therapy and imaging.

 Profesor Amir Amedi uses music and sounds to make blind people ‘see’ their environment. Dr. Amedi uses non-invasive sensory substitution devices and invasive bionic eye procedures to teach blind people to see. He is an award winning brain scientist that suggests new ways to look at brain organization and brain flexibility. His work with blind and normal sighted individuals suggests that the brain is actually a flexible sensory independent task machine, rather than a pure sensory machine, the current dogma in brain research.

 Amit Carmeli.  After playing in successful Israeli rock band ‘Fools of Prophecy’ and performing and touring extensively with the Idan Raichel Project, Amit has expanded his musical explorations with unique vocal workshops. Three years of self exploration at the Carmel Mountains of Israel made him realize that Life is Music and Music is Life. Amit gives sessions and group workshops with people of all ages, exposing and empowering the vital creative force in each and every one of us, teaching us about our nature, our longing for both uniqueness and unity, harmony and wildness.

 Eyal Doron is a television creator, researcher and a popular lecturer on the subjects of happiness, meaning and creativity in the 21st century. Eyal Doron has created several original formats for Israeli television. His fresh and innovative philosophical perspective led him to work with top industries in Israel and abroad motivating and inspiring them to adjust to the accelerating and changing world of the 21st century. Currently working on a postdoc at Haifa University that focuses on a model he has developed for enhancing creativity among children.

 Fuad Abu Hamed lives in Tsur Baher Jerusalem and holds an M.A. in Management and Public Policy from Hebrew University where Fuad is a lecturer in the business administration school. He`s Chairman of the Al Quds Dialogue Center for Community & Cultural Development and a Chairman of Sur Baher Educational Support Committee. Al Quds Center is a non-profit organization established in 2007 for the purpose of improving the quality of life of the Arab residents of Jerusalem in various areas.

 Gideon Amichai: After graduating with honors from Bezalel Art Academy, Jerusalem, Gideon moved to New York where he persevered to realize his dream to design a cover of the prestigious New Yorker magazine. He’s the chief creative officer of one of the largest Israeli advertising agencies and recently published a book “No, No, No, No, No, No, No, Yes” about innovation and creativity.

 Hanoch Piven: The colorful and witty collage portraits of Israeli artist Hanoch Piven have appeared in most major magazines and newspapers such as Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone and in many European publications from The London Times to the Swiss Die WeltWoche. In Israel, Piven has gained visibility due to his long time collaboration with the daily Haaretz and through his TV shows for young children. Piven’s art is about communicating through fun and playfulness by reinventing the meaning of regular objects. In the last 10 years Piven has conducted workshops in many countries following the principles of Piven’s own collage technique and encourage play and creativity using common daily objects.

 Hisham Suleiman graduated from the Yoram Leowenstein Institute for Acting & Theatrical Arts and is the founding artistic director of the Fringe Ensemble of Nazareth and works at the Minshar cultural center in Tel-Aviv. He acted in the Khayal Theater, Almeidan Theater, The Palestinian National Theater, The Habima Theater, Camery Theater and works with young people in public theater. He has acted in several movies and television programs – including ‘Ajami’ which was nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign feature. Today Hisham works as an actor in local and international theater.

 Liraz Lasry holds a PhD in Marketing. She is especially fascinated by studying how successful trends spread, sweeping people off their feet. Having a professional background in strategic consulting, she also has a passion for forming academic knowledge into practical insights. This combination, and a passion for teaching, has lead Liraz to develop and teach an original and popular course about trends. Liraz is currently a lecturer and academic manager at Tel-Aviv University’s Faculty of Management.

 Masrat Daud Jamadar founded the 8-Day Academy, which aims to make education a global movement by making it accessible to all by just eight days of teaching and training. She is from Rajasthan, India but has lived her life in Dubai, UAE and currently resides in London, UK. She has extensive journalism experience in the UAE—both broadcast and print. Since February 2009, the 8-Day Academy has empowered hundreds of villagers in Rajasthan by teaching them empowering skills in just eight days. Masarat is also the Curator of TEDxShekhavati, which is the largest TEDx event globally.

 Michal Ansky is a food journalist and television presenter. Michal holds a master’s in gastronomic sciences from the Slow Food University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy. Michal is the founder of 7 farmers markets across Israel. She has a cooking and food culture show and is a judge on the prime time television show Master Chef Israel. Michal published her first cookbook ‘Food from Home’.

 Or Sagy is a 17-year-old scientist. After finishing high-school, he is a student at Tel Aviv University’s Adi Lautman Interdisciplinary Program for Outstanding Students (after studying at the university since age 13 through Israel’s national Future Scientists and Inventors Program). The Israeli Ministry of Education classified him as ‘super-gifted’. Or has done research in bioinformatics and biotechnology at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Technion and Harvard Medical School and Tel Aviv University. He is part of SpaceIL, a non-profit aiming to land an Israeli spaceship on the moon.

 Shoshana Boyd Gelfand is the Director of JHub, an operating programme of the London-based Pears Foundation. She received her rabbinic ordination in 1993 and has since served as Chief Executive of the UK Movement for Reform Judaism and Vice President of the Wexner Heritage Foundation in New York. She writes a monthly column for the Jewish Chronicle, and also appears regularly on BBC Radio Two Pause for Thought. Her first children’s book, The Barefoot Book of Jewish Folk Tales, will be published in 2013.

 Yakir Segev lives in Jerusalem. He served at the Egoz infantry unit for 7 years. He co-founded The Academy for Young leadership Ein Prat, founded an NGO called ‘New Spirit – students for Jerusalem’ designed to strengthen the ties between students and the city. He also served as the president of the student union at the Hebrew University. Yakir currently runs several bussineses involving high education, and serves as a member of Jerusalem’s City Council, where he holds the young adults and students portfolio.

 Yanki Margalit built his first computer at the age of 14, started his first business at 15, and was kicked out of school at 17. In 1984 Yanki built KnowPro, a software program that used artificial intelligence to help human experts in their decision-making process. Yanki has been busy thinking and speaking about technology, entrepreneurship, innovation, and human evolution, while nurturing a new love affair with molecular biology and biotechnology.

Forsan Hussein, CEO of the Jerusalem YMCA
Jerusalem dance company Vertigo opened the event
Gideon Amichay on the importance of perserverance
This is not really an artichoke...


Amal Ayoub on nanoparticles to treat cancer
Amit Carmeli on unity and the voice of uniqueness
An engaging artistic performance by Mayumana


inside the YMCA
Inventor Yanki Margalit talks about dreaming it and then DOING it


Yakir Segev - changing Jerusalem changing the world
Or Sagy discusses the future of Magnetic Bacteria
Masarat Daud, breaking stereotypes in rural India


An engaging artistic performance by Mayumana
Israeli food journalist and TV personality, Michal Ansky - Breaking a plate
















Rivki Matan

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