Google+ TEDxUNC 2014 | Taking Flight


Did you miss TEDxUNC 2014: Taking Flight? Our next event will take place in 2015. Check back here and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates so you don’t miss the next one! You can still see the highlights and watch the videos below!






















This year's TEDxUNC Conference took place on Saturday, February 15 2014 at Memorial Hall on UNC's campus. The conference was themed "Taking Flight," as we attempted to explore how individuals, groups, and ideas all metaphorically take flight. We attempted to take our audience through a carefully crafted narrative that includes discovering lift, gaining altitude, turbulence, and perspective from above.


TEDxUNC is an annual conference held at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that brings together innovative thinkers from across the university and larger community to explore ideas for our collective future. The second annual TEDxUNC conference in 2013 featured 15 diverse speakers and performers and was an astounding success. All tickets for the event sold out* in under 20 minutes, and many more people joined via live stream and watched the recorded talks online.

At TEDxUNC, innovative thinkers, from both our university and the greater community, will discuss their approaches to some of humanity’s fundamental concerns. Their creativity stems from linking resource networks, exploring across disciplines, transgressing cultural boundaries, and seeking simple, tangible solutions.

* In order to make TEDxUNC accessible to all members of the student body, faculty and staff, and local community, we very consciously choose not to charge for tickets to TEDxUNC. People wishing to attend must pre-register for tickets but are able to do so free of charge.


TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a conference in California 26 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with many initiatives.

At a TED conference, the world's leading thinkers and doers are asked to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes or less. TED speakers have included Roger Ebert, Sheryl Sandberg, Bill Gates, Elizabeth Gilbert, Benoit Mandelbrot, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Brian Greene, Isabel Allende and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Three major TED events are held each year: The TED Conference takes place every spring in Vancouver, Canada, simultaneous with TEDActive, in Whistler, BC; and the TEDGlobal Conference takes place each summer in Edinburgh, Scotland.

On, talks from TED conferences are shared with the world for free as TED Talks videos. A new TED Talk is posted every weekday. Through the Open Translation Project, TED Talks are subtitled by volunteers worldwide into more than 90 languages. Through our distribution networks, TED Talks are shared on TV, radio, Netflix and many websites.

The TEDx initiative grants free licenses to people around the world to organize TED-style events in their communities with TED Talks and live speakers. More than 5,000 TEDx events have been held, and selected talks from these events are also turned into TED Talks videos.

The annual TED Prize grants $1 million to an exceptional individual with a wish to change the world. The TED Fellows program helps world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities. TED-Ed creates short video lessons by pairing master teachers with animators, for use in classroom instruction or independent learning.

For information about TED's upcoming conferences, visit

Follow TED on Twitter at, or on Facebook at


In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)


The TEDxUNC 2014 Speakers and Performers showcased unique interpretations of flight. With speakers ranging from an astronaut to a migratory beekeeper to a family nurse practitioner, we hope you found inspiration throughout the conference day. Read more about the ways in which the TEDxUNC 2014 Speakers and Performers may speak to you.


Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba is composed of Senegalese griot musician Diali Keba Cissokho, with North Carolinians John Westmoreland, Jonathan Henderson, Austin McCall, and Will Ridenour. Kaira Ba plays music inspired by the ancient West-African griot tradition. Led by the kora—a 21-stringed harp-lute—the group’s original blend of traditional and modern styles creates an infectious sound reminiscent of West African dance bands full of unison melody, adventurous improvisation, fiery solos, and polyrhythmic frameworks.

 Soleil Konkel


Magatte Wade is the founder and CEO of Tiossan, a high-end natural skin care company based on indigenous Senegalese recipes. Wade was born in Senegal, educated in France, and started her entrepreneurial career in the U.S. Her first company, Adina World Beverages, based on indigenous Senegalese beverage recipes, became one of the most widely distributed U.S. brands started by an African entrepreneur. Wade was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum at Davos; Forbes magazine named her one of the “20 Youngest Power Women of Africa,” and Madame Figaro named Magatte Wade as one of "15 Women Boosting the Continent of Africa.” Today, she is a mentor for the MIT Legatum Center for Entrepreneurship and Development, and a board member of the SEEDS Academy (Sports for Education and Economic Development in Senegal).

 Magatte Wade


Ajit George is the Director of Operations at Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project where he oversees fundraising, communications, and leads the mentorship program for graduates of Shanti Bhavan, helping them integrate into college and the professional workforce. As Director of Operations, George has expanded the donor base for Shanti Bhavan through both grassroots channels and grant and corporate-oriented focuses with new partnerships in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Before working full time with Shanti Bhavan, he worked as an organizer and advocate for immigration rights at the Center for Human Rights in Dallas.

Ajit George


AcroYoga practitioners, Bethania Bacigalupe, Christine Soykal, and Josh Young, unite in this unique, physical practice, which blends elements of yoga, acrobatics, performance, and healing arts. Bacigalupe is a mathematics student at Harvard College, Soykal is a creative movement and acrobatics teacher at the National Institute of Health, and Young is the founder of—a free online resource for acrobats around the world.

Bethania Bacigalupe - Acroyogis


Safiyah Ismail is a junior Environmental Health Science major from Cary, North Carolina. As a student in the Gillings School of Public Health, she’s fascinated by the relationship between human health and the environment. As Co-director of Scholarships for Students for Students International, she went on delegation in 2013 and is inspired by her international peers’ commitment to becoming strong female leaders in their communities. She is also a Resident Advisor in Kenan Community, a member of the Honor Court, and founder of UNC American Sign Language club where she teaches ASL classes to her peers in order to create a more inclusive Carolina.

Safiyah Ismail


Clockwork Kids are a rock group founded in 2012 and consists of UNC students/alumni Dylan Abolafia, Patrick Carney, Jeff DeLuca, Justin Ellis, and Chris Petto. Since their inception, Clockwork Kids have recorded two albums and have toured the Northeastern United States and Canada. After a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the recording and production of their first full-length album, the band will make their 2014 headlining debut at a show "Under the Stars" at Morehead Planetarium in early April as a part of the ConvergeNC Music Festival.

Clockwork Kids



Dr. Sujata Bhatia, is one of Harvard’s teaching faculty members and academic mentors to hundreds of undergraduate students in biomedical engineering. As a physician, bioengineer, and chemical engineer, Dr. Bhatia inspires and fuels creativity by working with students on projects for medical innovation in Africa. Recognized both at the national and global level, Dr. Bhatia was invited in 2005 to participate in the U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium at the age of 27, an honor given by the National Academy of Engineering to the nation’s top 100 engineers ages 30-45. Most recently she served as the principal investigator at the DuPont company working on projects that included the development of bioadhesives for wound closure as well as microspheres as a minimally invasive treatment method for cancerous tumors. Dr. Bhatia has a strong commitment to not only advancing current biomedical research but also empowering scientists in the developing world to reach new heights.

Sujata Bhatia


Dr. Debra J. Barksdale is an Associate Professor and Director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A certified family nurse practitioner (NP), an adult NP, and a nurse educator, Dr. Barksdale's research focuses on stress and cardiovascular disease in Black Americans. In addition to being one of 19 members appointed to the 21-member Board of Governors for the new Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) by the U.S. Government Accountability Office under the Obama Administration, Dr. Barksdale also serves as President of the prestigious National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF).

 Debra Barksdale


Amro Albanna is the founding Chairman and CEO of Innovation Economy Crowd (ieCrowd). Amro's career has focused on the transformation of cutting-edge technologies into breakthrough market solutions, such as the development of ""Kite Patch,” a small, colorful sticker that protects humans from mosquitoes and therefore the threat of diseases like, malaria, and West Nile virus. Albanna also serves as ieCrowd's Chief Entrepreneur, serving as an advocate for democratizing the benefits of entrepreneurship and the creation of high-growth ventures.

Amro Albanna


Born in Boston, Yazmany Arboleda is a New York-based multimedia artist. His first solo exhibition, "The New Vitruvians,” debuted in New York in May 2007. In 2008, he founded The Glassless Glasses Studio, an art activation collaborative that takes a critical view of social, political and moral issues in a culture ever more driven by the media. His global orchestrations often blur the lines between art and sociology to give viewers and participants a new way of framing and understanding reality. His work has been written about in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the UK's Guardian.

 yazmany arboleda


Dr. Terry Rhodes, a Professor and Senior Associate Dean for Fine Arts and Humanities, received her Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music from the Eastman School of Music, and her Bachelor of Music from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Especially known for her work in contemporary music, she served on the music faculty for the past 25 years as UNC's Opera Director and a member of the voice faculty, and as departmental chair from 2009–2012. At ease both in recital and on the opera/musical theater stage, she has earned a reputation as an extraordinary performer in more than twenty countries throughout Europe, Central and South America, and across the U.S.

terry rhodes


John Miller is the great-grandson of N.E. Miller, America’s first migratory beekeeper. John Miller, also a beekeeper, trucks his hives around the country, from crop to crop across North Dakota and California, bringing millions of bees to farmers otherwise bereft of natural pollinators. While there is a steady demand for Miller’s services, he is faced with ever mounting hive losses as a result of traditional and mysterious scourges. Featured in The Beekeeper's Lament, by Hannah Nordhaus, his story is complex, moving, and an unforgettable portrait of man in the new natural world.

 John Miller


Charles Allen is a Principal at The Chertoff Group, a global security advisory firm that provides consulting and advisory services for clients in the security, defense and government services industries. Mr. Allen was the Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis at the Department of Homeland Security from 2007 to 2009, where he developed the department’s intelligence architecture and ensured that all intelligence activities aligned with the department’s evolving priorities. Mr. Allen worked at the CIA for over forty years, and became the Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Collection in 1998. He also served as CIA’s National Intelligence Officer for Warning, Director of the National Warning Staff, National Intelligence Officer for Counterterrorism and Deputy Chief for Intelligence of CIA’s Counterterrorism Center.

 Charles Allen


Lee Weisert and Jonathon Kirk, are both members of the Portable Acoustic Modification Laboratory, a collaborative sound installation team. Lee Weisert, an Assistant Professor of Music at UNC, teaches courses in musicianship, music technology, and composition. Nationally recognized performers and ensembles have performed his electronic music, dealing with algorithmic and chaotic structures in 4- and 8-channel spatialization. Jonathon Kirk, an Assistant Professor of Music at North Central College, teaches courses in music composition, music theory and analysis, and electronic and computer music. Kirk is well known for both his acoustic and multimedia works, which have been presented at various international music festivals. Their acoustic and multimedia works, both independently and collectively, have received international recognition and acclaim.

Lee Weisert


Zeynep Tufekci is an assistant professor at UNC’s School of Information and Library Science (SILS) with an affiliate appointment in the Department of Sociology. Previously, Tufekci was a fellow at the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University and taught at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Her research revolves around the interaction between technology and social, cultural and political dynamics. Zeynep Tufekci is particularly interested in collective action and social movements, politics and civics, complex systems, surveillance, privacy, and sociality.

 Zeynep Tufekci


Dr. Mark Katz, Chair of the UNC Music Department, teaches courses on music and technology, popular music, and modern art music. In 2011, along with producer/DJ Apple Juice Kid, Dr. Katz founded the Carolina Beat Making Lab to expand the scope and reach of university-level music pedagogy. Beat Making Lab uses an electronic music studio--small enough to fit in a backpack-- to collaborate with communities around the world; donating laptops, microphones and software to community centers and conducting two-week residencies with talented youth. Beat Making Lab films workshops and shoots music videos as part of a weekly web-series with PBS Digital Studios with the goals of cultural exchange, innovative collaboration, and social/entrepreneurial impact.

  mark katz


Dr. Jerry Linenger is one of America’s greatest astronauts and heros. A now retired United States Navy flight surgeon, Captain Linenger is known for enduring one of the most perilous and trying space missions aboard the Russian Space Station Mir. Despite failures of life-support systems, a near collision, power outages, chemical leaks, as well as the most severe fire ever aboard an orbiting spacecraft, Dr. Linenger and his crewmates successfully completed all mission goals. At the end of his five month space mission, he logged milage equivalent to 110 round trips to the moon and held the record for the longest time in space for an American man. In 1998, following completion of his mission, Dr. Linenger was awarded NASA’s highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal, to honor his courage and heroic, outstanding service to our country.

Jerry Linenger


Omid Safi is a Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, specializing in contemporary Islamic thought and classical Islam. An award-winning teacher and speaker, he is also the author of "Memories of Muhammad." He is among the most frequently sought after speakers on Islam in popular media, and has appeared frequently in the New York Times, Newsweek, PBS, NBC, CNN and other international media.

omid safi


Bobby Mook is a Senior Business Major and Spanish Minor from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Pursuing his passion for international work and languages, he has worked in education reform in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Global Market Access Strategy in Paris, France, as well as studying for a semester in Barcelona, Spain. In 2011, he co-founded the Dozen Doughnut Dash to benefit the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and has been developing other community service programs for his past two years at Carolina. After graduation, Bobby will embark on a 15 month trip, with travel mate Ty Fenton, starting in Georgetown, Guyana then weaving through most of South America, up the east coast of Africa, through parts of the Middle East, and across Southern Asia.

Bobby Mook


John J. Wood is the founder and board co–chair of Room to Read. An organization that believes World Change Starts with Educated Children®, Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. At age 35, Wood left an executive career track at Microsoft to form Room to Read. The business acumen that he honed at Microsoft, combined with his passion to change the world, make John Wood a unique and inspiring individual and entrepreneur.

john wood
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